If you're someone who's been putting in hours of hard work at the gym, but haven't seen the muscle growth you've been striving for, there's a good chance that the missing piece of the puzzle is in your nutrition.
Navigating the world of nutrition and fitness can be overwhelming, but don’t stress! Our team of MWU Dietitians has broken down the golden rules for nutrition and muscle growth to set you up for success on your fitness journey along with Coach Rachel Dillon's top tips and what she eats in a day.
If you've been limiting your calorie intake out of fear of gaining weight or looking bigger, you may be limiting your body's ability to build muscle. The ideal environment for our body to build lean muscle mass is a calorie surplus - where your energy intake exceeds your energy expenditure each day. While it's possible to gain muscle in a calorie deficit, it's often challenging, and typically reserved for beginners in training.
It's important to embrace the fact that getting and feeling bigger is a natural part of the muscle gain process. While you can take steps to minimize this, it can be counterproductive to your overall goal and end up stalling your long-term progress.
So, how do you know if you're in a calorie surplus? If you're aware of your maintenance calories, start by increasing your intake by 5-10%. If you're unsure of your maintenance calories, don't worry - our MWU App can calculate your Estimated Energy Requirements and provide a calorie goal for muscle gain. Use this as a base to monitor your weight and adjust your calorie intake accordingly.
After some meal inspo? Check out what Coach Rachel eats in a day when in a calorie surplus.
#2 Macro Split
Protein is a crucial nutrient for muscle growth, but you may be surprised to learn that the amount required is likely less than you think. Most research suggests that consuming anywhere between 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is sufficient for muscle growth. While consuming additional protein is not harmful, it's unlikely to have any added benefit on muscle growth itself.
When it comes to building muscle, carbohydrates are your best friend. They're your body's preferred fuel source and can help improve your performance in the gym, leading to greater gains over time.
As for fats, there's no need to drastically increase or limit your intake. For the average woman, consuming 55-70g of fat per day is sufficient.
#3 Post-Workout Meal
After a tough weightlifting session, your nutrition can be the key to unlocking your muscle-building potential. To optimize your recovery, we recommend consuming a meal or snack rich in both carbohydrates and protein within an hour of finishing your workout. This will help replenish your glycogen stores, aid in muscle repair, and promote growth.
For those who struggle with eating a full meal post-workout, a smoothie containing bananas or dates for carbs and a scoop of protein powder can be a convenient and effective alternative.
#4 Let go of your fear
As women, we have historically been predisposed to constantly strive to be smaller, so much so that the thought of gaining weight or getting bigger can be our biggest barrier. We’re here to tell you that in order to take the next steps in your muscle gain journey it’s time to let go of your fear!
Moving to a calorie surplus can provide you with so many added benefits such as improved energy levels, the ideal environment for achieving PBs, greater food flexibility and so much more.
So if you’re ready to take the next step in your muscle growth journey be sure to sign up for our brand new Build a Booty Challenge starting on the 22nd of May.