What to Eat: Nutrition for Ultimate Muscle Gain


- 28 August


You’ve heard this saying time and time again: Abs are made in the kitchen.  WHY? Because the food you eat and the energy you expend complement one another.  And it takes a synergy between BOTH diet and exercise to cultivate a lifestyle that supports your goals. No matter how hard or long you train, you’re not going to build a lean, muscular physique unless you’re following the right nutrition strategy.

Whether your goal is to lose fat, gain muscle, or simply kick start your fitness journey, nutrition plays a MAJOR role in not only attaining but MAINTAINING the results you desire.

Here, we’ll be sharing the optimal nutritional approach for gaining lean muscle WITHOUT putting on additional body fat.

Calling upon the expertise of Undersun fitness founder James Grage, and fitness and nutrition expert Tyrone Bell, we’ll dive into the ideal muscle building nutrition plan that will help you reach your personal physique goals.

Read More: End your quest for a nutrition plan that works. Tried-and-true, this program is designed to help you stay lean while building muscle.

Get Lean, Build Muscle

Tyrone Bell, TA2 Fitness and Nutrition Coach

In bodybuilding, be it recreational or competitive, the ultimate goal is INCREASING muscle mass while DECREASING body fat.

To achieve this, the ideal approach must involve focused training alongside a diet plan specific to muscle building. Typically, this would include a bulking phase, followed by a bodybuilding cutting diet.  BUT, having to measure body fat and weigh food, plans like this are often very laborious and restrictive.  AND, the combination of these two phases can take several months to achieve the outcome.  Because these restrictive “diets” are not sustainable over time, many people fail when cravings hit, forcing them to continuously yo-yo.

Fortunately, gaining lean muscle mass doesn’t have to entail such extensive measures. When it comes to attaining and MAINTAINING a low body fat physique, simplicity equals success. That’s why the muscle-building meal plan we’ll be sharing is not a “diet” at all.  In fact, it’s the opposite. Easy to follow and sustainable long-term, this plan is customized to create healthy habits for beginners to experts. For men and women alike. This muscle-building strategy is ideal for anyone wondering, “what IS the best nutrition plan to gain muscle?”

Macro Breakdown: Proteins, Carbs, and Fats

Protein, carbohydrates, and fats are the building blocks that establish a healthy diet. Depending on your specific goal, the macronutrient breakdown of these three elements will change. BUT, a CALCULATED BALANCE of the three is vital to the growth and health of your body.

The most efficient way to build lean muscle through diet is following a daily nutritional approach of high protein, with a daily balanced supply of carbohydrates and good fats.

Let’s break this down even further for this muscle-building strategy:

  • PROTEINS: Protein to be evenly spread throughout meals throughout the day, keeping a stable nitrogen balance.
  • CARBS: Carbohydrate intake will change depending on needs. For example, the carb amount in post-training meals will be higher to help replace glycogen levels.
  • FATS: Dietary fats are emphasized in the first meal of the day to supply energy during a time of decreased carb intake. In subsequent meals when carbohydrates are re-introduced, fats decrease significantly.

Something to note: consuming excess carbohydrates or fats in a surplus state leads to fat gain. Excess protein, however, won’t have an effect on body composition. By holding protein as the macro bump in this muscle building nutrition plan, we can attain a controlled calorie surplus necessary for gaining muscle.

But what is a calorie surplus, anyway?

Calorie Surplus: Eating Enough to Build

A calorie surplus is required to give your body the building blocks it requires to perform new lean muscle development triggered from your training sessions. Each day, you should be eating six meals to attain a controlled calorie surplus.

It’s also important to nourish your body with a constant supply of amino acids to build new muscle, get stronger, and recover from exercise. Your daily macronutrient intake will ensure this happens when your body optimally requires it.

With this muscle-building nutrition plan, you’ll be creating an anabolic environment ideal for protein synthesis.  That means eating the right foods – in the right portions – at the right times.

If you’re going to be putting in the effort with your training, make sure it counts by putting in the same effort and consistency with your daily nutrition.

What You Should Eat

Now that we’ve covered the macro breakdown and calorie surplus, let’s look at an example of how this muscle building diet plan plays out:

  • Keep in mind that optimal calorie intake will vary from person to person based on height, weight, and metabolic specifications. For a muscle building diet plan personalized to your specific requirements, we recommend checking out TA2 LEAN BUILD Nutrition Plan.
  • Since this muscle building nutrition plan is based on James Grage’s personal diet, we’ll use his calorie and macro split values as an example. His total daily calorie intake is 2800cals.
  • With this high protein, balanced lower carbs and fats approach you’ll get the nourishment you need to power your play.

Now, let’s break these down into meals.

Muscle Building Nutrition Example Meals:


Muscle Building Meal 1: Breakfast

  • Scrambled egg whites + a side of avocado (herbs, spices, and salt and pepper can be freely)
  • Isolate Protein shake + MCT oil
  • *Carbs are not present in this meal to help promote a state of insulin sensitivity for later when carbohydrates are introduced. Fats are at their highest quantities for the day in this meal with the sources being Avocado and MCT Oil.

Muscle Building Meal 2: Post-Workout

  • Cooked Steel Cut Oats + Isolate Protein mixed through (can include 1 tbs. of flax for added fat).
  • *This meal contains the largest amount of carbohydrates for the entire day with the purpose of muscle glycogen replacement once you’ve completed your training session.

Muscle Building Meal 3: Lunch

  • Cajun Chicken Breast on a bed of cooked Brown Rice (herbs, spices, and salt and pepper can be used freely).
  • *Carbs are again present in this meal, though in a lower quantity from the previous meal. Brown Rice helps further ensure our glycogen stores are completely replaced from training. This will also provide energy over the next few hours (when we start utilizing sources of fat as fuel once more).

Muscle Building Meal 4: Mid Afternoon 

  • Grilled Steak and Green Beans with a side of Avocado
  • *High in protein along with trace fats that will help ensure satiety. Green beans are high in fiber, low in carbs and have little effect on insulin or blood sugar levels. This meal we switch back to using fats as the body’s primary fuel source. 

Muscle Building Meal 5: Dinner

  • Grilled White Fish sprinkled with Tzatziki herb mix (dried mint, mustard, garlic, cumin, and sea salt)
  • Side of pan-fried broccoli cooked in serving of Olive Oil
  • *Fibrous vegetables make up the carbohydrate component of this meal, helping to limit any insulin spike. Olive Oil is used as the fat component in this meal—it adds flavor to fibrous vegetables and allows us to cook in high heat.

 Muscle Building Meal 6: Dessert

  • Isolate Protein Powder and Natural Peanut Butter blended with ice to make a shake
  • *Natural Peanut Butter is the fat source to be used in this meal, helping slow the digestion of protein and provide more time for the body to uptake the amino acids. This slower digestion of protein also supports the body’s physiological repair and rebuilding processes during sleep.

In conclusion, a muscle building diet plan takes the right macro breakdown and intentional calorie surplus consumed at optimal times. When you pair these sustainable nutrition principles with a consistent muscle building training regimen, you will be equipped to achieve your muscle-building goals.

For more information on how to customize a muscle building diet plan to fit your personal needs, head over to our TA2 LEAN BUILD Nutrition Plan.