Do you think adding pounds of muscles is just a matter of eating a ton and working hard? While that can work, it is not the most efficient method to get the job done. Science has given us the tools to factor out exactly what it will take to add muscle to our body. Are you ready to learn the formula?
The Math of Mass
On average it has been calculated that you can gain about 2 pounds of muscle per month while losing 4 pounds of fat per month. There will always be extreme cases that skew those numbers such as very obese people losing much more fat initially. However, on average those are the numbers used for calculations.
If you are losing more than 4 pounds of fat per month while trying to gain muscle it is more than likely that you will also be losing lean muscle mass which is counterproductive to the process.
Ratios of food intake vary from person to person because each body is slightly different. But we are going to use general rules of thumb that can then be modified slightly by the individual as they learn what works better for them.
On average you should take in 1 to 1.25 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight along with 2 to 2.4 grams of carbohydrates and .25 to .5 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight. The fat and protein are more variable based on current body type and goal for weight. Some people with incredibly fast metabolisms are fine with slightly more fat for example. You should not go below 10% fat intake and increasing protein intake beyond 30% is very difficult.
For meals you will break down food over 5 to 6 meals. Aside from eating so many meals to keep your metabolism up, you have to for protein consumption. Your body can only absorb so much protein into its system in a given time. Over time that amount will increase very slightly as you constantly try and eat more, but it is not an overnight process. Therefore you can expect to only consume 25 to 35 grams of protein in a single sitting. For a 200 pound man eating 200 grams of protein than means you need at least 5 meals and a snack to meet your goal.
These ratios are not finite but approximate for a reason; everybody is different. While people can estimate how busy a person’s day is and how many calories they naturally burn along with estimates for workout calories burned, they are only estimates. So instead of being extremely precise we are providing a range to work with. From that range you can adjust your own percentages every two weeks to compare how you are gaining on the scale and in the mirror. However if things are progressing at a good rate there might not be a need for adjustments.
Plenty of water is needed for this type of diet and good health in general. People need to keep hydrated and the kidneys require plenty of fluid to process all of the protein taken in. Fat loss and muscle gain will always be highest at the start of a training program and will level off over time so try and avoid drastic changes to the diet ratios to try and recapture what you accomplish. Small adjustments and consistency is a much better plan. Over time you can discover what the right combination is for your body to get the results you want.