Whether you are young or old, new to muscle building or a seasoned lifter, the results that you want are never going to come if you are not getting the right nutrition, proper rest and recovery time and doing everything to ensure your overall health. There are several important things to know about muscle building diets. Perhaps the most important of those is this: there is no one size fits all diet plan for weight loss, for muscle building or even for good health.
The Numbers You Need to Know
Building a good diet plan starts with knowing a few key numbers. Before you start searching plans and getting grocery lists together you need to know:
- Your daily caloric needs
- How many calories you burn during the average day’s activities
- How many extra calories you burn during a strenuous workout
- Your sleep needs
There are dozens of calorie calculators on the internet. You simply enter your basic information and the calculations are made. Once you have this information you can find the right diet plan for your needs.
Calories Vs. Macros
Some plans are based on just straight forward calorie counting while others may break things down further into macros. Macros are simply proteins, carbohydrates and fats and everyone has a different need for each of the three of these. Instead of just counting overall calories you will also keep track of how those calories break down in grams. Most of the muscle building plans will emphasize proteins with lower carb/fat grams during the day.
The right one for you is the one that you can follow consistently and get results. For instance if you find that you can track calories every day, stick with tracking calories. If you stop seeing results, revisit the numbers or switch to tracking macros for a while so that you can fine tune and dial in your nutrition.
Where You Are Starting From
Another thing to consider when choosing a muscle building plan is where you are starting from. If you are very lean or even skinny you are going to need a higher number of good, high quality calories to be able to build any muscle. If your metabolism is high you will need extra fuel just to make it through a grueling workout plus more so that your body has the energy to make the repairs that result in larger muscles. You cannot add muscle if you are burning away the calories too quickly.
On the other hand, if you are overweight you will probably want to burn off the fat that covers your muscles so that you can see definition. Be careful that you do not restrict your calories too much though or you will not only stall your muscle building you will also stall weight loss in the process. The trick is to make sure that you are fueling your body while also encouraging it to burn off fat.
Finally, remember that as your body changes, your dietary needs will change. Just as muscle building plans are not one size fits all they are not static. They will need to change so you can continue to grow, refine and define each muscle group.
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Looking for more health, nutrition, and fitness advice? Find more articles like this in our fitness blog, or contact our gym in San Marcos to learn how we can help formulate the best muscle building routine and diet for you!