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Like the training plan, the nutrition plan for Kris Gethin's Muscle-Building Trainer is a further evolution of his classic approaches that worked so well in the Hardcore Trainer and DTP. But if you think that means he's finally going to let you have that weekly cheat meal you've been dreaming of, you're sorely mistaken.
You're going to need clean food—and plenty of it—to fuel up for—and recover from—Kris's insanely challenging workouts over the next 12 weeks. You'll definitely get bigger, but don't plan on putting on any additional body fat. If anything, you might even burn some due to the training intensity.
Kris doesn't believe a bulk is an excuse to eat whatever dirty calories find their way to your plate. He believes in lean, clean gains. This is how your diet will look over the next three months.
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If you've followed Gethin's Hardcore Trainer before, you'll find that this trainer will provide a little more variety in your diet. You'll be able to eat healthy fats, fruit, and even some dairy. This variety is included to fuel your muscle growth and help you recover between workouts.
That said, you should approach your nutrition during this muscle-building plan the same way you approach your training or anything else. True growth isn't 30 percent training, 30 percent nutrition, and so on. It's 100 percent training, 100 percent motivation, 100 percent effort—and 100 percent nutrition. You are what you eat, especially once you begin adding weight.
Your Muscle-Building Meal Plan
You'll get to see what Kris eats on a daily basis once you begin the program, but you'll still have a fair amount of work to do in the kitchen. Get a food scale if you don't have one, make sure you're up on the basics of how to calculate your macros, and get ready to become a master of muscle-building nutrition.
Over the course of the trainer, Gethin throws in some recipes, and you'll occasionally find yourself alongside him while he's cooking. As he says, "I ain't no Gordon Ramsey," but he'll offer up some hints and tips on how to spice up bland foods.
You'll be eating six meals per day, a number familiar to anyone who has gone through Gethin's other trainers. The macronutrient breakdown is slightly different than Hardcore or DTP, and the overall calories are slightly higher to ensure quality gains.
The reasoning behind the breakdown is this: On your training days, your muscles require more fuel, which means more carbohydrates are necessary. But on your non-training days, you need to recover, which is why your protein is up. For optimal recovery, your hormones also need to be balanced, which is why your fat is up and your carbohydrates are down on non-training days.
The training is going to intensify every single week of the Muscle-Building Trainer, and your body will have no choice but to grow in response. As your training utilizes more and more energy (calories) and your body weight increases, your daily calorie intake should increase accordingly by roughly 100-200 calories every week. Kris will remind you of this each week when the time comes.
That said, the math can still get a little complicated, considering that you'll be increasing your calories every week, and your macros are going to change from your training days and your non-training days. Adding to the complication, your weight could rise fairly dramatically over the next 12 weeks, and everyone gains muscle at a different rate.
Here's the solution: At the start of every month during the trainer, enter your details into the calculator below so that your nutrition plan can grow and evolve along with you.
The calculator uses the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation, with the appropriate activity multipliers included, to punch out your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). From there, it adds 500 calories to your daily intake to ensure you eat enough fuel to support muscle growth and lean weight gain. The result is your recommended muscle-building calorie intake.
- If you're a classic hardgainer (ectomorph), feel like you have a particularly hard time gaining weight, or want to gain weight at a more aggressive rate, consider adding an additional 100-500 calories to your results.
- For people of medium or large build—mesomorphs and endomorphs—500 calories per day above maintenance should do the trick, but don't hesitate to drop that number slightly if you're worried about putting on too much weight too quickly. In the end, you know your body best.
Calculate Your Gains
Total Calories Including Exercise
Training day macrosProtein =
Non-training day macrosProtein =
* Mifflin-St. Jeor Equation
YOUR MUSCLE-BUILDING FOOD AND FLUID LIST
Kris says it best: "You aren't dumb. You know what's good and what's bad for you. You can't live in denial and trick your physique."
This is going to be especially true over the next 12 weeks. Your body is going to be screaming for calories both good and bad, and you need to keep stuffing only good ones into it until it finally shuts up. There are no cheat meals on this plan, but Kris will show you how to eat well.
- Brown rice
- Whole grains like bulgur or spelt
- Raw or cooked vegetables
- Whole, raw fruit
- High-fiber bread
- Sweet potatoes
- Salad greens
- Green vegetables
- Extra-virgin coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Avocados and avocado oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Fatty fish
- Natural nut butters
You can't eat anything fried, anything with trans fats, or anything with refined sugar. You shouldn't drink coffees packed with cream and sugar, soda, and beer or other alcoholic beverages. Remember, the next 12 weeks are all about clean gains. Be strict, get your fuel, and get to work. Your body will take it from there.