MUSCLE GAINING KNOWLEDGE:

Macronutrients: Fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Fats and carbs can primarily be considered as fuel sources, while protein is responsible for building muscle.
Micronutrients: Vitamins and minerals. These co-factors help your body utilize nutrients from foods, whether for fuel or muscle growth.
Amino acids: The building blocks of protein. Essential aminos (EAAs) are the amino acids your body can't make on its own; you need to get them from foods and supplements. Extra amino acids are needed to maximize muscle growth.

DAILY CALORIES

To build as much muscle as possible and minimize fat gain, it's important to know how many total calories to eat every day. This is value of utilizing your MyFitnessPal app. Stay committed to logging your food/drink/water intake to know exactly where you are for that day.

PROTEIN

Protein is critical for both building muscle and as an energy source. When building mass, shoot for a minimum of 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

I suggest upping that to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, and even closer to 2 grams on workout days to really maximize muscle.

To a certain extent, more protein produces more muscle mass, but protein isn't all about growth. You also need protein as an energy source. Any excess protein you take in (that's not going to synthesize new muscle) will be used for energy. Complete proteins, like animal proteins, provide all the essential amino acids your body needs.

LEAN ANIMAL PROTEIN SOURCES

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.)

Protein supplements are an excellent, and sometimes essential, alternative to whole-food protein sources. Not only do whey and casein provide complete amino acid profiles, but they're both extremely bioavailable. Due to their digestion rates and superior amino-acid profile, there are specific times when a protein powder should be used over whole foods.

WHEN TO USE PROTEIN POWDER

  • Upon waking: After fasting through the night, you need to get amino acids to muscles quickly.
  • Pre-workout: Shuttles protein to your muscles for training fuel.
  • Post-workout: Quickly instigates muscular repair, recovery, and growth.

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source, particularly during workouts. On rest days, aim for 1.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight. On workout days, since you also have a slow-digesting carbohydrate before the workout and a fast-digesting carbohydrate after the workout, that total rises to about 2 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight.

CARBOHYDRATE CHOICES

Low-glycemic (slow-digesting): These carbohydrate sources enter your blood system slowly, causing less of an insulin spike. Low-glycemic carbs are ideal throughout the day, and include fruits, whole grains, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and sweet potatoes. 
High glycemic (fast-digesting): Fast-digesting carbs hit your blood stream quicker, causing insulin to spike. Fast-digesting carbs are ideal after a workout. Fast-digesting carbs include white bread, white potatoes, sugars, candy, gummy bears, Pixy Stix, and Sweet Tarts. Tropical fruits are also typically fast-digesting. But these are only recommended immediately after a workout. 

When you're not actively training, you want a carbohydrate that is not only going to provide you a slow and long-lasting energy source, but isn't going to spike insulin, either. Any time you spike insulin, you increase your chance of storing body fat (except after a workout). To stay lean while you build muscle, most of your carbs should be slow-digesting.

FASTING TIMES

1. First thing when you wake up: You've been fasting all night long. Glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrates in your liver) decreases overnight, and your body begins consuming muscle tissue for fuel. Drink a protein shake and fast-carb food for breakfast to stop muscle breakdown and encourage protein synthesis.

2. Right after you work out: You deplete glycogen levels while you train, so you need to restore glycogen levels with fast-digesting carbs. Spiking your insulin at this key time won't cause fat storage, but will enhance muscle growth.

GOOD FATS

Fats are also known as lipids. Fats provide energy for the body, but they also offer myriad health benefits. The essential Omega-3 fats, for example, can support heart health, joint recovery, and can even aid fat loss. The idea that low-fat, high sugar foods are less fattening or damaging to our health is a load of bullshit. 

Saturated fats, which normally get a bad rap, also provide a benefit. Research shows that athletes who consume a higher intake of saturated fats, as well as monounsaturated fats (nuts, avocados, olive oil), actually have higher testosterone levels. Fat intake is critical to keep testosterone levels high. For a male, that's important when you're trying to increase size and strength.

GOOD SOURCES OF FATS

Omega 3 fats: Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Anchovies
Monosaturated Fats: Nuts, Olive Oil, Avocados
Saturated Fats: Beef, Pork, Chicken Thighs

 I want you to take in half a gram of fat per pound of body weight. A 200-pound guy would eat about 100 grams of fat per day.