If you have been looking for the best macronutrient ratio for muscle gain, you have come to the right place. In this article, we are going to discuss the ratios that you should follow to build muscle. And also, the common pitfalls that people fall into when they are planning their macros.
Personally, I never thought macros were that big of a deal, until I actually started gaining muscle and seeing the results that I was having. I was able to put on 20+ pounds of muscle in my first year of being serious about nutrition.
That is how important nutrition is for muscle gain. If you aren’t paying attention to nutrition, you probably won’t be gaining muscle.
What are macronutrient ratios?
Your macronutrient ratio is your combination of carbs, fats and proteins that you eat throughout the day. Your goal is to balance these in such a way that you are able to build muscle in the most efficient way.
The absolute best way to calculate your macronutrient ratio is to download a calorie tracking app like MyFitnessPal. If you are seriously dedicated to building muscle, you should definitely be counting your calories.
Depending on your fitness goals, you are going to want to eat at different macronutrient ratios. This article is specifically about the best macronutrient ratio for muscle gain.
One thing to note is that it is ok to go outside of your macronutrient ratios slightly. The ratios are just a guide. Don’t be so strict that you lose your mind. Just try to plan your day for them and you won’t regret it.
Best macronutrient ratio for muscle gain
As you can see by the image, the best macro ratio for muscle gain is pretty simple. 50% carbs, 20% fats, and 30% protein. This is the exact ratio that I used to personally gain over 20 pounds in a year.
It is very simple to follow, and once you get the hang of it, you will be able to anticipate everything you should be eating.
I need to eat a ton of calories in order to build muscle. And that means a lot of carbs. One of my favorite ways to get extra carbs is to add oats to my 1000 calorie protein shake recipe.
You will find ways that will work for you, but since I personally need to eat 3,600 calories per day to gain muscle, I need every advantage I can. Carbs in my opinion are the hardest to consume. So I will try to drink them if I can.
One thing that you will find out is that sugars are carbs. And personally, I try to avoid sugars where possible, which adds an extra layer of difficulty.
Total calories are more important than macronutrient ratios
Yes, I said it. This was a major pitfall of mine at the beginning of my muscle building journey. I thought that if I religiously stuck to the perfect macronutrient ratio, muscles would start appearing. I was wrong.
There is a shocking truth that people must understand before they get into muscle building. You cannot build muscle while in a caloric deficit. A caloric deficit is simply when you are not eating enough calories compared to your maintenance calories.
Therefore, your body is not in a state of muscle building, it’s in a state of weight loss. Which brings me to another point. If you don’t know what your maintenance calories are, please learn how to calculate your maintenance calories.
Your body needs to be in a constant state of caloric surplus if you are to build muscle. Learning the best macronutrient ratio for muscle gain is SECONDARY to making sure you are in a caloric surplus.
In my opinion, you should focus first on making sure that you are eating enough calories for muscle gain. Then you can worry about focusing on macros. I would much rather not focus on macros and make sure I am eating at a caloric surplus than focus on macros and not gain muscle.
Consider that it might be important not to restrict your diet to just boiled chicken and brown rice. I have seen people do this time and time again, myself included. You will get sick of it in less than a week.
This is why I think that counting calories is actually more freeing than other diet ideas. You can plan your whole day and include foods that you like.
Putting the best macronutrient ratio to work
Eating in a caloric surplus ensures that you gain weight. If you are working out while in a caloric surplus, that ensures that you will be building muscle. And working out, while in a caloric surplus, AND hitting your macros daily, that is the winning combination.
But what workouts should you be doing? Working out is an insanely important part of the proces. I cannot stress this enough. But as I mentioned multiple times, if you are not eating enough calories to build muscle, working out is nothing more than a decent cardiovascular strengthening act.
Weight training is going to be your best bet for building muscle. If you are a beginner, I recommend working out 3-4 days per week. Intermediate to advanced, I recommend 4-5 days per week. Anything over that is almost pointless. In fact, there is evidence that suggests you shouldn’t workout everyday if you are trying to build muscle.
Workout plans for muscle gain
What worked for me as a beginner was a workout plan that I created myself. I made it 3 days per week to maximize muscle recovery. I called it 3 Day Overload. In fact, I put the whole entire workout plan in our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). If you are going to commit to this, be prepared to work! But if you can commit, you will build muscle.
If you don’t want to download the app, that is fine. We have a plethora of information on this website. You can check out our beginner bodybuilding routine for mass. Or maybe you don’t have access to a gym.
Don’t let that hold you back from building muscle! Check out 15 workouts to build muscle at home with no weights.
If there is a will, there is a way. And if you want to put on muscle, you are going to find a way to make your dreams a reality. You absolutely can build muscle just by working out at home, as long as you are eating enough calories.
I do realize that the gym is a better environment, because your bodyweight is only so heavy. Lifting heavy weights is a great way to accelerate your muscle growth.
Main Point: Best macronutrient ratio for muscle gain
By now you know about the best macronutrient ratio for muscle gain. It’s pretty simple. 50% Carbs, 30% Protein, and 20% Fats. If you can stick to this ratio, you are not going to have a hard time building muscle.
But of course there is a caveat. This ratio means nothing if you are not eating enough calories to build muscle. Remember, eating at a caloric surplus is an absolute necessity in order to build muscle.
Once you are at that caloric surplus, you can now dial in your macro ratios.
Building muscle doesn’t take just one tactic. It takes a few small details and you will see results. Working out consistently, eating in a caloric surplus, and hitting your macro goals are 3 of the most important aspects of muscle building.
If you can combine all three of these together, you will be unstoppable. One thing I will mention is that as you grow muscle and gain weight, your caloric needs might change. Be sure to re-evaluate your maintenance calories once every couple of months.
If you aren’t gaining at least a half pound per week, you should up your calories. I highly recommend recording your “before” weight and also taking pictures. This will keep you motivated with the process.
Remember that this is a journey, not an end game. If you can embrace the fact that this will take time, you will appreciate it when you get to where you are going.