Muskelaufbau Ernährung

Muscle building: The right diet makes the difference

Is there a perfect diet for building muscle?

Trainierender Mann im Gym

Both training and nutrition are crucial if you want to succeed at building muscle. It's important to challenge your body through exercise, but without the right nutrition, building muscle mass will eventually stall: Protein-rich foods are very important for building muscle, but carbohydrates and fats are also necessary sources of energy, without which your muscles cannot function properly. If you want to build muscle, you should focus on exercising regularly and taking in more calories than you consume each day.

We have summarized for you in this guide how important the right diet is for muscle building and which foods are important for building and maintaining your muscles.


Eating for muscle building: What foods belong on the diet plan?

The perfect diet for fast muscle building contains healthy fats, carbohydrates and a lot of protein. Suitable foods therefore include lean meat, eggs, fatty fish, cottage cheese, legumes and nuts.

A healthy diet - whether for muscle building or not - should also always contain sufficient vegetables and fruit. This way, you provide your body not only with the important macronutrients, but also with vitamins and minerals.


Eiweißreiche Lebensmittel wie z.B. Fleisch

When asked which diet is best for building muscle, a high-protein diet is often recommended. Protein is the most important nutrient for muscle building - especially the essential amino acids. They cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be supplied through the diet. Essentially, the amino acids stimulate protein synthesis and thus the building of new muscle cells.

In principle, it is already possible to cover the daily protein requirement through a balanced diet. However, those who do a lot of sports or want to build muscles can supplement their diet and rely on dietary supplements such as protein shakes. Protein powder is a convenient way to increase the amount of high-quality protein that you consume daily.

Contained proteins are mainly in animal foods. However, they are also found in smaller amounts in plant-based products.

A small selection of protein-rich foods for your diet plan:

  • Eggs
  • Beans and legumes
  • Lean meat
  • Salmon and tuna
  • Soybeans and tofu
  • Turkey and chicken breast
  • Yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat or fat-free milk


Lebensmittel mit viel Kohlenhydrate

To build muscle quickly, your diet should also include healthy carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are important for providing energy during hard workouts. They are stored in the muscles as glycogen and help to keep them energized during workouts. Without enough carbohydrates, you'll have a hard time getting the most out of your workout. By eating carbohydrates before and after a sweaty session, you can quickly replenish your energy stores and boost your muscle-building potential even further.[1]

Whole foods with carbohydrates include:

  • Buckwheat
  • Legumes
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole grain bread, oats and rye
  • Whole grain pasta or rice

By the way, vegetables and fruits are also nutrient-rich sources of carbohydrates.

Healthy fats

Lebensmittel mit gesunden Fetten

The right diet for building muscle doesn't do away with fats either. While fatty acids in the diet do not play a major role in muscle building, they are important for maintaining hormonal function and a healthy immune system.[2] A fat-free diet can hinder muscle growth in a person who trains intensively.[3]

Healthy fats aren't just found in the popular olive oil, either. There are a number of other fatty foods that are suitable for both cooking and direct consumption, including:

  • Avocados
  • Dark chocolate
  • Greek yogurt
  • Nuts and chia seeds
  • Olives
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Flaxseed

Many of these foods contain a lot of high-quality protein at the same time, such as eggs or nuts.

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Muscle building tips around nutrition

For muscle building, it is important what we eat - but it also depends on how much and in what way. To help you know what to look for when planning your meals, here are our nutrition tipsaround muscle building.

Track calories

Lebensmittel beschriftet mit Kalorienanzahl

When building muscle, calorie surplus plays an important role. You need to have a positive energy balance (meaning you eat more calories than you burn) to build good muscle mass. If you burn more calories than you consume (negative energy balance) with your diet plan, your body will switch to maintenance mode and prevent new muscle growth.

To keep track of how many calories you eat throughout the day, you can track the nutritional values of your meals, for example, using an app.

Regular meals

To build muscle, your body needs regular nutrition. Eating a meal every two to three hours that contains high-quality protein and carbohydrates will provide the energy and amino acids needed for muscle growth throughout the day. It's important that each meal is about the same size. If you stuff yourself with a 1,200 calorie lunch, it's unlikely you'll eat anything two to three hours later. Then you run the risk of gaining body weight in the wrong places. This is because calories that the body can't process at a given time are often stored as body fat.

Protein shakes to supply you with protein

Erdbeer Proteinshake von ESN

Protein shakes are a dietary supplement for many people. However, protein shakes can also be used as a meal replacement. Even if your diet should be balanced, a protein shake is a good alternative at certain times. An example is the period 30 minutes before a workout. In order to prepare your muscles for the following training session and to boost the muscle regeneration process, you can drink a Whey Protein Shake, for example.

And even if you have trouble getting enough protein from food alone, you can consider supplementing your daily diet with protein shakes.

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How many calories does a healthy diet provide for muscle building?

If you want to build muscles, you have to pay attention to a calorie surplus in your diet. How many additional calories that is, depends on your individual basal metabolic rate. For many, about 300 to 500 calories more per day are sufficient in the build-up phase, and about 500 calories less per day in the fat loss phase.

How many calories you need per day depends mainly on your body weight and physical activity. To determine the basal metabolic rate or Power Metabolism to determine and thus the required amount of calories, there are different formulas and approaches.

Example of a nutrition plan for muscle building

Many people have the prejudice that the diet plan for muscle building is boring and monotonous - but this does not have to be! Here are three examples of what meals you can eat to build muscle:

Day 1:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and oatmeal
  • Snack: Low-fat cottage cheese with blueberries
  • Lunch: Meatball of venison, rice and broccoli
  • Snack: protein shake and a banana
  • Dinner: Salmon, quinoa and asparagus

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: protein pancakes with light syrup, peanut butter and raspberries
  • Snack: hard-boiled eggs and an apple
  • Lunch: steak, sweet potato and spinach salad with vinaigrette
  • Snack: Protein shake and walnuts
  • Dinner: Ground turkey and tomato sauce with pasta

Day 3:

  • Breakfast: chicken with egg and roasted potatoes
  • Snack: Greek yogurt and almonds
  • Lunch: Turkey breast, basmati rice and mushrooms
  • Snack: protein shake and grapes
  • Dinner: Mackerel, brown rice and leaf salad with vinaigrette

Conclusion: Building muscle mass is no problem with the right diet

The best diet for building muscle is balanced and contains all the essential nutrients. You should place particular focus on the macronutrients protein, carbohydrates and fat. In addition to intensive strength training and a calorie surplus, they play an important role in muscle growth and should therefore be sufficiently on your diet. For example, if you have problems getting enough protein from your diet, you can also useprotein shakes to meet your protein needs.

However, nutrition and fitness goals cannot be achieved overnight. Patience and consistency are the most important tools for lasting success. How long it takes to see a change varies greatly from person to person - but it pays to stick with it!

More questions about muscle building and nutrition

How important is nutrition in muscle building?

Nutrition is an important part of building muscle. A high-protein diet is helpful for building muscle mass and, when combined with strength training, contributes to muscle growth and increased strength.[4]

What is the best diet for muscle building?

For fast muscle building, you should eat foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates and high quality protein sources. Protein combined with resistance training is the most influential factor in building muscle mass.

When it comes to muscle building, are there differences between men and women in terms of nutrition?

When it comes to muscle building and nutrition, the most important difference for men and women is in the amount of calories. Women generally have a lower basal metabolic rate than men and therefore simply require fewer calories. A balanced diet with plenty of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates is important for both women and men.

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