Intuitive eating for gaining overall mass is probably the easiest concept in the world to follow. However, what we’re aiming for is muscle, not solely total mass, so we still need to have some principles to ensure we end up with quality muscle and don’t end up a blubbering mess.
Again, let’s reestablish the 3 core principles of intuitive eating before we delve into the principles we need to adhere to for muscle gain:
- You eat when you want
- You eat what you want
- Bigger meals are preferred
You could argue that alone, all 3 principles are sufficient to build quality muscle mass – and it’s hard to disagree.
However, people have a tendency to take these principles to extremities, which can result in disastrous consequences for muscle gain.
You’ll notice that the majority of principles in this dietary methodology are about damage control as guidelines rather than specific rules.
Follow this advice and you’ll be golden:
1: Home cooked meals are preferred
If you’re going to eat what you want, then it makes sense to spend time in the kitchen at home cooking nutritious food that isn’t empty calories.
Home cooked meals when bulking result in smarter food choices overall, minimising fat gain as you’re not grabbing ready-made meals off the shelves in supermarkets or candy from the gas station every time you pass by.
If you can keep 80% of meals to what you prepare in the kitchen, you’ll fuel your health as well as your bulking efforts.
2: Prioritise Protein
It may be second nature to most bodybuilders already, but prioritising protein when following intuitive eating for muscle gain takes on unprecedented importance.
By focusing on protein as the most essential nutrient in each meal, you’ll place less emphasis on carbohydrate and fat sources (which will be plentiful anyway), in addition to fortifying muscle building.
Protein also has a higher thermic effect on the body’s metabolism than other macronutrients, which means it will help you stay leaner when bulking if you place more emphasis on making it the primary macronutrient in each meal.
3: Avoid Liquid Calories Where Possible
When you get the instructions to “eat what you want, when you want”, the instinct could be to wash down every meal with 500 calories of sugary isotonic drinks and sodas.
Not only would this inevitably lead to catastrophic fat gain, you’d end up spending most of your time needlessly taking off the fat you’ve accumulated in the process.
This goes for protein/mass-gaining shakes as well: where possible, avoid drinking liquid calories and prioritise whole foods, otherwise it can lead to lazy habits that result in poorer food choices that compromise overall health.
4: Include Fibrous Vegetables/Fruits in 50% of Your Meals
The problem with bulking is that most individuals lose focus on their health in the pursuit of mass.
This is a huge problem that can’t be rectified overnight and can lead to poor blood pressure levels and overall cardiovascular health.
An easy way to overcome this, in addition to staying satiated and not overeat, is to include a significant portion of fibrous fruits and vegetables in at LEAST half your meals.
This will keep important health markers stable, in addition to supporting overall muscular development by fighting inflammation and toxins in the body.
5: Include the Majority of Your Calories Post-Workout (If Possible)
If you have the luxury of training in the morning/afternoon, then this is going to be much easier to adhere to. If not, try to make your biggest meal of the day post-workout where the calories can be immediately used to replenish your depleted stores and kick-start the muscle-building process.
This principle isn’t the most important to follow, but it can definitely make a subtle difference in minimising overall fat gain, especially if you’re inactive the majority of your day prior to your workouts (office jobs, etc).
Supplement Tip: Use Matador
Using a glucose disposal agent (GDA) on any high-calorie diet such as Matador can ensure calories are partitioned towards muscle building and away from fat stores. Make sure it’s a permanent fixture in your supplement regime on this approach to bulking in addition to your usual essentials from the Project AD range.
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