Muscle Building Nutrition & Diet Tips for Beginner Skinny Guys

Guess what is your biggest muscle building challenge?

Training? Wrong. Supplements? Wrong again. Motivation? Its wrong and now lets stop the game!

Its Nutrition.

Muscle building nutrition is the key to build muscle mass especially for beginners and skinny hardgainers. Its a challenge because most hardgainers lack the knowledge and commitment to eating to gain muscle mass.

The BIG Nutrition Challenge

As a skinny guy I was constantly told, “To build muscle you got to eat, eat and eat some where”.

But very little real life, practical examples of eating to gain mass.

Here are the 10 most effective muscle building nutrition for beginner bodybuilders that helped me build 24 lbs of muscle mass in 15 short weeks.

Its time to surprise your gym buddies.

P.S. Do you want hard, real, nutrition facts or are you looking for short-cuts? The tips below are for serious muscle builders, people who will do whatever it takes. 


My top 10 Muscle Building Nutrition and Diet Tips for Beginner Bodybuilders


1. Eat REAL, Whole, Unprocessed Muscle Building Foods

Real foods = Real Muscle

The biggest mistake I ever made was to fall for the magic of weight gain shakes. Desperate for gaining some weight, I fell for the big guys in muscle mags who claimed to have gained X number of pounds in mere 2 weeks with these shakes.

I thought eating 3 simple meals was enough as long as I got my magic shake 2 -3 times a day. Big mistake. 

After little results I learnt that there is no replacement for real, unprocessed, whole muscle building foods. Hard fact of life!

Eating foods have unparalleled anabolic effect on muscles. Research has proven the superiority of foods over supplements every time. Within weeks of eating 3 real meals plus 3 snacks/shakes my body responded like no magic powder could make it do.

Bottomline: Eat 3 real meals a day and 3 snacks/shakes. Sounds overwhelming? Then start with 1-2 real muscle meals and build on that. 


2. Get Accurate Assessment of Your Daily Caloric Intake

This is what 3000 calories look like!

What? I got to eat so much? Most hardgainers clients have no idea what 3000 calories look like and give me this astonished look when I show them.

Before you calculate your proteins, carbs and fats, before you run to buy your supplements and before setting your foot in the gym, you need one thing. You need to calculate your total caloric intake for workout and non-workout days.

In my initial days I got obsessed with proteins. My friends called me protein boy with chicken legs. But doing so I missed the bigger picture. 

Muscle Building  = calories in vs calories out.

Yes, the source of calories matter. 1 lb potato chips is very different from 1 lb lean meat. But without sufficient daily calories, even 400g of proteins will not do them job properly as most of these proteins will be used for energy.

I have detailed how to calculate your caloric intake here, but the general rule of thumb is :

  • 18 - 20 times your total body weight OR
  • 15 - 16 times your lean body mass 

Once done, calculate how many servings of proteins, carbs and fats it means to eat the exact number of calories. Most skinny beginners HAVE NO CLUE {I too started there} what it means to eat 3000 or 4000 calories. 

Bottomline: Caloric surplus is the first key to muscle building nutrition. Get them right and you are light years ahead of other beginner bodybuilders.

Sidebar: The NNMB Muscle Program comes with a cool muscle building calorie calculator. You can choose from progressive or advanced muscle gain plans. It gives you caloric intake for both workout and non-workout days. I highly recommend the program.

Related Article: Muscle Building Nutrition


3. Get your Proteins Right - Quantity and Quality-Wise

The king of muscle building needs no introduction. 

Your muscle building efforts hinge on one key nutrient - Protein. Proteins are the bricks your muscles are built with.

And not just any proteins. You need high quality, first class proteins. 

I have shown how to calculate your protein requirements here. Get your proteins right and you will build muscle mass.

Also get complete proteins that cover all essential amino acids. Most vegetarian proteins are incomplete ones and hence second grade for building muscle mass.

Related Article: Proteins for Building Muscle Mass


4. Use the Right Fats for Fast Muscle Gains

Eat fats? No way!

We skinny guys hate to get fat. The only thing worse from being skinny is being skinny fat.

And this makes beginners scared of eating fats. Another big mistake.

Fats help build muscle in 3 ways:

  1. Good fats are essential for building anabolic hormones like testosterone.
  2. Fats are a part of your muscle cell membrane and 
  3. Fats increase your total caloric intake {see tip #1} as each gram gives 9 cool calories

Your best choice: Seafood, Fish oil and krill oil. Eat fish 2-3 times a week. Add the oils to your shakes 1-2 times a day.

Related Article: Fats for Building Muscle Mass


5. Use Workout Nutrition optimally to Jump-start Muscle Growth

Nutrient timing has taken the bodybuilding community by storm. Its backed by research that says that your nutrient sensitivity, i.e. the speed with which your body pushes nutrients into muscles to repair and grow them, can enhance protein synthesis.

The best time to use the concept of nutrient timing is around workout. Your hormones are raring to go.

Before workout or pre-workout: By the time you reach the gym, your muscles and bloodstream {not stomach} should be filled with proteins and carbs.

The well-fed trainer can out-train others by a long shot. A P + C meal 2 hours before workout or a P + C shake 30-45 mins before workout works wonders to your lifts.

You require proteins and carbs during workout for two things - energy production and to prevent muscle breakdown.

Post workout: Your hungry muscles are desperate for carbohydrates to replenish them and proteins to repair and build them.

Get a high quality post workout shake and maximise protein synthesis by 200%.

Bottomline: Get the 2 most important shakes of the day - pre and post workout and your results will take off.

Related Article: Muscle Building Shakes


6. Water is Highly Anabolic

Few of the best things in life are Free

Time for a lesson in physiology {I am a Master’s in physiology remember?}.

Hydration or increased water inside muscle cells stimulate protein synthesis in muscles. That is the principle creatine works with.

Cellular hydration signals the protein machinery of the cell to increase synthesis of muscle building proteins.

Bottomline: Drink water every hour. It may be one glass or few sips, but drink water every hour. This simple habit helped me a lot. Yes, you may have to use the washroom more often, but your amazing body adapts quickly.


7. Eat Every 3-4 hours, 5-7 times a day including shakes/snacks

Always ask yourself. Is my body in positive nitrogen balance right now? If the answer is no, its time to eat.

Eat a high protein meal and your blood amino acid level rise. Positive nitrogen balance kicks in and muscle protein synthesis begins.

Give it 3-4 hours and the amino acid pool is back to normal and thereafter it falls. Nitrogen balance becomes negative and that’s not good news for your muscles. 

Solution? Eat every 3 - 4 hours to maintain a constant supply of proteins and non-stop muscle building.

And eat more often. 5 - 7 meals a day is ideal for bodybuilding. 

My plan: 3 Meals + 2 shakes and 2 snacks 

Don’t have time? Get a smoke break err..I mean a tuna or chicken sandwich break from work/school. Now you know the true definition of commitment.

Whatever happens, during your muscle building challenge, plan where your next meal will come from and take the time to eat. Most people cannot, most people do not have the body of their either.

Is your body in positive nitrogen balance right now?


8. Eat one serving of vegetable or fruit with every solid meal

Nothing worse than a crappy bodybuilder with big muscles and highly acidic internal environment, filled with inflammation and crying with heart burns, headaches and arthritis.

Inflammation is a proven killer. Don’t just look good on the outside, build you body from inside out. How?

Add one serving of quality vegetable/fruit serving every solid meal. Or add a greens product with shakes. Not only they are anti-inflammatory, they provide with loads of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and the new kid on the block, phytonutrients.

All these pack some serious muscle mass by enhancing nutrient absorption. 


9. Add high quality supplement like whey, creatine and krill oil

You use the latest mobile or computer, then why not use the best supplement research has to offer. Supplement enhance your bodybuilding diet making it more anabolic.

Whey is recognised as the best protein {after food for me} to build muscle. Add high quality whey like Biotrust or Prograde. 

Creatine is a proven strength builder and protein enhancer. 

Krill oil is better than fish oil for providing essential fats.

Related Article: Muscle Building Supplements


10. Break all the rules - Once in a while

Me and my clients follow one simple rule. We call it the 95% rule. 

Get your nutrition right 95% of the times, meaning get right 40 of your 42 meals a week and you have done excellent.

Every week we eat 1 - 2 meals where we eat whatever we want

So do not fear those french fries o piece of cake once a week or so. Just don’t make it a habit.

Live a little. Don’t you hate those guys who eat nothing at the parties? Don’t be one of them. Also cheat meal will enhance hormones for building muscle mass. But thats for a different article.


Summary and Action Points

So there are the top 10 muscle building nutrition rules every beginner bodybuilder should follow for fast muscle gains.

I have wasted years falling for latest supplements or training tricks. Ignoring diet or a so-so diet is the single biggest reason muscle builders fail.

Don’t be one of them. You are armed with knowledge now and are years ahead of your gym buddies. Eat right and surprise them with your muscle and strength gains.


› Muscle Building Nutrition for Beginners

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