Greater strength and endurance can be achieved through physical training but this procedure must always be accompanied by a diet to increase muscle mass. 

Thus, following a diet to increase muscle mass is essential because only with physical training it is not possible to achieve the goal. Carbohydrates as a source of energy for muscle tissue, also essential to increase the working capacity of muscles in anaerobic conditions.

The important thing in a diet to increase muscle mass is to ensure the body the necessary proteins, carbohydrates, fats and calories. Not just any nutrition plan will give the results sought by men and women who want to increase their muscle mass, so taking into account certain information in this regard is essential.

What is the diet to increase muscle mass

Muscle mass is the volume of total body tissue that corresponds to skeletal muscle whose functions are to perform different body movements and maintain posture.

Chicken, turkey, tuna, egg white as well as legumes, nuts, pasta, bread and whole grain rice, should be part of the diet to increase muscle mass. But how? Preparing them boiled, baked, steamed, in papillote or grilled, is another of the most frequently asked questions.

Well, next we will do a complete development of all the necessary information to carry out an eating plan to gain muscle mass by consuming more calories than are burned, because those extra calories will be the essential fuel for the muscle to grow.

How to do the diet to increase muscle mass

There are different diets to increase muscle mass according to the time of training and the phase (volume, definition, maintenance) of bodybuilding that you want to perform. Therefore, there is no single formula to implement this type of diet, but it is necessary to adapt it to the particular needs and training schedules of each one.

In this type of diet it is necessary to distribute the meals throughout the day, a good trick that helps to achieve a constant flow of nutrients in the muscle tissues, but it is also important to add foods that are naturally more dense in calories because with this success is assured.

To follow a diet to increase muscle mass, it is necessary to have constancy because there is an adaptation period that, once overcome, allows you to continue with the nutritional plan and check the changes daily in the mirror.

What to eat on the diet to increase muscle mass

The correct way to implement a diet to increase muscle mass is to implement an eating plan whose objective will be to help generate muscle tissue while minimizing the risk of accumulating fat.

The most reliable plan to gain muscle mass will always be one that is adapted to each person and made based on weight, sex, age and level of physical activity. In addition, the distribution must be correct taking into account the caloric and nutritional requirement.

Before commenting on what to eat on a diet to increase muscle mass, it is necessary to design a comprehensive plan that includes adequate physical training to produce “micro-tears” and also to rest properly, because only in this way are cortisol levels lowered and the growth of muscle tissues.

If you want an increase in muscle mass without using supplements and without accumulating body fat, it is important to clarify that the diet will make you gain weight gradually and slowly, therefore patience should be part of the plan.

The caloric increase must be done slowly so as not to store body fat and therefore it will be key to include a correct macronutrient distribution, consume quality fats such as olive or avocado oil and daily proteins that will range between 1.8 to 2.5 grams per kilo of weight.

It will also be necessary to consume carbohydrates, which have the important characteristic of being converted into energy in a faster way than fats. The recommended carbohydrates are:

  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Tubers
  • Nuts.
  • Rice (only when it is difficult to reach a caloric surplus).

Distribution of macronutrients in the diet to gain muscle mass

Making an appropriate distribution of the macronutrients is essential in any diet to gain more muscle, since otherwise there is a risk of not making the muscles grow and accumulating fat.

Depending on the type of metabolism, the distribution of macronutrients will be different:

Metabolism boards

A slow metabolism is generally prone to storing fat and therefore the balance will be in consuming:

  • Protein: 3 grams for every kilo of body weight.
  • Fat: 1 gram for every kilo of body weight.
  • Carbohydrates: complete the rest of the calories.

fast metabolisms

This metabolism generally loses fat faster and therefore the proportions will be:

  • Protein: 2.7 grams per kilo of body weight.
  • Fat: 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight.
  • Carbohydrates: They complete the rest of the calories.

Balanced metabolisms

These are naturally athletic bodies that need the following proportions:

  • Protein: 2.7 grams per kilo of body weight.
  • Fat: 0.9 grams per kilo of body weight.
  • Carbohydrates: They complete the rest of the calories.

Note: During the rest days in training you can choose to reduce carbohydrates and thus stimulate the use of fats and burn them more quickly.

Diet foods to increase muscle mass

A correct caloric intake will be key in a diet to increase muscle mass, therefore, each day you should consume an excess of between 300 and 500 calories.

Foods to include in the diet to increase muscle mass

  • Eggs : A source of high quality protein, the egg also contains vitamins.
  • Oats : It is recommended to include oatmeal for breakfast as it contains high biological value protein, fat, potassium, calcium, sodium and vitamins of group B.
  • Chicken breast : This food provides 30 grams of protein per 100 grams. consumed, in addition to containing 120 calories.
  • Red meat : Contains protein and a high index of natural cretaine.
  • Tuna : Provides proteins, Omega 3 and is metabolized efficiently.
  • Nuts : The best ones to increase muscle mass are walnuts, sunflower seeds, and almonds.
  • Sweet potato : Excellent food to gain muscle mass, it is a carbohydrate with a low glycemic index of slow absorption.
  • Brown rice : This cooked food provides the body with three grams of fiber and seven grams of protein for each cup.
  • Fruits and vegetables : Source of antioxidants, both fruits and vegetables provide the body with nutrients such as vitamins E and C as well as beta-carotene. 
  • Low-fat milk and cheeses : They contain little fat and provide the body with different essential nutrients for the growth of muscle mass.
  • Yogurt : It should be included in the diet for muscle growth as it helps increase the benign bacteria found in the digestive tract, promoting the digestion of proteins.
  • Soy Protein : A food known for its excellent properties that allows it to substitute red meat, as well as all kinds of legumes.
  • Quinoa : A novel food that provides 14 grams of protein per 100 grams, in addition to essential amino acids.
  • Whey protein : A supplement that provides the body with a good amount of protein quickly.
  • Healthy fats : They play an important role in the production of hormones such as growth hormones and also testosterone, responsible for increasing muscle and strength. Healthy fats are “polyunsaturated and monounsaturated” found in fish such as salmon and green leafy vegetables, nuts, avocado, and olive oil.

Variants of the diet to increase muscle mass

There are different variants of the Diet to increase muscle mass and this particularity is because each plan must adapt to the physical training schedules but they are also different in the case of men and women.

Let’s see then the different Diets to increase muscle mass according to the training schedule:

Diet increase muscle mass – morning workout

Designed for those who do their physical training in the middle of the morning. The diet seeks to optimize the results to the maximum and its basic principle is to eat at least 5 daily meals, three main ones and 2 auxiliary snacks.

Organize the time and have breakfast 10 minutes after getting up, have lunch at noon and dinner between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

In between the main meals, two snacks should be taken, one in the middle of the morning and the other in the afternoon. In addition, an additional snack should be added 20 minutes after performing the exercises for muscle growth and can be a banana or low-fat yogurt.

Example of a diet to gain muscle mass (morning training)


  • 2 whole eggs, white and yolk, plus 3 additional whites.
  • 4 slices of whole wheat bread spread with low-fat cheese and tomato.
  • 1 fruit or a glass of natural fruit juice.

Mid morning and snack

  • 1 cup of cereal with banana and skim milk, or 1 serving of grilled chicken, and 1 cup of oatmeal.


  • 1 serving of fish or chicken.
  • 300 grams brown rice
  • 1 serving of salad.
  • 1 fruit or natural fruit juice.


  • 1 serving of chicken, meat or fish
  • 1 serving (300 g) of legumes with rice
  • 1 banana
  • 1 glass of skim milk

After training

Wait 20 minutes and eat 1 whole banana and a handful of almonds.

Note: In addition to meals, it is necessary to consume a good amount of water to keep the body well hydrated, at least one and a half liters of water per day, not only before during and after exercising, but throughout the day .

Diet increase muscle mass training – night

And for those who train at night, the diet to gain muscle mass is a little different from that of those who exercise in the morning.

It continues to be made up of breakfast, lunch and dinner and two meals or snacks, one at mid-morning and the other at snack time, eliminating the banana and almonds after 20 minutes of finishing the physical exercise. 

Example of a diet to gain muscle mass (night training)


  • 80 grams of oatmeal with skimmed milk.
  • 1 glass of orange juice

Mid morning and snack

  • 100 grs. whole wheat pasta.
  • 100 grs. of roasted chicken breast.


  • 300 grams of cooked potato.
  • 200 grams of octopus with a drizzle of olive oil and paprika.
  • 1 slice of watermelon.


  • Salad of: lettuce, tomato, onion, natural tuna and natural corn, lined with olive oil and vinegar.
  • 50 grams whole wheat pasta.
  • 1 boiled egg.
  • 1 apple.

Diet recipes to increase muscle mass

Egg tortilla

Ideal for breakfast, this whole egg whites omelette is very easy to prepare.


  • 2 whole eggs.
  • 3 Egg whites.
  • Olive oil


In a bowl, place the eggs and whites, beat everything for a couple of minutes and place in a hot pan that will have previously been brushed with a little olive oil.

When the eggs have set a little, turn the omelette, cook for a minute and serve.

Pre-workout and post-workout shake 

A delicious fruit smoothie to gain muscle mass. It is recommended to take this shake before going to the gym and just after finishing the training, as it serves to recover the wear generated during physical exercise and give the body the necessary proteins to help the muscle to reconstitute itself.


  • 250 ml of milk.
  • 100 ml of ricotta.
  • 1 banana.
  • 80 grams fresh oatmeal.


Place all the ingredients in the blender glass and beat for 2 minutes.
Serve the shake immediately to take advantage of all its benefits.

Conclusion on the diet to increase muscle mass

We have seen through the development of this article, gaining muscle mass is relatively simple if a physical training routine is properly combined with a good balanced diet.

Of course, diet will not be enough to gain muscle mass and physical exercise, but a lot of personal commitment is added to all this and if necessary the support of a coach who serves as a constant guide.

Sources and References:

  • Spanish Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics

Protein needs of athletes and dietary-nutritional guidelines for muscle mass gain

  • Dialnet Journals Theses Congresses

Orthorexia and vigor

  • Notes. Sports Medicine

Sports performance: muscle glycogen and protein consumption