bowl oatmeal

Everyone knows crushing weights won’t get you anywhere if you don’t have the right diet to match. Even if you think you’re eating all the right things, taking all the right supplements and getting all the right nutrients at the right time, there might be some adjustments you can make to reach your goals faster. That’s where we come in.

This week, Eric Falstrault, founder of BODHI Fit in Montreal, Canada, takes a look at a meal plan from Muscle & Fitness reader Jonathan Rein.

“Thought I’d share this. It needs some tweaking since I’m going for muscle gains. In terms of supplementation, I do use 1/2 scoop of Muscle Pharm Assault, 150 mg Fish Oil and a Multi-Vitamin before my workout and Glutamine both before AND after. Any tips/fixes would be great!”

Hey Jonathan, when it comes to gaining lean muscle mass, many factors need to be taken into consideration such as stress, digestion, supplementation, sleep and training. Never forget that in the gym we tear up fiber and damage the muscle, so our goal is to repair and regenerate as fast as possible. Getting the right nutrients into your cells is tricky and needs will never be the same for two individuals and will change from time to time.

Breakfast/Pre-Workout:

4:00 AM

Protein Shake with:

  • 1 scoop ON 100% Whey
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed
  • 1 banana

Post-Workout:

6:45-7:00 AM

  • 4 egg whites & 1 egg
  • Cup of spinach
  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1 teaspoon of flaxseed and 1/4 cup of blueberries

Notes: The skim milk in your shake might sound like a great idea, but all the micro filtration and pasteurization of skimmed milk causes hidden digestive problems such as bloating or blood sugar problems. A study compared fat free milk with whole milk in post-workout shakes by measuring concentrations of representative amino acids in response to milk ingestion. This study found that whole milk was a better choice because the uptake of amino acids threonine and phenylalanine were greater for those who drank whole milk, thus increasing the efficiency of the available amino acids for protein synthesis. So if you can’t take out milk from your daily regimen, whole milk would be a better alternative.

I would save the shake for post-workout. After a great training session, getting nutrients into the cells fast is key for less DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and faster recuperation. A solid meal takes a bit longer to digest, thus not getting into the muscle fast enough. Switch your two first meals and get better results. Your pre-workout meal will ensure you to have steady blood sugar levels during your workout and your post workout shake will provide all the nutrients needed for tissue repair.

Mid-Morning Snack:

9:00-9:15 AM

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 large apple

Lunch:

Noon

  • 6 oz. baked salmon with field greens 
  • 1/3 cup of homemade trail mix (soy nuts, almonds, raisins, unsweetened cherries)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 pear

Mid-Afternoon Snack:

2:30 PM

  • Protein Bar (Syntha-6)
  • 1 large apple

Notes: As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but I believe that moderation is key. Even though fruits are good for you, some are a major source of fructose. Small amounts of fructose can be easily metabolized by the liver, but a higher intake will result in fat storage, which is not the kind of mass you want to gain. Research has shown that diets with higher amounts of glucose often result in visceral fat, meaning fat around the organs, which slows down the metabolism—not good for fat loss and muscle gains. Limit yourself to one piece of fruit for your post-workout meal. Choose fruits that are low on the glycemic index such as berries or red grapes. The rule of thumb for the best body composition is to limit fructose to 10-20 grams a day. One apple has about 10 grams of fructose. 

However, when you take out something of your diet, you have to add something back. Since you don’t have too much vegetables in your diet, this would be the perfect time to add them. But don’t just eat salads—go for the nutrient-dense vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, or anything that has dark green leaves. You might also consider adding color to your salads with green, yellow or red peppers.

Dinner:

5:00 PM

  • 6 oz. grilled chicken breast
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 cup of salad with raspberry vinaigrette

Before Bed:

7:30 PM

Protein Shake, consisting of:

  • 1 scoop ON 100% Casein
  • 2.2/3 cups of ice
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon fresh peanut butter

FINAL NOTES:

Your diet is balanced and well timed out. If you have a steady flow of energy during the day, you are on the right track. If you have times during the day where you feel sluggish or lack focus, you might have to look back at what you ate hours before.

Your protein and fat intake seem fine, but the best way to know if you gained lean muscle mass is to have a skilled trainer take regular body fat measurements. If you know your body fat percentage, you also know how much lean muscle mass you have. You can also track if what you have been doing for the past few weeks have given you results, then you can tweak accordingly. Good luck Jonathan on your quest and keep up the great work!



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