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Contrary to popular belief you do not need enormous amounts of protein to gain muscle mass. 1.6 - 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is sufficient for those following bodybuilding-type programs. Eating adequate amounts of carbohydrates is also important in gaining lean body mass. Carbohydrates help to provide the necessary calories for muscle growth while keeping your consumption of dietary fat low. Some fat is important to include in your diet, however eating too much of it can make you fat. Excellent, low fat sources of carbohydrates include foods such as rice, pasta, potatoes, breads, cereals, fruit, vegetables, and legumes. Some scientific studies show that eating large amounts of carbohydrate could help to increase lean body mass.

Protein sources that are low in fat would include egg whites, lean red meat, poultry, and a variety of fish are usually low in fat content when prepared without oil or butter. Choosing low fat dairy products like non-fat yogurt (usually the 0.1% fat content) and skim milk are also good choices. Keep cheese, deep fried foods, most fast foods, sauces made with oil, pastries and other high fat foods to a minimum. As mentioned before, it is important to have some fat in your diet but too much of it will make you fat.

You should try to eat 5 to 6 meals a day. This usually works out to three big ones (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) combined with two or three snacks throughout the day. Try to get a protein source with each meal combined with a good source of carbohydrate. Eating enough calories is important in order to fuel the muscle growth and to give you energy throughout the day. However, with a good exercise program you can eliminate a lot of the stress and damage that improper weight training can cause. Therefore, you probably do not have to eat as much as you think compared to those who perform high volume, marathon workouts. Do not stuff yourself, but continue to increase your caloric intake gradually. Increasing caloric intake can sometimes be harder than reducing it!

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