The Right Diet For Building Mass

When your main focus is packing on mass, you need a high calorie diet. We’re talking more calories than you burn. And those calories need to come from the right sources to help you build muscle—otherwise all that mass you’re packing on is just going to be flabby fat.

The actual calorie count will differ depending on your body and the day. The rule of thumb to follow is:

  1. On training days, eat 18-20 calories per pound of body weight. So a 180 pound person would need 3240 to 3600 calories on a day when they are training.
  2. On your rest days, eat 15-17 calories per pound of body weight. So that same 180 pound person would eat 2700 to 3060 on their rest day. For bulking up, the key is protein and a whole lot of it. A good balance of macronutrients would be:
  3. 50% protein from nutritious sources like fish, poultry, and organ meats (liver, heart, stomach, etc.)
  4. 30% carbs from complex, whole food sources like whole grains (oats, brown rice, whole grain breads), beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies. Avoid simple carbs (sugar, starch, and pretty much anything processed).
  5. 20% fat from healthy sources (meaning unsaturated and saturated fats) like avocados, nuts, seeds, and plant oils (olive and coconut are great. Corn and soy are an absolute no). And none of that should come from trans fats.

Try to get the majority of your calories from actual real meals. When you are eating as many calories as you need, however, it can be a little difficult to consume that much food so it’s ok to supplement your meals with protein shakes and other dietary supplements.

So if you can get all your calories from real food, that is definitely ideal. But if you find you’re coming up short, go ahead and look into supplements.