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The 10 Commandments of Muscle Building Nutrition!

Average: 3.9 (68 votes)
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10 rules you should be following if you're serious about muscle building. If you're not following the 10 commandments you are limiting your growth potential.

Muscle building nutrition Muscle building nutrition is not rocket science; it just requires some basic knowledge, discipline and consistency. You need to eat a good healthy diet every day to get the results you desire. Nutrition is often overlooked by some weight trainers, but the fact is, if you don't have a good muscle building diet you are really limiting the results you get from your training. So Muscle & Strength have put together the 10 commandments of muscle building nutrition. These are 10 rules you should follow when trying to build muscle and gain weight.

RULE #1: Eat at least 6 quality small meals per day. Eating more meals per day increases the body's metabolism, gives you a constant flow of energy and reduces the likelihood of your body storing your food as fat. You need to shift away from the "3 meals a day" mentality - those days are over. You should only feed your body with what it requires, not how much can fit in your stomach.

RULE #2: Eat protein and complex carbohydrates in every meal. You don't have to eat alot, but try to get about 30 grams or protein and some quality carbs in each meal. Carbs are easy as they are found in bread, rice, potatoes etc. Stick to whole grains, oats, brown rice and wholemeal bread for good carbs. Good sources of protein are chicken, egg whites, tuna, red meat and fish.

RULE #3: Use supplements. Bodybuilding supplements are a great way to get nutrients to the body fast. At a minimum I suggest you use whey protein supplements. Depending on your goals and level of training, creatine and glutamine should also be considered. Best times to consume supplements are first thing in the morning, before/after training and before bed.

RULE #4: Avoid simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are the "sugary" carbohydrates found in sugar, soft drinks and honey. Simple carbohydrates give you an instant pick-me-up but they will drop you right back where you came from after a few minutes. Excessive sugar plays havoc with our insulin metabolism and leads to fatigue and fat storage. Stay away!

RULE #5: Stay away from fats and excessive salts. Some fat is essential for a healthy diet. Good fat is found in olive oil, peanut butter and fish. Bad fat is vegetable oil, animal fats and butter. This pretty much rules out all junk food and fizzy drinks.

RULE #6: Fuel up before your workout. Eat a small meal that contains a good portion or complex carbohydrates and protein about 30-60 minutes before your workout. The complex carbohydrates will give you the sustained energy to train long and hard. And the protein will assist your muscles during your workout as you break them down.

RULE #7: The after workout meal/shake is the most important nutrition boost your body needs. Directly after a workout your muscles are broken down and crying out for nutrients. A good dose of protein is a must (40-50 grams) and carbohydrates also play an important role because they are needed for an insulin spike which will release growth hormone. A supplement shake is the best method to deliver these nutrients to your body followed by a good post workout meal within 60 minutes of training.

RULE #8: Drink water, and lots of it! The most important nutrient in your body is water. The quality of your tissues, their performance and their resistance to injury is dependent on the amount of the water you drink. Sip water constantly throughout the day and make sure you get more than enough water during your workout.

RULE #9: Avoid snacking by planning your diet. Let's face it, most snack foods you're going to be tempted with are going to be unhealthy and full of sugar, salt and other unnatural ingredients. If you plan each meal for the day during the previous day you will find that you will not feel like snacking as you will always feel satisfied.

RULE #10: At the end of the day, if you want to gain weight and pack on muscle you need to eat more calories than your burn throughout the day. If you don't eat enough calories you will not grow any muscle. Never stay hungry. As soon as you begin to feel hungry eat a good meal of carbs and protein. Also get a good serve of carbs and protein before bed, you body will need it for repairing muscle tissue while your sleep.

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    Average: 3.9 (68 votes)
  • About The Author
    Max Riley is a freelance muscle building and nutrition writer who has had his work appear in numerous print and Internet magazines.
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Comments (115)

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idin fard
Posted Sun, 09/12/2010 - 20:19

Hi damien,

Great article, very informative. My only questions is how damaging would it be to have a few drinks, say once or twice a month (on a off day of training). My goal is to gaing weight and add mass, should i just cut out alcohol period? Or is having a few drinks once in awhile okay.

Thanks,
Idin

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Steve
Posted Thu, 09/16/2010 - 13:34

Hi Idin,

A few drinks in moderation is fine.

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hehe
Posted Mon, 12/19/2011 - 22:51

mcdonalds

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Jackson Daias
Posted Thu, 05/02/2013 - 08:57

Actually, drinking is good for you, as it increases blood flow and makes your heart healthier, but drinking too much will screw up your liver and make you gain weight, so once or twice a month is fine.

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Rob
Posted Tue, 09/21/2010 - 18:29

Hello,

Very interesting page you have and also thanx for the info. I have a question i use creatine and protien powdder i was 200lbs 2 months ago now im a whopping 218lbs is that normal to gain so much weight or is it muscle ways more then fat??

Thanks,
Rob

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Steve
Posted Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:51

Hi Rob,

That is a very high amount of weight to be gaining in two months. I would say a good portion of that is fat. Do you monitor/count daily calories?

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Aren
Posted Wed, 09/29/2010 - 16:23

No it's not normal to gain that much weight in 2 months and yes muscle weighs more than fat, but that's not what you're packing on unless you're on steroids. The thing about football that alot of people aren't clear on is that you pack on mass, that means a mix of fat and muscle, for that reason football is not a healthy sport, I may freak alot of you out by attacking the number one sport in america right now but football players pack on more fat than muscle, I don't reccomend it for well..anyone, especially not some kid, we're a fat nation as it is the last thing we need is encouragement to pack on more fat. If you're interested in being a muscle man then I suggest steroid free bodybuilding, it's much healthier. If it's the contact nature of the sport that you enjoy then I suggest wrestling, it has weight divisions so there is no pressure to pack on fat, just natural muscle which alot of people don't know builds really slow, 18 pounds of muscle would be 3 years worth of training with great nutrition for building muscle my friend, don't fool yourself.

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Joseph
Posted Fri, 11/26/2010 - 22:19

I don't agree at all that it would take 3 years to pack on 18 lbs of muscle. The person above probably packed on mass in 2 months, but I have been teaching my body fat percentage and have put on a conservative 10lbs of muscle. I have dropped a lot of fat too though. It all depends on your build when you start training, how you eat, how heavy you train, genetics, and age.

If you want to add mussel, eat lean protein, complex carbs, and count the calories. If you track how many you eat for a week, take th eaverage and add up to 1000 calories balanced of good carbs and protein. If you increase by more than 1000 cLories you will probably gain fat too. This of course assumes you aren't already eating too much.

In my case I reduced the cLories I was eating, but improved the nutritional content while training with weights and cardio 5 times a week.

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John Scott
Posted Tue, 04/05/2011 - 16:46

If you're drinking the adecquate amount of water a lot of that could be water weight, but don't worry that's not a bad thing. Some of that weight could be fat, make sure when you're training to work all your muscles not necessarily heavily but make sure they start crying during the workout and keep drinking water. Research youtube to find ways to measure muscle mass with measurements, use those measurements and if it shows an increase of muscle mass then you're on the right track. but remember muscle more often grows underneath fat then using the fat to build the muscle, so don't be fooled. Research catabolic and anabolic states.

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jon
Posted Wed, 02/22/2012 - 11:09

hey it took me 9 months to put on 18 lbs, and yes it was creatine and protein, alot of protein.. like 120 grams a day and 5 grams of creatine.. calories r good to, i eat like 4000 cals a day, but i also cardio alot to keep the fat down..

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mike
Posted Thu, 06/13/2013 - 02:47

120 g of protein is not a lot of protein

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Andreas
Posted Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:46

Hi, im a sophomore and im 6'7, i play ball nd i want to gain mass, besides these tips above that i HAVE to follow, what do u reccomend my weight program should be? like wat days shoud i work out nd stuff like that? thank you very much, u wud rele help me :)

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Steve
Posted Thu, 09/23/2010 - 15:28

Hi Andreas,

Have you every lifted before?

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Andreas
Posted Wed, 09/22/2010 - 21:46

ohhh not mass, i waana build muscle.

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Aren
Posted Wed, 09/29/2010 - 16:10

Shhyeah, eating before and after a workout is not a good idea, even protein shakes have calories. Just stick to eating after a workout, also stay away from the peanut butter it may have good fat but it also has alot more bad fat, sugar, and calories. This article is good information mixed in with bad, I hope I pointed out the bad info to some of you.

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John Scott
Posted Tue, 04/05/2011 - 16:56

Drinking a shake before or after will help just as much as eating its just a different form. everything just depends on your caloric intake and output. Then on top of that building muscle involves consuming the right amount of fat, protein and water. One pound of muscle is 600 calories and 70% water and I forgot the amt of protein. There is no diet that works for one person, a persons diet should be common knowledge to that one person about how his body works. Going off subject people follow diets to gain or lose weight when those diets don't take in to account a lot of factors. I'm really tall and lean, before I gained muscle I was really skinny but because of my genetics and body composure everyone thought I was buff. My chest is huge as if I was a bodybuilder but I'm just lean in reality.

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matt
Posted Sat, 05/19/2012 - 21:28

peanut butter is fine but u dnt want the stuff from super markets al ya gotta do is buy ya own nuts take to a health food shop and they can grind it down for you good before u go to bed same as cottage cheese another great thing it releases protein over your body for up to eight hours give it a try...

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himanshu
Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 06:37

Hi damien,
i want to know what are the best natural substitutes of proteins which can be taken as i am a complete vegetarian person.
Advice me a something good for my morning breakfast

himanshu.
india

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Steve
Posted Wed, 10/20/2010 - 13:38

Hi Himanshu,

I am not familiar with vegetarian diets. I would suggest asking the question on the forum:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/

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Steve Sam
Posted Sat, 09/29/2012 - 06:22

The Best Protein source for a vegetarian would be the grain 'quinoa'(pronounced 'keenwah')

This is the only non animal based food that contains complete protein (all 9 amino acids). Therefore it's fantastic for vegetarians and vegans.

Meat eaters should also include this in their diet instead of rice. It is cooked in the same way and is a similar food but with all the protein. It should be included in meals with a slab of meat or fish and some spinach.

In the UK it can be purchased from Asda, Holland and Barret, Marks and Spencers, Morrissons.

In the US it can be purchased from Walmart and health food shops. Look in the grains section near rice etc.

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Kelli
Posted Mon, 05/05/2014 - 21:52

Legumes, quinoa,tofu, nuts, and I use a pea protein supplement. I assume by "complete vegetarian" you mean you don't eat any meat or dairy. Vegans really have to work to get enough calories while staying away from proccesed foods. So make sure you're eating enough by using a calorie logging app.

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gary
Posted Tue, 12/07/2010 - 20:10

how large should ech meal be ?

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Steve
Posted Wed, 12/08/2010 - 08:23

Hi Gary,

Meal size will depend on individual daily calorie needs. Here is an article that can help:

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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maurice
Posted Tue, 12/14/2010 - 03:41

Hey i just started training in MMA (mixed martial arts) an i weigh about 169 i want to get about 160 and turn fat into muscle is there anything i would want to skip on your steps since i dont really want to gain weight

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Steve
Posted Fri, 12/17/2010 - 13:05

Hi Maurice,

You want to focus on two things to maximize results:

1) Pushing yourself in the gym. Using good form, always push yourself on every set. When you can perform the recommended number of reps for a set, add weight.

2) Eating to maximize muscle retention while cutting fat. Here are two articles that can help:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/your-go-to-guide-for-cutting-f...

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/how-to-create-a-bodybuilding-...

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Caleb
Posted Sun, 10/30/2011 - 19:56

Did you ever make that weight change happened?? I just went through the same situations very similar to your from 171 to 153 to make weight. Just interested in how yours turned out. Let me know. Thanks alot

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Danny
Posted Sat, 03/05/2011 - 02:23

hiya, first i would like to say this website is awesome,, im 50 years old and want to start doing weights again, i know the basics as i have trained on and of from age 14 to 33, cor? thats a 17 year gap,, i have loads of equipment at home, i have free weights the ones i bought in the 80's, multi gym, squatting machine, sit up bench, im 5ft5in and 196ib ive been told over the years my ideal weight should be 140ib to 147ib i dont want to be big but i want muscle, truth be known i want to feel young again, i do cardio three times a week on a road racing bike, 10miles a trip, i was planning on doing the 3 Day Workout For Beginners, its just the nutrition bit that overwhelms me, if you have any spare time, could you point me towards a basic diet that will fullfil my needs, im taking whey protien and tribulus, the tribulus do make a difference day 2 of taking tribulus i knocked 14 minutes of a 10 mile cycle, i also take a fat burner ,,,, many thanks

Danny
kirkcaldy
scotland

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Brad
Posted Mon, 04/04/2011 - 20:29

So my goal is to join the airforce. Currently I am not even at the minimum which is 145lbs. I am 6ft and my metabolism is as fast as it can be. I need a menu of food meals to eat daily for the whole week(Sun-Sat) that will fit in with a weight lifting schedule of 3 days a week at the least. Oh yeah and at the moment I weigh 140 with clothes on.

Please and Thank you,
Brad
Colorado, US of A

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Dustin Ross
Posted Mon, 04/16/2012 - 17:09

Hey man you need to look into a mass gainer which is protein but it has a lot more calories then regular proteins

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ashis
Posted Sat, 04/23/2011 - 09:41

hi,,i am 18 yrs old now,,my heigt is 6 7 now,,so am i appropriate to lift weights now?
thanxs

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eric
Posted Sun, 05/08/2011 - 03:23

hi guys... i have a question....I was 190lbs and i have reduced it to 145 lbs in the past six months. And now i have been working out for three monhts, seroius weight training, 6 days a week...... when will a put on some good muscle mass,,?>

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Robbie
Posted Sat, 05/14/2011 - 14:01

When you say a good serve of carbs and protein before bed, would dry oats be ok as the carb source?

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SK
Posted Fri, 05/20/2011 - 08:16

hi.. as u mentioned that eating six time a day is good for muscles... so what will be the effect on belly ...? it will also gain fats ...

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Steve
Posted Mon, 05/23/2011 - 13:13

Hi SK,

6 meals a day do not make you fat. Only eating too much food makes you fat. The 6 meals are generally smaller meals.

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in
Posted Mon, 07/18/2011 - 01:26

thats why u work out during the day to keep that belly fat off

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abdullahnoori
Posted Fri, 06/17/2011 - 14:19

informative article. helped me get my thoughts together before going grocery shopping.

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mitch
Posted Fri, 07/08/2011 - 17:49

hi i play rugby for a minor league team and i wanna gain all round build and weight, im not aiming to get massive, i just want to beef up, i have bought protien shakes amino acid tablets and carb shakes, but im worried that they will make me gain to much weight, which will drasticly slow me down on the pitch, i dont mind lossin some speed in order to gain power i currantly weigh about 12 stone but im 6ft 2inchs so im quite thin

wb mitch

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Antony
Posted Tue, 08/02/2011 - 06:48

Great read!! Plenty of useful knolage on here. Although I'm 31 years old I'm a complete novice at training as all I have ever done is sports that involve cardio! I'm really wanting to lose a bit of body fat and up my muscle mass! If anyone would be so kind as to give me an aproxamate day to day of food sorce and intake that I should have to achieve my goal!! Many thanks

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chris
Posted Fri, 08/26/2011 - 19:27

If you were more interested in building strength and definition while not necessarily adding muscle weight( muscle weight gain is fine but not my goal) is there anything in the tips above you should change up or is it pretty much the same?

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Steve
Posted Wed, 08/31/2011 - 23:56

Hi Chris,

Your goal would require a precise calorie intake and a watching of the scale so your weight isn't moving up. You would need to follow the same principles to help maximize strength gains.
________________________________
<strong>Need more help? <a href="http://bit.ly/nO0uD2">Ask me on the forum.</a></strong>

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Tabrez
Posted Mon, 09/05/2011 - 16:51

Hi damien, AWESOMEEEE ARTICLE...i am really impressed mate!
I had 2 questions:
1. After the training/workout, how much time should i wait before consuming the supplement shake and the post meal? be precise
2. Whats the best muscle gain supplement?

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Steve
Posted Thu, 09/22/2011 - 11:29

Hi Tabrez,

You can have your shake immediately after the workout if possible. The sooner the better. For a post-workout meal, I generally recommend about6 an hour after lifting or so.

The best muscle gaining supplements are protein and creatine. When training properly they will help you maximize gains and performance.

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Christian Borja
Posted Tue, 10/11/2011 - 00:01

Hi, My name is Christian.
I am 16, 6 foot and currently weigh in at 180 lbs. Right before school started again i was weighing in at 167 lbs. i started hitting the gym hard, lifting heavy everysingle day except for sundays( used for rest or sometimes ill go for a light jog) and i have gained about 12-13 lbs in about 2 1/2 months. Every morning i'll have my creatine, 5-6 egg whites and a protein shake with a scoop of oats. At lunch ill have a salad at school with a banana. after school, about 2 hours before the gym i'll have another protein shake with a scoop of oats. i go to the gym at like 5 and then get back and eat 10-12 oz. of chicken breast with either some green beans or a potatoe and a protein shake along with it. I have been getting a lot stronger and bigger. Is it normal to gain that much weight? for my size and age?

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Steve
Posted Thu, 10/13/2011 - 14:31

It certainly can be normal. Are you adding mostly muscle?

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Christian Borja
Posted Thu, 10/13/2011 - 17:06

Everyone is telling me i look bigger and more muscular.. im getting tremendous strength gains and eating a strict diet. so i suppose its all muscle. Is there anything else i should be doing?

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Steve
Posted Fri, 10/14/2011 - 14:18

It sounds like you're doing everything right. Maybe you could post your plan and results in the forum and let us take a more detailed look.

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/

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howard
Posted Thu, 10/27/2011 - 15:01

you cant turn fat into muscle haha

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Grant
Posted Tue, 11/01/2011 - 08:44

What's a good carb source to eat before bed if I'm training at 7am?

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Steve
Posted Tue, 11/01/2011 - 12:29

What time do you go to bed?

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Grant
Posted Tue, 11/01/2011 - 12:32

Around 10, get up at 6

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