Every day, people who want to build muscle and lose weight ask us what they should eat. We thought the charts shown here would help you visualize a typical day's worth of meals and supplements.
|Sample Muscle Building |
Meal Pattern for
190 lb Ideal Weight
If you're trying to build muscle, add higher glycemic (sugary) type carbs to your after-workout shake to stimulate insulin levels. Insulin helps transport protein into your muscles and replenishes spent glycogen (energy) stores. By using a fast-digesting, low-fat whey protein in your shake, you won't kill your appetite for your next meal. Mix creatine and glutamine into this shake, too.
If you're trying to lose weight, make a low-carb after workout shake to prevent insulin stimulation and keep you in the fat-burning mode. Any over-stimulation of insulin may convert excess calories into fat.
This stable pattern of eating should keep you from getting hungry. It also provides regular doses of protein so your body won't cannibalize hard-earned muscle during the day to meet your body's protein requirement.
Our guidelines are roughly 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal bodyweight. Top bodybuilders may need more. Sedentary people may need less. The charts on this page use 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal bodyweight, not your current weight. Whether trying to build muscle or lose weight, this number stays relatively constant. As a rule of thumb, whatever your ideal bodyweight is, consume the same number of grams of protein.
|Weight Loss Meal Plans |
Use only for short periods of time
|190 lb Ideal Weight |
|130 lb Ideal Weight |
Next, adjust your carbs. An office worker and a UPS delivery person have totally different carb requirements. An active or younger person may need more carbs and a sedentary or older person may need less than what is shown in our charts. Switching between building muscle and losing weight is mainly accomplished by adjusting your carb intake.
Fat levels should stay relatively constant whether you want to build muscle or lose weight. Fat is necessary to make hormones and to keep fat-burning enzymes working. The only exception is your after-workout meal. It should be low-fat to speed digestion.
They're ideal for supplementing 1-2 of your meals a day. Simply adjust the serving size to match your desired protein level. Although you might eat a "regular" meal at breakfast, many find this an ideal time to have an MRP (meal replacement powder). You'll get some extra sleep in the morning, too, since they're fast to make. Just add some flax oil for fat and have a piece of fruit or bran muffin for extra carbs.
Eat a traditional meal. Or, if you make a meal replacement or whey protein shake, add cereal, bran muffin or fresh fruit to increase your carb intake to the desired level. Add flax oil to your shake.
Eat light, mainly protein, to keep your blood sugar stable.
Eat a traditional meal.
Again, eat light, mainly protein, to keep your blood sugar stable.
Drink a low-fat, fast-digesting whey protein shake. A big dinner would slow digestion and cause you to miss this critical time period to replenish spent glycogen and rush amino acids into muscles for repair. On non-workout days, skip this feeding. Take your creatine and glutamine with one of your other feedings.
Eat a traditional meal. On non-workout days, eat a larger, earlier dinner. Have a small protein shake before bed so you don't go more than 3-4 hours without eating.
1. MRP - Meal Replacement Powder
Typically high protein (40g), med. carb (24g), low fat (2g) with 50% RDI of vitamins and mineals.
2. Whey Protein
Typically high protein (25g), low carb (4g) and low fat (2g).
Depending on budget, take 1-per-day or up to a full packet of vitamins (ideal) daily. Take with a meal.
4. Flax Seed Oil
Take a 1-2 tablespoon a day in your shake or on salad. Each Tbsp. has about 14g of good fats.
We recommend the Lindberg brand.
5. High Protein Bar
Perfect for between meals when you can't make a shake.
6. Low-Carb Bar
Ideal for those trying to lose weight.
7. Diet Product (Thermogenic)
The most popular have a 1:10 ratio of ephedra to caffeine and are taken 2-3 times a day before meals. See warnings.
8. Creatine Monohydrate
Best supplement to build muscle. Take about 5 grams a day. Consume with high glycemic index
carbs when building muscle or take it straight when losing weight.
Take 2-5 grams daily. This amino is needed by those under stress such as exercising intensely or
dieting. Enhances recovery. We recommend Fitness Labs brand.
10. ZMA - Zinc Magnesium Aspartate
Take before bed on an empty stomach to help with your body's natural production of growth hormone
while you sleep.