T Nation

Mass Construction: Optimal Diet

Greetings all. Right now I’m putting 90% of my concentration into getting my diet where it should be. Since most of you have a lot more experience with bulking than I, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. Essentially, I’m just trying to get the most “bang for the buck” and am interested in doing anything to make my diet plan produce the most optimal results.

I’m 20 years old, currently about 5’11" at 150 lbs. Until recently, all my hard work has only paid off in the form of “slightly more defined, but still tiny, arms and chest.” With that being said, I’m obviously eager to gain some mass and I’ve got my mind set to it. I put together what I think to be a decent starting point to bulk up and have been at it for one week. I’ve managed to put on about seven pounds since last Monday which has motivated me to continue learning all that I can about more bulking techniques.

Here’s a sample daily diet. This is what I’ve been at this past week.

8:30AM - 1 scoop Optimum Whey

9:30AM - 3 whole eggs, 2 slices wheat toast, 2 tbsp natural peanut butter, 1 tablet multivitamin

11:30AM - 2 slices whole wheat bread, 2 tbsp natural peanut butter, 6 oz low-fat yogurt

Training (From 12:00 - 1:15, roughly)

Immediately post-workout - 1 scoop Optimum Whey, 1 capsule BCAA, 1 tablet creatine hydrochloride, 2 slices white bread (for simple carbs)

2:00PM - 8 oz grilled chicken breast, 1 cup brown rice, 1 medium baked potato

4:00PM - 2 slices whole wheat bread, 2 tbsp natural peanut butter, 2 oz almonds

6:00PM - 6 oz salmon, 1 cup brown rice, 1 tablet multivitamin

8:00PM - 5 oz chicken w/ 1/2 cup white rice

10:00PM - 6 oz low-fat yogurt, 1 medium baked potato

Before sleep - 1 scoop Whey, 1 tablet creatine hydrochloride

I’ve also been drinking a gallon of water throughout the day.

I’m aiming for around 3300 calories per day right now. Given my metabolic rate, I’m sure I could shoot much higher and still see very minimal fat gains, but being a classic ectomorph, I have a hard time forcing all the food down. I’m basically looking for any advice about timing of my meals in relevance to insulin sensitivity, or anything else I should be including to make the battle a little easier.

I’ve included all the necessary info I can think of, but if any more is needed, I’d be happy to include it.

Thanks in advance!

A little low on total calories, but you already said that yourself. All that protein is going to get wasted if you don’t supply your body with enough energy to actually synthesize tissue.

I would try to add a lot more fruits & veggies (also helps with your fiber intake, which is too low)

Quite carb-heavy overall, which is fine for bulking and if you can metabolize them well, but i would suggest you replace around 30% of your carb calories with fat, especially on the meals after your post W/O meal.

Whey before bed is suboptimal, since it’s a fast protein (better than nothing, but there is better choices for pre-sleep protein).

8:30AM - 1 scoop Optimum Whey

Why?
Blend it with some oatmeal or a banana. The whey is a bit flacid by itself.

How BCAA and Creatine is in these caps?

BCAA should be +20g per day if you are going to take it.

Drop the baked potatoe, use it’s kcals at 0830, from the last meal and add some fibrous veggies

Before sleep should be Cassein/Cottage cheese for optimum but if you can’t afford it whey is fine.

Why white rice when you are having brown rice earlier? Eating one sort will be cheaper in the long run, I would err towards white since it’s cheap and you can eat more on a bulk since it has less fibre, which you’ll make up in the veggies.

You wan’t complex carbs post workout, either add in some oatmeal or make it wholemeal bread.

Take some fish oil, about 5 caps per day although there is not limit (1 cap = 1g of fat) as well you want to have minimum 18% DHA and 22% EPA caps.

Thanks for the replies.

I used to use casein before sleeping like it was a ritual but right now I’m lacking the funds to keep buying two kinds of powder on a consistent basis.

The only reason I’m not adding anything to my early morning shake is because I find it sits in my stomach very harsh being the first thing I consume waking up. That’s why I give myself an hour until I eat the first real meal of the day, and even then, I can’t stomach too much.

I figured more veggies would be a suggestion. It’s a good one though, and I know I need more. I’ve been meaning to add a salad or two in the afternoon hours.

I suppose one main question I have is towards the conflicting advice I get as to how many calories I really need. I’ve got my maintenance calories figured out to be around 2700, give or take. I hear some people say to consume a surplus of 300-500 and start from there, then I hear others say that some “hardgainers” may need to up their intake by as much as 6000 calories a day. I understand that there’s a wide variety of genetic factors that come into the equation, but what does your guys’ experience show you?

Thanks again!

[quote]B Scott wrote:
Thanks for the replies.

I used to use casein before sleeping like it was a ritual but right now I’m lacking the funds to keep buying two kinds of powder on a consistent basis.

The only reason I’m not adding anything to my early morning shake is because I find it sits in my stomach very harsh being the first thing I consume waking up. That’s why I give myself an hour until I eat the first real meal of the day, and even then, I can’t stomach too much.

I figured more veggies would be a suggestion. It’s a good one though, and I know I need more. I’ve been meaning to add a salad or two in the afternoon hours.

I suppose one main question I have is towards the conflicting advice I get as to how many calories I really need. I’ve got my maintenance calories figured out to be around 2700, give or take. I hear some people say to consume a surplus of 300-500 and start from there, then I hear others say that some “hardgainers” may need to up their intake by as much as 6000 calories a day. I understand that there’s a wide variety of genetic factors that come into the equation, but what does your guys’ experience show you?

Thanks again![/quote]

If your stuck on having a liquid first meal try this:
1 or 2 scps protein
1 banana
natty PB (2 tbsp)
Blend.

More fruits more veggies. Less bread–More rice/oatmeal instead. If you’re okay with that much carbs, then keep doing what your doing. But replacing some of those calories with healthy fats would be good, as someone said above.

My advice is to stop thinking about this so much. You weigh 150lbs, and you are majoring in the minors so to speak.

Your first priority should simply be to gain a significant amount of weight, and it just isn’t necessary to be this critical.

If you naturally have a hard time gaining weight anyway, why are you so concerned about gaining fat? No one is recommending you eat like a fatass, but do you think anybody has ever gotten fat bulking on a diet that revolves around red meat, protein shakes, and vegetables? Not likely.

Forget about “fat free yogurt” and get used to the idea of fried chicken and steak&eggs.

[quote]mr popular wrote:
My advice is to stop thinking about this so much. You weigh 150lbs, and you are majoring in the minors so to speak.

Your first priority should simply be to gain a significant amount of weight, and it just isn’t necessary to be this critical.

If you naturally have a hard time gaining weight anyway, why are you so concerned about gaining fat? No one is recommending you eat like a fatass, but do you think anybody has ever gotten fat bulking on a diet that revolves around red meat, protein shakes, and vegetables? Not likely.

Forget about “fat free yogurt” and get used to the idea of fried chicken and steak&eggs.[/quote]

I’m not concerned whatsoever with gaining fat. I don’t specifically buy anything “fat free” with that intention.

My priority IS to gain as much weight as possible. That’s why I’m so interested in gathering advice that will allow me to put on the most weight in the most effective manner.

It looks like you have a good base to start out with. I would kill 2 of the whole eggs, and substitute with some egg whites, as that is a lot of cholesterol. Maybe 1 whole egg with 5 egg whites for starters. Also I noticed that you don’t have any oats. Oatmeal is a great way to get calories, and complex carbs into your diet.

Also I agree with Mr Popular. Don’t over think it. Keep in mind that you want to eat a lot to grow, as long as the food is good quality and not McDonald’s.

[quote]IronScholar wrote:
It looks like you have a good base to start out with. I would kill 2 of the whole eggs, and substitute with some egg whites, as that is a lot of cholesterol. Maybe 1 whole egg with 5 egg whites for starters. Also I noticed that you don’t have any oats. Oatmeal is a great way to get calories, and complex carbs into your diet.

Also I agree with Mr Popular. Don’t over think it. Keep in mind that you want to eat a lot to grow, as long as the food is good quality and not McDonald’s.[/quote]

Thanks man.

I’ve actually got some egg whites but I stopped using them this past week because I was more concerned with getting in the calories. On that topic, what are the benefits of egg whites over whole eggs, with the exception of reduced cholesterol?

I’m not too familiar with them, but I suppose I should get to know them!

The yolk of the egg has a ton of vitamins and nutrients that your body can benefit from. The only problem is the amount of cholesterol in the yolk. Egg whites are good as a for protein without cholesterol, but don’t have the all the vitamins a yolk does.

I read that you take a multivitamin, and with the vitamins in your protein shakes you should be ok to go yolkless, or have one a day if you don’t have cholesterol problems.

[quote]B Scott wrote:
IronScholar wrote:
It looks like you have a good base to start out with. I would kill 2 of the whole eggs, and substitute with some egg whites, as that is a lot of cholesterol. Maybe 1 whole egg with 5 egg whites for starters. Also I noticed that you don’t have any oats. Oatmeal is a great way to get calories, and complex carbs into your diet.

Also I agree with Mr Popular. Don’t over think it. Keep in mind that you want to eat a lot to grow, as long as the food is good quality and not McDonald’s.

Thanks man.

I’ve actually got some egg whites but I stopped using them this past week because I was more concerned with getting in the calories. On that topic, what are the benefits of egg whites over whole eggs, with the exception of reduced cholesterol?

I’m not too familiar with them, but I suppose I should get to know them!

[/quote]

No.

This information is false.

DO NOT replace whole eggs with egg whites.

First off, at 150 lbs with a diet already too low in fat & calories, removing the yolk will slow your process.

Second, the whole story with eggs containing too much cholesterol and the consumption being related to harmfully elevated hdl/ldl levels is basically pulled out of thin air during the 60s, and has since been repeated without any study or any kind of scientific research to prove it.

Cholesterol is the basic structure for all anabolic hormones. Without it, your body can’t produce Testosterone.

http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/readTopic.do?id=1376869

Those posts in the thread you linked are great, and I’m not here to argue. I go by the nutritional information on the food I consume to count protein, calories, and carbs.

If I trust the nutritional information labels for these then I shall trust the nutritional information when it comes to fat, and cholesterol.

When I look at a carton of eggs and it says that one whole egg has 70% at 250 grams of cholesterol, I’m going to go by i’m going to trust it.

[quote]B Scott wrote:

8:30AM - 1 scoop Optimum Whey
[/quote]

(Combine your first two meals)

See Above

Not enough protien

Not enough protien. Creatine Hydrochloride? Try some Monohydrate instead; I’ve never heard anyone benifitting from tablets. Also, how many BCAA’s are in your tablet?
Ideally; you want to have as many BCAA’s around (before/during/after) your workout as you can.

Good Meal.

Not bad; still up the protien on this too.

Good Meal.

Good Meal.

A pre-bed/sleep meal should consist of some slow digesting protien (casien) but I dont’ do that; I just have whey.

Protien and fat before you go to bed. Whey, cottage cheese, nuts, cheese, olive oil…

I’d steer clear of any creatine before you go to bed. If you wanna have more then 5g/day…have it during the day.

If this were a school paper I’d give you a C+/B-. You have some good fundementals; but need to adjust a few things in order to reap the bene’s!!!

Good Luck.

Oh, also…Don’t let the initial scare of weight gain slow you down. I know that myself and a few others gained 5lbs pretty quick when starting a bulk. I thought “oh shit I’m gonna get fat!” But then calmed myself down; did some cardio and it all evened out.

Well I’ve used monohydrate in the past and didn’t see much from it. The tablets are supposed to have a major increase in dose efficiency compared to the equivalent powder so I’m giving them a try.

My meals that don’t consist of much protein are kind of “filler meals” I suppose you could say. They’re quick fixes to give me some calories but they’re only there because I’m at a loss for what else to put in their place.

I’d like to have a higher protein content but it’s a matter of me getting creative with my food choices to break up the redundancy.

After tracking my calories yesterday, realistically I’m more in the realm of 3500-3600 on average. I wouldn’t mind aiming a little higher. Also, what are some suggestions for calorie dense/high fat foods?

I’ve got the peanut butter and nuts in check but what are some other ideas? Also, when would the consumption of fats be most beneficial for someone like me?

No need for “creativity” just eat a piece of chicken, it doesn’t have to be a sit down, tuck napkin in and keep your elbows off the table-type of meal…fork + 8oz chicken into your mouth. Done.

[quote]IronScholar wrote:
Those posts in the thread you linked are great, and I’m not here to argue. I go by the nutritional information on the food I consume to count protein, calories, and carbs.

If I trust the nutritional information labels for these then I shall trust the nutritional information when it comes to fat, and cholesterol.

When I look at a carton of eggs and it says that one whole egg has 70% at 250 grams of cholesterol, I’m going to go by i’m going to trust it.[/quote]

This is irrelevant, and incorrect thinking.

Yes, it does say that it is 70%, but keep in mind that is based on a diet compose of roughly 2,000 calories… not a diet for people looking to gain muscle.

Point #2… .just because a food has cholesterol does not mean it is a bad thing. Cholesterol is needed to produce testosterone… and as you eat more cholesterol your internal organs manufacture less. There have been multiple studies conducted and people who eat whole eggs are not more likely to have heart disease. Your making general, and somewhat unsupported statements and assumptions. Eat your whole eggs. I sometimes will eat 4 a day quite frequently and my HDL is excellent, and my family has a history of heart disease. (so if eggs were so bad, my lipid profile should be out of wack)

Do some simple searching on PubMed, or read some scholarly articles if you do not believe me.

I suppose my next logical plan of action (other than simply stuffing my face) is to find more calorie dense foods to eat around the clock.

The biggest challenge for me is just overcoming my naturally small appetite. I’m trying to gradually force my mind into getting used to the extra calorie intake.

I went out and invested in some olive oil to add to my shakes, which I suppose is a start. Any other bits of advice?

[quote]B rocK wrote:
No need for “creativity” just eat a piece of chicken, it doesn’t have to be a sit down, tuck napkin in and keep your elbows off the table-type of meal…fork + 8oz chicken into your mouth. Done.
[/quote]

Damn… I’m supposed to be using a fork?

[quote]Millerizer130 wrote:
IronScholar wrote:
Those posts in the thread you linked are great, and I’m not here to argue. I go by the nutritional information on the food I consume to count protein, calories, and carbs.

If I trust the nutritional information labels for these then I shall trust the nutritional information when it comes to fat, and cholesterol.

When I look at a carton of eggs and it says that one whole egg has 70% at 250 grams of cholesterol, I’m going to go by i’m going to trust it.

This is irrelevant, and incorrect thinking.

Yes, it does say that it is 70%, but keep in mind that is based on a diet compose of roughly 2,000 calories… not a diet for people looking to gain muscle.

Point #2… .just because a food has cholesterol does not mean it is a bad thing. Cholesterol is needed to produce testosterone… and as you eat more cholesterol your internal organs manufacture less. There have been multiple studies conducted and people who eat whole eggs are not more likely to have heart disease. Your making general, and somewhat unsupported statements and assumptions. Eat your whole eggs. I sometimes will eat 4 a day quite frequently and my HDL is excellent, and my family has a history of heart disease. (so if eggs were so bad, my lipid profile should be out of wack)

Do some simple searching on PubMed, or read some scholarly articles if you do not believe me.[/quote]

Again, I’m not here to argue. In my personal experience I went through a time where money was really tight and instead of eating 10 egg whites a day I went to 5 whole eggs a day, along with a few other cut backs. I went to my doctor and my cholesterol jumped from the mid 100’s up to 230.

At the age of 27 I feared having a heart attack even though I was in better shape than I have been in my entire life. Since then I quit eating whole eggs for the most part, and my cholesterol has gone back to normal. I’m basing this off of personal experience, not to state that anyone else’s experiences or opinions are wrong.

[quote]B Scott wrote:
I suppose my next logical plan of action (other than simply stuffing my face) is to find more calorie dense foods to eat around the clock.

The biggest challenge for me is just overcoming my naturally small appetite. I’m trying to gradually force my mind into getting used to the extra calorie intake.

I went out and invested in some olive oil to add to my shakes, which I suppose is a start. Any other bits of advice?[/quote]

Developing an appetite can take some time. Every day add a few more calories to your diet, be it by a shake, or a few extra veggies with your meals, etc. Within time you will be eating more than you ever have, and growing as well.