5 Simple Muscle-Building Nutrition Tips | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

5 Simple Muscle-Building Nutrition Tips

May 6, 2013 | Mike Samuels

Must See Nutrition Videos

Muscle isn't easy to come by, especially if you're a naturally skinny guy with the metabolism of a hummingbird in flight. Try as you might, those twiggy arms of yours never develop into full-grown sleeve cannons; your legs look like bits of string hanging from your shorts; and we won't even talk about your chest and back. (Maybe this will help: Pack on the Pounds With the Skinny Guy Workout.)

Although you've tried lots of muscle-building plans, you never stick with anything with a degree of consistency. Instead of flitting from program to program and diet to diet, make the following five changes to your eating habits. I guarantee you will pack on the pounds. Kiss good-bye to "skinnyville" by implementing these tips today.

Count Your Calories

It might sound lame, like advice to an overweight moms' slimming club, but calories really do count.

Skinny guys are prone to overestimate the number of calories they take in. You might think you eat a lot, but you probably don't. One big meal a day plus a few snacks won't cut it. Neither will one super-high-calorie day each week if it's preceded by six days of eating less than your 90-year-old grandma.

Plug your calories into an online calculator or app, like My Fitness Pal, for seven days, take an average, then weigh yourself. If you gain less than half a pound, you need to bump those calories up—by as many as 500 per day. (Ask the Experts: How Can I Gain Weight?)

Embrace the "3 Square Meals" Principle

Breakfast, lunch and dinner—the staples of any good diet plan. Don't try to follow exotic meal frequency schedules. Pack each of your 3 squares with protein, essential fats and healthy carbs, and you'll be on the right track. (Read What to Pack on Your Plate to Put on Weight.)

Fill a third of your plate with a lean protein, such as sirloin steak, chicken or turkey breast. Fill another third with veggies—as many different colors and types as possible. To round out your plate, go with healthy carbs from grains such as rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta or quinoa.

To get the fat you need, switch your lean protein to a fatty option, like salmon, whole eggs or mackerel; dress your meal with a tablespoon of olive oil-based sauce; eat an ounce of nuts or olives; or drink a big glass of whole milk with your food.

Eat a Hearty Breakfast

Your mom was right: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But maybe not for the reasons she thinks.

Forget the "metabolism boosting" nonsense. Breakfast is important because it gets you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day and because it's a great opportunity to cram in some awesome-tasting calories.

Starting your day with a bowl of kids cereal and an energy drink will only set you up for failure. But if you begin with a healthy, calorie-dense feast, you'll give yourself a perfect start to a muscle-building day. Try this breakfast on for size:

  • 4 whole eggs scrambled with grass-fed butter or coconut oil, green peppers, zucchini and mushrooms
  • 2 slices of whole grain toast with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter
  • 2 cups of mixed berries
  • 1 large glass of water and 1 cup of coffee

Eat Between Meals

In my opinion, the idea that you need to eat six to eight meals a day, or chow down on something every two to three hours, is nonsense. But eating regularly can help you pack in extra good quality calories. (Here are a few ideas: Healthy Snacks for Weight Gain.)

Rather than eating actual sit-down meals, drink a shake between your main meals. The following recipe provides around 400 calories and 30 grams of protein, and it can be consumed in less than a minute.

  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of a high-quality fat, such as a nut oil, nut butter, coconut oil or heavy whipping cream
  • 1 large banana or 2 cups of berries
  • Water and ice to blend

Supplement Wisely

If you read the latest bodybuilding magazine, you might think that supplements are the fastest way to get big. This is not the case.

Supplements can play a role in making up for dietary deficiencies, but that's it. The general rule is that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Stick to four basic supplements and you can't go wrong:

  • Whey Protein: quality protein that's easily absorbed by muscles after a workout. It can also be used in your mid-day shakes.
  • Multivitamins: you should be eating plenty of fruits and veggies anyway, but additional vitamins and minerals never hurt..
  • Fish Oil: this aids recovery and prevents inflammation.
  • Creatine monohydrate: this boosts the stores of the fuel your body uses during training and increases muscle mass.

Photo: gratefulpieter.wordpress.com

Topics: BUILD MUSCLE
Mike Samuels
- Mike Samuels is a UK-based personal trainer, diet coach, writer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist. He has a Level 3 Personal Trainer certification...
Mike Samuels
- Mike Samuels is a UK-based personal trainer, diet coach, writer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist. He has a Level 3 Personal Trainer certification...
Must See
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 4,419,112
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,797,513
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 32,193,833

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 224,492
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,927
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 28,363
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

The summer is approaching which bring to mind certain events. People will go to the beach, enjoying a day by the pool, and most importantly people will...

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

The Boston Cannons'

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

The Case for Red Meat

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?