The right nutrition to pack on muscle mass
People who train for hypertrophy want to gain muscle mass. As a general rule, they know that they have to eat more to provide the nutrients required to build their muscles. However, some principles should be observed to avoid putting on as much fat as muscle during this training cycle.
Here are the most important principles to comply with:
- To put on 0.5 to 1 pound of muscle mass per week, eat 250 to 500 more calories than your total daily energy expenditure.
- In the foods you eat, go for quality over quantity only. For example, it’s easy to eat 250 calories worth of chocolate, but chocolate doesn’t provide your body with all the nutrients it needs, and it is very easy to eat too much of it. If you struggle to increase your caloric intake, choose healthy foods with a higher energy density, such as nuts, dried fruit, and 100% pure juice.
- Don’t cut down too much on your fat intake, as fats are necessary to gain muscle. Opt for vegetable-based and fish-based oils, which are high in unsaturated fats (Omega-3 and Omega-6), and will help the production of anabolic hormones that foster muscle growth.
- Remember to drink water. Each gram of glycogen (sugar reserves in your muscles) requires three grams of water to be stored into your muscles.
- Make sure to eat a maximum of 20 to 30 grams of protein after each workout (beyond 30 grams, protein will be eliminated through the urine, used up as fuel for energy, or stored as fat).
- Some supplements can also help you achieve your objectives. For more details, refer to these articles: ‘’Nutrition only or supplementation part ½’’ and ‘’Nutrition only or supplementation part 2/2’’.
Don’t hesitate to consult a nutritionist and a kinesiologist to establish your personal needs, because some factors could affect your ability to pack on muscle, such as your age, your genetics, your physical limitations, the type of training, your fitness level, your post-workout recovery, and most of all, your nutrition!
Marie-Eve Nadeau, P.Dt.