When most people think about building muscle, they quickly think of protein. Protein plays a major role in building and maintaining your muscle mass, but carbs and fat play a major role as well. Protein, carbs and fats are the three macronutrients that make up the foods you need to eat. You can stimulate your muscles through intense and hard training at the gym, but only what you eat will dictate whether you gain muscle with minimal fat. The quicker you eat the right nutrients, the quicker you can maximize your muscle gains.
First, you need to find out how many calories you need to eat. And to build muscle, you need to eat more calories than you burn. So if you’re eating the perfect foods, but not eating enough, you will not gain muscle. But when you do eat excess calories, your body will then use this extra energy for building muscle, combined with the stimulus from weight training. As for the macronutrients that will make up your total calories, protein is the building block to rebuilding and maintaining muscle; without protein, you cannot synthesize muscle growth. Second, carbohydrates will give your muscles energy by assisting the muscle building process and by triggering the release of the anabolic hormone insulin in your body. Third are fats, which help in the production of energy and hormones for your body, such as testosterone; also helps your cells and tissues work efficiently.
Let’s note however that eating more protein than what is required for your body won’t help you build your muscles more quickly. Why? Because your body will excrete the excess that it does not need through waste. Carbohydrates help your body maintain the energy it needs to lift heavier, and do more reps with each set. Keep carbohydrates between 40-60% of your diet. If your carb intake is below 40%, your body may instead use the protein you ate for the energy it needs to build muscles if your calories are low too; which in turn will make it more difficult to build the Beast muscles you are working to build. Now when it comes to fat, your body needs roughly 20% of your calories to come from fat in order to maximize the production of the hormone: testosterone. Otherwise your body will have a difficult time in producing this hormone that helps build muscles. So when you eat enough protein, carbs, and fats, each one will do its job – keeping your body and Beast muscles healthy.
So to answer the question: to build muscle, you need to aim for 1g of protein per 1 pound of your weight; aim for 20% of your calories to come from fats, and whatever is left over will be for your carb intake, which will roughly fall in that 40% range. However, if you see the scale is tipping the wrong direction, decrease your carb intake. As you progress, always be open to making adjustments to your macronutrient ratios, as each person’s body differs.
Brandan Fokken is a much sought after Personal Trainer, BodyBuilding.com and Team Beast athlete. He’s a published writer, public speaker, national physique competitor and NPC competition judge. Brandan currently works as a corporate wellness manager. Brandan’s personal goals include living a happy, healthy lifestyle, motivating and educating others to help them to achieve their goals.
Stay tuned to the Beast Blog for more nutritional and bodybuilding articles from Brandan Fokken.