Any muscle building diet must be built around protein.
A general rule of thumb for building mass is about 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass (not bodyweight).
How to calculate lean body mass: Simply take your body fat percentage and determine how much body fat in pounds you are carrying, and subtract that from your total body weight. This number will be your lean muscle mass and a starting point for your protein intake.
Now I know you’ve read elsewhere that you need several grams per pound of actual bodyweight, but that just isn’t true. There are countless numbers of studies out there that show excessive amounts of protein do not translate to more muscle growth.
Trust me. You will spend far less time on the toilet, less time eating and preparing meals, and spend much less money on supplements if you stick to the 1 gram per pound of lean body mass rule. Let this be your starting point and you can add more protein if desired, but just know that it isn’t absolutely necessary.
Low fat meats like chicken, turkey, and some cuts of beef and seafood should be your go to source of protein. Supplement your meat intake with high protein foods like eggs and dairy products, nuts, and beans. Aim to consume some sort of high quality protein with each meal, and your snacks if you can.
Make sure to consume some protein immediately following a workout. This is a perfect time to down a protein shake to get fast digesting protein in your system. My go-to recipe is 16 ounces of milk with 2 scoops of protein powder, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a scoop of waxy maize (simple carbs).
Just because you supplement doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be trying your best to get most of your protein from foods. Food sources have higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals, and are much better for you overall. Supplements are a slippery slope, and if you make the time and commitment to eat right, you don’t need them. A shake will never be a substitute for a t-bone steak…
To build muscle you must also have a healthy dose of carbs. Want the run down on carbs? Check it out here!