High-calorie diets are great for carving out lean gains and solid mass, but good fats for muscle building will add even more power to your gym game.
As a disciple of bodybuilding and a strong-ass lifter in the weights room, you understand the value of nutrition. After all – if you’re working hard in the gym to destroy your muscle fibers you need the right nutrients to build them back stronger or the game plan will never take you to that next stage of physique perfection.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the often misinterpreted role of fat for ramping up mass… the so-called ‘good fats for muscle building’.
It’s time to avoid insipid lipids and seal the deal with phat fats once and for all…
This is what we’re covering:
- Eating for mass gain – key factors in muscle building
- Why is saturated fat good for muscle building?
- What to eat to grow muscle mass – SpotMeBro top fat foods
What to Eat to Gain Muscle?
There’s a secret no one else knows. So get your pen and paper ready because you’re gonna have to sign a secrecy act if we tell you.
Nope, it’s not trenbolone or a cheeky round of spicy DNP. In fact, the biggest and simplest factor in muscle building is a calorie surplus.
It’s neither sexy nor a secret if we’re being honest – but it is the most important weapon in the bodybuilder’s arsenal – and if you aren’t already cocking the trigger on this bad boy you’re losing out big time.
Aim high with your calories to gain maximum mass
Calories in vs calories out is still the biggest determining factors whether you build God-like mass or remain the puny mortal you are now. Without the necessary surplus of energy, your body won’t divert calories and nutrients to muscle cells.
Instead, it’ll avoid building muscle and just feed your existing mass.
After all, what use is building extra gains when your still body thinks it’s trawling the Savannah looking for its next meal and at risk of starving. You have to coax your body into laying down slabs of solid muscle by giving it every single thing it needs with spare extra calories.
How do you work out calorie needs?
A simple way to determine how many calories you need for optimal masstery is to simply multiply your body weight in lbs by 14-16 – that’ll give you a good starting point.
Once you’ve got that number, add on 20% for a solid surplus that’ll minimize unnecessary ‘dirty bulk’ fat gain. There you have it.
Example: 200 lb x 16 = 3,200 + 20% = 3,840 kcal[infobox]
Just the tip: It’s possible to build muscle in a calorie deficit if you’re a noob, but an experienced lifter needs the luxury of a surplus to maximize results.[/infobox]
Don’t forget the protein, bro
The next part of the muscle mass formula is to get sufficient protein in your diet.
As the macronutrient responsible for repairing, restoring and promoting muscle protein synthesis, getting enough protein in your diet is key for building new muscle cells and building stronger, bigger muscle fibers.
Check this out article for more protein-based info: Protein Guide: Eating for Your Goals
There are various recommendations about protein intake.
According to International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand, shooting for 1.4-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day is sufficient for most lifters, although they also suggest that super-dosing 3.0 g/kg/per day could have value too – that’s the equivalent of 9 chicken breasts each day for a 200 lb guy.
That’s a lot of chicken bro![infobox]
Just the tip: Aiming for ~2.0 g/kg of body weight will ramp up net synthesis, build out some sweet mass and help you supercharge your gains.[/infobox]
How to Eat to Gain Muscle – The Fats and Testosterone Link
Testosterone is the most anabolic hormone you have running through your veins. When levels are optimized, you’re the epitome of masculinity – strong, lean, assertive. You’re an unf*ckwithable alpha who’s ready to lift heavy and give some girl the time of her life with your rock hard tool.
But did you know that testosterone can only be synthesized in your body from cholesterol?
Yep, the very nutrient that’s demonized for being ‘bad’ in the mass media bullsh*t world is the very thing responsible for forging testosterone in the fiery furnace of your cells.
It’s actually more than just a ‘good’ fat… it’s God damn essential for any bro wanting to enter the kingdom of swoledom and get plain jacked.
The benefits of testosterone as a fat-fighting, muscle-building hormone
As a lifter’s best buddy, testosterone boosts every facet of a dude’s life. Not only does it make you the grandmaster of the bedroom, leaving your girl in a quiveringly wet mess, it also boosts physical performance and health too.
Here’s a rundown of the benefits you need to know:
- Boosts energy levels and stamina
- Carves out quality muscle and explosive strength
- Optimal power, speed, and maximum force production
- Reduced risk of metabolic disease or vascular illness
- Keeps you sharp, boosts concentration and heightens assertiveness
You can learn more about how to boost your testosterone levels naturally by checking out this guide: Best Testosterone boosters to Build Muscle & Lose Fat
How is testosterone produced from fats?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance called a lipid. It forms part of cell membranes and is pivotal in nervous system signal transduction too.
As a nutrient vital for normal hormonal function, cholesterol acts as a sterol – a precursor to steroid hormones such as glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and androgens such as testosterone.
The exact path that a cholesterol molecule has to take to become testosterone is complex, but in a short and snappy way, involves conversion to pregnenolone by an enzyme known as cytochrome P450, before converting again to other hormones such as androstenedione en-route to becoming ‘T’.
Bottom line – without cholesterol, you can’t make pregnenolone. And without that hormone you can’t make testosterone… the whole system falls over like a row of dominoes in strong winds.
Testosterone can be made by your liver in the absence of dietary intake, but why make your own when you can get it from foods for less energy?[infobox]
Just the tip: Without cholesterol, you wouldn’t be able to make testosterone.[/infobox]
Wait, isn’t cholesterol bad for you?
Back in the age of perms, synth music and those weird pec-poppin’ bullworkers, scientists thought that fat was bad for you. This led to a wave of low-fat diets and ironically, didn’t make us a healthier nation either – it spiked the obesity epidemic.
Remember, fats are needed to build cells, speed up nerve transmission and construct important hormones. Studies show that diets low in fats lead to low testosterone – with men suffering a huge 12% drop in the androgen hormone after just 8 weeks on a low cholesterol diet.
Your cholesterol works on a negative feedback loop. If you don’t eat cholesterol-rich foods, you put a strain on your liver to make it itself. But if you eat a diet rich in good fats for muscle building, your liver simply stops making cholesterol as a way of finding hormonal ‘balance’.
Just the tip: Fat isn’t bad for you. In fact, it’s an essential nutrient needed to produce androgen hormones, maintain nervous system function and protect your cells.[/infobox]
Good Fats for Muscle Building – The Right Foods to Get the Job Done
So which foods should you add to your jacked factory diet?
Are there really good fats for muscle building?
The short answer is hell yes. If it’s got a good mix of fatty acids, it’s high in protein and offers a calorie boost to keep your energy higher than Snoop on a trip to Kingston, it’s on this list.
Feast your eyes bros… and your bellies.
Don’t you mean egg whites? Nope. Again, this isn’t the 1980s and you don’t need to fear cholesterol. Bask in the sunny glory of the egg yolk and get, well… yolked!
Eggs are a great source of both protein and fats, and provide a huge hit of the muscle-building, recovery-improving, and testosterone-boosting nutrient vitamin D3.
With the additional hit of vitamins A and E alongside a range of performance-optimizing minerals, eggs are your go-to food if you’re after good fats for muscle building.
Liver and organ meats
We’ve talked before about the benefits of liver for weight loss. But as a mass builder, organ meats also provide solid calories, protein and good fats for muscle building.
Giving you 200 kcal per 100 g but a bicep-bulging 30 g of protein, offal meat is also high in fatty acids EPA and DHA as well as cholesterol. You’ll get a helping hand from the following energy-regulating nutrients too:
- Folate – assists in the production of DNA and RNA
- Selenium – a mineral with antioxidant properties
- Zinc – another nutrient found to boost testosterone
- Riboflavin – controls energy production and metabolism
This crazy upstream swimming muthaf*cker of a fish risks it’s life to swim against the tide in order to fill female fish with their spunky junk. Now that’s a real bro right there.
As an alpha of the anadromous fish world, salmon is a great ‘oily fish’ source of protein and fats, sliding into your diet with 20 g of protein and 13 g of fats.
Much like eggs, salmon is a good source of vitamin D3. And while the bioavailability of D3 isn’t as high compared to a supplement, it still adds up for that good fats for muscle building life you’re all about.
Women love deez nuts. And you should too… well, Brazil, macadamia, and cashews anyway.
Grabbing a handful of high-calorie nuts is a quick, simple and effective way for a bodybuilder to up his energy intake with good quality fats (and moderate protein too). They give you as much as 650 kcal per 100 g.
Not only do nuts contain the prostate-protecting compound tocopherol, they also contain popular testosterone-booster nutrients zinc and magnesium too.
It’s an easy fix food with great muscle-building potential.
Summary – High-Fat Foods to Fuel Your Muscle Mass
While calories and protein are the foundation of a solid muscle-building plan, good fats provide the elegant exterior wall in which you build the mecca of your physique.
Your body needs cholesterol to make testosterone. And with high-fat foods offering all the fatty building blocks you need to make this primary male androgen, a diet rich in good fats is key to make gains.
Foods such as eggs, fish and organ meats tick all the boxes. Make these a part of your diet now bro.