You know that you have to eat to grow and build muscle mass. But you don’t want to gain sloppy mass (aka fat!).
I’m going to give you a 3,000 calorie ‘clean bulk’ meal plan that will help you make gains in the right places.
This isn’t going to be based on any trendy or fad diets. In fact, it’s going to be the most sensible bodybuilding meal plan you’ve ever seen.
Each meal will provide the macronutrient totals. I’m also going to give you the best ratio of macros for building lean muscle mass.
*Note: I realize that everyone is different and may require a different macro ratio; don’t worry, I’m going to help you with that too!
Get your plate ready because it’s time to eat for clean gains!
Macronutrient Ratio for Making Clean Gains
Before going forward it’s important to realize that there’s no perfect macronutrient that works for everyone. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all meal plan.
The 40/40/20 rule is a starting point for making clean gains. This tends to work for the ‘masses’ (no pun intended). Of course, you may need to make some adjustments. And I’ll show you exactly how to do that as well.
- Protein: 40%
- Carbs: 40%
- Fats: 20%
Understanding Macros for Muscle Gains
You already know that protein is crucial for building muscle so it’s important to keep that high.
You’ll use carbohydrates for your main energy source and giving your muscles the fuel they need.
*There are some people that are anti-carb. But the important thing is to pay close attention to the types of carbs you’re eating. This really goes for food in general.
The typical bodybuilding diet keeps fats on the low end but eating adequate healthy fats (like egg yolks, avocados, and nuts).
Olympia competitors and professional bodybuilders have used this concept for decades and they have physiques to proves that it works.
Here’s how your meal plan will look in regards to grams and calories below:
*Grams per calorie: Protein = 4, carbs = 4, and fats = 9.
There’s also a helpful article on from the FDA.gov website that further breaks down macros and labels called How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label.
Although bodybuilders typically require more calories than people that don’t train hard or lift weights, these are great facts to review for general education purposes.
3,000 Calorie Meal Plan for Clean Mass Gains
Now it’s time to get to the good stuff – the food!
Here’s are some notes about your meal plan below the below:
- You’ll eat 5 meals per day (if you need to split one of these meals into 2 smaller meals, feel free to do so)
- Each meal below will be about 600 calories
- Your goal is for each meal to be 40/40/20; however, some meals may be slightly off in which you’ll make up for in other meals
- You’ll notice that two of your meals are a protein shakes; place one of these shakes after your workout (just rearrange the meal plan to fit your schedule)
In addition, each meal will be approximately…
- Protein: 60
- Carbs: 60
- Fat: 13
Again, it will be difficult to make each meal fit these macros. But you can make this up with the other meals.
For example, your first meal of the day may have more carbs and not as much protein. For your next meal, you can increase the protein and reduce the carbs.
*The calories and macronutrient amounts listed below are approximates and come from WebMD.com Food Calculator.
|3 whole eggs||216||18||0||15|
|2 egg whites||34||7||0||0|
|3 turkey sausage links||135||15||3||6|
|1/2 cup of dark berries||50||0||42||0|
|2 scoops whey protein||240||46||6||4|
|1 tbsp of peanut buter||94||4||3||8|
|1 cup of non-fat yogurt||100||18||7||0|
|8 oz almond milk||40||1||2||3|
|8 oz ground beef (10%)||400||46||0||22|
|1/2 cup pasta sauce||110||2||18||3|
|4 oz pasta||112||4||21||1|
|2 servings of spinach||14||2||2||0|
|3 scoops whey protein||360||69||9||6|
|1 cup of frozen strawberries||46||0||12||0|
|1 cup of non-fat yogurt||100||18||7||0|
|8 oz almond milk||40||1||2||3|
|10 oz chicken breast||355||68||0||7|
|1/2 cup of quinoa||111||4||22||0|
|2 sweet potatoes||180||4||42||0|
So here are the totals…
- Calories: 3,048
- Protein: 334
- Carbs: 284
- Fats: 79
This specific meal plan went a little higher in protein. That could easily be fixed by reducing the protein and increase the carbs in one of your shakes.
The fat was also a little higher than 20%. You could simply take out one egg yolk in the first meal and cut the peanut butter in half for that first shake of the day.
Now you can see how easy it is to make modifications to your meal plan!
**You can compliment this meal plan for mass gains with a natural testosterone booster. This will ensure your getting the appropirate miconutrients to support healhy testosterone levels, which is a must for gaining muscle.
My recommend product is called TestoFuel. You learn more about TestoFuel here on their website.
How to Adjust Your Macros
As mentioned earlier, you may need to make adjustments to your macros or even your overall calorie intake. You can follow these guidelines below to learn how to go about making adjustments and if any are needed:
- Stick with the above macros for at least 3 weeks before making any changes
- After that take a close look at your physique, strength and energy levels, how your clothes fit and be honest with yourself
- It doesn’t hurt to have someone who will be honest with you critique your physique
- If you’re not gaining the expected muscle, bump up your calories gradually by adding 200-300 more calories per day
- You can easily do this by bumping up the serving size a little in all of your meals (ex: go with 10 ounces of chicken instead of 8)
- If you’re gaining fat then take a closer look at your food choices and drop your carbs down, and raise your protein (you may also need to reduce the calories each meal)
If you’re having a hard time gaining muscle, take a look at my mass gaining post: 5,000 Calorie Meal Plan for Mass Gains with Macros by Body Type.
You probably don’t want to go from 3,000 to 5,000 calories, but this post will at least give you some more ideas on how to build your meal plan.
If you’re overweight and need to reduce your calories, you’ll need to read my post: Muscle Meal Plans for Lean Muscle for Getting Shredded.
Cheat Meals for Mass Gains
You may be thinking that there’s no room for cheat meals when you’re doing a clean bulk. But that’s not necessarily the case and there are a few options below on how you can use cheat meals to your advantage.
- Schedule your cheat meals – Make a plan to fit cheat meals in at certain times rather than just randomly eating whatever, whenever. This will help you keep control of your eating situation.
- Adjust your macros for other meals that day – When you have a cheat meal, adjust the macros in your other meals for that day so that you’re hitting your ideal macros overall (this won’t always be perfect but you can come close).
- Enjoy your cheat meal – I know, you’re thinking ‘Duh, of course, I’m going to enjoy my cheat meal!’ What I’m really saying is yes, enjoy it, but don’t let that one meal throw you completely off track.
- Don’t overdo it or underdo do it – Balance is key. Don’t deprive yourself because you’ll be more prone to going off track completely. But don’t overindulge either.
If you’d like to dig deeper into macros and how you can have a more flexible meal plan, read my post: Flexible Meal Plan for Mass Gains.
Eating for Quality Mass Gains
Don’t lose sight of your goals, which is to gain clean muscle mass. You don’t want to gain weight just for the sake of gaining weight. But you also need to eat enough of the right types of calories to build muscle.
Here are some more tips to help you…
- Experiment to find what works best for you; you may need to shift the macros and overall calories around some
- Don’t get stressed out about counting every single macro; if you get into the ballpark range, that’s fine
- Be adaptable to change as your body will change over time and you’ll need to adjust your meal plan accordingly
Also, monitor your progress and reward yourself when you hit certain milestones. Here are some things to look for…
- Your waist is getting smaller but legs are getting bigger (this is an awesome thing to see and a goal you should go for!).
- Your strength is increasing. Even though you’re not training to be a powerlifter your strength should be slightly going up.
- You have energy not only during your workout but also throughout the day. If you’re feeling sluggish you need to take a closer look at what you’re eating and assess how you feel after each meal.
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Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,