Chow Down for Ripped Muscles: What, When & How Much You Should Be Eating

Want to get ripped? Ultimately, you need to realize it isn't entirely about how heavy the weights are that you lift at the gym.

In fact, gaining muscle mass and blasting fat both start in the kitchen.

That’s right – if you want to get ripped fast, you need to know what, when, and how much you should be eating in conjunction with an excellent workout routine.

So let’s answer those questions one by one:

3. WHAT to Eat for Ripped Muscles

For starters, you need to make sure you give your body the fuel it needs to build muscle. That means you need two things:

  • Protein, which your body uses to build new muscle cells 
  • Carbs, which your body uses for fuel during your workouts
You also need some fat, but only healthy fats to maintain a good fat/muscle ratio in your body. For the best results, try to add healthy protein every meal you eat, with suitable sources including:

  • Lean Poultry/Fish
  • Nuts, Seeds & Legumes
  • Whey Protein from powder/shakes 
  • Eggs
Try to avoid potentially unhealthy protein sources like red meat (except for once in a while – some argue it’s too tasty to ignore completely!)

Don’t forget your fruits and vegetables, either. Your body won’t build muscle very efficiently if it doesn’t have the vitamins and minerals it needs for overall health.

2. WHEN to Eat for Maximum Gains

Also important is knowing when to eat for maximum performance. For the best results, you’ll want to eat at the following times:

  • In the morning. Basically, don’t skip breakfast (but you may wish to eat after your morning workout)
  • Every three hours, even if it’s just a snack
  • Eat protein immediately after your workouts if you workout once every day
The last tip about getting your protein shake in straight after your workout is super important: There's a short window of time when your body is most receptive to whey protein and similar protein sources. If you get your protein in shortly after working out, your body will take that protein and immediately use it to repair the micro-tears in your muscles.

1. HOW MUCH is the Right Amount for Big Improvements?

This is the million-dollar question and where a lot of budding bodybuilders mess up before figuring out the ideal eating schedule for their needs.

Here are a few key principles to keep in mind:

  • If you burn as many calories as you eat, your bodyweight won't change 
  • You need to eat a surplus of calories to build muscle 
  • You can’t eat too many calories or you’ll gain too much weight

A single pound of muscle requires about 3500 cal. Therefore, if you want to gain 1 pound of muscle per week, you need to intake 3500 cal per week or 500 extra calories per day.

Most adults need about 2000 cal per day according to official guidelines. 500 more calories per day sounds like a lot, but it’s very achievable if you follow the food recommendations above.

Additionally, you don’t have to build 1 pound of muscle per week. You can easily halve that and go for half a pound of muscle per week, cutting down your extra calorie requirements to just 250 extra calories per day. In a few months, you’ll have 6 to 8 pounds of muscle to show for your efforts.

There you have it – three key tips to help you get shredded fast. You are what you eat, and if you eat healthily and get plenty of protein, you’ll have the muscle to show for it in no time.

Thanks for reading,  

Justin | MME Workout Contributor

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