Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand for a consistent increase in muscle mass. With the gyms closing due to the pandemic, try lifting weights at home and eating right to avoid losing muscle mass. Here is how you can fix your macros:
Calculate the Number of Calories You Need to Consume Daily
Whether you are planning on increasing your muscle mass or trying to maintain your gains, you must follow a strict calorie count for each day. In this way, you will not only have a measured balance of the macros you need but will also avoid eating excess protein – which is counter-effective. With the following formula, you can calculate the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight.
Women: 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
Men: 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
Once you have figured out the number of calories you need, the following macronutrient breakup will help you track the correct proportion of food you need to consume:
30–35% of your calories from protein
55–60% of your calories from carbs
15–20% of your calories from fat
As you can see, you need a lot of calories to gain muscle. So, stay away from slimming food like slimming milk or weight loss coffee.
Getting Your Proteins Right
Certainly, you must consume a high protein diet, coming from both plant and animal resources. More precise calculation based on your needs can be done with the following proportions:
0.37 grams per pound of body weight
1 to 2 grams per kg of body weight
Thus, if you are having three meals per day, then you must add a component of protein per meal. Plant-based protein sources include beans, legumes, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, baked beans. Animal-based proteins comprise of lean meat, poultry, fish, lean ground meat, grilled salmon and skinless chicken. Healthy protein snacks include avocado toasts, peanut butter, quinoa, tofu, low-fat dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt.
Low Glycemic Index Carbohydrates for Energy
A common misconception is that you must strictly consume protein for building muscle mass. This is untrue for the body needs instant energy for other metabolic processes which should ideally come from half of the calories you consume per day. This will allow your body to store the protein for increasing muscle mass instead of catabolizing it for energy.
Include 3-4 grams of carbohydrates per kg of your body weight, in your diet. Go for whole-grain products that have a low glycemic index and high starch content. These include brown bread, potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, lima beans, cassava, corn, green peas, and cereals.
Avoid sugary foods at all costs – these do not help cover your daily nutrient value; instead, they may give you a sugar rush and jeopardize effective workouts.
Eat Unsaturated Fats
You need 1 gram of fat per kg of your body weight every day. Good fats that are made of poly or monounsaturated chains like omega three and six fatty acids are useful for significant muscle growth. They increase the level of testosterone in men and estrogen in women – causing increased growth in muscle mass. If you’re above thirty, your hormone production significantly decreases, thus you need to customize your diet to cover this loss.
Sources of good fats include plant oils extracted from flax seeds, olives, avocado, coconut, or fish oil from cod and salmon. Your daily fat requirements must be measured from the oil you consume as well.
Being Mindful of Your Supplements, Meal Timings, and Sleep
Finally, you will effectively gain more muscle mass if you are covering your daily calories through additional supplements. Especially if you have limited resources or dietary restrictions – you can opt for supplements to meet your daily needs. Common supplements include whey protein, fish oil supplements, creatinine, and multivitamins.
Having fixed mealtimes will allow your body to metabolize your food more effectively giving you more energy and stamina while keeping your basal metabolic rate normal.
Furthermore, your sleeping schedule is important to maintain sufficient energy during exercise and for proper hormone balance. The growth hormone is released while you sleep which aids effective development and metabolism while cortisol levels are reduced, which keeps you stress-free.