Muscle Building Diet – Beginner’s Guide to Pre and Post Workout Nutrition

Muscle building dietThree things you need to get right to build your perfect body:

  1. Training – To create enough stimulus for growth.
  2. Nutrition – To provide nutrition (muscle building diet) to aid in muscle growth.
  3. Rest – To recover and come back stronger.

Figuring out my way around the gym was easier for me. For not only I hired a trainer from whom I learned the correct exercises, posture, and how to create enough stimulus for growth. But also I was always inquisitive from day one and cleared my basics.

Bodybuilding isn’t a great science if you observe carefully, follow the basics and experiment what works for you. Everything comes to you naturally thereafter.

Bodybuilding basics:

  1. Don’t exercise, TRAIN!
  2. Weightlifting over Cardio
  3. Compound movements over Isolated training
  4. Train for Strength

My trainer wasn’t much of a great help when it came to planning a solid muscle building diet. And making food choices was puzzling but after much reading, consultation, experimentation, and observation (because that’s what you have to do) I cracked nutrition. I learnt what works for me.

Pre and post workout nutrition for muscle building is simple: You eat Carbohydrates + Protein

Pre – You eat carbohydrates (fuel) that allow you to train harder and protein (amino acids) to minimize muscle breakdown.

Post – You eat carbohydrates to replenish lost glycogen and protein for making the best use of the post workout anabolic window, in order to GROW!

Eat for Anabolism

People have started taking fitness seriously. New gyms, fitness centers, cross fit centers are now opening up every corner but they fail to educate you about diet.

Most people head to the gym on an empty stomach because they have succumbed to the notion that one shouldn’t eat before a workout in order to burn fat. This is where they do more damage to their bodies, feel tired for the rest of the day, and loose their spirit only to never step in the gym again. New year’s resolutions suck!

A few of these health centers might help you make a diet chart (same chart to every individual) but they hardly bother to create a customized meal chart. Each body is different it’s better to clear your basics and experiment with foods to find out what works for you. With correct exercises and a strong diet, you can have a great strength training session.

A good pre and post workout meal will aid to help you move faster and perform better.

Yes, overall diet is more important in the long-run but consider pre and post workout meals as a magic window. It can be a deal breaker in your level of performance, recovery, and growth. If you do it right it will make all the difference in losing weight, adding an extra inch to your arms or crossing those plateaus.

Pre – Workout Muscle Building Diet

Pre-workout nutrition is like the fuel you provide your body that helps you push through the training. You are preparing your body to perform at the highest levels.

A well-planned pre workout will provide you with all the necessary nutrients required by your body for the workout, and also will diminish the muscle damage (micro-tears) caused during the workout.

It is important for you to eat before you train. Not eating beforehand may make you feel sluggish or weak because you don’t have enough fuel to sustain your session.

I feel weak if don’t eat before a workout. I feel a difference of as much as 15-20% in my intensity and the weights that I lift between my AM and PM sessions. With that said be sure to grab a small snack before an AM workout.


When it comes to nutrition especially pre-workout meal timing can be crucial. As the timing will change what types of foods you should be eating.

You need to allow for the food to be digested and absorbed so that the energy it provides is readily available when you exercise. You need to provide yourself with a nice sustainable energy balance for your workout session.

If you eat two to three hours before you workout:

  •  Eat food with ample amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fibers. Fat and fibers present in the food will slow down the digestion of carbs  and will supply you with adequate energy during the workout.

If you eat One hour to 45 minutes before: Eat food which is light on stomach and has fast digesting carbohydrates to fuel you with energy.

Make sure you are consuming enough carbohydrates, the macronutrient responsible for the energy.

While carbohydrates is what keeps you energized during workouts protein plays an important role in muscle repair and your recovery overall.

  • The glycogen stores in your liver and muscles depend on your carb intake. Carbohydrates provide you with glucose that is converted into glycogen during glycolysis by the body. This glycogen is stored in the muscles and powers the muscle contractions when you lift weights.
  • Next thing you have to keep in mind is the protein content. It is very important for you to spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day. Your body needs protein to repair muscle damage and reduce post-workout muscle soreness.

Shoot for a good mixture of proteins for your pre-workout diet or have a light protein shake with some simple fast-burning carbohydrates like a banana.

The final thing to keep in mind is keeping the fat content low if you are eating 6o minutes before the gym because fats tend to slow down the digestion process. 

muscle building diet

Source: www.verju.com

Ps- Gulp down Coffee and L-Carnitine Tartrate (500mg) 30mins before you hit the gym.


Post – Workout Muscle Building Diet

After an intense workout session, your muscles are depleted of glycogen (up to 40%), to fulfill the energy requirements; you need to fuel your body. 

Since muscle growth is our prime concern, replacing the lost glycogen is important. Eating carb-rich foods post-workout helps in replenishing the glycogen lost from the muscles during a workout.

The second most important reason for your post-workout nutrition is to repair the muscle tissues you broke down while working out. During the training, you tend to cause small tears or micro-traumas to your muscle tissues. In order to regain muscle strength and size, you need to mitigate this breakdown immediately.


A strenuous weight training session is something our bodies aren’t made for. So consuming a high protein rich meal within 60minutes of workout is of utmost importance. It could be a deal breaker in your recovery. And bodybuilding is all about recovery.

What to eat

Protein – After training, the most important aspect of post-workout nutrition is the consumption of protein. Consuming whey protein immediately after a workout is a good idea. Whey protein digests rapidly and supplies your body with essential nutrients and amino acids which maximize muscle protein synthesis.

Carbohydrates – Since carbohydrates are the primary fuel source used up during exercise, it becomes extremely important to consume carbohydrates after a workout of any type to replenish fuel stores and other nutrients lost or eliminated during exercise.

Advanced or Intermediate lifters can even consume pure glucose Dextrose (Amazon link) which is the best post-workout carb source resulting in the quickest and most complete replenishment of muscle glycogen.

I rely more on whole foods and protein shakes. If I am training in the morning my post workout shakes look like this

muscle building diet

If I am working out in the evening I’d chug the protein shake down with water and a fruit followed by a large meal within 40-45minutes. My post-workout meal is one of my largest meal of the day. I eat like a pig. And my favorite protein sources are eggs, legumes and cheese.

Post workout meal should serve to replenish your body not only with protein, but with carbohydrates and essential fats as they all work in unison to get the body rested and recovered.


Experiment. Vary carb and fat content as per your goals whether you want to lose weight or gain muscles but don’t workout on an empty stomach.

Pre and post workout meals can be a deal breaker in your level of performance and growth; use them wisely to optimize your performance.

When you’re exercising, you’re actually creating micro tears in your muscles. Your body requires amino acids (protein) to rebuild those muscle fibers so they can grow, get stronger and prevent injury.

If you don’t consume protein and a wide variety of amino acids after exercise, you make yourself susceptible and potentially prone to injury from damaged muscle fibers waiting to be repaired. This can easily happen if you exercise hard, don’t supply your body with adequate nutrition, and then exercise again the same day or the following day.

You must fuel your workouts with high-quality foods and these four muscle building supplements that I absolutely recommend to maximize your performance and gains.

Train hard!


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