After a year or so of busting my ass at the gym, I thought I would be well on my way to looking like The Rock.
Unfortunately for me, like many others before me, I learned the hard way that working out is only part of the equation.
Sure I was getting stronger and I had seen some improvements in my physique but I was without a magnifying glass it was pretty hard to see much growth.
So, I swallowed a big piece of humble pie, and I asked for a second opinion.
When it comes to building muscle the first thing you need to get right is your food.
If you’re not eating enough, all that hard work at the gym is pretty much for nothing.
Muscles need fuel to grow.
Not only do you need more food than usual, but you also need to make sure you’re getting the balance right as well.
And by balance I’m talking about the balance of macronutrients or macros for short.
If you’ve never heard the term macronutrients before you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about.
The 3 macronutrients that all foods are made up of are carbohydrates, fats, and protein.
So pretty much anything you eat will be made up of a percentage of these 3 things.
From there food breaks down further into micronutrients.
But that’s a story for another day.
But for now, I have an article that goes over the macros in more detail for you here.
Now, to begin with, adding more food to your diet is going to be easier if you spread it out over the day.
Rather than struggling through bigger portions at every meal, I recommend having the right snacks throughout the day.
As well as spreading out the calories we need to spread out the protein.
For this reason, I like to make sure all my snacks have a decent amount of protein in them.
So here are my top 5 snacks for gaining muscle.
- Cottage Cheese And Rice Crackers is a perfect snack to have towards the end of the day. Not only is it packed full of casein, a slowly digested protein. It’s also full of sodium which is going to go a good way towards replacing the electrolytes you lost.
- Greek Yogurt And Fruit, another one of my favorite snacks for later in the day. I usually mix a few scoops of yogurt with about 100g of frozen berries and a scoop of protein. Depending on the brand, greek yogurt usually sits at around 12-17g of protein per serve. So when you top it up with a little more protein powder you’re laughing!
- A protein Shake, pretty straight forward right. I’ll usually have a shake an hour or so before a workout as I prefer to get a full meal as close as I can post training. And A shake is a good way to kill some hunger pains and make sure I’m still hitting my numbers for the day.
- Tofu Strips 100g of tofu has around 15g of protein so it makes for a pretty decent snack. I usually buy marinated squares and slice them into tasty little tofu fries. Just double check the ingredients and make sure the marinade isn’t loaded with sugar.
- Tuna is easy to mix through some cottage cheese and you’ve taken snack number one to a whole other level! A small 95g tin also has 15g of protein. And it’s easy to add into a snack size portion of rice.
What Do Bodybuilders Eat For Snacks
I’ve heard guys in a locker room of gyms brag about how many whole chickens they’ve eaten that day!
That was one of the moments I knew bodybuilding wasn’t for me.
Who wants to eat multiple chickens every day!
I’m sorry but that is not a lifestyle or physique I envy.
Obviously, I understand how much hard work and discipline it takes to get that size.
But for me, it’s not a practical way to live.
Behind all the Instagram likes is a lifestyle that not many people would have chosen if they knew the realities before they got caught up in it.
But back to the original point, bodybuilders need to eat a lot just to maintain their size.
And I’m not sure their snacks actually qualify as snacks.
A snack to a guy that eats 4000 calories a day is probably a meal for most people.
Chicken, rice, and broccoli.
And then a protein shake.
And then more chicken rice and broccoli.
Another protein shake, a jar of peanut butter.
Need to buy protein powder or other muscle-building supplements?
Click here to shop now.
What Should A Skinny Guy Eat To Build Muscle
Not that I’m a big guy by any means, but I used to be pretty slim.
And some of the things that helped me add a few calories to my meals were oats, peanut butter, and brown rice.
I would add a few scoops of oats and a spoon of peanut butter to my smoothies every day.
And just those two extras added 200-300 calories to my smoothies.
And by having a double serving of brown rice every day I was getting a big serving of clean carbs that my body could use to fuel muscle growth.
You want to make sure you are hitting around 30g of protein every time you eat. I would have 4 eggs for breakfast every day.
A high-protein smoothie mid-morning.
Brown rice, tuna, and some veggies for lunch.
In the afternoon I would have cottage cheese and rice crackers.
A protein shakes in the afternoon before working out.
Dinner would normally be stir fry veggies with beef, chicken, prawns, or tofu.
And for dessert yogurt berries and protein powder.
I still eat fairly similarly, but as I have a youtube channel and am quite off doing different dietary challenges like the one below, my food changes a bit each day now.
Foods To Avoid When Building Muscle
When it comes to foods you should avoid for muscle gain the big three are Highly fat and deep-fried foods, added sugars, and alcohol.
- Alcohol is going to work against you when it comes to building muscle and burning fat. Whether you are wanting to go full bodybuilder or just want to make improvements. Excessive alcohol is going to make this difficult.
- Added sugars are low in nutrients and sky high in calories. Yeh you want the calories when you are trying to gain weight, but you also want them to be the right calories, from nutrient dense foods.
- Highly fatty and deep fried foods are all kinds of bad. Firstly they are high in the wrong kinds of fats, causing all kinds of health problems like high cholesterol and obesity. But just like added sugars they are high in calories and very low in nutrients
What Is Dirty Bulking
Simply put, dirty bulking is when no foods are off-limits.
Quite often this is done by what the industry calls ‘Hard gainers’ people who struggle to gain weight.
So along with a training routine made up of some kind of resistance training to stimulate muscle growth, people will eat almost anything to hit their calorie goals.
Sure they’ll still get lots of clean food in as well, but they wouldn’t turn down a pizza or a burger.
These kinds of food are an easier option to hit your numbers when on a high-calorie diet.
A big downside of this is obviously added body fat.
And a lot of people will justify it saying they’ll burn it off when they ‘cut’.
But you see, plenty of people just bulk forever. I know of a few people who are on a constant ‘bulk’.
It reeks of laziness, to be honest.
With the right training program and getting the right foods in you can gain weight without having to go dirty with it.
That being said, I like to eat burgers and pizza as well.
But I’ll typically allow for that throughout the week, just like my wife does with her treats.
When you have a good training program that you’re sticking to and you know what you should be eating throughout the week you can get away with a little splurge on the weekend.
Something else you may find interesting is which piece of gym equipment you should be using for your specific fitness goals.
And speaking of getting the right training program, have a read through my EBook ‘Train Wherever The F*ck You Want’.
It’s free and available to download right here.