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What is the best food for successful muscle gain?

There you go, you've decided to spend time at the gym to start your muscle gain? Do you go there at least three times a week to boost your performance and push yourself a little more every day?

It’s a great start! But have you thought about reviewing your diet?

Yes, building your body is 50% effort, and it's 50% in the plate! You already know this, in addition to influencing our energy, what we provide to our body is essential for building muscles. It would be a shame to surpass yourself at the gym only to see modest results!

But then, what is the best food for muscle gain? How to organize to make good, healthy, and hearty meals to gain muscle? đź’Ş

If you are asking all these questions and feel a bit lost in nutrition, this article is for you!

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Understanding the Nutritional Needs of Your Body to Succeed in Your Muscle Gain

To optimize your muscle gain, you need to eat foods that contain enough calories and all the essential nutrients to create muscle.

You must also be careful, especially if you are aiming for lean muscle gain, since the main pitfall is the gain of fat mass. After all, this is not exactly what we are looking for in bodybuilding!

The Importance of Macronutrients

The three fundamental macronutrients for muscle gain are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. While we know proteins are important for athletes, we should not overlook carbohydrates and fats, which are equally important!

  1. Proteins

  2. Proteins are made up of amino acids, organic molecules that build and grow muscle tissue. In other words, proteins are the building blocks of our muscles!

    They are therefore particularly essential and must be consumed in sufficient quantities during muscle gain.

    Animal products are excellent sources of protein, but very high-quality proteins can also be found in plant-based products.

    1. Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates are often unfairly demonized, especially during cutting phases. Yet, they are essential for providing the energy needed for training and also for promoting muscle growth. They are therefore particularly important for muscle gain.

    You should consume them at each meal to maintain a high and constant energy intake throughout the day.

    1. Fats

    Fats are essential to our diet. They maintain the proper functioning of the body as they provide energy to our bodies. They also help absorb fat-soluble vitamins and most importantly, they are involved in hormone production, which is particularly important for muscle gain.

    Obviously, not all fat sources are equal. It would be too easy otherwise. It is necessary to avoid saturated and trans fats, which are harmful to the cardiovascular system. Therefore, prefer healthy fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, to take care of your heart.

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Knowing Your Caloric Needs

Calculating Your Caloric Needs

To determine your caloric needs during muscle gain, it is important to define your basal metabolism. This should be calculated based on age, sex, height, and weight. Then, consider the factors that influence basal metabolism:

  1. Physical activity level;

  2. Body composition (proportion of muscle mass vs fat mass);

  3. Overall health;

  4. Temperature and climate;

  5. Significant hormonal factors.

Here is the Harris and Benedict formula to perform the calculation:

  1. Women: 655 + (9.6 x weight (kg)) + (1.8 x height (cm)) – (4.7 x age)

  2. Men: 66 + (13.7 x weight (kg)) + (5 x height (cm)) – (6.5 x age)

Next, add the needs related to physical activity. To do this, evaluate both the intensity and the frequency of physical activities.

Once all this is added to the basal metabolism, you get the number of calories the body needs to function. But it doesn't stop there!

To gain muscle mass, it is important to have a caloric intake higher, between 5 and 10% more than the number of calories needed.

What are the Right Ratios in Terms of Macros?

Once you have estimated your caloric needs, it is important to know the right ratios of macros! That is, the right amount of macronutrients to consume based on your weight and goals.

🍽️ Yes, building your plate should not be done at random:

  1. To gain muscle mass, it is advised to consume between 1.5 and 2 g of protein per kilo of body weight per day. For example, if you weigh 60 kilos, we recommend consuming between 90 and 120 g per day.

  2. For carbohydrates, it is considered necessary to have 4 g per kilo of body weight per day in muscle gain. If you weigh 60 kilos, you would therefore need at least 240 g of carbohydrates per day. Carbohydrates should make up the bulk of your plate during muscle gain.

  3. Fats are macronutrients extremely dense in calories. For example, a tablespoon of vegetable oil, about 10 ml, corresponds to 90 kcal. Thus, its consumption should be limited, even during muscle gain. It is considered necessary to have 1 g of fat per kilo of body weight per day during muscle gain. If you weigh 60 kilos, you would therefore need approximately 60 g of fat per day.

Is There a Best Food for Muscle Gain?

There is no single "best" food for muscle gain. Between us, it would be too easy! It is the combination of several foods that allows for effective muscle gain. Discover the best foods for muscle gain.

Which Foods to Choose?

Foods rich in animal-derived proteins are excellent for your muscle gain. However, not all foods are equal. It is preferable to opt for quality products such as:

  1. Eggs: the body assimilates their proteins well, which means their biological value is high. Moreover, eggs are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, generally great friends of athletes, notably for their benefits on our cardiac and brain function.

  2. Beef: it is the best food for muscle gain in terms of animal proteins, as it contains 21 g of protein per 100 g.

  3. Salmon: this fatty fish rich in proteins, as well as in omega-3, is an interesting companion for your diet. It is also rich in vitamin D, which acts on the bones as well as on muscle function!

  4. 0% Fat Cottage Cheese: it contains about 10% high-quality proteins. In terms of dairy products, it is the best food for muscle gain, especially if you need to have several snacks throughout the day.

  5. Cheese is an excellent source of proteins and fatty acids, especially if it is made from pasture-raised milk. However, avoid all processed cheeses.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can also find excellent plant-based protein sources for your muscle gain: 🌿

  1. Tofu and Tempeh: fermented soy is the best food for muscle gain for vegans and vegetarians. It is rich in proteins and especially, it contains all essential amino acids, which is rare in plant-based alternatives.

  2. Legumes are super healthy sources of protein for the body. They should be incorporated into all diets since they contain both carbohydrates and proteins, which is ideal for muscle gain. They are therefore part of the best foods for muscle gain.

  3. Spirulina, a superfood rich in plant-based proteins, to sprinkle on all your dishes. Low in calories, it will not skew your calculations. It is part of the best foods for healthy and successful muscle gain!

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Which High-Carbohydrate Foods to Prefer?

  1. Grains: whether you prefer pasta, rice, or quinoa, grains are ideal for increasing blood sugar and for obtaining the necessary energy, especially before an intense weightlifting session.

  2. Legumes: they are also very interesting since they are rich in both proteins and carbohydrates.

  3. Potatoes: this starchy food is an excellent source of carbohydrates for bodybuilding. Rich in potassium and magnesium, it particularly aids in mass gain.

  4. Oats: they are known to affect blood sugar levels. Therefore, they are perfect for a snack after an intense workout session.

  5. Fruits: they are excellent sources of carbohydrates. If you have a sweet tooth, they are perfect for a snack, perhaps with some cottage cheese.

What are the Sources of Healthy Fats?

  1. Nuts and seeds: do not hesitate to add almonds, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, or any other nuts of your choice to your dishes or snacks. These little fruits are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and plant-based proteins.

  2. Avocados: these fruits are an excellent source of fatty acids. We love them in salads during the summer, for example!

  3. Vegetable oils: they are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are of better quality than fats from animal sources, which are higher in saturated fatty acids. Indeed, unsaturated fatty acids are good for the heart, while saturated fats are not beneficial for our bodies.

How to Maximize Muscle Gains?

Eating your macronutrients in the right quantity and choosing the best food for mass gain is good. But you can still do better! Discover our tips for maximizing muscle gains.

Balancing Meals

It is important to know how to balance your meals to optimize nutrient absorption. Rest assured, it's not complicated.

Simply include sources of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, but do not forget vegetables, rich in fiber. These slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, which allows for a sustained release of glucose into the blood. This is very interesting for having energy over time, especially in the context of physical exercise!

Moreover, combining the right foods is important to boost nutrient absorption. For example, vitamin C promotes the absorption of iron. That's why it is important to combine the right foods together. 🍽️

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Planning Meals and Snacks

To benefit from the properties of each micronutrient, you can plan your meals and snacks in advance, selecting a variety of foods throughout the week.

It's also the best way to adhere to the quantities of macronutrients you need to consume. Plus, you can optimize your grocery shopping by planning all your meals. It's a 3 in 1!

Drinking Enough Water

When gaining mass, hydration is very important. Water is essential for muscles and performance, as it is involved in many metabolic processes.

Water particularly helps to hydrate the muscles and promote the elasticity of expanding muscle tissues. Proper hydration thus helps to reduce the risk of injury and boost recovery after training.

Water is then the only thing that deserves the title of the best food for mass gain.

Managing Quantities

To your disappointment, eating for mass gain isn't just a fun part where you eat what you want, whenever you want. The big risk is a caloric surplus. It's the limit not to cross! If you eat more than reasonable, you risk having too high a caloric intake. In this case, your body will store... fats.

So pay attention to quantities, especially when consuming calorie-dense foods (nuts, oil, cream, etc.)

Which Supplements to Choose for Successful Mass Gain?

Since there is no best food for mass gain, it might be interesting to take dietary supplements to maximize your nutritional intake.

Supplementing with Proteins

If you are unable to naturally meet your protein needs, you can start by supplementing with proteins.

You can also turn to natural protein sources like Organic Spirulina, rich in plant-based proteins, minerals, vitamins, and phycocyanin. It contributes to proper muscle development and thus participates in recovery after training.

Protecting Your Joints with Joint Supplements

To succeed in your mass gain while preserving your joints, it may be interesting to supplement. Between intense exercises, weight gain due to muscle tissue creation, and fatigue, your joints can be severely tested. Thanks to the Joint Formula based on glucosamine and a plant-based alternative to chondroitin, you can naturally relieve your joints, muscles, and tendons after effort.

best food for mass gain

L-Lysine to Strengthen Muscle Mass

L-Lysine is an essential amino acid naturally produced by the body, which constitutes muscle mass but also participates in the formation of collagen, thus helping to maintain the structure of the skin, bones, tendons, and cartilages.

In Summary

There is no best food for mass gain. As with any sports or dietary goal, it is important to have varied and balanced nutritional intake and to cook various types of foods while enjoying yourself.

But be careful, both at the gym and on the plate, mass gain requires rigor. You must not exceed the necessary caloric intake too much, but you also need to eat enough!

Like many things, it's primarily a question of balance. ⚖️


Co-founder of NOVOMA

Passionate and expert in micronutrition, Lucas founded Novoma in 2012. With conviction, he develops dietary supplements with effective, carefully chosen active ingredients that are 100% clean to best meet the body's needs.

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