“Che. 2003 called. They want their laptop back.”
My friends at the table erupt in laughter. If my Lenovo Thinkpad T530 could shed old, wrinkly, grown-ass man tears, it probably would.
Fortunately, Mr. T530 helped me create a spreadsheet that became my blueprint for eating sufficient food in order to gain serious amounts of lean muscle mass. Despite having gained a total of about 17 pounds, I was still very lean and no more than 7-8% body fat. As a comparison, the US average male body fat percentage is 23 percent. Long story short, I was getting jacked, son. Jaaaaaaaacked.
In any case, it all started when I read an article that went into serious detail as to how UFC champion Georges St. Pierre put on 12 pounds of lean muscle mass in 8 weeks. No, that wasn’t a typo.
Within two months leading up to training camp for one of his upcoming fights, he went form weighing 183 pounds to 195 pounds. For the next three months, his diet stayed the same, but the high volume of training helped bring him down to a lean and mean 188 pounds a week before his fight.
For what it’s worth, he hasn’t lost a professional fight since then.
Immediately, I was intrigued. I had always been somewhat undersized and weaker than my opponents. The article answered my question, “What would GSP do?”
Track calories with some program or app. In a second, you’ll see why this is almost necessary (it’d be a serious pain to do otherwise).
Meals fall under two categories: “anytime” and “post-workout”. Anytime meals tend to be high in protein and fat while post-workout meals are high in carbs and protein.
As long as you hit the required amount of calories per day, feel free to add an additional meal if you’re hungry. Preferably, this meal will be lower in carbs and higher in protein and fat.
Body-type Specific Guidelines
Based on your body-type, your macronutrient distribution will vary. See which body-type you are.
Note: Before you start panicking and getting anxiety over how you calculate this, don’t worry. Refer to the spreadsheet at the bottom of this post and it will all make sense.
Ectomorph – around 25% protein, 55% carbs, 20% fat
Thin build, hard to gain muscle or fat. Basically, you have a hard time gaining weight. Your female friends probably envy you
Example: long-distance runner
Mesomorph – around 30% protein, 40% carbs, 30% fat
Muscular build, can lose or gain muscle easily (fat gain minimal)
Example: sprinter or gymnast
Endomorph – around 35% protein, 25% carbs, 40% fat
Large build, easy to put on weight (both good and bad)
Example: shot putter, football lineman
Calorie intake for most people wanting to gain weight should be their bodyweight in pounds multiplied by 20 or 22. If you are like GSP or me and you don’t eat a whole lot to begin with, go with the 18 multiplier instead. Again, this is just for informational purposes. Refer to the spreadsheet below for less confusion.
Keep in mind that this calorie intake assumes that you are exercising your fair share. I did this along with my lifting program [link] for best results.
Other Additional Information
GSP had a personal chef. This is a luxury, not a necessity. For what it’s worth, meal prep was somewhat time consuming.
The food prepared was 100% organic. Again, not a necessity. I’m sure it helps, but there’s no need to go overboard on the organic train. Arsenic is organic and that shit will kill you, son. Also, I’m a broke-ass mofo. At one point I was eating yogurt covered pretzels from the Allentown farmers’ market to get enough calories. Boom.
As I’m all about convenience, preparing things in bulk is key. This is especially true for things which can be used later in many recipes such as beans, lentils, or rice.
The post workout meal, as its name suggests, is eaten directly after training. Yes, it’s fine to take a shower before you dig in. You have my permission. I can smell you through the screen, you smelly bastard. Take a shower if you even remember how.
You’ll realize at some point that this much food intake (with the right food) is not as easy at it seems. I once sat in front of a large plate of food for an hour and a half trying to eat everything.
Note: To use this, spreadsheet, you’ll need to download the sheet as a Microsoft Excel File. The nice thing about this spreadsheet is that you only need to input your starting weight in pounds. The rest of the work is done for you!
Calorie counter apps: There are many, but I personally use FatSecret. Don’t try to do this by hand- it’s miserable. The key to calorie counting is to not sweat the small details. If it’s under 50 calories, there’s no need to waste your time adding it in. That said, don’t be a jackass and eat 9 mini pretzels every few minutes in order to avoid this.