We all heard that the right diet is more important than the right workout. But as a beginner designing the right meal plan can be difficult especially when you don’t know where to start.
 
Today I will teach you the exact steps you need to follow to create a muscle building meal plan. These are simple changes to your diet that you can implement today and that will get you fast results.

1. Step: Create A Calorie Surplus

So the first and most important step is to create a calorie surplus. This means you have to eat more calories than your body burns regularly. I cannot stress this enough.
 
Most beginners, especially skinny guys just don’t eat enough. If you don’t give your body the building blocks to create more muscle tissue you can train as much as you want but won’t see any results.
 
When they hear the term calorie surplus or bulking, many people think of eating crazy amounts of food and eating ice cream all day. That’s not what smart meal planning is all about.
 
To make muscle growth happen, you only need a small calorie surplus. Usually, 10% to 15% above your maintenance is already enough. That’s 200 to 300 additional calories per day. Add these to your normal food intake and you good to go. If you don’t know how to calculate your calorie needs, check out this post on how many calories you need to build muscle.

2. Step: Set Up Your Macronutrients

Once you have your calories covered, the next step is setting up your macros, so finding out how much protein, fat and carbs you need. This is pretty straightforward and now I will just give you the ideal values for each macro. If you want to find out why the values are what they are, again check out my other posts where I explain each intake in more detail.
 
First, protein because it’s the most important macronutrient for muscle growth. The ideal range of protein intake is around 0.8 – 1 gram per pound of body weight. This will make sure your body gets all the amino acids to repair and grow muscle after your workouts.
 
Next is fat, which should make up at least 15 – 20 percent of your daily calories. This value might be a little too low for some people and you can go as high as 30 – 35%. So the overall range of your daily fat intake should be between 15% and 35% of your daily calories.
 
And lastly, fill the rest of your daily calories with carbs. That’s by far the simplest step.
 
For experienced trainees these calculations will be fairly easy but I understand that for beginners everything might be going a little too fast at this point. If you want a more detailed explanation on how to calculate your macros check out my meal planning mastery course.

3. Step: Find The Right Foods

At this point we are almost done. The last step for your meal plan is to find the right foods. How do you do this? You simply take your calories and daily macros and fill them with foods you like.
 
Designing your meal plan with foods that you like is critical to success. As the saying goes: the best diet is the one you can stick to. I could tell you to eat rice and chicken as much as I wanted, but if you don’t like them you won’t eat them.
 
Of course, that isn’t an excuse to only eat junk food. My general recommendations to dedicate 80-90% of your diet to traditional “clean” and healthy foods. For example lean meats, vegetables, whole grains and so forth.
 
And the remaining 10-20% can come from whatever foods you like as long as they fit your total daily calories and macronutrients. This makes sure you get all the nutrients your body need, but you still have 10-20% of your calories to play around with however you like.
 
What you have to understand is that your body does not analyze individual foods but your diet as a whole. You don’t need to worry about some chocolate here and there as long as it doesn’t completely throw your calorie balance off.
 
And that’s pretty much everything you need to set up an effective muscle building meal plan. Have a small calorie surplus, calculate your macros and find the right foods. Of course there are other aspects like meal timing and supplements, but as a beginner keep it simple and start with the basics.

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