As you go about the goal to build muscle, one thing that you must be sure you do is get a good weight gain meal plan in line. Having a proper weight gaining diet is essential because this is what will ensure that you’re supplying your body with all the key nutrients it needs to generate that new lean muscle mass.
Many people often make grave mistakes with their weight gain meal plans that end up costing them serious results in the long run, so by putting some time and effort into figuring out the proper weight gain meal plan you can guarantee your success.
Let’s go over what you need to know.
1) Set Calorie And Macronutrient Intake First
The very first thing that you should do with your meal plan to gain weight is to make sure that you have your calorie intake set and your macronutrients in alignment. In order to build muscle quickly, you will require a calorie surplus, which means supplying more calories than your body needs to maintain all of its regular functions.
It’s with these extra calories that muscle mass will be built, so aim for an additional 300-500 above maintenance needs.
Most people will maintain their body weight at around 15 calories per pound, so you can use that formula to figure out your maintenance calorie requirements and then simply add the 300-500 calories on to that.
Once you’ve been on the diet at that calorie level for at least two weeks, then you should assess your progress and either add more calories to it if you’re not gaining weight quickly enough or reduce your calorie intake slightly if you’re gaining too much body fat.
Note here that many people often think that the reason they gain fat while building muscle is because they aren’t doing enough cardio, but that’s not the case at all.
The real reason for fat gain while building muscle is simply because you’re taking in too many calories so that’s where you need to turn to resolve the situation.
While you do require more calories than needed to maintain your body weight to generate more lean muscle mass, if you eat too many the body will have to convert these to body fat stores.
2) Get Your Macronutrient’s Set Up
The next element for success with your weight gain meal plan is to get your macronutrients set up. This refers to how many proteins, carbs, and fats you’re taking in.
Ideally you want to aim for somewhere between one and one and a half grams of protein per pound of body weight. Keep in mind that more protein does not mean more muscle will be built. Once you’ve met your protein requirements for the day, excess protein over this amount will just be used for fuel or converted into body fat.
With your carbohydrate and fat intake, these two nutrients are a little more flexible in terms of precisely how much you should be eating, but take note that they must equate out to your total daily calorie target.
Remember that proteins and carbohydrates both contain four calories per gram while fats contain nine.
Since muscle building does require carbohydrates for energy, you definitely do not want to go on a low carb diet when working towards this goal, so aim to take in at least 150 grams of carbohydrates per day, which is the bare minimum needed to support everyday function and short workout sessions. Most people on weight gain meal plans will take in much more than this, moving closer to the 300-400 gram range.
Fats will make up the remainder of your calorie intake and should be added to each meal that you consume apart from the pre and post workout meals or shakes.
At this point in time you want to have only proteins and carbohydrates as these are the two nutrients the muscles need immediately and fats will only slow down the delivery of those nutrients to the muscle cells.
3) Focus On Proper Food Sources
Once you have your calorie and macronutrient intakes all figured out, then the next step to making sure that you gain weight the healthy way is thinking about where you’re getting these nutrients from.
Just because you are aiming to gain weight does not mean you should fill your diet with nutrient-void foods as this will only encourage body fat accumulation rather than lean mass building.
Instead, you want to focus on lean, high quality protein sources, complex, slow digesting carbohydrates, and healthy fats that will boost your calorie intake and help keep your heart healthy.
For the protein food category, perfect options include lean red meat, fish and seafood, chicken breast and turkey meat, low fat dairy products, eggs, and whey protein powder.
For healthy carbs, turn to complex sources such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and breads, quinoa, and sweet potatoes. Also be sure to take in some fresh fruit and vegetables for fiber and nutrients, but keep total volume slightly lower so it doesn’t hinder you getting in sufficient calories.
Finally, for your healthy fats, turn to foods such as olive oil, safflower oil, flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, nuts and nut butters, seeds, fatty fish, along with avocados.
Avoid overly processed snack foods, high fat meat products, as well as saturated fats and trans fats as these will only take away from your progress and could lead to disease down the road.
Plus, these foods could cause that excess fat gain we discussed earlier as they’ll send insulin levels soaring and quickly taking those nutrients up for storage. If your muscle glycogen level is full, the body has no place to put them except for into your fat stores.
If you are struggling to meet your calorie requirements for the day, then focus on healthier calorie dense foods such as dry oats (rather than cooked as they’ll take up less space in the stomach), dried fruits, cans of salmon, whey protein powder, beef jerky, nuts and nut butters, and skim milk powder which can easily be added to your shakes for more calories.
4) Consider Meal Timing
Meal timing is another thing to think about with your weight gain meal plan. For best results, make sure to place a high load of carbohydrates when your muscles need them the most – post workout.
By aiming to take in some simple carbs during this time, you’ll actually enhance your progress because the insulin spike at this point is a good thing.
It’s later on in the day that you want to avoid it because that’s when fat gain is more likely. Post workout, it will just help ensure the nutrients get into the muscle cells faster and you see a speedy recovery.
By making sure that you’re not neglecting your nutrition needs during this time, you can feel confident you’re maximizing the results you get from that session.
Some people also choose to eat mostly protein and fat meals later on in the day when they’re less active to build leaner muscle mass and you can do this, but you still must make sure that you’re placing sufficient carbs earlier on in your diet then and getting in enough calories total throughout the day.
5) Get Smart About Supplements
Many who start up on a weight gain meal plan often wonder what supplements they should use to increase the results they see. The first thing to note is that you should spend at least two weeks on just your weight gain meal plan alone.
This is going to ensure that you’re putting a maximum amount of focus on that diet first and foremost. Those who start to concern themselves with supplements too quickly are just going to take their focus away from what they’re eating and could seriously risk long-term progress.
Once you have a good handle on your weight gain diet, then you can look into a few select supplements such as a good multi-vitamin, some fish oil, glutamine, and possibly creatine.
These will only work well though if you’re already on that good diet set-up.
6) Plan Your Weekly Diet
Finally, the last step to take is to make sure that you plan your weekly diet program. Getting a good plan set up is going to ensure that there’s never any question in your mind what you should be eating and when.
Those who don’t take the time to figure out what to eat throughout the day are very likely to miss their calorie targets and not experience the weight gain results they’re looking for.
While you can use weight gainer shakes or other quick and easy meals to help make up for missed meals, you should never be relying on these types of foods.
Commercial weight gainer products are often loaded with sugar so if you are going to use a weight gainer shake to help you increase your calorie intake, consider preparing your own by mixing together protein powder, dry oats, flaxseeds, and any other wet ingredients you want when you make it (cottage cheese, yogurt, peanut butter, frozen fruits, and so on).
This will provide your body with a much cleaner source of energy that will encourage mass building rather than fat accumulation.
So there have the key information to remember about designing a proper weight gain meal plan. If you’re going to take the time to put in the effort to construct a good workout program, you better also take the time to also get your diet in line.
The two really do go hand in hand and in order to optimize your success, they both need to be there.
To get a thoroughly detailed explanation of how to figure exactly how many calories your need to eat and other inside secrets about a quality weight gain meal plan, pick up Vince Delmonte’s exceptional eBook, “No Nonsense Muscle Building”.
He’ll give you a plethora of information and tools to help you track your food/fuel intake, and you’ll have gains in no time!