Struggling to build muscle? There is no point killing yourself in the gym if you're not addressing your food. Here are some tips to help you build muscle through your diet. The factors listed below are ranked in order of importance. If you're serious about building muscle, then focus on the factors discussed first.
The first and the most important factor when trying to gain muscle is that you need to be in a hypercaloric state (calorie surplus). You need to be consuming more calories than your body requires to function and perform daily activities and exercises. Without this Pivotal factor in place, your body will find it extremely hard to build muscle. Eat more food.
The second most important factor is hitting your daily protein intake. For individuals who regularly train this should be set between 0.8g-1.2g per lb (pound) of body weight. Remember without the presence of a calorie surplus, hitting your protein target alone is not sufficient to gain muscle.
These two factors alone will determine a large proportion of how much muscle the average individual can gain. If you're consistently achieving these two factors i.e. you're consistently in a calorie surplus, and you always hit your protein target, then you can start focusing on the other factors below.
The next factor is protein distribution, which refers to the amount of protein consumed at specific times. It is advised to consume roughly 25-35g (e.g. one chicken breast) of lean protein spread across 3-4 meals during the day. This should give you a window of around 2/3 hours between ingestion of lean protein.
The following factor is protein quality, which refers to the amino acid profile of the protein consumed. Specifically, protein quality is measured through protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS). This ranks protein sources based on how well the human body can digest and absorb the essential amino acids. Whey/casein protein, eggs and beef score the highest.
The last and least important factor when trying to build muscle is protein timing. This is the time in the day you ingest your protein. So you know the supplement companies who tell you to consume protein 30 minutes after your workout for 'optimal recovery', this essentially is what we are referring to. You can see that without having a calorie surplus, adequate good quality protein in place it is pointless focusing so much time, money and effort on buying the 'best' protein supplements to consume straight after your workout.
Most people focus on the factors that will bring about the least muscle hypertrophy like protein timing.
Concentrate on the important factors like a calorie surplus and consuming adequate protein first and start making some gains.
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