10 Tips to Create a Fitness Nutrition Plan for Muscle Mass

If you want to get serious about bodybuilding and get fast results when it comes to muscle growth and strength, then it is necessary that you use a fitness nutrition plan.

This is where many strength athletes fail, while the right amount of nutrition is extremely important to see progress.

You will never get big and muscular if you eat too little or make the wrong food choices.

In this blog, you will learn what is sensible to eat and what is better to leave out. You will also receive the best tips to make your own fitness nutrition plan!

In this blog you will read:

  • Which food products do you never want to have at home
  • What Pre-Workout Pre-Workout Habits Make You Muscle Faster
  • What are the right proportions when making a healthy fitness nutrition plan
  • Which supplements do I recommend you to use with bodybuilding
  • And much, much more.
Fitness Nutrition Plan for your Muscle Mass

Tip #1: Eat more calories than your body burns

So you want to quickly build muscle mass? Then it is first of all important that you get enough calories to make muscle growth possible. I'm talking about your total energy balance here.

If you want to steadily gain weight and build muscle, it is important that you get 300 to 500 calories daily above your maintenance level.

I will tell you later in this article how you can calculate the right calorie requirement for your body.

What you need to know now is that a (temporary) calorie surplus is necessary to get a positive energy balance. You've probably read about it before: in the world of bodybuilding, we call this bulking.

Bulking is a way to quickly achieve muscle growth. With bulking you ensure that you get a (small) calorie surplus every day so that your muscles receive sufficient essential nutrients and can grow optimally.

Of course, intensive training must be done at the same time. Without resistance training, you will not get thicker and bigger muscles.

Tip #2: Measure your fat percentage

Make sure you know how high your fat percentage is before you start bulking. This way you can keep track of whether it is mainly lean body mass or body fat that you have gained.

If you have gained too much fat, you know that the number of calories and the macronutrient ratio in your diet must be adjusted. Look at our article about Measuring percentage fat.

Tip #3: Drink a protein shake before exercising

The choice between eating ten eggs or grabbing a protein shake before exercising is easy when you have little free time. Protein shakes are ideal to drink on a daily basis, as a supplement to the proteins you get in solid form (chicken fillet, eggs).

Protein shakes and protein powders are full of high-quality proteins and are quickly absorbed into the body.

If muscle growth is important to you, then protein powder should certainly not be missed as a supplement to your diet.

'When is the best time to drink a protein shake?' I hear that question regularly.

  • Research shows that drinking a protein shake 1 hour before training is more effective than after.

With a pre-workout shake, your muscles get just that little bit more out of it than when you drink a shake after training.

Tip #4: Get enough healthy fats

One of the most common mistakes strength athletes make is not eating enough fats. Fats together with carbohydrates and proteins make up the macronutrients. Your body needs these nutrients to a large extent.

The role of healthy fats in the body includes:

  • Protection of vital organs
  • Insulation (protection against the cold)
  • Transport of fat-soluble vitamins

In addition, healthy fats lower your cortisol level ( source ), stimulate fat burning ( source ), and suppress your hunger pangs ( source ).

The general guideline for someone who does strength training is that the calories in your diet should consist of about 30% fat. Less than 10% of that must come from saturated fats. That equates to about 0.5 to 1 gram of fat per kilogram of body weight.

Eating too little fat can even lower your testosterone level ( source ). A testosterone level that is too low has serious consequences for strength athletes and bodybuilders when it comes to (the production of) muscle mass.

Too low a fat intake can also cause a vitamin deficiency because your body can no longer absorb vitamins. And as you probably already know, a vitamin deficiency is bad for your health. So make sure to include those necessary fats in your meals!

Tip #5: Avoid carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients that provide the body with energy.

Most carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the digestive system and provide the body with fuel to perform essential functions.

Many bodybuilders and strength athletes have an aversion to carbohydrates because they think they should avoid them in order to become drier. Now you need to know that there are different carbohydrates.

There are different types of carbohydrates that you cannot simply combine into one carbohydrate group.

Think of simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.

The main difference lies in the following:

  • Complex carbohydrates are found in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. These foods are rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Simple carbohydrates are in sugar and starch products that have been refined and stripped of their natural fiber and nutrients.

They are high in calories with few nutrients. These empty calories are found in sweets, pizza, and white bread, for example, and are digested very quickly, causing high blood sugar peaks.

Complex carbohydrates are healthier because they are absorbed into the blood more slowly and also have a satiating effect. They also have a large number of nutrients relative to the number of calories they provide.

So make sure you have enough complex carbohydrates in your diet. You really need these to perform in the gym!

Tip #6: Get the right macronutrient ratio

There are three main macronutrients that the human body needs to function properly: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

The right ratio of macronutrients is important to achieve optimal muscle growth.

To achieve large gains in muscle mass with as little body fat as possible, it is necessary that you eat well and healthily.

That means the calorie breakdown of your nutrition plan looks like this:

These nutrients play an important role in all kinds of hormonal changes in the body. For example, think of testosterone, growth hormone, and insulin.

The foods below are rich in these macronutrients:

Fats:

  • Oily fish: salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, sardines
  • Avocado
  • Walnuts (max handful per day)
  • coconut oil
  • butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Chia seed
  • Flaxseed
  • hemp seed
  • pips

Carbohydrates:

  • Vegetables – as many as you want
  • Fruit – max 3 pieces per day
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Millet
  • Barley
  • Sweet potato

Protein:

  • Eggs
  • Poultry
  • Meat
  • Fatty fish
Fitness Nutrition Plan for Muscle Mass

Tip #7: Eat protein-rich foods for muscle mass

Muscles are largely made of protein. Muscle tissue is dynamic and is constantly being broken down and rebuilt.

To gain more muscle mass, the body must synthesize more muscle proteins than it breaks down. In that respect, proteins are indispensable for bodybuilding and hypertrophy (muscle growth).

Research has shown that a higher protein intake greatly aids in building muscle mass and strength.

Even if you want to lose body fat while preserving your muscle mass, it is important that you eat enough protein to prevent you from losing muscle mass.

I, therefore, advise you to consume at least 1.5 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Tip #8: Drink lots of water

What athletes with a diet plan often overlook is that they drink too little water. A cup of coffee or a cup of milk does not help the neighborhood.

Of all the nutrients, your body needs water the most. It is important to stay hydrated.

Don't feed a man for several weeks and he may survive. Without drinking (fluid) he would have died within a week.

That already indicates that your body needs moisture very badly. In fact, the human body consists of approximately 70% moisture!

So make sure you drink enough water to maintain your fluid balance.

But how much water should you actually drink?

  • I recommend that you drink between 2 and 3 liters of water daily. During the moments that you exercise, make sure that you take in half a liter of water every half hour.

Tip #9: Use supplements

In addition to healthy meals, you can use supplements to supplement your diet. As I wrote before, protein shakes are ideal as a snack. That way you can be sure that you are getting enough protein.

Unfortunately, there are many supplements on the bodybuilding market that do not work. Which supplements do I recommend?

In addition to protein powder, I recommend taking creatine, glutamine, multivitamins, and fish oil capsules (omega 3). These supplements have a scientifically proven effect on strength athletes.

Tip #10: Calculate your daily calorie requirement

Good, you have now received a number of tips to create a nutrition plan for muscle mass. You've read that you need to get 300 to 500 calories a day above your maintenance level if you want to gain weight and allow for muscle growth.

How do you know what your maintenance level is?

For this, as a man or woman, you will have to calculate your calorie requirement.

  • We use the Harris-Benedict formula for this.

With this formula, your BMR (basal metabolism) is calculated on the basis of your weight, height, and age.

By basal metabolic rate I mean the calories your body needs to function at rest.

The Harris-Benedict formula goes like this:

Male: BMR=66 + (13.7 * body weight) + 5 x height) – (6.8 x age)

Female: BMR=655 + (9.6 * body weight + (1.8 x height) – 4.7 x age)

Let's take a fictional character as an example: Rob is 29 years old, 80 kilograms and 185 centimeters.

Using the above formula, his BMR is 1890.

We are not there yet, because his activity level also has to be taken into account to determine his maintenance level.

A man who does heavy work every day needs more calories than someone who has an office job.

Determine for yourself which level you fall under:

Little to no physical exertion (office job) = BMR x 1.2

Light physical exertion (1 to 3 sports per week) = BMR x 1.375

Average training (3 to 5 days a week) = BMR x 1.55

Heavy training (6 to 7 days a week) = BMR x 1.725

Very strenuous exercise (think of training 2 times a day 6 to 7 days a week) = BMR x 1.9

Rob has sedentary office work and does intensive strength training 3 days a week. Then we arrive at average training and we multiply his BMR by 1.55.

His daily calorie requirement is 2929 calories.

To gain weight and create more muscle mass, Rob will have to increase his daily calorie requirement by 300 to 500 calories.

Rob's fitness nutrition plan then comes out to about 3430 calories per day.

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