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Create Your Own Muscle
Building Diet

This article will teach you how to create a personalized muscle building diet plan. After reading this article you will know how many calories,  protein, carbohydrates and fat you need to ingest to build muscle. 

Let's get started...

Step 1: Calculate Your Caloric Maintenance Level
  • Once we know your caloric maintenance level, we will be able to determine how many calories you will need to consume daily to gain muscle. The following link will show you how to calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), once you have calculated your TDEE, come back here and move on to step 2.
Step 2: Calculate the TOTAL Amount of Calories You Need to Consume to Build Muscle

To gain weight you will need to add between 5% to 20% more calories on top of your TDEE.

If you put on fat easily, go towards the low end of the scale (5%). If your a hardgainer like myself, try the higher end of the scale (20%).

Since we used the stats of our friend Freddie McFly in the article Calculate Your TDEE, we will continue to use him in this example.

Age: 35
Weight: 190 lbs (86.4 kg)
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
Activity Level: He loves to sing and dance 3 to 4 times a week
His Total Daily Energy Expenditure: 3,218 calories per day

So Freddie's TDEE is 3,218 calories. Freddie feels that although he is dances a lot, he still manages to store a lot of fat, so he decides to increase his calories by 5% of his TDEE.

So the total amount of calories Freddie will have to consume for muscle gain is 3,379 calories (3,218 calories x 1.05).

Note: Over time you may decide to tweak your caloric levels up or down by 5% until you are gaining muscle without adding to much fat.

Step 3: Calculate Your Protein, Fats, and Carbohydrates Requirements

You will need the following chart as a reference for the simple calculations coming up.

Macronutrient Number of Calories in the Macronutrient
Protein 4 calories per gram of protein
Fat 9 calories per gram of fat
Carbohydrate 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate

Calculate Your Protein Requirements

Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, consume a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

Freddie McFly Example:
Protein Requirements in Grams:

= Bodyweight in Pounds x 1 gram per pound of bodyweight
= 190 lbs x 1 gram
= 190 grams of protein
Protein Requirements in Calories:
= 190 grams x 4 calories per gram of protein
= 760 calories from protein

Calculate Your Fats Requirements

The good fats (polyunsaturated fats & monounsaturated fats), as opposed to bad fats (saturated fats and trans fats), are essential for the production of anabolic (muscle building) hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone and insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). We all know how important these anabolic hormones are for increasing muscle mass.

30% of your total calories should be from fat.

Freddie McFly Example:
Fats Requirements in Calories:

= Total Calories to Consume x 30%
= 3,379 x .30
= 1,014 calories from fat
Fats Requirements in Grams
To come up with the total grams from fat, divide 1,014 by 9, since there are 9 calories per gram of fat.
= [Calories from fat] / [9 calories per gram of fat]
= 1,014/9
= 113 grams of fat

Calculate Your Carbohydrate Requirements

Important benefits of carbohydrates in your muscle building diet:
  1. Provide fuel for hard workouts.
  2. Major contributor to the size of your muscles. When you ingest carbohydrates, it's either stored in your liver or your muscles (as muscle glycogen). Muscle glycogen is stored in your muscles and adds significantly extra bulk. After a heavy weightlifting workout, you deplete your muscle glycogen stores, if you don't replenish your glycogen levels your muscles will appear smaller.
  3. Protein-sparing effect. If you don't ingest carbohydrates, your body will be forced to use protein and fat as a fuel source. The proteins that are used for fuel will not be used to build and repair your muscles...bad!
The determine how much carbohydrates you need to consume, simply subtract the amount of calories from protein and fat from total calories.

Freddie McFly Example:
Carbohydrate Requirements in Calories:

= Total Calories to Consume - Calories from Protein - Calories from Fats
= 3,379 - 760 - 1,014
= 1,605 calories from carbohydrates
Carbohydrate Requirements in Grams:
Calories from Carbs/4 calories per gram of carbohydrate
= 1,605/4
= 401 grams of carbohydrates

Freddie McFly's Summary:
190 grams per day (760 calories)
Fats: 113 grams per day (1,014 calories)
Carbohydrates: 401 grams per day (1,605 calories)
Total Calories: 3,379

Step 4: Divide Your Macronutrient Requirements into 5 to 7 Meals

This is the last step in constructing your muscle building diet plan! Now that we know your macronutrient requirements, split it up into 5 to 7 meals to be eaten every two to three hours. 

Freddie McFly's Example: Freddie decides that he is going to eat five meals a day. So simple divide your daily macronutrient requirements by 5.
190 grams/5 meals = 38 grams of protein per meal
Fats: 113 grams/5 meals = 23 grams of good fats per meal
Carbohydrates: 401 grams/5 meals = 80 grams of carbs per meal

Freddie's Muscle Building Diet:
Five meals with 38 grams protein, 23 grams of fats, and 80 grams of carbs per meal.

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