Eating for Optimum Muscle Development


Most people know you can’t just stuff yourself with junk food and expect your muscles to magically grow.  And yet a lot of people aren’t completely sure how to eat for maximum muscle growth.  That’s why I’ve prepared these tips for eating for optimum muscle development…

Eat Close to Nature

You can be doing everything right in the gym, but you won’t see results unless you’re also doing everything right in the kitchen. And that starts with eating clean and close to nature. This means you should scrap the packaged, processed foods and instead focus on eating fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and meats.

Get Enough Protein…

Expert opinions vary on the amount of protein you should eat. And of course it also depends on your activity level.  Generally, however, you should eat from .6 grams to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.  A good rule of thumb is to start in the middle, at .8 grams of protein daily per pound of weight. Then you can tweak your diet if you’re not seeing good results.

Good sources of protein include leans meats such as chicken breast, cottage cheese, egg whites, tuna, whey protein and low-fat dairy products.

…But Eat Balanced Meals

Getting enough protein doesn’t mean you should eat protein to the exclusion of good fats and carbohydrates.

Indeed, you especially need good, slow-burning sources of carbohydrates to give you the energy you need to have good workouts in the gym. This includes foods like oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice and similar foods. It’s especially important for you to give your body these energy-producing foods before you work out, so you have the energy you need to give 100% in the gym.

Fuel Your Body All Through the Day

Another really important time to fuel your body is immediately following a workout, at which point you can enjoy a quick-absorbing source of protein like a whey shake.  You can also enjoy a quick-burning carb (like fruit), to help speed the nutrients to your starving muscles.

However, just because the pre and post workout meals are important doesn’t mean you should neglect the others.  You should be eating small, balanced meals all through the day (about every three hours) to give your body the energy it needs to keep you moving as well as the fuel it needs to repair itself after a hard workout.

Make Sure You’re Eating Enough

I’ve noticed that many women tend to have this problem – they simply don’t eat enough in order to give their bodies the calories it needs to build muscle. Generally, you can figure that you need to eat 14 to 16 calories per pound of bodyweight in order to maintain your current body condition.  So, once you figure out your maintenance calorie level, then just adjust it as needed to give your body enough calories to build muscle.

So, let me end by reiterating my earlier point: What you do in the kitchen is just as important as what you do in the gym!


  1. Cheryl Loffeld says:

    I have never felt better since changing to this nutrition. Not that i was ever a junk food junkie, but i hv certainly learned a lot since joining your Get Lean program. I love the way i eat now. Food is delicious and plentiful.

  2. I do have a sweet tooth, but I’ve since tried to include more protein snacks in the form of nuts to my diet which also helps with vitamins, nutrients and minerals. Eating decent whole foods about 70 – 80% of the time means my body is usually better placed to resist empty calories, and when I want to have dessert, I do, as the engine of my metabolism can then work on burning that up too! :)

  3. Hi, great article, so if you need 14-16 calories to maintain current body condition, is this to be increased or decreased in order to get leaner. So working out for away an hour a day in order to loose fat and gain lean muscle- should this still be based on a 14-16 calorie /lb/day meal plan? Thanks, Jenny

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