What is the best diet to gain muscles?

In this article, we are going to discuss the “What is the best diet to gain muscles?”. I will talk about the anabolic diet with its different phases and macronutrient cycling. I will also include some food to include on an anabolic diet.

What is the best diet to gain muscles?

The best diet to gain muscles is simply increasing your protein intake from food. Muscles need protein to grow, but that does not omit fat and carbs that are needed as a source of energy for the workout. Paying attention to what you eat is a big part of the weight-gaining process.

What is the anabolic diet?

This diet alternates between low and high carbs days. Dr. Mauro’s anabolic diet aimed to gain muscles and reduce body fat stores. The name anabolic diet was chosen for the reason of the similarities in the effects of the anabolic steroids.

Mauro created the anabolic diet. He is a world champion powerlifter and bodybuilder. He was an assistant professor at the University of Toronto for 10 years. He researched athletic performance and nutrition supplements. He has a medical degree and an honors degree in molecular biology.

The anabolic diet is not a calorie or macronutrient restrictive diet. If the calories are reduced, this would cause a reduction in muscle mass. So such a restrictive diet will be avoided to gain muscles. This diet might look similar to a ketogenic diet but is different in some aspects.

The diet goes through phases. The three phases are maintaining, bulking, and cutting.

Maintaining phase

The first phase is the maintenance phase. This phase lasts 4 weeks, it trains your body to be familiar with low-carb food at the start. In accordance with calories, they are measured by multiplying your body weight (in pounds) by 18.

Bulking phase

In this phase, Dr. Mauro suggests an increase in your calorie intake. The equation is as follows: the ideal body weight in pounds adds 15% to it. It is a trial and error phase with no time limits. For example, someone weighing 200 pounds would bulk up to 230 pounds. If we are talking in calories, 20 to 25 calories per pound of the desired body weight per day. 

Gaining more than 2 pounds a week is not desirable, you should cut down some of your calories. If you are not gaining that much weight either, you should increase your calorie intake.

Cutting phase

This phase requires cutting back calories to about 500 to 1000 calories from the maintenance phase.  This phase keeps this until the body fat is lost to below 10%. The aim is to lose between a pound to 1.5 pounds a week, more than 2 pounds is not recommended and puts you at risk of muscle mass loss.

What is macronutrient cycling?

The diet is split into two time frames. These include low carbs and high carbs diet weekdays. The low-carb days would limit carbs to less than 30 grams per day. 

The purpose is to switch the energy intake from carbs to fat, thus burning fat. It is a bit similar to the keto diet in this stage. The macronutrient distribution is as follows: 5-10% calories from carbs, 30% to 35% of calories from protein, and the largest portion is 60% to 65% of calories from fat. 

The second time frame is the high carbs days. This time frame is covered on weekends and the purpose is to provide muscle carbs for muscle glycogen. It also helps curve your carbs cravings. The macronutrient distribution is reversed here. Carbs are the highest between 60% to 80%, protein, and fat are between 10% and 20%. 

What are some food choices for an anabolic diet?

Some of the choices for an anabolic diet are red meat, whole eggs, and dairy products that are rich in fat like cheese, cream, and butter.  Oils include canola oil, olive oil, and avocado oil. Vegetables that are rich in fibers like broccoli and lettuce. Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and peanuts. Spreads are included as well such as almond butter, and peanut butter.


In this article, we discussed the “best diet to gain muscles”. I talked about the anabolic diet with its different phases and macronutrient cycling. I also included some food to include on an anabolic diet.


Anabolic Diet: To Build Muscle (healthline.com)

Complete Anabolic Diet Guide With Sample Meal Plan | Muscle & Strength (muscleandstrength.com)

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