Tips for gaining muscle mass: food and training

Some people have a misconception about gaining muscle, believing that increasing the load is the only step towards achieving hypertrophy.

However, the process of gaining muscle mass is a little more complex and based on 4 pillars, namely: food, hydration, training and rest.

This means that doing crazy squats or putting an absurd weight on will not leave your sculptural body if the other factors are left out.

On the contrary, with few intense repetitions, the body begins to adapt to build more muscle fibers and, consequently, develop muscle mass.


How to gain muscle mass?

The gain and strengthening of muscle groups occurs through 4 essential pillars, so exercise alone is not enough!

Read more: Metabolism of physical exercise: how do we gain muscle mass?

We will explain below how to achieve hypertrophy:


Food is considered more important than the training itself, being responsible for about 80% of the final result.

There are 4 essential groups for healthy eating, which we will explain below.

  • Proteins: essential for gaining muscle mass. It is recommended that 2 grams of protein be consumed per kilogram of lean mass. Options include: fish, chicken and beef, eggs, vegetables, cereals;
  • Carbohydrates : Carbohydrates are known to be a source of energy. Opt for low glycemic index options, that is, real food. Some better known options are: sweet potatoes, yams and manioc;
  • Fats : avoid trans fats, such as margarine, vegetable oil and crackers. The ideal is to substitute with olive oil, coconut oil, egg, nuts, meat, chestnuts or salmon;
  • Micronutrients : this food group includes vitamins and minerals, which can be easily found in vegetables. Good sources are broccoli, asparagus, spinach, kale, turnip greens and cauliflower.

It is important to note that all large meals (lunch and dinner, normally) must contain proteins , fats and vegetables.

Read more: What is yam juice for?


Water is present in any metabolic process in the body, including during protein synthesis.

It is a component that eliminates nitrogen, urea, ketone bodies (substance used as an energy source), in addition to helping the kidney and metabolizing fats.

Other drinks that are recommended include: coconut water, tea and natural juices.

The options that should be avoided are: soft drinks, isotonics, alcoholic beverages and industrialized juices.


Contrary to what many people believe, the correct execution of the movements is more important than the high load used.

This can improve muscle mass gain by up to 50%.

Breathing is also an important factor.

The ideal is to exhale when you apply force (contract the muscle) and inhale when you return to the starting position (relax the muscle), always taking into account the duration of the movements.

Thinking about it, a tip is to use the proportion: 1 second to lift the weight, 1 second stopped in the position and 2 seconds to lower it.


The gain in lean mass occurs precisely in the interval between training and another. Thus, it is recommended to have between 7 to 10 hours of sleep per night, preferably at the same times.

How long does it take for hypertrophy?

The results are very relative and individual. That’s because they take into account the person’s biotype, the frequency with which he goes to the gym, which muscle groups he is using, eating habits and a multitude of other aspects.

Hypertrophy can be considered a by-product of bodybuilding , that is, its main objective is to gain strength through neural and structural restructuring of the organism.

For this, it is necessary to increase protein synthesis, in addition to reorganizing the musculature, in order to support even more load.

Thus, the medical and scientific consensus is that hypertrophy can begin to be noticed in 6 weeks .

This is the period in which the body already performs protein synthesis more easily, in addition to a significant increase in mitochondria in the body (responsible for providing energy to the body).

Women’s Workouts

Some women turn to the gym to strengthen their muscles and define their bodies, especially their buttocks and legs.

However, to achieve hypertrophy (increased muscles), women need to make a greater effort compared to men.

That’s because men have a hormone called testosterone, while women have estrogen (and a low testosterone load).

Testosterone is considered the most important hormone for muscle mass gain. Its chemical reactions in the body stimulate physical strength, in addition to decreasing the amounts of body fat.

In general, the difference in testosterone levels between men and women makes them slower to increase lean mass .

It is important to understand that the exercises for hypertrophy must be carried out with a load that is neither so light, to the point of being easy, nor so heavy, to the point that it is not possible to perform the appropriate number of repetitions.

Which foods help you gain muscle quickly?

In addition to exercise, people who want to increase and develop muscle must be attentive to their diet.

You need to eat enough calories and protein each day to get the best possible result. On average, the recommended is:

  • Proteins : 1.5g to 2g per kg;
  • Carbohydrates : 5g to 10g per kg;
  • Fats : 20% to 30% of total calories.

With that in mind, it is possible to include eggs, lean meats, milk and lean derivatives (such as white cheese), as well as vegetables and legumes (such as lentils and soy) in the diet.

Read more: How to consume egg in the diet? Learn 4 ways to prepare

The potato -doce or bread are good choices of carbohydrates to compose a meal.

Fish fats, for example, are very good for health and, as food is lean meat, it already helps in protein reinforcement.

Supplements for muscle recovery and growth

We consider muscle recovery to be the main process for obtaining hypertrophy, since the body needs to rest and recover its energies in order to “demonstrate” this in the form of muscle.

Read more: Maca Peruvian (powder, capsule): what is it for, benefits, how to take it

When we work out a member of the body, we are actually creating microlesions of the muscle fibers.

These structures must rest and regenerate, in order to grow even stronger, what we know as hypertrophy.

Read more: Spirulina (Hawaiian): what it is, benefits, how to take it, powder, price

To supplement the diet, under nutritional guidance from a specialist, some supplements can be used, such as:

Whey Protein

Well-known in the gym world, whey protein is nothing more than a protein supplement extracted from the base of whey.

In addition to having quick-replacement protein, whey works by reducing fatigue , supplying vitamins and optimizing muscle recovery.


Another recommended supplement for muscle recovery is casein , considered a protein compound and rich in amino acids.

This supplement contributes to satiety, since its digestion process is slow, also improving hypertrophy processes.

Read more: Sustagen: what is it for and how to take it?


The BCAA can be understood as a branched chain amino acid junction, ie, substances that act on the muscular recovery.

The supplement favors the increase of lean mass as it provides substances necessary to reduce muscle fatigue.

As we could see, the development of muscle mass depends much more on eating and daily habits, than on a specific training.

Therefore, if you are looking for muscle strengthening and growth, the ideal is to maintain a healthy routine, with good hours of sleep and adequate nutritional intake.

Read more: Why should we prefer a nutritious diet over supplements?

If you know someone who is trying to enter the fitness world or who wants to increase muscle mass, share this article!