The Best Tools to Use if You’re Trying to Build Muscle
In my last post I discussed that gaining weight is 80% eating correctly and 20% workout. I also went into detail on how to calculate what your daily calories should be and how to increase them to gain weight. Over the years, I have found these are the best tools if you’re trying to build muscle.
1.) EatThisMuch – Meal Planner Tool
Meal planning is essential to breaking out of your hard gain cycle; however, unless you have a degree in nutrition, it is super hard to understand. On top of that, the internet and friends at the gym give horrible advice and spout off an array of fitness myths about how to gain weight and what the best supplements for muscle gain are. I’m here to simplify this for you:
First, you need a meal planner tool. I’ve personally been using EatThisMuch.com for almost three years now for my weight gain goals as well as living an all around healthy lifestyle. It is absolutely essential if you are trying to build muscle. Once you put in your weight gain goals this program assembles a weekly meal plan of tasty, healthy recipes, that are easy to cook (even if you are a total noob at cooking like I was). It also gives you a shopping list of the exact ingredients to buy. This alone saved me thousands of dollars over the years by not wasting money on groceries that go bad or I never eat. It also only costs $70 a year so it’s well worth it if you’re trying to build muscle.
2.) Focus on Calories not Protein
The primary nutritional metric you should be using for weight gain is calories (I started with 3000 calories) a day. Using EatThisMuch you will get your proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats automatically, but first and foremost you want to achieve your weight gain calories daily. You should be eating more on workout days. and slightly less on non workout days. I personally have mine set up to eat 5 mini meals a day to achieve my goal.
Eating 5 meals a day is easier than you think, even if you’re at work. The key is add things to your meal planner that are easy to grab or easy to make. An example of my morning meal routine on a workout day is a delicious fruit protein smoothie I make with half an avocado in it, 2 self serve cups of greek yogurt, and a hard boiled egg. I eat this breakfast 3 days a weak (for the three days I workout). It allows me to make 1 batch of smoothie, 3 hard boiled eggs, and I buy 6 $1 cups of greek yogurt to spread out over the week. That’s already about half your daily calories right there, with little work! For dinner I usually pan fry a delicious steak and make a pot of green beans with crushed bacon and almonds (with leftovers for other workout days). You can also add foods into the meal planner, so if some days I’m feeling lazy and want to eat a Chipotle burrito (roughly 1,000 calories of good healthy stuff) I’ll add that into my meal planner and build my day around it. EatThisMuch is so flexible and easy it can fit around any meal you have out or at home. It also ensures you eat healthy and you receive all your nutrients.
3.) Supplements That Don’t Suck
I also recommend purchasing some quality protein powder, meal replacement, and green shakes to balance out your nutrients and make it easier to quickly reach your daily nutrient goals. These are my favorite muscle building supplements:
Even using a meal plan calculator, I usually skimp on my servings of vegetables because I don’t like buying food that perishes before I can fully utilize it. It contains over 70 ingredients, 25 billion probiotics, enzymes, fruits & vegetables, liver support, vitamins, trace minerals, skeletal support, and adaptogens. It also contains the majority of your daily allocation of fruits and vegetables. To be fully transparent though, unless you’re hiding in a smoothie or orange juice, it tastes like swamp water.
This stuff is AMAZING! Tastes way better than Green Vibrance and has higher quality control. It’s a superfood formula with 75 of the healthiest whole food sourced ingredients on the planet, with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, and the only superfood supplement that contains the antioxidant equivalent of 12 servings of vegetables and fruits in a single scoop. It’s also more scientifically backed than Green Vibrance and has no GMOS’s, artificial ingredients, gluten, wheat, dairy, or corn, and no additional sugar. The big downside here is the price, however it makes me feel extremely healthy and you really can’t put a price on good health. Buy it from their site for the best deals.
I’ve tried so many Protein powders over the years, and the best one I found is actually one of the cheapest. This is the best protein if you’re trying to build muscle. It’s plant based, mixes well, tastes good (not overly sugary), and fits into my meal tracker super easily. I buy the Vanilla and Chocolate. They also sell it at Costco. It’s one of my favorite muscle building supplements.
This is a huge cheat, and you shouldn’t use it long term, but if you feel like you’re going to by shy of your daily calories, or you hit a plateau, use this. It tastes delicious but it’s packed full of sugar. One serving contains 800 calories, but like I said don’t use it long term.
This is a one of my favorite muscle building supplements. It helps with with recovery and gets you jacked. Normally I don’t like these kind of things, but I get great results. It’s not necessary but will definitely cut down on the time it takes to reach your goals.
These are some of the best muscle building supplements I have used, but you should always seek out other reviews and sources when buying stuff, don’t just take my word for it. You are now armed with the tools you if you’re trying to build muscle, now select a workout here.
Bonus Tip: Save on Groceries!
Before closing out this post I want to give you a tip on how to save money and time on groceries using EatThisMuch. If you want to keep your grocery bill low (under $100 a week for me) you need to ensure that you repeat 80% of your meals on workout days and off days. This means if your meal asks for Garlic Potatoes on Monday, you should make enough to eat on Wednesday and Friday. This will mean you don’t waste ingredients (especially vegetables which perish quickly) and you won’t waste time cooking every night. Basically I create a bunch of easy, tasty sides, that can be reheated and paired with a quick pan friend steak, salmon, or shrimp pasta I make for dinner.