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Built By Science: Nutrition

Don't guess when it comes to something as important as your nutrition. Use science as your ally and build lean mass that lasts!
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If your goal is to build a big, strong, and lean body, all the training expertise in the world won't help if you aren't ingesting the right fuel in the right amounts. Your body needs specific nutrients to recover and grow after intense workouts. Simply put, if you want to build muscle and gain strength, you have to eat like it.

The Built by Science nutrition program is effective, progressive, and easy to implement. It's the perfect complement to the Built by Science training program and is based on the latest nutritional science. This is a mass-building nutrition plan, but don't mistake it for some free-for-all "dirty bulk." I've engineered this system to help you get big without adding excessive body fat.

The problem with the way most people bulk is that the fat they pack on negatively impacts insulin-sensitivity, making it harder for them to develop the body they desire. This plan is different. It helps you progressively eat larger amounts, so your body has time to adjust to the extra calories. This way, your body won't freak out metabolically and store the extra energy as fat.

All the training expertise in the world won't help if you aren't ingesting the right fuel in the right amounts.

Your Caloric Game Plan

Let's get started by establishing your baseline diet. Because of the individual variations in metabolism and activity levels, I prefer not to use predictive calorie equations. Instead, I find it more effective to start by determining how many calories you're eating now, and adjust the diet from there.

This nutrition plan will require you to track both calories and macronutrients down to precise numbers for the next six weeks. If this is new to you or you're not confident in your ability, take the time to educate yourself. Invest in an app, get to know websites like the USDA's National Nutrient Database or NutritionData.com, or read a guide on how to calculate and track your nutrition.

If you already know your daily calorie intake, you're ahead of the curve. If you don't know your average calorie intake, keep a food diary or use online software to log all the food you eat for the first three days of Built by Science. Some smartphone apps will determine your three-day average calorie intake for you. If you're going manual, you can use an estimated average as your base diet number.

To jumpstart the muscle-building process, you're going to add 300 calories to your base calorie intake. Over the next two weeks, monitor your body weight, measurements (chest, neck, arms, etc.), and body fat skin folds if you have access to calipers. At that point:

  • If your body is growing and you are gaining weight but not excessive fat, add another 300 calories to your daily intake.
  • If, on the other hand, you are not gaining weight, add 500 calories.

Repeat this process every two weeks, adding more and more calories.

Your Get-Big Guide

To jumpstart the muscle-building process, add 300 calories to your base calorie intake. Monitor your weight, measurements, and body fat for two weeks. If you're gaining weight but not fat, add an additional 300 calories. If you're not gaining weight, add 500 total calories.

That sounds like a lot of calories...

It's true: As your calorie intake gets higher, you will eventually start to gain more fat. At this point, you can do one of two things.

One option would be to stop adding calories. However, I'm in favor of a technique I learned from Dr. Layne Norton. He recommends simply adding much lower amounts of calories. In this case, we're going to add just 50 calories to your daily intake each two weeks.

This small number of calories will essentially get absorbed in of daily activity, but over the course of a couple of months, the 50 calorie incremental increase will add up to a significant number of calories for your body to use in muscle production.

Divide your calories into 3-4 meals a day, spaced out by approximately 4 hours. For simplicity's sake, keep your meals approximately equal in size, with one exception: your post-workout meal. This crucial meal should contain around 20 percent more calories than your other meals.

I hear your question: What kind of calories should I be eating? So let's get into the macros.

Protein

Keep your protein intake at around .75-1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight throughout the next six weeks. This may actually be less than some bodybuilders are ingesting now. My advice is to take the money you'll be saving and put it toward higher-quality food.

Why so low? Research shows that approximately 0.75 g/lb is the threshold for muscular hypertrophy to occur. We're trying to optimize your protein intake for growth in Built By Science, and I'm simply not convinced that if you're eating high-quality protein, excessive amounts do any good.

Space your protein intake out across your meals in a relatively even fashion, with a minimum of 30 g at each meal. Use a variety of protein sources. Here are my favorites:

Protein Intake
Calculator

Body Weight
Protein Intake
 
  • Chicken thighs
  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey breast
  • Salmon
  • Mussels
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Lean beef
  • Pork loin
  • Chicken sausage
  • Turkey bacon
  • Eggs
  • Whey protein
  • Casein protein
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese

Fat

Dietary fat serves a number of crucial purposes. One is to provide a concentrated form of energy. Certain fats also act as signaling molecules and hormones in the body. For your continued health and growth, it's crucial you get enough fat during the next six weeks of intense physical training.

Once you've established your baseline caloric level, calculate your fat intake so that it makes up around 30 percent of your total calories. From there, the percentage will increase. As you add more calories to your diet, make 150 of every 300 extra calories come from fat. There are 9 calories per 1 gram of fat, so if you're making a 300 calorie leap, you'll add 15-17 g of fat. For a 50-calorie jump, add around 5 g.

Unlike protein, which is more or less constant throughout the day, strategize your fat intake to be inversely proportional to the total amount of carbohydrates in a meal. In other words, higher-carb meals will have less fat, and lower-carb meals will have more fat.

There are 3 main types of fat: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated. Don't overemphasize one over the others, but rater eat a full variety of fats. Some of my favorite fat sources are:

  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Cheese

Carbohydrates

The final piece to the macronutrient puzzle, and probably the most confusing, is carbohydrates. In order to take advantage of different foods' caloric densities and use nutrient timing to our benefit, I like to separate carbohydrates into two groups.

1
Starches

Starches are faster-digesting, calorie-dense carbohydrate foods like:

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Rice (white or brown)
  • Sprouted grain bread
  • Oats (rolled or steel cut)
  • Pasta/noodles
  • Tortillas
  • Kalmut
  • Wheat berries

2
Fruits and Vegetables

The fruits and vegetables group, on the other hand, contains slower-digesting, higher-fiber foods that have a smaller amount of carbohydrates and less caloric density. I place beans and legumes such as lentils in this group. Other foods to choose from here include:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Peppers
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Lettuce and greens
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Scallions
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Chickpeas

Properly integrating these foods into your daily meals is simple. Here are the general rules I use to guide carbohydrate consumption:

  1. Eat fruits or vegetables at every meal.
  2. At breakfast and directly following your workout, add in starchy carbohydrates.
  3. At meals where you don't eat starchy carbohydrates, eat more fat and more fruits and vegetables.

After accounting for protein and fat in your baseline calories, you'll make up the remaining calories through carbohydrates. And when you add more calories to your meal plan, as previously discussed, add 150 calories of carbohydrates per 300 calories, to go along with the 150 calories of fat.

There are approximately 4 calories in every gram of carbohydrate, so this means you will add 35-40 g of carbs to your meal plan with each 300-calorie jump. If you're down to a 50-calorie jump, scale back to 12 g of additional carbs.

The Built By Science Meal Plan

Now that you know how we're going to prioritize and arrange your calories and nutrients, let's tie it all together with some sample calculations and a meal plan.

For a 180-pound male, the basics would look like this:

  • Base diet: 2700 calories
  • Base protein intake (1g/lb bw): 180 grams (720 calories)*
  • Base fat intake (30% of calories): 90 grams (810 calories)*
  • Base carbohydrate intake (remaining calories): 292 grams (1170 calories)*

*calculated based of base diet (from food log) and body weight

Sample Meal Plan

Meal 1
Meal 2: Shake
Meal 3
Meal 3 Alternative
During Workout
Post-Workout
Meal 4

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About The Author

Author, speaker, and nutritional consultant Mike Roussell, PhD is known for transforming complex nutritional concepts into practical habits...

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Kovenant

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Kovenant

meal 4 Dinner, and then Starving all night?

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Dec 16, 2013 12:03pm | report
 
willamschmidt

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willamschmidt

I know! I�m finished with meal 4 by 5-7pm, how am i suppose to go with no food till next morning?!

Dec 16, 2013 1:41pm | report
Kovenant

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Kovenant

yeah, this eating program isn't good at all, If don't eat every 2-3 hours I don't grow and I ate around 8-9 times a day.

Dec 16, 2013 5:54pm | report
aaronstephens7

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aaronstephens7

YOUR CALORIC GAME PLAN

Let's get started by establishing your baseline diet. Because of the individual variations in metabolism and activity levels, I prefer not to use predictive calorie equations. Instead, I find it more effective to start by determining how many calories you're eating now, and adjust the diet from there. (Second heading, first paragraph)

*It's really easy to criticize a program then to simply read its instructions and think for ones self. If you need to eat more then eat more or eat less. Use the template as a guide as it was designed for the general public not the two of you.

Dec 16, 2013 9:05pm | report
samerym

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samerym

Not necessarily! With pre- and post-workout you get six meals, so move them around depending on the timing of your workout and you'll be fine.

Dec 17, 2013 3:51am | report
mmatrain93

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mmatrain93

Have you not heard of intermittent fasting? Not that it matters, it's really just how many calories you eat per day on average, the timing is not very important (except for pre and post workout if you're trying to fine tune)

Dec 19, 2013 1:42pm | report
gullotti942

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gullotti942

Yeah this is essentially already my diet plan.. except I have a piece of fruit or a meal replacement shake/bar after dinner so I'm gonna stick to that..

Jan 20, 2014 9:17am | report
E90335i

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E90335i

You trolling? You have trained your body to eat every 2-3 hours. You dont need to eat that often. Look up intermittent fasting. If my work schedule didnt change, I would still be doing it. I wouldnt eat for 16 hours and be perfectly fine.

Feb 23, 2014 4:24pm | report
BostonNM47

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BostonNM47

It really depends on what your goal is. If you're looking to put on muscle, intermittent fasting is not the way to go. Training yourself to eat every 2-3 hours is the way to go. You'll never be hungry and can actually lose weight from speeding up your metabolism. In the end you should do whatever works for you.

Mar 14, 2014 2:59pm | report
rdskins21

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rdskins21

False intermittent fasting can, work for building lean mass. Its all about your macros and if your in a surplus for the, day...secondly every 2-3 hours is not the way to go. You will always be hungry. And you CAN NOT SPEED UP YOUR METABOLISM do some research man I promise, you, it's impossible. Eating very 2-3 hours can actual hurt getting bigger because so much wasted energy in digestion. But there, is no way to increase you metabolism only metabolic rate. Science not broscience

Jun 10, 2014 5:38pm | report
rdskins21

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rdskins21

False intermittent fasting can, work for building lean mass. Its all about your macros and if your in a surplus for the, day...secondly every 2-3 hours is not the way to go. You will always be hungry. And you CAN NOT SPEED UP YOUR METABOLISM do some research man I promise, you, it's impossible. Eating very 2-3 hours can actual hurt getting bigger because so much wasted energy in digestion. But there, is no way to increase you metabolism only metabolic rate. Science not broscience

Jun 10, 2014 5:38pm | report
supesprime

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supesprime

I only need 2500 calories to gain weight and this meal plan looks good

Dec 16, 2013 12:34pm | report
 
craig2evan

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craig2evan

so if I am a 5'7" 115lbs skeleton, I'd need around 1800 calorie right? I am 14 btw and trying to get fit (wish me luck :D)

so 1800 calorie and the same food just with different quantity. ok I'm about to prepare everything and hope to start next week!

Dec 17, 2013 1:09am | report
 
samerym

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samerym

I think you need more. You're a growing teen, and most likely an ectomorph (judging by your stats.) Start with 2,000 and go up from there.

Dec 17, 2013 8:32am | report
craig2evan

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craig2evan

fair enough. I actually can eat more than 2500 a day but since I am beginner (been workout like only 2 months) I tried to be patient.

some people said that you can't add muscle mass more than 25 pounds a year, if it's more than that, it's definetely fat. true?

Dec 18, 2013 5:50am | report
NeroMaj

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NeroMaj

Not necessarily. Being 14, your body is in a prime state to develop the muscle fibers (amounts and types) that you will have for life. Take advantage of the growing period and focus on the big compound lifts to increase your fast twitch (IIa and IIb) fibers as these are the largest muscle fibers.

Dec 19, 2013 10:26am | report
JeremyKoehnlein

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JeremyKoehnlein

In my personal opinion, at your age, just eat eat eat. Especially while training, I doubt you'll add much fat if any at all. Good luck to you! Most 14 year olds don't have that dedication! Very admirable. Oh and as a side note, if anyone tells you there is some kind of limit to how much muscle people can gain, you have my permission to smack them. Feel free to gain as much as you like

Dec 20, 2013 5:45am | report
shivjamm

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shivjamm

hey mike...what changes have to be made if i workout in d morning ?

Dec 18, 2013 4:19am | report
 
MOTIVATED2012

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MOTIVATED2012

If I'm taking Whey protein Directly after a workout, do I still take it with meal 2?

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Dec 18, 2013 8:08am | report
 
MOTIVATED2012

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MOTIVATED2012

Oh, btw, I workout from 5 to 6:30am. I typically use Dymatize Hydrobuilder Whey immediately post workout and again at 3:00 pm.....

Dec 18, 2013 8:38am | report
XxmetallicaxX

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XxmetallicaxX

Just want to remind people on here before they get carried away and too far off topic, this article is called 6 week MUSCLE BUILDER, therefore its sole purpose is not for cutting, it is theroectically a clean bulk

Dec 19, 2013 12:14am | report
 
AbdallahSaied

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AbdallahSaied

i didn't get the adding calories part. Should i increase 300 calories each day more than the day before. or this increase is that after the first 2 weeks add 300 calories more and continue for another 2 weeks? Thanks in advance

Dec 21, 2013 8:19am | report
 
JohnGoingPRO

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JohnGoingPRO

After every 2 weeks analyze and add 300 if you need it.

Mar 7, 2014 12:37pm | report
bellasella

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bellasella

I'm not clear. If I am a woman wanting fat loss while gaining muscle, how many calories would I aim for?

Dec 22, 2013 2:23am | report
 
lifthardgirl

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lifthardgirl

I am wanting to know too. (I think women eat half less than men do, but I want specific info too)

Mar 2, 2014 10:50am | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 40 Comments

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