T Nation

Maximum Muscle/Minimal Fat Gains


#1

My goal is to gain as much muscle as I can over the next few months, and avoid fat gain as much as possible. From September to April, I want to focus on my diet a lot more. I put the hard work into my training, as well as my diet, but sometimes I think I really need to step up my diet to make new gains.

My problem is, I never count calories. I understand counting calories isn't a necessity, but as this point I think I should consider it. I recently purchased a food scale, so maybe that will help out a bit.

I'm currently at around 230-232 @ 6'6". My body fat percentage would be roughly 10-12%. I follow 5/3/1 percentages on my main lifts, and bodybuilding assistance work. I like to stay active through the week, I lift 4 times a week (upper/lower type split) and add in 3 sessions where I focus on running/sprints, or training MMA 2-3 times a week.

This is what a typical day of meals looks like for me at the moment:

Meal 1: Pre-workout (as of right now, unless I switch workouts to evenings)
-2 eggs, 1 cup of whites, 1 cup of spinach, a pinch of low fat cheese, hot sauce, onions
-1/2 cup of oats, cinnamon, 1 Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. of natural PB (all mixed into oats)

Meal 2: Post Workout
- 2 scoops of Whey protein
- 1 banana

Meal 3:
- 1 can of tuna, 1 tbsp of light mayo, 1 cup of spinach, mustard, 2 slices of country harvest protein bread or whole grain wraps.
- 1 Greek yogurt
- 15-20 almonds... Kind of go by the handful or avocado
- 1 granola bar

Meal 4: Dinner
- lean protein source (chicken, steak, fish)
- big salad or veggies (asparagus, broccoli, etc.)
- carb source (brown rice, basmati rice, sweet potato or white)

Meal 5: Nighttime snack
- 1 whole container of 1% low fat low sodium cottage cheese (sometimes just half the container)
- 2 heaping tbsp of natural PB

I also get in about 1.5-2 gallons of water daily.

From what you seein my current diet, what should I add or take away if I want to gain muscle with minimal fat gains? Meal 3 needs to change up because tuna is making me sick... Haha I don't eat tuna daily, but definitely 5 times a week.

Any advice would be great guys!


#2

Seriously. Peri workout is the bridge. Works wonders.


#3

[quote]JFG wrote:

Seriously. Peri workout is the bridge. Works wonders.[/quote]

Hmm, very interesting articles. I’ll have to read through them. But besides that, I honestly wonder if I’m getting enough calories and the right nutrition in my diet right now. I may really have to start tracking how much I eat, and how many calories I’m currently taking in.


#4

I see nothing out of the norm. Hell, you mentioned veggies and most people don’t mention them when they write their diet. So kudo’s.

In all honesty, no one can answer that but you. Are you recuperating? Are you gaining without going nuts? How is your mood? Happy, depressed, neutral… How are the bowels? Is the diet causing everyone one around you grief? Is your program in line with your goal?

Question: Are you following 5/3/1 or an Upper/Lower split?

But seriously, ditch the post workout and look into peri workout. Your body will thank you.

The rest looks fine to me.


#5

[quote]JFG wrote:
I see nothing out of the norm. Hell, you mentioned veggies and most people don’t mention them when they write their diet. So kudo’s.

In all honesty, no one can answer that but you. Are you recuperating? Are you gaining without going nuts? How is your mood? Happy, depressed, neutral… How are the bowels? Is the diet causing everyone one around you grief? Is your program in line with your goal?

Question: Are you following 5/3/1 or an Upper/Lower split?

But seriously, ditch the post workout and look into peri workout. Your body will thank you.

The rest looks fine to me.[/quote]

I’m following 5/3/1, but lift four times a week, two days upper body focused (bench, OHP) and two lower body days (squats, deadlifts).

As for my diet, I feel pretty good. At times, I think I may need to play around with it and eat a little more. I definitely need to swap out tuna for chicken or another fish. Meal planning would probably help me out a lot too. Slow cook a bunch of chicken, throw veggies, sweet potato or rice in Tupperware, bam! Haha I feel if I plan a couple of days ahead, it would help me out.


#6

Your food choices do look pretty sound. I hear you about counting calories, it is a monumental pain and I couldn’t do it religiously. What I do, however, is select a few diet staples. For me, that’s mainly carb sources, being steamed rice and sweet potato. I’ll weigh these to get an idea of, e.g. what 50g CHO looks like in rice or potatoes. Then when I’m loading the rice cooker, or buying my sweet potatoes, I have an idea of what size to select. You can do this for your bananas, avocado, almonds, oats, etc.

I find stuff like nut butter harder to judge and I wouldn’t want to mess about trying to weigh it. However, it is calorie dense so it makes sense to get an estimate of it. A heaped tbsp. is about 15g, so you can work from that. I’m less concerned about measuring protein unless it’s something simple like eggs or protein powder. Portion size is good enough here to estimate intake.

As others posts say, the workout period is an ideal time to add some quality carb sources. This could be as simple as a scoop or two of cyclic dextrin (your scales will confirm what this weighs). Your training programme again looks sound to me (weights and martial arts are my own passion too). I think if you can stay pain free, train consistently, your diet and recovery is in check, you do notice major improvements in all round athleticism in a relatively short period, and generally can’t go too far wrong.


#7

[quote]JamesBrawn007 wrote:
Your food choices do look pretty sound. I hear you about counting calories, it is a monumental pain and I couldn’t do it religiously. What I do, however, is select a few diet staples. For me, that’s mainly carb sources, being steamed rice and sweet potato. I’ll weigh these to get an idea of, e.g. what 50g CHO looks like in rice or potatoes. Then when I’m loading the rice cooker, or buying my sweet potatoes, I have an idea of what size to select. You can do this for your bananas, avocado, almonds, oats, etc.

I find stuff like nut butter harder to judge and I wouldn’t want to mess about trying to weigh it. However, it is calorie dense so it makes sense to get an estimate of it. A heaped tbsp. is about 15g, so you can work from that. I’m less concerned about measuring protein unless it’s something simple like eggs or protein powder. Portion size is good enough here to estimate intake.

As others posts say, the workout period is an ideal time to add some quality carb sources. This could be as simple as a scoop or two of cyclic dextrin (your scales will confirm what this weighs). Your training programme again looks sound to me (weights and martial arts are my own passion too). I think if you can stay pain free, train consistently, your diet and recovery is in check, you do notice major improvements in all round athleticism in a relatively short period, and generally can’t go too far wrong.[/quote]

Awesome response! Thank you, man!


#8

In my opinion if you are serious about body composition progress and really want to minimize fat gain while promoting muscle growth, you should count calories / macros every day. I resisted doing this for many years because of the annoyance factor but when I started I got used to it pretty quickly, and my progress has been better (and more measurable) since. I suggest googling “barbell medicine to be a beast” and reading that article – it was a big help to me.


#9

[quote]craze9 wrote:
In my opinion if you are serious about body composition progress and really want to minimize fat gain while promoting muscle growth, you should count calories / macros every day. I resisted doing this for many years because of the annoyance factor but when I started I got used to it pretty quickly, and my progress has been better (and more measurable) since. I suggest googling “barbell medicine to be a beast” and reading that article – it was a big help to me.[/quote]

Exactly. I haven’t counted calories for years; I’ve made progress, but I feel if I counted, I’d make more gains. I’ll give that article a read, thanks!


#10

[quote]craze9 wrote:
In my opinion if you are serious about body composition progress and really want to minimize fat gain while promoting muscle growth, you should count calories / macros every day. I resisted doing this for many years because of the annoyance factor but when I started I got used to it pretty quickly, and my progress has been better (and more measurable) since. I suggest googling “barbell medicine to be a beast” and reading that article – it was a big help to me.[/quote]

That was a good read. Cheers mate.