We often get highly motivated athletes coming into RPP asking if they can gain that “5-10 lbs” of lean muscle during the off-season. Our simple answer? “Yes”.
But, it’s all about nutrition and intake. The nutrition plan below provides a great program to gain lean muscle mass while training. A great strength training program should go hand-in-hand with an excellent nutrition plan in order to unlock the athlete’s potential to get “bigger, faster and stronger”.
- Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water a day. For example, a 160 pound athlete requires 80 fluid ounces of water a day. This is a minimum requirement. Ideally, you should be consuming your body weight in ounces of water a day. For example, a 160 pound athlete should consume 160 fluid ounces of water a day. Other liquids do not count towards this requirement. The more water you drink the more muscle you will gain.
- Consume 1g-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
- Consume 2.5g-3g of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight.
- The amount of fat you need to consume a day should be covered by eating protein that contains fat. You should be consuming 25% of your calories from fat.
- The goal is to gain 1lb-1.5lbs a week. If you are not achieving these numbers you are not eating enough. Weigh yourself 2x a week to make sure you are on track.
- An easy formula to follow for gaining weight in the offseason is to eat 17x your bodyweight in calories a day. For example, a 160 pound athlete should be eating 2,720 calories a day.
Using the Above Formula:
- Total Calories a Day: (160lbs x 17) = 2,720 total calories
- Total Protein a Day: (160lbs x 1g) = 160g protein
- Total Carbohydrates a Day: (160lbs x 3g) = 480g carbohydrates
- Total Fat a Day: (160 x .25) = 40g fat
If the athlete is still not gaining weight, you need to add 250 calories a day to the diet until weight gain is achieved. For example, week 1: the athlete is eating an extra 250 calories a day but isn’t gaining weight, you need to then add an extra 500 calories a day to the athlete’s diet. If an extra 500 calories a day isn’t working, you need to add 750 and so on. Make sure the extra calories are about 25% fat, 30% protein and 45% carbohydrates.
Easy Ways to Add More Calories
The easiest way to add more calories a day besides eating more at breakfast, lunch, and dinner is through consuming shakes, bars, and nut butters during the day.
Best Option: Making your own. You need to figure out what the athlete likes. I could recommend one shake that they absolutely hate that I think tastes delicious. Make sure the shake has 500+ calories in it of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. There is nothing wrong with having 2-3 shakes a day if that is adding muscle to the athlete’s body. You could even sneak olive oil into it without the taste being detected and that will add another 120 calories to the shake. An example is:
- 1 cup milk (make sure its full fat, not 2%) or 1 cup almond milk or 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 scoop protein powder (whatever flavor the athletes likes)
- 2 TBSP peanut butter or cashew butter or sunbutter
- ½ cup uncooked quick oatmeal
Add 1/2 cup water or more to improve consistency. If the shake is still too thick for your taste, eat the peanut butter separately.
Meal Replacement Bars
Best Options: Met-Rx, Cliff bars, Muscle Milk bars. There is nothing wrong with having multiple bars in one sitting if that is adding muscle to the athlete.
Peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, sunbutter. This is a very easy way to add 100s of extra calories a day. One tablespoon of these butters is typically around 100 calories.
An Example of a 160 lb. Athlete’s Plan for Weight Gain
- 1 shake with 1 cup milk, 2 scoop protein powder, 1 cup blueberries, 2 TBSP peanut butter, ½ cup uncooked quick oatmeal.
- 1 Bar
- 1 cup cooked rice, 1 cup beans, 8 ounces chop meat mixed together (season as desired), banana. I know kids can be picky so a sandwich is ok too (definitely not the best though) so add 5 TBSP of peanut, cashew, or sunbutter if you are having a sandwich for lunch.
- 1 Bar
- 2 medium baked potatoes with 12 oz. chicken, salad.
The above diet is 3,019 calories with 327g carbohydrates and 208g of protein. If the athlete is following this and not gaining weight, added a shake after dinner might be necessary. After Dinner: 1 shake with 1 cup milk, 2 scoops protein powder, 1 cup blueberries, ½ cup uncooked quick oatmeal. If the athlete is gaining too much weight (more than 2lbs a week) than the meal plan needs to be cut down by 250 calories a day.
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