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Chest-Building Nutrition: Tips And Meal Plan For A Bigger Chest

Dumbbells and barbells will only get you so far in your quest for a gorilla chest. You need a solid nutrition profile to build powerful pecs. Here's how!

You want it: that makes-your-shirt-tight, OMG-he's-huge, pecs-popping, ripped-to-shreds chest. Once you've scoured the web for workouts and have the perfect flyes + bench formula figured out, you might think you're ready to build it. Guess what? You're forgetting something: nutrition.

Without proper nutrition, a chest plan would never be complete. You can spend hours in the gym, but without the raw materials, building muscles after you've broken them down just isn't gonna work. You'll have to resort to pec-implants to boost that A-cup, bro!

To build bigger pecs, you'll need a calorie surplus and the right division of carbs, proteins, and fats. Add some smart meal timing to accelerate the rate of growth, and you'll have yourself a killer program.

More Cals = More Mass

If you want a bigger chest, you need to eat more. Most active men need 15-to-17 calories per pound of body weight for maintenance. To build one pound of muscle mass per week, you'll want to add 3,500 total calories into your weekly diet. (Why? 3,500 calories = 1 pound)

There are multiple ways to add these calories. For example, 500 extra calories per day adds 3,500 per week. Or, if you're really focusing on chest growth, you might train your chest across multiple sessions per week. If you do three chest workouts per week, you could aim to place 700-1,000 of those calories in the first two meals after each chest workout.

Eating after a tough workout ensures that your muscles never 'go hungry.' Because your protein intake probably won't vary much between bulking and maintenance diets, most of these extra calories are going to come from carbs. Some additional healthy fats are fine, but keep them out of your post-workout meals.

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Nutrient Treasure Chest

Your macronutrient split won't take too much tweaking. Your protein intake should be set relatively constant, at one gram per pound of body weight, regardless of your goal. You can up it to 1.2-1.5 grams per pound on your chest days, but you won't need significantly more protein than that.

It's better to up your carbohydrate intake for optimal growth. You don't need to go overboard, or start eating a cinnamon roll every day, but sufficient carbs will keep your body in an anabolic state and provide energy to fuel and refuel your intense workout sessions.

If you aren't eating sufficient carbs, you may feel drained and sluggish during your workouts. That means you won't be able to give the right amount of effort for optimal chest growth.

There's no hard and fast rule for carbohydrate and dietary fat intake, but most men looking to build mass and strength will do well with 150 or more grams of carbs per day. On those tough chest workout days, you can even increase your carb intake to 200 grams. Dudes who are already taking in some serious calories can further increase their carb intake to 250-to-300 grams per day. Not everyone has the exact same body, so not everyone will have the exact same diet.

15 percent of your total calorie intake should be healthy fat. Fats are vital to keeping your muscle-building hormones optimized to ensure that your chest workouts pay off. If you start to reduce your dietary fat intake too much, it could cause your testosterone levels to plummet, inhibiting muscle growth and recovery. (Healthy fats provide a number of other benefits, too, so don't be afraid of them!)

Will Chest For Food

Don't let the fact that you're 'bulking' make you think you can fill your diet with whatever you want. If you consistently put highly-processed, sugary foods
into your body, you're not going to
feel well and you will gain more fat
than muscle.

Choose lean protein sources like
chicken, lean beef, fish, egg whites
and whey protein. Your carbs should be complex and come from brown rice, sweet potatoes, barley and oatmeal. You'll still need fruits and veggies. To get good fats, consume plenty of flaxseeds, fish oil, avocado, nuts and natural nut butter.

Avoid foods with trans fats or excessive saturated fat. They don't support lean body composition. Some saturated fat is okay to include and even beneficial for testosterone levels, but it shouldn't overtake your unsaturated fat intake.

Sample Meal Plan

A 180-pound guy looking to add some
mass to his chest should eat something like this on his workout days:

Breakfast

Nutrition Facts

Calories 496 | Fat 24g | Carbs 35g | Protein 35g

Mid-Morning

Nutrition Facts

Calories 498 | Fat 22g | Carbs 50g | Protein 25g

Lunch

Nutrition Facts

Calories 599 | Fat 31g | Carbs 50g | Protein 30g

Pre-Workout

Nutrition Facts

Calories 300 | Fat 0g | Carbs 50g | Protein 25g

Post-Workout

Nutrition Facts

Calories 500 | Fat 0g | Carbs 75g | Protein 50g

Dinner

Nutrition Facts

Calories 400 | Fat 20g | Carbs 15g | Protein 40g

Before Bed

Nutrition Facts

Calories 400g | Fat 18g | Carbs 25g | Protein 35g


Daily Total

Calories 3,375 | Fat 115g | Carbs 300g | Protein 285g


* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


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About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

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alanmele

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alanmele

interesting article. thank you very much for the information. I was looking for information on nutrition.

Jul 24, 2012 11:27am | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 158.73 lbs
  • bf: 15.0%
Pirolai

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Pirolai

great article and awesome info!!.. Thanks for that

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Jul 24, 2012 7:46pm | report
 
TJM213

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TJM213

Shannon, thanks for adding the sample meal plan that contains simple, everyday food items I already have in my pantry/refrigerator.

Article Rated:
Jul 25, 2012 11:35am | report
 
419superman

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419superman

Nutrition is everything. Nice article!

Jul 25, 2012 2:53pm | report
 
jdgraves2008

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jdgraves2008

I am still have a lot of trouble with my nutrition and constructing the perfect workout plan.

Jul 25, 2012 5:17pm | report
 
jozifp103

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jozifp103

nutrition info is good. training ANY muscle 3 times a week....eeeehh not sure how affective that is

Jul 25, 2012 5:19pm | report
 
shoretel

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shoretel

I was thinking the same thing...

Aug 7, 2012 2:44pm | report
CocoaDiva

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CocoaDiva

I agree withyou guys. I think training any muscle three times a week only means you haven't worked that muscle properly the first time. I say no more than twice. The muscle needs time to grow and repair.

Nov 18, 2012 6:21pm | report
michaelhoole

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michaelhoole

Im a 148 pound male eat about the same as what uv got in your example meal plan for 180 pound guy and struggle to put on a pound of muscle a week

Jul 25, 2012 5:50pm | report
 
Damn95

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Damn95

try to gain 1 to 3 pounds of lean mucle a month not a week.

Jan 9, 2013 12:30am | report
Malik182

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Malik182

im a bit like you, but i did my research and its fairly simple, we need to eat more calories(mainly protein) than we burn off daily to bulk. I eat a lot but burn serious calories a day due to an active lifestyle. Now Im trying to increase my intake so its more than the calories I burn.

Jan 19, 2013 11:29am | report
troko

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troko

i was on the bigger bicep meal plan before i found this, thanks man

Jul 25, 2012 6:31pm | report
 
toolman019

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toolman019

Love how they show a meal plan sample for a 180 pound regular guy instead of a 300 pound BB

Jul 26, 2012 6:56am | report
 
BamaBorn

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BamaBorn

What I was thinking too. wonder how this meal plan would work for a 230 lb'r trying to maintain muscle but shed a little fat?

Jul 29, 2012 4:27am | report
jattmariner

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jattmariner

great info on nutrition, thanks.

Aug 5, 2012 5:48am | report
 
jamesong76

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jamesong76

training chest twice weekly is more than enough.Good article on the nutrition.

Aug 8, 2012 6:01am | report
 
CassB

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CassB

Good read. On key and straight to the point

Aug 28, 2012 7:29pm | report
 
zabetak

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zabetak

I like this article! I already started to follow a very similar nutrtition, after my next measurements I'll give my rate:)

Sep 8, 2012 10:53am | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 170.94 lbs
  • bf: 15.6%
gelam1000

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gelam1000

great article, good information. never knew i needed so many carbs

Sep 12, 2012 9:25am | report
 
GingerMarty

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GingerMarty

Great meal plan. But would there be any change or another day/meal plan.
I dont want to be eating this day in day out, and I am trying to put on muscle mass.

Nov 14, 2012 6:34am | report
 
allnatural01

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allnatural01

Its all about what u eat that will make the difference

Nov 17, 2012 12:56pm | report
 
AJohnson25

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AJohnson25

Awesome article! Great information thanks

Nov 18, 2012 5:32pm | report
 
TiagOvM

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TiagOvM

Great article, thx for all the info!

But I have one question.

I go to gym only in the morning, and I like to know what u recommend, for a midday meal?

Nov 25, 2012 10:06am | report
 
Ben116

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Ben116

can this be used as a mass gainer?

Nov 27, 2012 10:30am | report
 
alex192

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alex192

That was kinda the point

Jan 8, 2013 6:58pm | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 49 Comments

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