I want to build muscle. A dietitian said to sleep more and keep eating plenty of protein.
- A 31-year-old man submitted an average day of eating to be reviewed for Insider's Nutrition Clinic.
- A dietitian advised he try to sleep more and continue eating plenty of protein.
Dougie, 31, submitted his eating routine for Insider's Nutrition Clinic, where qualified dietitians and registered nutritionists offer advice on readers' eating habits.
He told Insider his goal is to build muscle, and he lift weights (splitting his workouts into pushing movements, pulling movements, and leg exercises) around his active lifestyle working as a shop floor supervisor and looking after his son two days a week.
Dougie said he's struggling with sleep and his diet at the moment. He aims to eat 3,000 calories a day, he said.
Registered dietitian Kara Mockler told Insider that Dougie is off to a great start by regularly lifting weights and eating plenty throughout the day.
"To build muscle, the body has to be in a calorie surplus (eating more calories than you burn) and since Dougie is on his feet a lot for his job and is exercising multiple days per week, he likely needs more calories than the average person," she said.
Mockler recommended Dougie weighs himself regularly to ensure the number isn't going up too rapidly, which would suggest he's gaining fat rather than muscle. Aim to gain around 0.5% of your body weight per week, she said. If Dougie's weight is increasing more than that, he could try lowering his calories.
In the gym, Mockler recommended Dougie try to hit each muscle group twice per week and work close to failure in order to challenge the muscles sufficiently and promote growth.
Eat enough protein to gain muscle and strength
Dougie starts his day with a banana, a tub of cottage cheese with honey and blueberries, and two pieces of plain toast, he said.
A couple of hours later, he has a protein shake made with 24 grams of protein and 25 grams of oats.
Mockler said it's great that Dougie is eating plenty of protein as it's necessary for gaining muscle and strength. She recommended people aim for up to 2.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight daily.
If Dougie's sleep is "off," this can affect his diet.
"A lack of sleep (less than six hours a night, chronically) can increase our appetite and make us want to eat more low-nutrient, high-calorie foods," Mockler said. "This is a recipe for gaining fat if we're not careful."
She recommended Dougie try to get into a consistent sleeping and waking routine, and aim for at least seven hours a night, as this may help him make healthy food choices.
Eat lower fat meals around workouts
At lunchtime, Dougie has two chicken and kale tortilla wraps, a bag of chicken bites, and an apple, followed by another oat and protein shake a couple of hours later, he said.
Dougie works out and then has a dinner of chicken korma with a five-egg omelet, followed by a pint of milk with Ovaltine.
Mockler said it's great that Dougie has some fruit and vegetables in his diet, but he could strive for more, especially at dinner.
His post-workout meal is also high in fat, she said.
"Fat delays digestion, and while that's OK during other parts of the day, after a workout your muscles are extra ready to absorb nutrients and start rebuilding themselves," she said. "Having lower fat meals around training can ensure that nutrients can quickly get where they're needed."
Mockler recommended using low-fat milk or swapping whole eggs for egg whites. Dougie could also decrease the size of the meal by drinking less milk or moving the omelet to breakfast, and would still be getting plenty of post-workout protein in, she said.
The advice in this article isn't a substitute for a professional medical diagnosis or treatment.
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