Healthy Gainz: Nutrition for Muscle Growth (Part 1)

Healthy Gainz, Part 1: Fueling Your Body for Muscle Growth

This is part one of a two-part series on fueling your body for muscle gain while eating healthfully. Part two will explore the benefits of minimally processed food choices to take your GAINZ to even more XTREME levelz than ever before!

Gaining muscle – though definitely not easy – is really quite simple. The basic requirements for building muscle mass are:

  • Sleeping
  • Eating enough (calories from protein, carbohydrates, and yes, fat too)
  • Progressively overloading your muscles

Today we are going to focus on the eating part, but make sure you lift that heavy shit and get those zzzzzzzzzs! Your muscles are built when you sleep.

Let’s Eat!

Not eating enough is often the culprit of a lack of gainz. It may seem like there is no way that a person can eat so much food and not pack on the fat. So we can be hesitant to eat, and then we sabotage our hard workouts by not feeding our muscles what they need!

Eating enough may not be an easy task at first, but eventually it gets easier as your body adapts to your muscle-shredding workouts. If your goal is to gain muscle, you have to eat enough, or it won’t work, I promise. You can’t cheat the system, because Mother Nature is the system and no one fucks with Mother Nature, mother fucker… no one!

How Much is Enough?

Shoot for around 15-17 calories per pound of bodyweight per day. Maybe even another 2-4 calories per pound on hard training days. For example, I am around 175 lbs. so I would need approximately 2,800 calories per day. I usually put away around 3,000-ish calories per day and often more because I am very active.

What Should I Eat?

You can get your calories from a number of places—one being cheap, shitty, nutrient poor, processed food-like products. Hey, it supplies a lot of calories and will help you put on size.

But wait!

There is another way! Eating nutrient dense, health-inducing, strength-producing, real fucking food will also put on size while keeping you radiant, strong, and healthy all while avoiding heart attacks, diabetes, bad skin, IBS, poor sleep, depression, and that pesky puffiness one gets when eating shitty food. We are going to delve deeper into the importance of food quality in part two of this article. For now let’s focus on the big rocks.

To make sure you get enough muscle-pumping, power-packing, sexifying nutrients, build your meals this way:

Get your protein first, about 1-1.5 grams of protein per day per pound of body weight.

Then, eat a shit ton of veggies. Especially leafy green ones. If you don’t like vegetables, you are most likely experiencing a residual childhood belief that could probably be changed if given the chance. For instance, beets used to be my MOST despised food. Now I can eat the shit out of some beets and then forget I ate them until the next day when I think I am bleeding internally.

The government says to have five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. See the photo of what five servings looks like? Not too crazy, right!? I’d say to add a big leafy salad to that as well. (You can’t trust the government and you can’t really eat too many veggies. Except for that one time Mark Fisher ate too many veggies. He can tell you the story.)

Next, add carbs. You need carbs to replenish your muscles and brain with energy, and to fuel your workouts. Eat them. You have to. The ‘90s are over and we are no longer eliminating all carbs and definitely shouldn’t if we hope to build those P-Town pecs.

Guess what, all vegetables and fruits are carbs, by the way! Without getting too science-y, carbs are either sugars, starch, or fiber. Eat lots of vegetable carbs like potatoes (yes, eat fucking potatoes… again, the ’90s are over, we can eat them again), sweet potatoes, and squash of all types. These starchy veggies will help you feel full and satisfied.

Dried fruit such as raisins, figs, and dates are great after workout snacks for a quick source of simple sugars for your muscles to suck up! (I said suck, haha).  Also, quinoa, oats, rice, chia and beans are great options for carbs.

Although I prefer not to eat a lot of grains and beans most of the time. I am definitely not against them. I simply find that my body feels better and looks tighter without them.

But that’s just me, your body may respond to them better than mine. If you do eat grains of any sort, get these in an organic version. They often spray the living shit out of grains with so much fucking pesticides it’s unbelievable.

After, protein, vegetables, and carbs, you need healthy fats like nuts and #avocados. Your bodies make hormones out of fat and cholesterol—hormones such as testosterone, which we need to build and maintain muscle (yes ladies, you too). Healthy fats are a great place to make up for a deficit in calories if you just can’t take another bite of grass-fed steak or salad. Remember, no worries here! Fat is good for you and won’t make us sacrifice our Scarlett O’Hara waistlines!

Not Shaken, Not Stirred

There is one nutrient that sadly needs to be avoided for maximum gainz and that is alcohol.

Sorry to all you boozehounds out there, but alcohol is probably the worst thing to ingest if you are very serious about serious gainzzz (or fat loss for that matter.) Alcohol does everything to ensure that you will not build muscle effectively.

First, it fucks with your hormones, putting them out of whack for up to two weeks after having several drinks.

Second, it is completely empty calories with no nutritional value that will do nothing more than add fat to your frame.

Third, it clouds your judgment and makes you eat whole pizzas and 74 tacos in one sitting–also not good for the body fat percentage. And, it also clouds your motivation to hit the weights the next day.

Fourth, it FUCKS up your sleep. Sure it may seem like you are passing out, but you never reach the restorative sleep cycle and therefore never reach muscle-building mode.

I’m not saying never ever drink, just limit yourself. Also, what is important to you? A slutty new bod, or another drink which you have experienced thousands of times before? It’s up to you—but again, you can’t cheat Mother Nature.

What about supplements!?

There are really only a few supplements that will be helpful on your journey. Most supplements are a huge racket and filled with bullshit that doesn’t do anything. Taking creatine is often helpful. I love Bulk Supplements brand that I get on Amazon. It is inexpensive, good quality, tasteless, and mixes instantly in water. Take about a teaspoon per day, it doesn’t matter when you take it, but do consistently take it daily, even on rest days. I’m having mine now!

Take high quality fish oil, especially if you don’t eat fish. If you don’t get much sun, as none of us do here in our glamour-ridden NYC winters, you may need a Vitamin D supplement. (Ask your Doctor if your D levels are low. They probably are.) Other than that, don’t waste your coins on supplements. Go buy good food instead.

Final Thoughts

I hope this helps set some parameters for you without being too strict. I purposefully didn’t give many specific examples of what to eat because there are so many choices! You can find a list of different vegetables and fruits online if you aren’t familiar with them. There are billions of recipes to look for.

A key to this adventure is to eat things you enjoy. You may find that you get into patterns and eat similar things for meals and that’s okay as long as you enjoy them. I have pretty much the same breakfast every day. It makes me feel good, I enjoy it, and it has a breathtaking density of nutrients.

If you are sick of eating chicken breast and broccoli every night, change that shit up, gurl! There are soooooooo many options. Get creative, and for the love of God, make your food taste good! Spices, herbs, salsas, and perhaps some fancy ass truffle salt will do wonders for that boring as fuck chicken.

Don’t know how to cook? Well then, it’s time to become a fucking adult and learn! Our very own Stephanie Wilberding is making some sexy ass videos called Cook with Steph that are fantastic and will show you some wonderful and simple things to create. Check those out, or maybe take a basic cooking class, there are many classes even free ones throughout the city. Experiment. Have fun.

To sum it all up, eat a large variety and amount of simple whole foods as close to their natural state as possible. Do this every day.

Lift 3-5 days per week.

Sleep around 7-9 hours every night.

You will be on the Muscle Express Train in no time!

Landen Jones is a Precision Nutrition Certified Ninja Trainer at the Mark Fisher Fitness Enchanted Ninja Clubhouse of Glory and Dreams. His additional certifications include ACE, SFG, USAW, FMS 1&2, and HKC. He’s also NYC’s reigning Hottest Gay Trainer. 


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