Perhaps one of the biggest issues in achieving fitness goals is creating the correct and proper diet to go along with your workouts, while also choosing the correct supplements that your body needs for optimal muscle growth or weight loss. Diet is one of the most crucial elements that goes into lean muscle mass gain, weight loss, or really whatever your goal happens to be. A good muscle-building diet consists of a precise amount of proteins, carbs, and fats, the three essential macronutrients our body needs to build lean muscle.
The meal plan that I try to stick to out of season is a typical lean muscle building regime. I have learned all of this info over the years from reading various e-books on dieting and training from professional fitness enthusiasts, in particular Kai Greene who is an IFBB pro and has spent his whole life dedicated to the sport of bodybuilding and helping others achieve their fitness goals. What you have to do first is to calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate), which will tell you how many calories your body needs to perform everyday functions.
To do this for men, you take 10 x your weight in kg + 6.25 x your height in cm – 5 x your age + 5. For women it is similar, you take 10 x your weight in kg + 6.25 x your height in cm – 5 x your age – 161. The second step you now need to take is to use one of the following equations to find your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). The equations are as follows: you take BMR x 1.2 (no workouts), BMR x 1.4 (workout 1-2 times per week), BMR x 1.5 (workout 2-3 times per week), BMR x 1.6 (workout 4-5 times per week), BMR x 1.7 (workout 6-7 times per week), or BMR x 1.8 (workout 2x per day). Step three entails you creating your diet for week one and two. You multiply your TDEE by 1.1 to get your first two weeks of caloric intake. Then you can determine your macronutrients.
Your protein intake should be the equivalent of your body weight but in grams. For example, if you weigh 205 lbs, you should be eating approximately 205 grams of protein everyday to generate lean muscle growth.
Your fats (in grams) can be calculated by taking your calorie intake, multiplying that by 0.30, and then dividing that by 9. Your carbs is a little more complicated to find, [caloric intake ((protein in grams x 4) + (fats in grams x 9))] divided by 4. As you progress to week three and four you multiply the calories you are eating by 1.05 and then reconfigure your macros through the equations I have laid out for you. Then in week five and six you multiply your calories again by 1.1 and reconfigure your macros.
You can also implement a weight loss diet by lowering the fats/carbs you intake as well. Foods rich in protein include tuna, chicken, lean beef, eggs, fat-free greek yogurt and peanuts. Foods rich in good carbs include brown rice, black beans, whole wheat bread, fruits, veggies, white potatoes, sweet potatoes and oatmeal. Foods that have good fats include winter squash, eggs, salmon, chia seeds, pecans, walnuts, walnut oil, flaxseed oil and canola oil. You can cook with the oils to get the good fats that you desire. These are clearly not all of the foods that are rich in the different proteins, carbs and fats, but it does give you a sense of what you can potentially start putting onto your plate in the cafeteria or outside of school as well. Once I started following this diet I noticed big lean muscle gains and I also felt better in the weightroom and in my extracurricular activities.
After you have set up a diet to fit your needs, you can implement certain supplements to further help achieve your goals. Whatever your fitness goals entail, I would first recommend a BCAA or a EAA supplement of some sort to drink either before, during or even after your workout. BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) or EAAs (essential amino acids) are the building blocks of protein. Leucine, isoleucine and valine are the three amino acids that have a unique “branched-chained” structure. The other five essential amino acids include methionine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine and tryptophan. All of these work together to help speed up the protein synthesis process and repair the muscles you have just worked more quickly. These amino acids can be found in red meats and other protein rich foods, however if you are vegetarian or vegan it might be harder to get the proper amount of aminos that your body needs. Thus implementing this supplement could be very beneficial.
If you are trying to get stronger and or gain lean muscle, I would recommend a protein supplement of some kind. Either a whey protein or a protein isolate. This can simply replace a meal or get extra protein in your body after your workout for recovery purposes and also works directly with the amino acid supplement to help repair broken down muscles that I mentioned previously. Depending on the intensity of your workouts, I would recommend a pre-workout of some sort to help promote energy throughout your workout and help you with staying focused throughout the duration of your workout as well. I tend to stack a nitric oxide booster with my pre workout as well. All the nitric oxide booster does is help increase your blood flow during your workout to help carry nutrients to your muscles faster and give you that bigger “pump” feel and look. Another great supplement for strength that I would recommend is creatine. This supplement is said to be key in gaining lean muscle mass and improving strength while also improving recovery time. It helps boost the formation of different proteins that in turn lead to creating new muscle fibers and repairing muscle tissue. This supplement also helps to retain water in your muscles which will help with healthy weight gain and lead to moving more weight in the weightroom.