The best way to build muscle mass is to participate in a progressive resistance training program. Muscles need the right stimulation in order to grow, and you need to support that training with an appropriate nutrition plan. The most important nutrition factor to build muscle mass is to ensure that you are taking in enough energy. It is often recommended that athletes consume approximately 500-1,000 calories per day beyond their daily energy expenditure when trying to build muscle mass.
The following are some easy ways to increase your calorie intake without adding too much volume to your diet:
- Increase the number of times you eat throughout the day. Try to eat every 2-3 hours.
- Include drinks that provide calories and nutrients. Some examples include fruit juices, milk, milk shakes and fruit smoothies.
- Include healthy fats such as nuts, peanut butter, olive/canola oil and avocados.
- Add calories to your food without adding a lot of volume by including syrup, honey, sugar, jam and jelly.
- Choose hearty breads such as bagels, pancakes, waffles, thick crusted pizza, and hoagie rolls.
- Include calorie dense foods such as dried fruit, granola and trial mixes.
- Use milk instead of water when making hot cereals, cream soups and hot chocolate.
- Add powdered milk to your milk or yogurt to add extra calories/protein.
- Nutrition supplements can provide a convenient way to increase your calories if you are having difficulty meeting your needs with diet alone. Some good choices include sports bars, sports drinks and liquid meal replacements (Carnations Instant Breakfast, Ensure, Boost, etc.)