The average individual probably spends 10% of their day at the gym. 

So it’d make sense to assume that where they spend the other 90% factors into achieving their fitness goals. More specifically, the kitchen and meal time.

The trick to gaining lean muscle isn’t endless burpees or loaded bar squats. It’s providing your body with the nutrients it needs to grow. But also not loading it down so much that it gains fat. 

Follow these five rules and you can see a gain of the right kind of weight.

1. Eat more food

To keep your body in muscle-building mode, you need to taking in calories throughout the day so your body isn’t in a deficit. That can be a lot of eating so many nutritionist recommend adding calorie-dense food.

Example: If you eat oatmeal for breakfast, add a tablespoon of almond butter and chopped almonds. 

2. Eat more frequently

Don’t eat all your calories in one sitting – spread them throughout your day. If you eat more then your body needs in one sitting, your body will store the excess as fat. 

Tip: Switch from three large meals a day to six small meals a day. 

3. Time your meals 

Most nutritionists recommend eating eating a meal one hour or a snack 30-minutes before activity. This will give your body time to store the nutrients as fuel. Then after your workout, consume 15 to 20 grams of protein and 50 to 100 grams of carbohydrates.

Example: Follow up your workout with a protein shake and banana or a PB&J sandwich.

4. Eat more of the right foods

Eating greasy burgers and processed foods won’t build a strong body. You get out what you put in. Aim to consume lean proteins like fish and chicken, whole grains like oatmeal and healthy fats like avocado.

Example: Drizzle your salad with olive oil and vinegar and skip the lowfat dressing.

5. Keep a food journal 

Keeping track of what you eat, when you eat and your activities throughout the day can help you identify if your diet is effective. If you’re hungry one day and did more throughout the day you may need to up the amount of calories you are consuming. 

Example: Download my fitness pal app or keep a journal and aim to track 3-7 days a week.