Meal Plans

The Beginner Bodybuilder’s 4-Week Meal Plan

If you’re just starting out with a strength-training routine and want to maximize gains while leaning out, follow this one-month clean eating plan.

If you're new to strength training and building lean muscle mass, one of the most important tools you’ll need to add muscle without fat is following a proper eating regime.  Strength training is one of the single best things you can do for energy and longevity.  But, if you’re not fueling your body correctly, your progress will be slow at best.  It’s important that you eat approximately every 3 to 4 hours to keep your metabolism evenly fueled throughout the day.  This will help with muscle synthesis and fat burning.  Aim for five to six meals daily to stay energetic and avoid that “hitting the wall” feeling by mid afternoon.  

Your macronutrient intake (protein, carbs and fats) should look something like this:

  • 1 – 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.  Shoot for 25-30 grams of protein (6-8 oz) at eat meal.  Quality proteins like grass-fed beef, wild caught salmon, organic turkey and chicken, eggs, whey and casein protein powders, shrimp, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are all great options.
  • Keep your carbohydrate intake around 150 to 250 grams daily. Complex carbs like sweet potatoes/yams, brown rice, sprouted grain breads, oats, beans, quinoa, and whole grain pastas are all excellent choices.  They fuel your body, digest slowly and will be utilized for energy.  
  • Simple carbs like fruit, white rice, white potatoes are good for post workout to aid in recovery and fast absorption for muscle growth.
  • Fats should fall somewhere between 65 to 85 grams a day. Avocados, natural nut butters, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and egg yolks are all healthy fats that should be part of your meal plan.  Good fats give you energy and are utilized for fuel not storage.
  • All vegetables aid in digestion and give quality fiber to keep your intestinal tract functioning smoothly.  
  • Consume at least half your bodyweight in water. Avoid sugary drinks and diet sodas.

Bottom line: If you want to build a muscular physique, you need to eat the proper diet. You can have a cheat meal once a week, but it shouldn’t be a cheat day or weekend.  This will only derail your progress and leave you feeling sluggish. 

Try this 4-week meal plan with a sampling of meals you can mix and match all week long to get started with your clean eating, muscle-building diet.

Each day you will eat: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner.

SEE ALSO: The Build Muscle, Stay Lean Meal Plan

 

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