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Beginners Guide to Building Muscle

How to get big!

Muscle Building Diet

The amazing abdomen of Kevin Levrone, IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Your diet is criticial to your muscle building success. We can't emphasise this enough. You can train as hard as you like, train like some insane demon in the gym but without proper nutrition you won't grow as quickly as you could be. Eat poorly enough and you might not grow at all, or even shrink! Obviously then, it's worth putting as least as much effort into eating well as it is training correctly.

Bodybuilding experts often disagree on exactly how critical your diet is to your success (some say it is attributable to 80% of your success, and the actual weight training only 20%!) but all agree it is vital. Learn as much as you can about nutrition and diet - keep learning and become as expert as you possibly can be, this alone will help you achieve what so many other, more lazy bodybuilders don't.

Whilst you're in the gym concentrate on your training but when you're out, concentrate on your diet. This means you'll spend far more time concerning yourself with your diet but this is how it needs to be - by eating well outside of the gym you'll be maximising your chances of slapping on those pounds of beef you are after!

Sample Diet

The below sample diet is for the average individual who is just beggining or has dabbled with bodybuilding before. If you weight much more than 80kg (176 pounds) then increase the amount of food according, and reduce the intake if you weight much less. Monitor your progress whilst on the diet (keep a journal of your workouts and your weight / body fat levels) and alter the diet accordingly - not getting stronger? Increase your protein and calorie intake. Getting too fat? Reduce fat content and overall calories. Only by carefully tracking what you eat and what results you are getting will you be able to maximise your results and gain as you desire.

Example Daily Diet

Meal 1
Cereal and Skimmed milk Or Toast / Bagels and eggs Or Porridge with skimmed milk
Protein drink or protein bar
Fruit or vegetable juice

Meal 2 (snack)
Protein drink with Milk Or
Protein bar and Water

Meal 3
Meat or eggs with bread or potato or salad

Meal 4
Meat based meal i.e. chili con carni, steak and vegetables, fish pasta bake
Water or juice

Meal 5 (supper)
Protein drink in water or milk

Depending on the amounts you eat you'll ingest around 150 - 200 grams of protein and perhaps 2500 calories. This would be a good bulking up diet (trying to gain muscle with a little body fat [it's almost impossible to gain muscle and not gain any fat at the same time]) as it's quite healthy and should produce good size gains without too much fat gain.

As you can see there is quite a lot of protein drinks or protein bars included in this diet. This is because I feel that without these extra supplements you will probably not get enough protein to allow maximum growth. If I ever speak to a bodybuilder who is training hard, eating plenty, getting lots of rest and sleep and drinking plenty of water but still isn't growing then I always recommend that they DOUBLE their protein intake, regardless what it currently is. So many bodybuilders are consuming enough protein and it is very saddening to see. Don't make the same mistake. Eat some protein at each meal, whether it's from milk, meat, eggs, fish or supplements. You're big muscle will be all the thanks you need! :)

Protein supplement meals

You'll have noticed that the meal plan has five meals per day - two more than the average person eats. You might feel that you don't have time to eat five time a day but it's actually very manageable if you look as two of the meals are actually either a protein drink or a protein bar. A protein drink (see our guide on protein powders) takes only a couple of minutes to prepare and a protein bar is even easier - just rip open the wrapper and devour! :) This is the beauty of protein supplementation - it allows you to eat healthily, get protein in, all in a faster time that it would take to prepare a meal that would offer similar protein levels. We at bodybuildingbreakfast.com cannot recommend protein supplementation highly enough - in fact we think it is essential. If you aren't taking protein supplements you are seriously hampering your muscle gains.

Closing comments on Diet

Always keep a journal - you won't be able to remember what you eat last week and so you won't be able to judge with any accuracy how good your diet is and how you need to alter it to grow quicker or lose more fat. A journal will also help you cheat less on your diet (you won't feel like eating that chocolate bar if you have to write it down!). Your journal (both diet and training) will be a massive benefit to you while you keep it and in years to come it will have incredible sentimental value for you and will also show you just how far you've come since those days.

Eat LOTS of protein. Take protein supplements. Seriously. Do. :)

Remember, your diet is AT LEAST as important to your bodybuilding success as your weight training is. Put more effort into your diet than you do your training. You will appreciate it when you start growing faster than your friends can believe or when you look in the mirror and flex those bigger muscles. Think of your body as an engine - without fuel you won't be going anywhere, and with really poor fuel your body won't run properly.

Beginners guide sections: Click to continue on to the Supplements section.