Chances are you're on a new fitness regime in a bid to lose weight, but gaining muscle is just as important in your weight loss journey. It can be confusing knowing how to do this the right way, so we asked Rohan Mathew, The Transformation's fitness expert, to give us the dos and don't. As expected, binge eating isn't the way to go, but neither is spending hours at the gym!
First things first, gaining muscle is the result of modifying both your diet and exercise regime. “If you want to gain muscle mass resistance training will help, but you have to make sure your diet allows you to do that as well. So load up on proteins, carbohydrates and a healthy amount of fats,” says Rohan.
To break that down further, protein is usually derived from dairy, vegetables, lentils and meat, carbohydrates include starchy foods like rice and bread, and good fats mean adding nuts and omega-3-packed foods like fish to your diet. “If you’re trying to build muscle, there’s a window of an hour post after workout when you should eat a protein and carb-rich meal,” he says. That would typically mean a hearty meal with a chicken steak and a portion of rice or mashed potatoes, or a pasta salad with tofu or lots of vegetables.
Keep count of your calories through the day so you don't overeat. “A food diary helps if you like to write things down, but you must be honest with yourself," says Rohan. "Write down every meal and every snack." That's everything, except for water, tea and coffee (if drunk without sugar and milk).
When it comes to portion sizes, your meals should ideally be a balance of 40% carbs, 40% protein, and 20% fats, according to Rohan. There you have it! Gaining muscle mass is all about striking the right balance, both with your workouts and your diet.