Meal Plan For Gaining Muscle Mass


All of us want to gain muscle mass faster. Muscle gaining is a tough task and requires you to be very particular about your diet. Here we are discussing a meal plan for gaining muscle mass fast. This is a beginner’s guide to meal planning for gaining muscle mass. It’s time for you to stop guessing and start building muscle!


Trapped in a muscle mass-building plateau? Coupled with a regular workout regimen, this meal plan will transform you into a hard gainer in no time. 



  • 1 ½ cups old fashioned oatmeal (120g), measured uncooked
  • 1 cup egg whites


  • 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup berry of choice (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) 


  • 2 slices Ezekiel 4:9 bread
  • 6 oz turkey breast (deli sliced, not packaged)
  • Large leaf spinach, unlimited
  • ½ tomato, medium
  • Mustard, unlimited
  • 1 small sweet potato (150g), measured uncooked 



  • ½ large banana
  • 4 small strawberries
  • 1 scoop whey isolate protein of choice


  • 50g fast-digesting carb*
  • 1 ½ scoops whey isolate protein of choice


  • 8 oz lean-fat trimmed pork chop
  • 1 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • 400g acorn squash, measured uncooked
  • 340g (usually one steam bag) green veggie of choice**


  • 8 oz nonfat Oikos Greek yogurt, vanilla or plain
  • 1 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar-free chocolate syrup
  • 10 almonds, crushed


  • Calories: 3,040
  • Carbs: 323g
  • Fiber: 60g
  • Protein: 271g
  • Total Fat: 78g
  • Sat. Fat: 28g



  • 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal (80g), measured uncooked
  • ¾ cup egg whites
  • 4 omega-3 whole eggs
  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil


  • 2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 4 tbsp salsa
  • 1 scoop whey protein isolate of choice


  • 2 slices Ezekiel 4:9 bread
  • 6 oz turkey breast (deli sliced, not packaged)
  • Large leaf spinach, unlimited
  • ½ tomato, medium
  • Mustard, unlimited


  • 2 mozzarella sticks
  • 6 oz deli chicken or turkey breast (deli sliced, not packaged), wrapped around cheese


  • 8 oz salmon, fillet or packaged
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 16 oz California Medley Mix, one large frozen bag
  • 75g sweet potato, measured uncooked


  • 10 oz nonfat Oikos Greek yogurt, vanilla or plain
  • 1 tbsp all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar-free chocolate syrup
  • 10 almonds, crushed


  • Calories: 3,000
  • Carbs: 210g
  • Fiber: 35g
  • Protein: 305g total
  • Fat: 112g
  • Sat.: Fat 40g

*Options: white baked potato, white rice, instant oatmeal, rice cakes, white bread (nonfat), bagels, cereals (nonfat)
**Options: broccoli, asparagus, green beans, broccoli/cauliflower mix, cauliflower


Building Muscle: A Lean Bulk Meal Plan

Admittedly, most people exercise to lose weight. They push their cardio to burn extra calories. They use resistance exercise to reduce body fat. But some people want weight gain instead. They’re more interested in bulking up than weight loss. For this category of clients, lean bulking can help.

What Is a Lean Bulk?

Lean bulking involves eating in a way where a surplus calorie intake doesn’t increase your body fat. With a lean bulk, processed foods are limited in favor of whole foods. Thus, a lean bulk is also sometimes referred to as a clean bulk.

This approach to weight gain is the opposite of eating anything and everything in order to increase muscle size. It still involves a higher calorie count. However, each calorie is nutrient-dense versus being empty or void of nutrition. 

As an example, someone doing a lean bulk might increase calorie intake by adding more lean protein to their diet. Or they might add more complex carbs. People not following this type of plan might add more fast food or high-calorie, high-fat snacks to promote bulking. This does increase weight but it also increases body fat.

Benefits of Lean Bulking

Bulking typically involves increasing your calorie intake. This helps increase body size for people who are working on muscle growth. Lean bulking also helps increase body weight but in a healthy way.

Even if people want to get bigger, their goal is not generally to increase their body fat. What they’re really after is building muscle. They want muscle growth and increased strength. A clean bulk achieves this purpose. It promotes muscle gain without unnecessarily increasing body fat.

This is important because consuming any type of calorie with the goal of bulking can create negative results. One is a lack of energy. Eat junk food all day and you are likely to feel it in the form of fatigue. High fat, high carb meals tend to weigh you down. They make you want to sleep instead of working out, which doesn’t help if your goal is to build muscle. 

Not paying attention to the type of food you eat when bulking can also hurt your physical health. If your diet is high in saturated fat, for instance, the American Heart Association warns that it can raise your “bad cholesterol” levels. This puts you at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Conversely, following a diet high in healthy fat food sources has the opposite effect. The Mediterranean diet is a good example of this. This diet includes higher fat foods such as nuts, olives, and olive oil. And research has connected this diet with many positive benefits. Among them are improvements in blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation.

A Lean Bulk Meal Plan: Counting Calories and Macros

Part of following a lean bulking meal plan involves keeping your total daily calorie intake within a desired range. How many extra calories do you need to gain weight

Take the calorie intake needed to maintain your current body weight and add 300. If you have stayed at the same body weight eating 2,000 calories per day, for example, increase your daily calorie count to 2,300. If you’re maintaining your weight by eating 2,800 calories per day, aim for 3,100.

Tip: If you’re unsure how many calories are needed to maintain your body weight, first calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Then add how many calories you expend daily based on your activity level. This provides a rough estimate of your maintenance calorie intake.

You might do this by adding one or two snacks to your daily meal plan. Or you could increase the size of your meals, increasing the number of calories each one provides. Realistically, 300 extra calories aren’t a lot. Keeping track of your calorie count makes it easier to not ramp up your intake too much.

It’s also important to recognize that everyone is different. So, a 300-calorie increase is just a starting point. See how your body responds and increase or decrease intake as needed. Through trial and error, you can find the best calorie intake for muscle growth without increasing body fat.

Another part of a lean bulking meal plan involves counting your macros. Paying attention to your intake of protein and carbs, specifically, helps ensure that you get the nutrients needed to best support muscle growth. Let’s go into each now.

Ideal Protein Amount for a Clean Bulk

Protein is the building block of muscle. Getting enough in your diet helps promote the growth of lean muscle. It does this by helping repair muscle tissue after a tough workout. Through muscle protein synthesis, the body creates more muscle protein. This, in turn, makes it easier to build muscle. Adequate protein intake is also good for boosting energy. 

Typically, it is recommended that people consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This equates to roughly 0.36 grams of protein per pound. Athletes and active people generally need a higher protein intake, or between 1.2 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. 

When lean bulking, aim for around 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is approximately 0.7 to 1.0 grams per pound.

Space your protein intake throughout the day for the best effect. According to research, the body can only utilize so much protein at a time. So, if your target consumption is 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, try to eat 0.4 grams per kilogram of body weight at each of four meals. If your goal is closer to 2.2 grams per kilogram per day, you would need 0.55 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight at each of these meals.

Healthy lean protein options include chicken, fish, turkey, cottage cheese, and eggs. You can also increase your intake with high-protein snacks. This helps keep your hunger satisfied while providing the nutrients needed to grow muscle mass. Nuts, Greek yogurt, and protein shakes are all healthy, protein rich snacks.

Ideal Carbohydrate Intake When Lean Bulking

In addition to protein intake, finding the right carb intake is important as well. Carbs help build muscle by giving you the energy needed to power through your workouts. They also keep the muscle from breaking down as they supply the glycogen used for energy, stopping the body from trying to pull energy from muscle instead.

When bulking, carbs should account for about 40% of your total calorie intake. Depending on your weight, this equates to roughly 4 to 7 grams per kilogram of body weight daily. 

The main thing to remember when meeting your carb intake is to focus on consuming nutrient-dense options. This includes oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, and fruit. Stay away from processed carb choices such as cookies, crackers, and chips. 

Increase your carb intake before workouts to supply the energy needed to work on building muscle. Increase your carb intake post-workout to support muscle recovery.  

Additional Ways to Gain Weight in a Healthy Way

Following a lean bulking meal plan can help you gain weight while boosting muscle mass. And it does it without promoting weight gain in the form of fat. Other strategies good for increasing weight and muscle building at the same time include:

  • Eating frequent meals. Typically, a weight loss diet involves reducing the number of times you eat throughout the day. When the goal is weight gain, it’s best to eat more often. This helps you get the calories and macros needed to support this goal. 
  • Using a mass gainer. Counting macros isn’t for everyone. To increase weight and muscle mass without getting bogged down with the numbers, you might want to consider a mass gainer. These often supply a large amount of both protein and carbs. This helps you meet your daily needs without trying to redo your entire meal plan.
  • Paying attention to timing. Notice how you feel after eating and how this impacts your workouts. You might find that having a certain amount of protein or carbs before working out makes it easier to push through. Or maybe a certain amount after working out helps reduce soreness while also building muscle. This helps identify the right diet makeup for you.
  • Spending more time on weights. Build lean muscle and you will gain weight. So, spend more time in the weight room when bulking up. Strength training also helps lose weight in the form of fat. This provides a firmer physique when working on your weight gain.
  • Monitoring your results. When trying to lose weight, the scale can help monitor your results. If the goal is weight gain, the scale can help with this too. It’s also helpful to take muscle measurements. This tells you whether your bulking plan is working or if needs to be modified. You may need to change your diet to get better results. 

How Long Does It Take to Gain Weight and Muscle When Bulking?

Gaining weight isn’t too difficult and can occur fairly quickly. A few simple changes to your diet can cause you to start to gain weight almost immediately. It may not be as fast as the weight gain that occurs with an unhealthy diet, but it likely won’t be particularly slow either.

Bulking, on the other hand, takes more time. When bulking, expect to not see lean muscle gains for one to two months. Though, it could take several more months before really increasing muscle strength or size. Your results depend, in part, on how much and how hard you exercise. 

4 steps to proper nutrition for muscle building

Next to the workout plan, the appropriate diet is one of the most important factors in building muscle and is key to achieving your personal training objectives.

In order for your diet to complement and support your muscle building efforts, there are a few things you need to check and determine in advance.

1st Step: Determine your body type

The diet that is going to help you achieve the best results in terms of muscle building greatly depends on your body type. In weight training, we generally distinguish between three body types:

The ectomorph body type

(Hard gainer): The body is usually petite with long limbs, a low percentage of body fat and slow weight gain.

The endomorph body type

(Soft gainer): A round physique, fat deposits are quickly gained around the waist, hips and thighs. Wide hips, particularly in women. Slow metabolism, but fast development of muscle mass and fat deposits.

The mesomorph body type:

Athletic body with broad shoulders, powerful arms and legs and a slender waist. High muscle mass, usually very athletic. Rapid success when building muscle.

The body types differ in terms of muscle mass, tendency to put on weight and general structure. However, not all people can be specifically typified – these are mixed types.

2nd Step: Proper nutrition & training for your body type

The ectomorph body type/hard gainer

Training: The focus should be on weight training, because calorie consumption is very high during endurance training.

Ideally, this body type should concentrate on increasing muscle mass and flexibility. However, caution is advised. Ectomorphs become over exercised very quickly.

Nutrition: Carbohydrate-heavy nutrition. A calorie surplus is needed to build mass.

The diet should consist of plenty of protein and good fats, and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, too.

The mesomorph body type

Training: Emphasis should be placed on flexibility training for the muscles. This body type is quick to see good results in terms of building strength, but tends to have shorter muscles and tendons.

Nutrition: Carbohydrate-heavy diet during the day, reduced carbohydrate consumption in the evening. The diet should consist of plenty of protein and good fats, and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, too.

The endomorph body type/soft gainer

Training: A combination of weight training for muscle building and endurance training to combat excess weight and fat deposits. The endomorph body type regenerates quickly from exertion.

Nutrition: Disciplined nutrition is particularly important, a diet low in carbohydrates and fat. However, this body type needs a lot of protein for muscle building, as well as plenty of fruits and vegetables. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, too.

3rd Step: The correct macro nutrient ratio

When trying to build muscle, it is particularly important to regularly consume much needed macro nutrients like high-quality proteins, complex carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Only a regular supply of protein can permanently boost protein synthesis for muscle building and keep the amino acid concentration in the blood consistently high.

In addition to macro nutrients, you also need to regularly consume vitamins and minerals.

Protein: Essential muscle building component

When building muscle mass, a high-protein diet is needed to support the body after exercise and during regeneration.

Proteins basically consist of various essential and semi-essential amino acids like leucine, valine and isoleucine.

We recommend a combination of animal and plant sources. Suitable natural foods include lean meats and fish, low-fat dairy products, eggs, legumes and soya.

Recommended: 2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight daily.

Red meat, which contains a lot of creatine, is especially popular in muscle building diets. Protein products like protein shakes can be used as diet supplements.

Whey Protein – the classic

For: Quick supply of nutrients
Characteristic: Quick metabolic availability
When: Ideally right after your workout

3k Protein – the all-rounder

For: Quick & long-term supply of nutrients
Characteristic: Optimised protein combination
When: Perfect after an evening workout

Carbohydrates: Fuel for your muscles

Complex carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your muscles. Only with a sufficient carbohydrate intake can you maintain permanent progression (consistent weight increase).

If you consume more carbohydrates than you need, your muscles store the remaining sugar in the form of glycogen. During intense workouts in particular, your body can tap into these energy reserves.

Recommended: 3-4 g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight daily.

Primarily whole grain products, potatoes, brown rice and oatmeal should be included in your nutrition plan for muscle building.

Short-chain carbohydrate compounds such as glucose should be avoided, as these raise blood sugar levels very quickly.

Fats: quality not quantity

In addition to carbohydrates and proteins, a good supply of healthy fats plays an important role in a muscle building diet.

Certain body functions like the release of testosterone and hormone production require valuable fatty acids.

Unsaturated fatty acids from plant oils (flax oil, organic coconut oil), fish (cod, salmon), avocado and walnuts are ideal.

Recommended: 1 g fat per kilogram of body weight daily.

4. Calculate your personal macro nutrient ratio

Your goal

Muscle buildingMuscle definitionShapeMaintain weight

Your calorie requirement

Your calorie requirement kcal*Calculate nutrient distribution

5th Step: 8 rules for proper muscle building nutrition

Rule number 1: You need to eat at least 6 meals a day!

Muscle building means a calorie surplus. Eat at least 6 small meals a day.

Try and eat something small every 2 to 3 hours. A regular intake of calories prevents the body from going into catabolic (breakdown) mode.

Your blood sugar levels and metabolism remain at a constant high to ensure that your mental and physical performance does not drop.

Rule number 2: Avoid simple carbohydrates

Avoid simple carbohydrates: Often known as bad carbohydrates, e.g. the sugar in fruit juice and honey.

A nutrition plan for muscle building should always focus on the supply of complex carbohydrates.

These carbohydrates are processed slowly, keeping blood sugar levels stable and supplying the body with energy long-term.

Rule number 3: Balanced meals with proteins and carbohydrates

It is important to get the right balance of nutrients in your meals. Make sure that each meal consists of high-quality carbohydrates and around 30g of protein.

Whole grain products, oatmeal and rice are ideal. Get your protein from chicken, beef, fish and eggs.

Rule number 4: Essential fatty acids are your secret weapon

A healthy diet for muscle building should be supported with essential fatty acids.

Too many of the bad fats will lead to a decline in physical and mental performance potential long-term.

Valuable fatty acids can be found in olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and low-fat fish.

Rule number 5: Nutritional supplements for muscle building

As part of your recommended diet for muscle building, proteins, carbohydrates and fats, as well as dietary supplements play an important role.

An additional intake of dietary supplements can optimise muscle building processes. We recommend the following products:

  • Whey Protein: Protein for energy in the muscles
  • Creatine Powder: For even better athletic performance and effective workout
  • L-glutamine: For effective regeneration and recovery processes

Rule number 6: Pre & post-workout meal

Your energy reserves need constant replenishment before and after exercise to give you enough energy during your workout and after.

Pre-workout meal: A pre-workout meal should consist of complex carbohydrates and protein.

A combination of 300g of quark with 100g of berries about 1 hour before your workout is ideal.

This equates to about 250 kcal, 2g fat, 21g carbohydrates and 37g protein. A quick alternative is a protein shake with whey protein and a banana.

Post-workout meal: After your workout, your energy stores need quick and effective replenishment to prevent nutrient deficiencies and loss of muscle mass.

Your body needs a sufficient supply of protein and fast carbohydrates within 30 minutes of completing a workout.

Post-workout meals like a homemade shake made of quark, bananas and milk, offer a quick supply of energy.

A protein shake with fruit juice and a banana is a suitable alternative.

Another meal 60-90 minutes after exercising is a good idea if you are on a protein-rich muscle building diet.

This meal should consist of high-quality protein sources like low-fat fish, meat or egg whites, as well as complex carbohydrates from whole wheat pasta, potatoes or oatmeal, etc.

Rule number 7: Don’t forget to stay hydrated

The ability for your muscles to regenerate effectively is promoted by a sufficient intake of fluids.

Regardless of your goals – whether you’re trying to build muscles or define them – water is THE nutrient for your body. Drink 2 to 3 litres a day.

We recommend 1 litre more on workout days to compensate for the fluid lost during exercise.

Rule number 8: Say goodbye to hunger pangs

A well-planned muscle building diet usually includes the required amount of daily calories. Without a calorie surplus, your muscles cannot grow consistently.

Avoid hunger pangs: Eat a meal as soon as you get hungry.

Tip: A protein shake before bed promotes the regeneration and growth of your muscles.

6. Muscle building nutrition: helpful PDF templates

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