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Mass gain: what diet to adopt to gain muscle?

To develop muscle mass, sport is effective. But food has a role to play! This is the whole objective of what is called “mass gain”. What is this diet well known to athletes? Explanations from a dietitian and nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition.

“Weight gain”. This expression comes from the sports world, and more precisely from bodybuilding and bodybuilding. This is the phase that occurs before the cut, a diet that consists of losing fat while maintaining muscle mass just before a sports competition. Mass gain consists of increasing muscle mass in order to develop strength and size.

To achieve this, it is necessary to increase your calorie intake, while limiting bad fats and simple sugars , but also to consume more protein and to follow an adapted sports training. This is why this diet must be supervised by a health or nutrition professional.

Mass gain: how does it work?
For best results, mass gain should be done over a minimum of two to three months and can last up to a year if properly managed or supervised by a nutrition professional .

On the sport side, the training must be adapted: it must be carried out with loads and not to the weight of the body, because the fact of lifting weights stimulates the muscle fiber more significantly. This stress placed on the muscles helps them to develop.

What about food? If mass gain consists of increasing caloric intake by adding 400 to 500 kcal per day, it is advisable to avoid consuming only “pleasure” foods if they are not balanced . To promote muscle mass gain and limit fat mass gain, the quality of food must be the best possible. Protein, low glycemic index carbohydrates , good fats and fibers should be consumed as part of a mass gain.

No food is prohibited, but some are not recommended, such as foods rich in simple sugars. Some gainers, very appreciated by athletes, are part of it: if they are rich in proteins and can be effective in the context of mass gain, they often contain simple sugars appearing under different names on the body. packaging. Their consumption therefore has an impact on blood sugar : if the number of calories consumed increases, as is recommended in this diet, mass gain mainly concerns fat and not muscle.

Mass gain: what are the typical menus?
Increase your calorie intake to increase muscle mass, yes! But not just any old way. Here are some typical menus to adopt and adapt as you wish:

Breakfast :

one fruit ;
a dairy product ;
two whole eggs and three whites;
a homemade pancake with whole oat or buckwheat flour , for example.
Lunch :

a source of protein such as red meat, white meat or even fish, possibility of adding. The right amount for mass gain? 20g of meat per kilo of body weight. For a person weighing 70kg, it is therefore advisable to consume 140g of meat;
of vegetables ;
whole starchy foods, such as sweet potato, brown rice, basmati rice or even whole wheat semolina;
one fruit ;
a dairy product.

a piece of fruit before training;
a handful of oleaginous fruits and protein source like an omelet with two eggs after workout.
Having dinner :

raw vegetables with vinaigrette;
a source of animal protein, such as red meat, white meat or fish, or vegetable protein such as meatless chili or lentil dahl;
vegetables ;
a dairy product such as cottage cheese;

a serving of cottage cheese before bed for a final protein boost.
Mass gain: what are the dangers and how to avoid them?
For this diet to be effective and safe, it is advisable to be followed by a nutrition professional because when it is poorly managed, mass gain is more about fat mass than muscle mass. In question ? Athletes increase the amounts consumed during meals without monitoring the quality of nutrients. However, this aspect is essential in the context of a mass gain.

While it is advisable to increase your protein intake , it is advisable not to exceed 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. And for good reason: proteins allow muscle development but can be deleterious when consumed in too large quantities. More generally, a mass gain that is poorly managed or followed over too long a period can cause an imbalance of nutrients as well as a too high simple sugar intake, which can be at the origin of a fatty mass gain, even diabetes or cholesterol . Women must be particularly vigilant. And for good reason: their basic metabolism tends to store more fat than that of humans.

For women as for men, medical monitoring by a qualified health professional, in other words a dietitian-nutritionist or nutritionist doctor is important. It will calculate the energy needs of the patient according to his weight, height, age and level of physical activity and will thus help him achieve his goals while preserving his health. If the intervention of a sports coach is interesting in the context of a mass gain on questions relating to physical activity, the monitoring relating to diet should not be done by the latter, which has not no diploma in nutrition in his basic training.

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