Everyone knows this by now: How muscular or lean you can get isn’t just from working out — it’s mostly what you’re putting into your body. I’d say what you’re eating is more important than your weight training routine.
Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned what I eat and when I eat to optimize my muscle growth, energy levels, and overall health. Below is an example day of eating for lean muscle. In addition to promoting lean muscle, I’ve also found it to be sustainable so I’m not hungry, I sleep well, and my energy level stays balanced throughout the day.
One important thing to remember about nutrition is that everyone’s body is different. What works for me may not work for you. However, I do think there are some general principles that can guide everyone, especially when it comes to macronutrients.
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The Eating for Lean Muscle Macronutrient Basics
- Protein is the building block of muscle. It’s crucial for repairing and rebuilding muscle tissues that are broken down during exercise.
- Carbohydrates provide the energy you need to work out
- Fats are essential for hormone production, which plays a significant role in muscle growth and recovery.
- While I don’t strictly count calories or macros these days, I do prioritize protein and aim for a balance of these macronutrients in each meal.
Curious what’s on our entire grocery list? Here’s everything we order from Whole Foods every week.
A Perfect Day of Eating for Lean Muscle
3 egg whites, 2 whole eggs with salad + ½ cup of oatmeal with cinnamon
Large mixed salad with grilled chicken, beets, quinoa or sweet potato, light dressing (olive oil and vinegar) or tofu, quinoa, and broccoli.
Protein shake (30g) + low carb crackers with peanut butter (about 250 – 300 calories total) or our “Muscle Mud” recipe. You can read about that here.
½ pound ground chicken or turkey (99% lean) cooked on stove top with mixed peppers and onions, a side of sweet potato + broccoli or asparagus.
Protein shake + low carb crackers with peanut butter (about 250 – 300 calories total)
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Basic Guidelines to Eating for Lean Muscle
Without being super meticulous about calorie and macro counting, I’ve found this simple strategy to be helpful:
- Prioritize protein
- Aim for about 30 grams of protein, 30-40 grams of carbs, and a few grams of fat in each meal
- Eat before and after a workout
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