Episode 24 – A beginner’s guide to putting on muscle and size with nutrition
Do any of these sound familiar?
- “How do I put on weight?”
- “How do I increase my “gainz?”
- “How do I get more muscle mass?”
If you answered yes, read on. Let’s discuss my top tips for gaining muscle through basic nutrition principles.
1. Eat a lot
Your body is in a state of homeostasis, which basically means your body is seeking to keep you in the same condition you are in now. Simply put, it’s trying to keep you the same. If you want to upset that balance to put on muscle consciously then you need to eat more than you’re currently doing and consistently. By doing this you put yourself in the best position to reset your current “homeostatic balance” by consciously “re-establishing a new homeostatic balance at a higher weight.” Does that make sense?
To make that simpler: provide yourself with more nutrients (through eating more). By having these building blocks readily available to be utilised, it is more likely to be converted into body tissue (such as muscle). If you can’t commit to this first tip, than you won’t be in a position to put on weight and there’s no progression from here.
How do you eat a lot?
Increase your portion sizes to add in those extra nutrients particularly energy dense options such as:
- Adding in oils to your meals
- Adding in milk (eg. Smoothies over juices)
- Nuts (add to salads)
- Eggs (add to soups, salads, sandwiches, rice, etc) to your meals or
- Choose energy dense foods over low energy dense options at meal times (eg. meats over breads or cream soup over water-based soups).
2. Eat often to eat more
This is an easier and probably more comfortable way to get in calories and nutrients. You can observe the success of this tip in bodybuilders as a population group. Yes, it’s more labour intensive – as you need to stop to eat every few hours – however, if you do this and do it consistently, you can place the balance in favour of gaining muscle and also make it easier to eat more calories and nutrients to support your exercise program.
How do you eat often?
Normally you’d eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Well, on top of those three meals, add in three mid-meals or snacks. So, mid-morning snack, mid-afternoon snack and pre-bed snack. If you want to follow a bodybuilder track, you should try to eat at least six (6) meals within the day, everyday. Some bodybuilder’s go up to eight (8) meals in a day. If you can do this, it’ll put you in the best position to gaining muscle.
Need more tips on how to put on muscle and size with nutrition? Read on.
3. Balance all your nutrients – not just your macros
Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fat whereas micronutrients include but are not limited to: zinc, iron, calcium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, on the mineral side and vitamins such as vitamin A, B-group vitamins, vitamins C, E, D and many others. These all need to be balanced in your diet as well. The best way to balance your nutrients is to eat from a variety of food groups and food selections within each food group on a daily, weekly and even seasonal basis.
Try these different food selections:
- Grains – sorghum, millet, quinoa
- Fruits – starfruit, grapefruit, kiwifruit
- Vegetables – sweet potato, zucchini, beetroots
- Meats – duck, osterich, rabbit
- Legumes, nuts and beans – split peas, brazilian nuts and white beans
- Dairy – cheese, natural yoghurt and custard
4. Keep consistent by keeping track
There’s two basic ways to monitor and manage your intake objectively to keep yourself accountable:
As you progress and eat through the day, write the food down including information such as:
- How you felt (full or satisfied or both)
- Why you ate that food and so on.
24 hour diet recall
At the end of your day, write down all the things you ate at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and include snacks and drinks all in one go!
At the end of the week, track your progress. Ask yourself questions such as,
- Did I consistently eating to hit and exceed my energy, macronutrient and micronutrient requirements?
- What worked well?
- If I wasn’t on track, why not?
Make those Gainz
Here are the top four (4) tips to keep in mind when aiming to gain muscle size with good nutrition.
1. Eat a lot
2. Eat often and eat more food
3. Ensure balance over all your nutrients
4. Keep consistent by keeping on track
Feel free to watch the video!
- Chek, P. (2009) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
- Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand (website): https://www.nrv.gov.au/ Accessed: December 2015 to January 2016
- Braun, L., Marc, C. (2005) Herbs & Natural Supplements: An evidenced-based guide, Churchill Livingstone
- Burke, L. Deakin, V (2005) Clinical Sports Nutrition (2nd Ed.) McGraw-Hill
- Duhigg, C. (2012) The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business. Random House
- Gropper, S., Smith, J., Groff, J. (2005) Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4th Ed.), Thomson Wadsworth
- Kausman, R. (2004). If not dieting, then what? Allen & Unwin
- Mahan, L. Escott-Stump, S. (2004) Krause’s Food, Nutrition & Diet Therapy (11th Ed.) Saunders
- Williams, T., (2004) This=That: a life-sized photo guide to food serves
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.
Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.