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How to Eat to Gain Muscle – The Dieting Principles I used to pack on 65 lean pounds

The Diet I Used To Gain 65lbs Revealed!
Now, before we get started I’ve got to tell you something important.

The exact quantities of food I ate is irrelevant, I’m not going to tell you how many grams of chicken breast I ate or how many scoops of protein I took after my workout.


Because I don’t want you to copy my diet – not because I’m selfish, but because…

My diet will not give you the same results it gave me.


If you’re one of those kids browsing interviews of fitness models on popular bodybuilding sites, copying their diet and expecting the same results let it be known that you’re setting yourself up for failure (chances are you’ll be consuming far more calories than you need, resulting in excess fat gain).

It’s like walking in to a tailor and asking to buy the exact same suit that the last guy that walked out of there had.

It may be a nice looking suit, but it won’t fit you, it was tailored for someone else.

The smart thing to do would be to choose a similar style, but have it tailored to fit you.

Allow Me To Teach You How To Build The PERFECT Diet For Your Bulking Phase...

First of all, we need to determine your caloric intake based upon your current:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Age
  • Activity level
See also
Goal Based Calorie Consumption – Part 1

Plug these details into the calculator here:

Calorie Calculator

Now, write down your maintenance caloric intake, in the screenshot above displays that in order to maintain my current physique e.g. no fat loss, no mass gain.  I need to eat 3355 calories every 24 hours to maintain.

Many of you may have gotten this far before, plugging a few stats into a calculator isn’t rocket science, but here’s the part most possible don’t take into account.

These calories need to be made up of the correct percentage of macronutrients.

Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fat.

I have experimented with different percentages.

40:40:20 has worked best for me.

That means my diet contained:

40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fat.

Some people like to drop the amount of protein to 30 or 35% and increase their carbohydrate intake, I don’t.

So, for 3355 calories this means to maintain my current shape I eat:

335 grams of protein

335 grams of carbohydrates

75 grams of fat

Where did all these numbers come from?


1 gram of protein contains 4 calories

1 gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories

1 gram of fat contains 9 calories

You can then either do the maths manually to determine the amount of each macronutrient you’ll be consuming – or you can use a calculator!

See also
The 80/20 Rule Of Getting Shredded

macronutrient calculator_


Great, so now we know for sure that I need to eat 335 grams of protein, 335 grams of carbohydrates and 74 grams of fat per day (24 hour window).

Now here comes the creative part – finding foods to meet your magic caloric numbers.

My diet doesn’t really change that much from day to day, so what I like to do is find foods I’d like to eat (generally 80% of these foods will be ‘clean’ while the remaining 20% will be made up of whatever I want, provided it fits).

There’s 2 ways to go about this, you can look at the nutritional labels on the food you’re eating and create yourself a spreadsheet to keep track of your meals.

Alternatively what I’d recommend doing is using a tracking app/website such as MyFitnessPal. I don’t recommend logging everything you eat every day, that’s far too tedious.

Once you’ve entered what you’ve eaten for the first few days you’ll get a feel for the calories/protein/carbohydrate and fat content of the foods you are eating.

Like I said, my diet did not differ a great deal so once I’d found the foods that had fit I’d just go with it.

An example of the foods I like to include in my diet are:

  • Chicken breast
  • Lean beef mince
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • 2% milk
  • Oats
  • Cereals
  • Basmati rice
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Fruit (apples, bananas, mandarins)
See also
Drinking Raw Eggs: Here's What You NEED To Know

Like I said roughly 20% of the time I’d treat myself to ice cream, cookies, cakes etc.

Here’s a snapshot of my food log layout:

food logNow, the caloric intake I calculated above initially for myself is if I want to MAINTAIN my physique.

But who wants to maintain?

Stagnation is death.

How To Eat To Gain Muscle Like I Did...

Take your maintenance number of calories (in my case 3355) and add an additional 500 calories to this. I’ve found 500 to be the sweet spot surplus, weight gain will be steady while keeping additional fat to a minimum.

From my personal experience attempting to bulk on less than a 500 calorie surplus is extremely slow and is a waste of time.

Bulking on anything greater than 500 calories will have you eating more than your body can use, resulting in too much unwanted fat gain.

Keep your surplus to a steady 500 and you’ll be laughing.

When in a bulking phase I would bulk up until my body fat level reaches 13 – 14%

Want To Get Shredded? Here's What You Need To Alter In Your Diet... 


If you want to lean down and get those shredded abdominals popping you’re going to have to go into a calorie deficit – eating fewer calories than your body requires to maintain its current weight.

See also
10 Things That Should Be In Every Bodybuilders Fridge

To lose fat while maintaining as much lean muscle mass as possible I eat 500 calories below my maintenance level. In this case that’s 3355 – 500 = 28355.

With deficits greater than 500 calories weight loss will come quick, but so will muscle loss. Not to mention you’ll have an ongoing feeling of hunger and lack of concentration as you’re essentially starving your body.

Don’t do it.

When leaning out I stay in a calorie deficit for 6 – 8 weeks, no longer. Aiming for between the 7 – 8% body fat mark before recommencing another bulking phase.

That’s it, there’s no secret to dieting – the key is to tailor YOUR diet to YOU.

Now, after reading the above you’re probably thinking

"SJ, This Seems Like An Awfully Large Amount Of Work & Calculations..."

It really isn’t.

You can calculate your caloric intake based on your goal of either mass gain or shredding fat within 5 minutes.

It should only take you another 10~ minutes to find the foods to fit into your caloric and macronutrient goals.

There’s a lot of people out there that brag saying ‘I’ve never counted calories’ making it sound as if calculating your calories is either cheating or only something clinically insane people would do.

See also
5 Brain Boosting Foods To Add To Your Diet

I personally don’t believe in fasting or any type of fad diet out there, because at the end of the day it comes down to calories in vs. calories out.

Eat more than your body burns = weight gain

Eat less than your body burns = fat loss

If you’re a casual gym goer and you work out simply as a recreational activity you might not find it necessary to calculate your calories or follow my dieting principles.

But if you’re serious about wanting to transform your physique in the most efficient way possible, follow the guidelines I have laid out above.


Any Questions? Ask Away In The Comments Below!

Click here to download your free Bodyweight Barrage eBook!


Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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