Ask The Macro Manager: What's The Best Macronutrient Ratio For Building Muscle?

Harness the power of proper nutrition to build muscle without gaining fat. The Macro Manager shows you how, including two muscle-building recipes!

What's the ideal macronutrient ratio for building muscle? Do you have a perfect muscle-building meal that fits?

To gain the most muscle with the least amount of fat (or even sparking some fat loss), I like to use the calorie breakdown of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat.

This is the overall breakdown for the day, but during the day not all meals will follow this structure. Why? Throughout the day, your fueling needs change with your body's ability to optimally process and use different types of fuels.

A solid approach to nutrient timing allows us to give our body what it needs at the right time of day, which results in better body composition changes.

Timing Is Everything

Let's take the example of a person who trains in the morning. Directly after training, his body will be a sponge waiting to soak up carbohydrates (due to the insulin-sensitizing effects of exercise) in order to start the rebuilding and regeneration process.

In this situation, a high-carbohydrate, low-fat meal is warranted. This kind of meal will meet the body's needs quickly, with lower fat expediting digestion.

At dinner time, our sample muscle builder has different needs. His body hasn't trained in several hours and his glycogen stores are essentially refilled. He doesn't need the same fast-acting, high-octane fuel as he did eight hours prior.

Instead, dinner needs to contain adequate protein to continue to drive protein synthesis and recovery, fiber for satiety, and some surplus calories. So this meal should be high in protein, high in fat, and low in carbs.

Throughout the day, between post-workout meals and the last meal of the day, the amount of fast-acting grain and starch-based carbohydrates should decrease, while the amount of fat and vegetables increase. Protein intake can stay constant across all meals.

This approach to muscle building will take advantage of your body's time-dependent changes in biochemistry, allowing you to get big while staying lean.

Perfect Muscle-Building Breakfast Cranberry-Almond Oatmeal

(One Serving)

  1. Combine water, oats, and cranberries in a bowl.
  2. Microwave for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Stir and let sit for one minute.
  4. Mix in protein powder and almonds.

Cranberry-Almond Oatmeal PDF (53.8 KB)

Perfect Muscle-Building Breakfast Flank Steak with Mushrooms and Onions

(One Serving)

  1. Place onions, mushrooms, soy sauce, and olive oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Cook until the onions caramelize and the mushrooms soften and become a deeper brown - approximately 20 minutes. The volume of the onions and mushrooms will greatly reduce as they cook.
  3. While the mushrooms and onions are cooking, rub steak with garlic powder, salt, and pepper on both sides.
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium/high heat. Once pan is hot, place the steak on the pan for four minutes, then flip and cook for another three minutes. Depending on the thickness of the flank steak, this cooking method will produce a medium cooked steak.
  5. Once you remove the steak from the pan, let it sit for at least five minutes before cutting and eating.
  6. Finish the dish by pouring the onion/mushroom mixture over the steak and topping with blue cheese.

Flank Steak with Mushrooms and Onions PDF (26.6 KB)