If you’re looking for a way to gain lean muscle mass, then I highly recommend Martin Berkhan’s Leangains Guide. While my work and family schedule prohibit following all of Martin’s recommendations, I’ve recently tried to implement as many as possible from the Leangains Guide. Most people will have a hard time believing that a diet centered around intermittent fasting constitutes the best muscle building diet plan, but I’ve seen excellent fat free muscle mass gains when pairing the Leangains approach with the Visual Impact Muscle Building workouts.
The Best Muscle Building Diet Plan
Most muscle building diet plans focus on eating a lot of calories. However, this subjects you to potential fat gain. Whenever I’ve previously tried this approach, I always ended up eating too much and adding a good deal of fat to go along with muscle mass. Then I would have to work really hard to eliminate the fat while trying to preserve muscle. Generally known as the bulk and cut method, I personally hated this approach. I prefer an overall lean look and bulking up by adding both fat and muscle just doesn’t appeal to me. That’s why I think the best muscle building diet plan focuses on adding lean muscle without adding fat. The Leangains approach utilizes a number of advanced strategies to optimize this.
You could spend hours reading the Leangains site but here’s a brief overview of the strategies I try to implement from Martin Berkhan’s Leangains Guide:
- Intermittent fasting: 16 hour daily fast followed by 8 hour feeding
- Fasted training
- Calorie and macronutrient cycling
- Majority of calories ingested in post workout meal
- Mostly clean eating
- No set number of meals during feeding window: 2-3 meals generally preferred
Delving deeper into some of these recommendations, you’ll find that a 16 hour daily fast is great for fat burning. Ensuring that you get high quality calories during the 8 hour feeding window, especially after training, is great for muscle building. So you have a “best of both worlds” scenario where your body is in a fat burning state when it’s less active and a muscle building state after exercising when it needs nutrients the most.
Ideally you’ll eat more carbs on days that you exercise to optimize mass gains. Furthermore, it’s best to eat your biggest meal after working out when your body is most anabolic. Shifting gears, exercising in a fasted state results in a greater level of fat burning. Ingesting BCAAs prior to fasted training will help preserve muscle mass while still allowing you to remain in a materially fasted state.
The great thing about the Leangains approach is that you can tailor it to fat burning or muscle building. You can simply increase or decrease your caloric intake while sticking to these core principles. Ideally you’ll be able to get really lean without losing muscle mass or gain a good deal of muscle mass without gaining fat. The best part is that it’s a perfect maintenance approach as well since it’s relatively lenient as far as a diet plan goes.
I utilize a hybrid of the protocols laid out in Martin Berkhan’s Leangains Guide. In general, I fast from 6pm to 9am or 10am (15-16 hours). I like to have my largest meal at dinner since that’s family time. On weekends, my approach involves eating a light breakfast at 9am or 10am, training around 1pm, and then having my largest meal around 5pm. Weekdays are more challenging because of my work schedule. Two days per week, I do early morning fasted cardio after ingesting BCAAs. Two other days I do nighttime resistance training after dinner. On those two nights, the eating window is extended to 9pm so I only end up fasting 12-13 hours after. I also employ calorie cycling and carb cycling where I eat the most on days that I exercise. Combining this approach with the Visual Impact Muscle Building workouts provides an optimal way to gain lean muscle mass. In fact, I’d argue that these programs respectively constitute the best muscle building diet plan and the best muscle building workout routine.
- Calorie Cycling: Do a Calorie Shifting Diet Plan or Carb Cycling Diet Plan Help You Lose Body Fat, Gain Muscle?
- Visual Impact Muscle Building Results: Phase 1
- Sample Workout Routine and Diet Plan
- Staying in Shape with a Maintenance Workout Routine & Diet Plan
- Six Pack Abs Workout Routine, Diet Plan & Exercises