By: Calum McLellan, CISSN, CSCS, NASM-PESSports Nutritionist and Sports Performance SpecialistSpectrum Sports PerformanceMass Gaining

The majority of people who work out are seeking to improve body composition. In other words, they are typically seeking to burn fat while trying to maintain muscle mass in order to achieve a more aesthetic appearance. There are, however, individuals who seek to add more muscle mass and increase performance. These are the people that most people envy because all of the “typical” diet rules don’t apply to them. In fact, many are just the opposite. Instead of counting calories and limiting carbohydrate intake on non-workout days, these people are making it a full time job to eat as many calories as possible to achieve their goal of becoming bigger, faster, and stronger. One of my favorite examples is the Michael Phelps diet (if you can call it that). It has been mentioned in more than one article that he trains up to 5 hours a day, 6 days a week. With this amount of time being spent on his training, his caloric intake was around 12,000 calories a day, with a majority of his calories coming from carbohydrates. Although this is an extreme example, it gives you an idea of how much fuel the human body is capable of consuming and using in order to complete a given task and for its goals to be achieved.

With performance and lean muscle gain goals in mind, it is suggested that protein intakes are kept at around 1 gram per body weight and 3 -4 grams of carbohydrate per body weight per day. In other words for a 180lb individual:

180 grams of protein
540-720 grams of carbohydrate a day
Spread out over 6 meals:
30 grams of protein
90-120 grams of carbs

As you can imagine this is a lot of food that takes an enormous amount of preparation and dedication but it is not impossible. Tips to help you along your eating journey include:

  • Prepare meals for 3-5 days in advance (rice/pasta, choice of meat and vegetable)
  • Make eating a focused effort; don’t put your utensil down
  • All you can eat buffets are your best ally
  • Drink 1-2 glasses of milk at each meal
  • Don’t miss a meal

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