Meal Plans

5 by 5 Meal Plan: Gain 5 Pounds of Muscle

Keep your eye on the prize and you can pack some muscle onto your frame in 4 weeks. Let us help you.


Set a clear goal, and stick to it. Make it a theme. Let’s gain 5 pounds of muscle by 5/5. In all, we have about 4 weeks, so it’s crunch time. I don’t care how you see it, but I’m not only looking at the weight on the scale, anybody can gain 5 pounds on the scale. However, we need 5 pounds of lean muscle mass and metabolically active tissue in 4 weeks.

Test Your Body Fat Percentage

First off, get your body fat done by a professional, not with the cheap bio-impedance scale you have in your bathroom. Here’s a quick look at how to measure body fat:

Skinfold calipers: Cheap and easy. However, get a seasoned trainer, since accuracy builds with the number of tests done on different individuals. Takes about 5 minutes to complete.
Dexascan: Expensive, accurate but not easy to find near you. Since you have to repeat the test in 4 weeks to see how you have done, maybe not the way to go.
Hydrostatic weighing: Not practical but very accurate. It’s rare you can find someone or a special lab who does it, and it takes about 20 minutes.
Anthropometric: Easy, cheap but inaccurate. You can’t really tell if you have lost fat or gained lean mass.

For your purposes, skinfold calipers are the way to go. There are many methods, but any of them, if done properly, always at the beginning of the week and at the same time of day, can accurately track your progress.