Meal Planning for Beginners | Meal Plan for Building Muscle | Meal Plan for Losing Weight

Frustrated skinny guys looking to gain weight often feel like they are eating as much as they possibly can. When the scale doesn't go up, they throw up their hands in defeat. But the truth, more often than not, is that they simply need to embrace a new style of eating to grow: a meal plan designed specifically for muscle growth!

Forging new muscle requires a menu that is high in both protein and calories. But remember, going on a muscle-building diet is not an excuse for eating everything in sight. Too many people load up on empty calories and cheap carbs, instead of giving their body an increased quantity of high-quality, nutrient-rich food.

Instead, you'll be targeted in your nutrition; prioritizing high-quality, nutrient-dense carbs for fuel when your body needs them most—around your tough workouts—and upping your fats in other meals to get more calories. Eat like this, train hard, and you will grow!

Want a full education on how to eat for gains? Registered dietician Doug Kalman, PhD, RD breaks it down in his video "How to Eat to Gain Weight" from the video course's Foundations of Fitness Nutrition.

Following the right diet is only half the battle, though. If you're serious about gaining muscle, make sure you're following a well-designed program specifically for that goal. Here are the most popular ones from BodyFit:

Supplements can also help you accelerate your muscle-building results once you have your diet and training figured out. Krissy Kendall, Ph.D., shares her recommendations in the article, "8 Proven Supplements for Muscle Growth and Strength."

The Bodybuilding Meal Plan for Building Muscle

Target: approx. 3,000 calories, 300 g carbs, 225 g protein, 100 g fat

Note that the plan here is for a moderately active, 150-pound guy who trains in the afternoon. If your sessions are in the morning, simply rearrange it so that you're eating the starchy meals before and right after your workout and then avoid starchy carbs later in the day. If you're larger or smaller than 150 pounds, you can also dial in your daily calories with's Calorie Calculator.


  • Meal 1:  Breakfast (containing starchy carbs)  
  • Meal 2:  Snack (low-carb)  
  • Meal 3:  Lunch (low-carb)  
  • Meal 4: Post-workout snack or shake (containing starchy carbs and protein)  
  • Meal 5: Snack (containing starchy carbs)  
  • Meal 6:  Dinner (containing starchy carbs) 

Sample Day

Meal 1: Cheesy Scrambled Eggs with Scallions
Eggs (omega-3 eggs)
Egg Whites
Cheese (cheddar)
1/4 cup
Ezekiel Bread
2 slices
Meal 2: Blueberry Almond Smoothie
Protein Powder (vanilla)
2 scoops
1 cup
1 oz.
Almond Milk (vanilla)
1 cup
1 cup
3-4 cubes
Meal 3: Steak with Tomato Bean Salad
Steak (flank, grilled)
6 oz.
Cucumber (diced)
1 cup
Olive Oil
1 tbsp
Meal 4: Post-Workout Nutrition
Protein Powder (shoot for 50 g carbs, 25 g protein)
1 serving
Meal 5: Chicken with Quinoa Salad
6 oz.
1/3 cup
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
Meal 6: Yams and Parmesan White Fish
6 oz.
Parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp
2 medium
1 tbsp
1 cup

About the Author

Contributing Writer's authors include many of the top coaches, nutritionists, and physique athletes in the world today.

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Meal Plan