Planning a diet to increase muscle mass is not something complex. Since hypertrophy is a very grateful process in terms of nutritional and sports terms. It is not very specific and can occur under relatively simple conditions.
Even so, it is essential that you take into account several aspects if you want to progress and properly design a diet to increase muscle mass. Because considering these four points will make this process somewhat more efficient. Which means that you will get more results in exchange for less effort. And probably gain less fat in the process.
Diet to increase muscle mass
Calories are the basis of your diet. It is precisely caloric consumption that determines whether you gain or lose weight.
Therefore, as you have already imagined, a diet to increase muscle mass implies that you generate a caloric surplus. Which means that you must ingest more calories than you spend throughout the day. How many?
Well the truth is that a surplus of between 200 and 500 calories is enough to generate those gains in muscle mass without causing significant fat gain.
Macronutrients are the second point. And that is that the calories that you include in your diet should come from adequate proportions of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Although there are many opinions on this. From my point of view it is more efficient to opt for a high-carbohydrate diet instead of opting for a high-fat diet since.
Up to 80% of the production of ATP (which is the body’s main energy molecule) can be obtained from glycolysis in endurance training (1). Keeping carbohydrates high will allow performance to be high during workouts.
AMPK is an enzyme that acts as a cellular energy sensor and can activate protein degradation (2). So carbohydrates can be a good way to avoid protein degradation since the glycogen that is formed through its intake inhibits AMPK (3).
This AMPK also acts as an inhibitor on mTOR. Which is considered a key element in the regulation of skeletal muscle growth (4, 5). And whose inhibition has an evident negative effect on anabolic processes (6).
This same mTOR is activated by means of mechanical tension and insulin. And considering that carbohydrates are the macronutrient that have the most effect on insulin. It makes sense that the diet to increase muscle mass abounds in this macronutrient.
Finally, it should also be taken into account that the lack of glycogen prior to exercise. It reduces the number of genes responsible for the regulation of muscle hypertrophy (7, 8).
Of course, fats are also important. Since they fulfill hormonal functions and act on the immune system among other processes. But they go into the background if the objective is muscle hypertrophy.
In terms of protein intake. This should be around 2 grams per kilogram of body weight since these macronutrients will be the blocks that our muscles use to grow.
In general, real food is a much better option than ultra-processed foods such as pastries or fried potatoes. Since the latter have a very low content of minerals, vitamins and fiber. Generate very little satiety and provide a volume of calories very high. But should always be contextualized, and that performance and health are not synonymous terms.
The truth is that it is very difficult for an athlete who spends between 4000 and 5000 kcal a day doing sports to have enough appetite to eat them through real food. These cases are not few, but it is true that they are not the majority either.
In this group of people it would be effective to include more processed foods to satisfy these caloric requirements. Although health is compromised. We insist that the athlete should know that performance does not imply health before starting a diet of this style.
As for the rest of people, it is advisable to follow the 80:20 rule; 80% of your calories should come from real food. And you could reserve 20% to include less nutritious foods that generate adherence to a healthy lifestyle over time.
Obviously I’m not encouraging you to eat junk food. In general, the less junk food is included in the diet, the better, but it is essential to always contextualize, and if you eat an ice cream a day for a week, avoid the weekend and eat ten at a time, the truth is that this can be a victory.
Supplementation in order to increase muscle mass is relevant, but not essential.
As I said earlier, if your appetite is insufficient, you can add protein or carbohydrate shakes to meet your caloric requirements.
A supplement that I like to recommend in diets to increase muscle mass is creatine , since it increases strength especially in intense and explosive series, so, indirectly, it can be an extra help if the goal is hypertrophy .
In short, it is important that you structure your diet to increase muscle mass following these tips, since this way you will put the results in your favor and you will achieve your goal.
Keep in mind that these points are important, but it will also be necessary to generate enough stimulation with your training, or else your ability to gain muscle will be minimal.
You can also read : How to Lose Weight Fast ?