Top 3 Best Macronutrients To Eat For Muscle Gain

best macronutrients for muscle gain

Macros And Muscle Gain.  

There's a lot more involved in the process of building muscle than what first meets the eye. Lifting some heavy weights in aimless ill-formed fashion, to then sit back and expect to see stellar results, would near enough be a complete waste of both time and energy.  

In order to function, develop and perform to its full potential, the body essentially demands fuel. The fuel required identifies in the form of calories and these calories are made up of the 3 macronutrients, Carbohydrates, protein and fat.  

The Best Macronutrients For Muscle Gain.

macronutrients for bulking

For the most part, muscle gain comes only to those who train and diet with meaningful intention. Furthermore, there is no dividing split of importance between the two.

Maximising building muscle is the result of 100% effort in training and 100% effort in diet.  

For those looking to build muscle in the most efficient manner, macronutrient consumption must be carefully considered, The intake ratios of Carbs, fats and proteins have a huge effect on muscle gain and body composition.  

Protein: - Protein is somewhat seen as the cover-model macronutrient for building muscle. It is widely said that if you want to build muscle, you better increase your protein. But why is this? What makes protein so important to the synthesis of increasing muscle mass?  

When you lift weights, e.g, perform bicep curls, you create tiny little micro-tears in the muscle tissue. Through the process of repairing the tissue, muscle mass is increased.

To repair damaged tissue the body utilises amino acids to surround and fill the tears, these amino acids are derived from metabolised proteins.  

Protein also makes important enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. Protein is an essential building block of the entire body, contributing to the development of not only muscle, but also bone, cartilage and your skin. Great sources of protein include:  

Poultry: -   Chicken, turkey and pheasant are examples of lean poultry. White breast meat contains less fat than the 'brown' meat found in the legs and thighs. 100g of turkey contains approximately 30g of protein. Low-fat ground turkey is an excellent alternative to beef mince in a chilli con carne or bolognese.  

Red mean: -  Red meat is incredibly dense in protein and also creatine. Creatine leads to water retention in muscle cells, resulting in increased muscle fullness. An 8oz steak contains around 57g of protein. Leaner red meats such as beef fillet or pork tenderloin should be favoured over cuts higher in saturated fats.  

Cottage cheese: -  Dairy products are an easy way to increase protein in your diet. The average cottage cheese contains 10% protein and is an excellent source of casein, a slow-digesting dairy protein that metabolizes slower than other proteins, keeping you fuller for longer.  

Other Examples Of High Protein Foods:  

counting macros for weight gain

Whey protein - 24g per medium scoop. Edamame beans - 6g per 50g serving. Eggs - 6g per medium-sized chicken egg. Almonds - 10g per 50g serving.  


Carbohydrates are often seen as second to protein in regard to increasing muscle mass. Thinking that carbohydrates are not needed for muscle building is a common misconception. The body needs energy in order to function and the energy that we use arises in the form of carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take longer to metabolise as they are formed of longer chains of than that of simple sugars. This means that they are a more stable and steady form of energy.  

Carbohydrates decrease the rate of protein breakdown and increase the speed of protein synthesis, raising the rate at which amino acids are transported to muscle cells where they can get to work rebuilding.

Adequate intake of carbohydrates are as important as protein when looking to build muscle. Some examples of complex carbohydrates are:  


Whole grain oats are a great staple food choice amongst those looking to build muscle. Oats are around 66% carbs, 11% of which is digestion-friendly dietary fibre. Oats are considered one of the healthiest whole grains out there and are believed to reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and the chance of developing heart disease. Oats can be enjoyed both hot or cold and also make a fantastic addition to a fruit smoothie.  


Although cooked and eaten like a whole grain such as brown rice, quinoa is actually highly nutritious seed that's full of vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates. Quinoa is quite the health trend at the moment, and for good reason, as is a nutritional powerhouse, being high in not only carbohydrates but also plant-based protein.  


This humble vegetable comes in all shapes and sizes, with varying number ranging from 500, into the thousands. Each variety of potato has its own unique nutritional value, as a collective however potatoes are considered a healthy starchy vegetable that is a great source of complex carbs. How you cook your potatoes massively affects how calorific they are due to being so absorbent. Opt for steaming, boiling and baking over shallow or deep frying.  


Fats have a notoriously bad reputation, but this is mostly due to people speaking for all fats under one name leading to misinformation. There are bad fats and there are good fats, of course, and bad fats that you come across should be avoided such as saturated and trans. Good fats, however, are to be encouraged and should be a part of any healthy, balanced diet. Healthy fats, like omega 3, boost metabolism, promote healthy hormone production and aid in the absorption of other nutrients.

Healthy fats are essential for building muscle and keeping the body working at its best. Here are a few sources of healthy fats:  


Around 77% of the calories found in avocado come from fat, most of which being monosaturated. Monosaturated fats are a group of fats that help to reduce bad LDL cholesterol and aid in the development of cells.

Having an efficiently working cardiovascular system is important to both overall health and building muscle. You can't train effectively if your heart can't function at its best.  

Oily fish.  

Oily fish, such as salmon, trout, and herring are not only a great source of protein, but also high in healthy omega 3 polyunsaturated fats. Omega 3 has been shown to reduce the chance of developing heart disease, cancer and arthritis, as well as being known to decrease inflammation in the body. It is advised that you consume at least 1 portion of oily fish per week, this can be increased when undergoing strenuous exercise.  

Olive oil.  

Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils you can use, comprised of mostly monounsaturated fat and the predominant fatty acid oleic acid. In fact, the pair make up around 73% of the total oil content. Olive oil is full of antioxidants and is known to reduce inflammation, prevent strokes and protect against heart disease.  

Olive oil has a high smoking point and subtle flavour. It can be used in place of other oils in any recipe.  

Best Macronutrients To Eat For Bulking.  

When looking to pack on the pounds with muscle you need to be consuming more calories than what you burn. In terms of bodybuilding, this is called bulking.  

Bulking is a necessary process when looking to build muscle. It is possible to build muscle when in a calorie deficit, but progress will be slow and insignificant in those other than complete beginners.  

Following a macronutrient plan is important when bulking to ensure maximum muscle gain whilst also minimising fat increase.  

Macro ratios don't really have to change when transitioning from calorie deficit to calorie surplus. The most important factor is actually the change/increase in calories. The average macronutrient split of somebody looking to bulk is:  

40%-60% carbs - 25%-35% protein - 15%-25% fat  

Why You Should Be Counting Macros For Weight Gain.  

When bulking, the main goal is to increase the amount of calories consumed in a day whilst exercising in an effective manner in order to build muscle. The danger of this is that some individuals end up consuming everything and anything in sight in the ambition to reach their calorific goals, without any consideration to what macronutrients are making up those foods.

Putting focused attention on counting your macronutrients for bulking will maximise results, and minimise unnecessary fat gain by ensuring your ratios stay in check. Consuming too much, or too little of any of the 3 nutrients will only have a negative effects on muscle gain.