Burgers. Steak. Chicken breast upon chicken breast. And dear god, don’t forget the protein shakes. So many protein shakes.
Most skinny guys tell a similar story. They eat enough to put a horse into a food coma, but somehow can’t gain an ounce. And boy, is it frustrating. There is nothing more demoralizing than lifting until you can barely move, and eating to the point of bursting without even a sixteenth of an inch of muscle to show for it.
Why does this happen? It’s certainly not for lack of trying. The truth is, most skinny guys don’t know any better. No one ever sat them down and gave them a rundown of the best diet for muscle mass. I certainly wish someone had sat me down helped me out when I first started lifting—I spun my wheels for an entire year before I figured out how to gain muscle.
So, what do you need to know about the best diet for muscle mass? We could talk for hours about this, but we can distill everything down to one important point: overall calories.
Let’s start from the top with calories. Ignore what the muscle mags and advertisements tell you. Even if you take testosterone boosters or supplements this may be not enough. The truth is incredibly simple, but almost no one listens. The best diet for muscle mass means nothing unless you eat ENOUGH CALORIES TO GROW.
Why is this? Let’s take a step back. When you lift weights, you literally tear apart your muscle fibers. Your body cannot repair itself and create new tissue unless it receives sufficient fuel. To make an analogy: You can’t build a building out of thin air; you need new material to create the structures. When you try to bulk, you are attempting to create new structures within your body. Your body needs fuel for this reconstruction.
But, your body also needs to run the day-to-day operations that happen regardless of whether or not you lift weights. So, you need to consume enough calories for your body to run its normal activities AND build more muscle.
The elephant in the room is that even though most skinny guys think that they eat enough, they actually don’t. Even though they eat a meal that leaves them stuffed to the gills, they are still at or below a maintenance daily calorie level.
With this information in mind, we can go into our first step to creating the best diet for muscle mass: Establish a calorie baseline. Track every calorie that goes in your mouth for seven days.
This is a judgment free exercise; we simply need to understand your baseline. After one week, take the average of your daily calories. Add 300 calories, and keep track of your weight for two weeks. So, if your average intake was 2,800 calories, you will eat 3,100 calories for the next 14 days. That should be enough calories to gain just about a pound every two weeks. If you find that the scale has gone up, congrats! If not, bump up your calories by an extra 300 calories and do another two week weigh in.
Either way, you are on route to figuring out the best diet for muscle mass!