Diet Methodology

What should I eat for maximum muscle gain?

Well, I’ll first start off by saying diet success can vary by person to person.  So, instead, I’ll give a general overview of my plan, which will help to illustrate just one option for something that works.

The short answer:

I eat a modified LeanGains style diet, though my window is open for a bit longer than Martin’s – more on this later.

The long answer:

Starting with macronutrients…

The first thing is obviously protein intake.  I aim for about 1 gram per pound of body weight a day.  And I do NOT get this through shakes.  I get it through eating animal flesh.  I prefer grass-fed ruminants, and if you think I’m a stuck-up Whole Foods shopper, I urge you to do a bit of browsing on Mark’s Daily Apple.

The next principle is that I will eat carbohydrates for energy on lifting days, but mostly fat on rest days.  Macronutrient ratios are thus cycled throughout the day, so the diet isn’t overly restrictive.  This concept is also mostly from LeanGains.

Now, before this simply turns into a rehash of Martin’s ideology, I’ll add in some other important points:

  • As I alluded to earlier, there is no need for heavy supplementation.  My nutrition comes mostly through eating wholesome food sources.  Now, with that said, there is probably some benefit to consuming whey after a workout and a multivitamin each day.  I also take fish oil daily and vitamin D on days when I get less than an hour of direct sun exposure.
  • I have learned to eat a lot – this is very important for hardgainers as often times I simply wasn’t consuming enough calories.  IMPORTANT: this point is not to reinforce bulking mentality or any other illogical calorie cramming; I eat a lot of nutritious foods within reason and at calculated times – again see LeanGains for more on this topic.  With that said, the method for increasing food intake is relatively simple.  Begin to prepare meals yourself and do not drink water while eating.  If you prepare your own meals, they will contain vastly less sodium than restaurant-prepared food and you will require less water while eating.  Thus, you can eat more and then drink water after your meals.  Note I am also not saying to ignore your thirst; this technique is merely a way to increase intake.
  • Cholesterol is really important for testosterone.  Based on the evidence, it would be a mistake to avoid cholesterol in foods.  See here for more details and here for why it’s not nearly as bad as the mainstream media makes it seem.
Diet really boils down to three things, with each one contributing varying amounts for different individuals:
1. What you eat
2. How much you eat
3. When you eat it
Here are a couple hypothetical examples to think about: If I eat only 1500 calories worth of donuts in a day, I’ll probably lose weight (though it’ll probably be mostly muscle).  If I eat a candy bar directly after strenuous physical activity, the results will differ than if I eat that same candy bar directly after an enormous carbohydrate-laden meal.

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