The Nutrition Blueprint for Increased Lean Muscle

Are you looking to pack on lean muscle!

The nutrition blueprint for increased lean muscle will make you more productive and efficient in your efforts!

It is common for people looking to pack on size to go through periods of intense ‘bulking’ before taking drastic action when they feel things have gone too far. In actual fact this is a highly inefficient process which often limits progress and causes you to work exceptionally hard for little to no gain!

The Three Take Home Tips!

  1. The nutrition blueprint! Start your calorie intake at maintenance and creep up calories when your body is receptive! Protein is essential in stimulating muscle protein synthesis with a recommended intake within a range of 0.4 g/kg/meal- 0.55 g/kg/meal.
  2. Track everything! This means knowing your calorie intake, being acutely aware of changes in your body composition and ensuring your body is in a good position to take on those extra carbs!
  3. Quantity vs quality! You will only grow from the nutrients your body absorbs. You need to protect your gut health in order to benefit from increased quantities of foods!

The Nutrition Blueprint

So the first thing you need to know is where to start with setting up your calories! Don’t worry I have you covered… click here.

The simplest way to get to an estimate of your maintenance calories (remember no matter how fancy the formula your calorie intake will depend on who you are as an individual) is to multiply your current bodyweight by 15.

Why maintenance? Well because many of you will see incredible progress on maintenance calories. Calorie intake is wildly under or overestimated in my experience with clients. Some are never quite eating the quantity they thought they were, whilst others drastically under report on their total intake. Maintenance calories is your friend… it is the perfect amount of food for you to begin your body re-composition phase, before you begin to add in food where you need it the most!

Once you have found your calorie intake, it is time to start partitioning those macronutrients! Put simply, finding the best place for your protein, carbs and fat intake. Click here to read more about macronutrients, what they are and how they relate to your goal!

Once I have an idea of maintenance calories, I multiply this by 7 to give me a weekly calorie intake figure to work towards. Work towards a higher total calorie intake on training days (around 2-500 calories extra) and closer to maintenance or deficit calories on rest days, by doing this you have started calorie cycling!

Working on the basis of a weekly calorie goal, I then develop a protein, carb and fat goal for the week with a strategy that looks like this:

I encourage you to increase your total carbohydrate intake on your training days to improve performance. Opt to consume as many of these carbs pre, during and after training.

A protein intake of between 0.4-0.55g/kg/meal has been established and can be adhered to on both training and rest days.

Rest days for most will be a lot lower in demand, so a lower total calorie intake makes sense. Having consumed the majority of your carbs on training day, use the rest day as an opportunity to incorporate your dietary fats!

Here is a more specific example of a 180lb/81kg male looking to increase lean tissue by working from his maintenance calories and training 4 times a week!

180lbs x15= 2700 calories per day
2700*7= 18900 calories per week
3200*4=12800 calories per training day
18900-12900=6100 calories for rest days
6100/3=2035 (approx.) for rest days

In essence, this hero will be eating 3200 calories mainly from proteins and carbs on his training day with 2035 calories on his rest day from protein and fats.

Time to track!

Now you know the exact split you will be working to in terms of you calorie intake for training and rest days. But how will you know when you are ready to push in more food or if in fact you are overdoing it?

Tracking everything makes the biggest difference to your body composition. How can you progress if you don’t know where you currently stand?

To begin with make sure that you are logging your food so you know exactly what calories you are currently working from. Try this video I made on how to track your calories…

Once you are comfortable with tracking calories, you need to be acutely aware of the physical changes your body makes week on week. Whilst scale weight fluctuates very often, specific circumference measurements can be a great indicator of progress as can pictures!

To ensure you take measurements properly, I recommend using the myotape measuring tool (I put the link at the bottom of the article).

To accurately measure pictures, try to take them in the same place each week with good lighting! It can be very difficult assessing progress if there are shadows all over your pictures and the angles are changing frequently!

If you feel that your measurements indicate progress, I would hold off on increasing calories or changing the programming until you reach a mini plateau. This may be a plateau in strength or a stagnation in circumference measurements. Rushing in more food doesn’t necessarily mean an increased rate of progress and can often lead to quicker plateaus or an increase in unwanted body fat!

Take your time with any changes to your maintenance calories and ensure you are adding in the right macros at the right time to maximise lean gains!

Quality over Quantity!

You may have heard the quote, “you aren’t what you eat, you are what you absorb” (unknown). This sums up my philosophy towards your gut health and nutrition. If you cannot digest and absorb nutrients, you have very little chance of putting them to good use.

Take time to fix your gut health and pay special attention to how you feel through the day! Look out for:

  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Loose stools
  • Heart burn
  • Low energy levels
  • Poor cognitive function
  • Brain fog

Start to increase your veggies to avoid gut health problems and ensure you are attaining an acceptable level of vitamins and minerals in your diet! If you struggle with a higher fibre diet, you may prefer leafy greens instead of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower etc.).

Ensure you are supporting your digestion, especially when you start to push foods up. You should include fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimichi as part of your daily probiotic intake. As food intake begins to increase, you will benefit from digestive enzymes to support the breakdown of proteins and fats. Click here for my recommended product! 

If you would like to optimise your digestive health, I recommend the ‘Juggy Juice’. This is a drink designed to support the regeneration of your gut lining to improve your uptake of nutrients, increase HCL levels to enhance the breakdown of protein and provide a healthy and abundant source of micronutrients including Vitamin B12!

  • 1 Scoop of Udos Choice Beyond Greens Powder (LINK)
  • 10g Reflex Nutrition L Glutamine (LINK)
  • 10ml Apple Cider Vinegar (LINK)

This is part 2 of your guide to increasing lean muscle! If you found it useful, please share it! Part 3 will give you the structure you need to work on outside of the gym to really begin to see huge strides forwards in your quest for more muscle mass and an improved body composition!

Here is the tool I use to track my clients circumference measurements, LINK.

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