Diet Plan for Muscle Gain

Diet Plan for Muscle Gain

Creating a meal plan for muscle gain requires careful consideration of various factors, including calorie intake, macronutrient distribution, and nutrient timing. This comprehensive approach ensures your body receives the necessary nutrients for muscle growth and recovery. Following a structured meal plan designed to your individual needs optimises your nutritional intake and enhances your overall fitness journey. Let’s delve into the critical components of a diet plan for muscle gain and explore how it can contribute to your goals of building strength and increasing muscle mass.

Does Following Diet Plan Helps in Muscle Gain?

Yes, a diet plan for muscle gain is essential and efficiently helps you gain muscle mass. Following a structured meal plan for muscle gain can definitely help, especially when it’s designed to provide the necessary nutrients for muscle growth and support your training regimen. An effective diet plan designed for muscle gain has these four elements: 

  • Protein: Research by the National School of Medicine provides relevant evidence to highlight that protein intake can help limit the loss of muscle mass that often occurs with ageing and during resistance exercise. Hence, protein is crucial for muscle repair and growth. Including protein rich foods in each meal can help support muscle development. 
  • Balanced Macronutrients: Carbohydrates and fats are essential for providing energy and supporting overall health. A balanced intake of all three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) ensures your body has the power and resources it needs for muscle growth and recovery.
  • Caloric Surplus: To build muscle, you typically need to consume more calories than you burn (a caloric surplus). This provides your body with the extra energy required for muscle growth.
  • Timing of Meals: A muscle building diet plan will strategically guide your meals and snack timings around your workouts. This can optimise muscle protein synthesis and recovery time. For example, consuming protein and carbohydrates before and after workouts can support muscle repair and replenish glycogen stores.

7 Days Diet Plan for Muscle Gain

It is noteworthy that besides your muscle-building diet plan, you aim for at least eight glasses of water daily and adjust portion sizes according to your individual caloric and macronutrient needs. There are different bodybuilding diets for the cutting and bulking phase. During a cutting phase, where calorie intake is restricted, it’s crucial to introduce diversity into your diet to ensure that your nutritional requirements are fulfilled. This variety helps maintain essential nutrient intake despite consuming fewer calories. If you’re a beginner, you don’t have to focus much on phases; following a meal plan for muscle gain is essential. Here’s a seven-day diet plan for muscle gain: 

Day 1

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with spinach and whole-grain toast and Greek yoghurt with berries
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with quinoa and mixed vegetables
  • Pre Workout: Protein shake with banana
  • Post Workout: Cottage cheese with pineapple
  • Dinner: Baked salmon with sweet potato and steamed broccoli

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with sliced almonds, honey, and a scoop of protein powder and apple slices with peanut butter
  • Lunch: Palak Paneer with fibre-rich brown rice.
  • Pre Workout: A bowl of boiled potatoes and plain yoghourt
  • Post Workout: Assorted nuts like almonds, cashews, and walnuts.
  • Dinner: Spicy fish curry with coconut milk and curry leaves along with Jeera Rice

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Semolina cooked with mixed vegetables and tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  • Lunch: Chicken Biryani and vegetable raita
  • Pre Workout: Protein-rich boiled eggs seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Post Workout: Fruits tossed with chaat masala and lemon juice
  • Dinner: Dal Makhani with Roti and vegetable stir-fry

Day 4

  • Breakfast: Poha with onions, peas, and peanuts, along with chia seed water
  • Lunch: Tandoori Chicken and whole wheat roti.
  • Pre Workout: Mixed Fruit Smoothie with a scoop of protein powder
  • Post Workout: Roasted Makhanas with banana oat smoothie 
  • Dinner: Matar Paneer with Jeera Rice

Day 5

  • Breakfast: Vegetable Uttapam: Thick rice and lentil pancakes topped with mixed vegetables.
  • Lunch: Aloo Gobi sabzi with whole wheat rotis and vegetable pulao 
  • Pre-Workout: Banana Shake- Blended banana with milk and a dash of cardamom.
  • Post Workout: Blended mixed fruits with yoghourt and honey
  • Dinner: Mutton Curry with jeera rice

Day 6

  • Breakfast: Protein oatmeal with sliced almonds and blueberries.
  • Lunch: Grilled salmon salad with mixed greens, quinoa, and avocado.
  • Pre Workout: Protein shake with spinach and mango 
  • Post Workout: Greek yoghourt with honey 
  • Dinner: Chicken or tempeh fajitas with whole grain tortillas, peppers, onions, and guacamole 

Day 7

  • Breakfast: Vegetable omelette with whole-grain toast.
  • Lunch: Lentil soup with whole grain bread.
  • Pre-Workout: Cottage cheese with peach slices
  • Post Workout: Snack: Protein bar.
  • Dinner: Steak or portobello mushroom with sweet potato mash and steamed green beans.

Vegetarian Foods to Eat on Diet for Muscle Gain

Despite common misconceptions, a well-planned vegetarian meal plan for muscle gain can provide ample protein, essential nutrients, and diverse energy sources crucial for muscle growth and recovery. Research indicates that plant-based proteins and strategic meal planning can effectively support muscle gains, making vegetarian options viable for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Let’s explore essential vegetarian foods you can add to your bodybuilding diet: 

  1. Legumes and Pulses: Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas are excellent sources of plant-based protein, fibre, and carbohydrates. They provide essential amino acids for muscle repair and growth and must be added to a meal plan for muscle gain.
  2. Tofu and Tempeh: Soy-based products like tofu and tempeh are rich in protein and contain all the essential amino acids. They are versatile ingredients in various dishes such as stir-fries, salads, and sandwiches. They are a great source of protein and one of the many alternatives to replace eggs in a meal plan for muscle gain. 
  3. Quinoa: Quinoa is a complete protein source containing all nine essential amino acids. It also provides complex carbohydrates for sustained energy and contains vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc.
  4. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds are nutritious sources of healthy fats, protein, and micronutrients. They can be added to meals, snacks, or smoothies to increase calorie and nutrient intake.
  5. Greek yoghourt: Greek yoghourt is high in protein and calcium, making it an excellent choice for muscle recovery and bone health. Opt for plain, unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars.
  6. Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health and muscle function. They can be added to salads, smoothies, or cooked dishes for an extra nutrient boost.
  7. Whole Grains: Brown rice, quinoa, oats, and barley are nutritious sources of carbohydrates that provide energy for workouts and recovery. They also contain fibre, vitamins, and minerals that support overall health.

Non-Vegetarian Foods to Eat on Diet for Muscle Gain

Are you exploring the role of non-vegetarian foods in a muscle building diet plant? Read further to explore non-vegetarian sources that offer a rich array of high-quality protein, essential amino acids, and bioavailable nutrients critical for muscle growth and repair. Backed by scientific evidence, lean meats, fish, and poultry provide optimal protein content and digestibility, making them essential in a muscle building diet plan. Here’s a list of non-vegetarian foods to add to your meal plan for muscle gain: 

  1. Lean Meats: Chicken breast, turkey breast, and lean cuts of beef or pork are rich sources of high-quality protein, essential for muscle repair and growth. Opt for skinless poultry and trim excess fat to reduce calorie intake while following a meal plan for muscle gain. 
  2. Fish: Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are excellent sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties and support heart health, making fish an ideal choice for muscle recovery.
  3. Eggs: Eggs are a must-add food to your muscle building diet plan. They are a versatile and nutrient-dense source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They contain all the essential amino acids and are easily incorporated into various dishes such as omelettes, frittatas, and sandwiches.
  4. Dairy Products: Milk, cheese, and yoghurt are rich in protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients. They provide amino acids necessary for muscle growth and repair and calcium for bone health.
  5. Seafood: Shrimp, crab, lobster, and other shellfish are low in fat and calories but high in protein. They also contain essential nutrients like iodine, zinc, and selenium, which support thyroid function and immune health while following a bodybuilding diet. 
  6. Red Meat: Lean cuts of beef, such as sirloin or tenderloin, are rich sources of protein, iron, and zinc. Red meat provides essential nutrients that support muscle growth, energy production, and immune function.
  7. Poultry: Chicken and turkey are lean sources of protein that provide essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth. They are versatile ingredients that can be grilled, baked, or sautéed in various dishes. You can add them to the lunch or dinner routine of a muscle building diet plan. 

Benefits of Following a Muscle Gain Diet Plan

A muscle building diet plan provides essential nutrients for muscle growth, strength development, and overall physical performance. It optimises protein intake, balances macronutrients, and fuels workouts effectively. 

  1. Increased Muscle Mass: A protein-rich diet provides the necessary amino acids for muscle repair and growth. Pairing protein with carbohydrates post-workout helps replenish glycogen stores and initiates muscle protein synthesis, which is essential for muscle hypertrophy.
  2. Improved Metabolism: Adequate protein intake in a muscle gain diet plan helps preserve lean muscle mass and metabolically active tissue. This, coupled with regular strength training, can boost basal metabolic rate (BMR), allowing the body to burn more calories at rest.
  3. Enhanced Recovery: Nutrient timing and composition in a muscle gain diet plan are crucial in post-exercise recovery. Consuming carbohydrates and protein after workouts helps replenish glycogen stores and provides amino acids for muscle repair, reducing muscle soreness and enhancing recovery.
  4. Better Body Composition: A muscle gain diet plan can produce a more favourable body composition by supporting muscle growth while managing body fat levels. This improves physical appearance and contributes to better metabolic health and overall fitness.
  5. Optimised Nutrient Intake: A muscle gain diet plan emphasises whole, nutrient-dense foods, ensuring an adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for optimal health. This promotes immune function, bone health, and overall well-being, complementing the physical demands of muscle-building workouts.

Mental Benefits

Experiencing progress in your body composition and strength can profoundly affect your confidence and self-esteem. Moreover, adhering to a diet plan for muscle gain and a consistent exercise regimen not only contributes to physical health but also enhances mental well-being. By reducing stress and anxiety levels and potentially boosting mood, exercise and nutrition play crucial roles in fostering overall emotional balance and promoting better sleep patterns. Furthermore, the discipline and commitment required to adhere to a bodybuilding diet and witness tangible results can instil a profound sense of accomplishment. This sense of achievement validates your efforts and cultivates resilience and determination, which can extend beyond fitness goals to impact various aspects of your life positively.

How to Follow a Meal Plan for Muscle Gain?

Following a meal plan for muscle gain involves consuming balanced meals with adequate protein, carbohydrates, and fats to support muscle growth and recovery. The key components are eating regular meals and snacks, prioritising nutrient-dense foods, and adjusting portions based on individual needs. Here are the steps that may help you in following a diet plan for muscle gain: 

Step – 1 Calculate how many calories your body needs: Calories are the fundamental unit of energy that fuels our body’s physiological processes, including muscle growth and repair. To initiate muscle gain and follow a muscle building diet plan, one must first calculate their baseline calorie needs, considering factors such as age, gender, weight, activity level, and metabolic rate. This baseline serves as the foundation upon which a caloric surplus is built.

The concept of a caloric surplus in a bodybuilding diet is central to muscle gain. By consuming slightly more calories than one expends, typically 250 to 500 additional calories daily, individuals provide their bodies with the excess energy required for muscle growth. This surplus acts as a catalyst, facilitating the anabolic processes necessary for hypertrophy—the increase in muscle size. 

Step – 2 Determine the macronutrient growth: Ensuring adequate intake of essential macronutrients and focusing on performance, recovery, and growth is paramount for optimising a diet plan for muscle gain. A protein diet plan can provide amino acids crucial for muscle repair and synthesis. Carbohydrates, the body’s primary energy source, fuel intense workouts and replenish glycogen stores, supporting sustained training intensity. Additionally, healthy fats are vital in hormone production and overall health, contributing to optimal performance and nutrient absorption. Together, these macronutrients form the foundation of a balanced diet tailored to meet the unique demands of muscle gain and bodybuilding.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institutes of Medicine suggests the following macronutrient requirements for off-season and off-season and pre-contest phases for bodybuilders: 


Off-Season or Bulking Phase  Pre-Contest or Cutting Phase 
Carbohydrates 55-60%





Fat 15-20%


In bodybuilding and a bodybuilding diet, the terms off-season” and “pre-contest phases refer to specific periods within a bodybuilder’s training and competition schedule:

  • Off-Season Phase: The off-season phase is when bodybuilders focus on building muscle mass and strength without the immediate pressure of upcoming competitions. During this phase, which may last most of the year, athletes aim to increase their overall muscle size and definition through intense training and nutrition strategies. The goal is to be in a positive energy balance, meaning they consume slightly more calories than they expend, to support muscle growth and recovery.
  • Pre-Contest Phase: The pre-contest phase, or the “cutting” phase, occurs in the weeks leading up to a bodybuilding competition. During this phase, the primary objective shifts from building muscle to reducing body fat levels while maintaining muscle mass and definition. Bodybuilders aim to achieve a lean, shredded appearance by decreasing their body fat percentage.

Step – 3 Focus on Pre and Post-Workout Nutrition: A muscle building diet plan guides you on consuming a balanced meal or snack before exercise, providing your body with the necessary energy to fuel your training session effectively. Including protein and carbohydrates in pre-workout meals ensures that your muscles have access to the building blocks they need for energy production and muscle repair.

Similarly, consuming a combination of protein and carbohydrates post-workout helps replenish glycogen stores and provides amino acids to support muscle protein synthesis, leading to faster recovery and muscle growth. A diet plan for muscle gain includes pre- and post-workout snacks, including a protein shake with fruit, a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread, or Greek yoghurt with berries. These options provide a balance of macronutrients to fuel your workouts and support muscle recovery afterwards.

Step – 4 Special Focus on Nutrient Timings: Nutrient timing in a muscle building diet plan refers to the strategic consumption of nutrients at specific times to optimise performance, recovery, and muscle growth. A gym diet plan for muscle growth suggests you consume many calories at the beginning of the day, which is correct and backed by science. Further, a study on Nutritional Strategies elaborates that having more protein in your evening meals, compared to the usual recommendation for promoting muscle growth during the day, can enhance muscle growth while you sleep. This is because our muscles require additional amino acids at night, especially if there’s been a gap in eating. A protein-rich dinner can support muscle development at night, mainly if you haven’t eaten before bedtime.

Step – 5 Monitor Progress and Adjust as Needed: Keep track of your progress by monitoring changes in strength, muscle mass, and body composition. Adjust your meal plan for muscle gain and calorie intake based on your progress and goals. If you’re unsure how to create a bodybuilding diet or have specific dietary concerns, consider consulting a registered dietitian or nutritionist for personalised guidance and support. They can help tailor a meal plan to your individual needs and goals.

Calorie and Nutrient Requirement for Muscle Gain

When on a meal plan for muscle gain, consuming the right balance of calories and macronutrients is essential to support growth and recovery. Here’s a breakdown of the calorie and macronutrient requirements for muscle gain: 

  1. Caloric Surplus: To build muscle, you generally need to consume more calories than you burn, creating a caloric surplus while following the diet plan for muscle gain. This surplus provides your body with the extra energy needed for muscle growth. The exact size of the surplus can vary depending on factors like your metabolism, activity level, and rate of muscle gain. Still, a standard recommendation is to aim for a surplus of around 250-500 calories daily.
  2. Protein: Protein is essential for muscle repair and growth in a meal plan for muscle gain. To build muscle, consuming between 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (or 0.73 to 1 gram per pound) is generally recommended. How much protein is needed per day varies depending on age, weight, activity level, and fitness goals. Some individuals may benefit from higher protein intake, especially if they’re in a caloric deficit or have high training volumes. Protein sources include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, tofu, and protein supplements like whey protein. 
  3. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source and are essential for fueling workouts and supporting recovery. While carbohydrate intake can vary depending on factors like activity level and individual preferences, a diet plan for muscle gain generally recommends consuming enough carbohydrates to support your training needs. This might range from around 3 to 6 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day or higher for individuals with high training volumes or intense workouts. Good sources of carbohydrates include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
  4. Fats: Dietary fats are essential for hormone production, cell membrane function, and overall health. While some fat is necessary for a healthy diet, it’s also calorie-dense, so moderation is essential, especially when aiming to gain muscle. Aim to include sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish in your diet. A diet plan for muscle gain doesn’t have a specific recommended intake for fats, but they should make up the remainder of your calorie intake after protein and carbohydrates have been accounted for.

Expert Review on Diet Plan for Muscle Gain

A diet plan for muscle gain is essential for efficiently increasing muscle mass. Such a plan provides the necessary nutrients for muscle growth and supports your training regimen effectively. It incorporates adequate protein intake, balanced macronutrients, a caloric surplus, and strategic meal timing to optimise muscle protein synthesis and recovery. Alongside the diet plan, staying hydrated and adjusting portions based on individual needs are crucial for success. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, following a structured meal plan tailored for muscle gain can lead to significant progress in physique and performance.

Adhering to a bodybuilding diet enhances physical health and yields mental benefits. Witnessing progress in body composition and strength boosts confidence and self-esteem. Moreover, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine positively impacts mental well-being by reducing stress and anxiety, potentially elevating mood and promoting better sleep. 


  1. “Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit.” 2019. NCBI. 
  2. “Editorial: Nutritional Strategies to Promote Muscle Mass and Function Across the Health Span.” 2020. NCBI. 
  3. Evans, William J. n.d. “Macronutrient considerations for the sport of bodybuilding.” PubMed. Accessed January 30, 2024. 
  4. Manore, Melinda M. n.d. “Exercise and the Institute of Medicine recommendations for nutrition.” PubMed. Accessed January 30, 2024. 


Which diet is best for muscle gain? 

The best diet plan for muscle gain includes a balance of macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Aim to consume sufficient protein to support muscle repair and growth, along with enough carbohydrates to fuel your workouts and provide energy for recovery. Include healthy fats in moderation for overall health. Focus on nutrient-dense foods like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. 

How do you build muscle in 7 days? 

Building muscle in just seven days is unrealistic, as muscle growth takes time and consistent effort. However, you can progress toward building muscle by following a structured bodybuilding diet, workout program or a diet plan for muscle gain that includes resistance training exercises targeting major muscle groups. Additionally, ensuring you’re consuming enough calories and protein to support muscle growth is essential.

What should my meal plan be to gain muscle? 

A diet plan for muscle gain should include a variety of nutrient-dense foods that provide the energy and nutrients your body needs for growth and recovery. Aim to include a source of protein with each meal, such as lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes, tofu, or protein supplements. Pair protein with carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to fuel your workouts and support recovery.

What should a 90 kg bodybuilder eat? 

A 90 kg bodybuilder should focus on a balanced diet with enough calories and nutrients to support muscle growth and performance. This includes an adequate protein intake to support muscle repair and development and carbohydrates to fuel workouts and provide energy for recovery. Healthy fats should be incorporated in moderation for overall health. Focus on nutrient-dense foods like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Is Rice good for bulk? 

Rice can be a good option for bulking, as it’s a carbohydrate-rich food that provides energy to fuel workouts and support recovery in a bodybuilding diet. Brown rice, in particular, is a whole grain that contains fibre and nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Including rice in your diet can help you meet your calorie and carbohydrate needs for bulking. However, balancing rice with other nutrient-dense foods like lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats is crucial to ensure you get various nutrients in your meal plan for muscle gain. 


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