Eat to Grow Lean Muscle

The sense of ultimate control over our body is by far the number one goal that most if not all of my clients have and it comes in different requests : help leaning out, help building muscle and the most popular request my clients come to me with is help losing weight.

So much of our culture is inundated with information on how to lose weight, how to exercise, how much cardio to do and thousand of other "TRY THIS" schemes we see day in and day out. There are however, some real facts and scientific data supporting the fact that women in particular need to fuel their training and their bodies to fully achieve their "athletic goals" be it to lose weight, lean out or build muscle.

The most important nutritional factor affecting muscle gain is calories- specifically calories from carbohydrates. Muscles have to be stressed and challenged in order to breakdown and grow back stronger. The kind of training we do in class at Shannon Connors Fitness is usually maximun-resistance training and that kind of training requires carbohydrate dense diets that will give you an edge in training your muscle efficiently and effectively.

The best time to utilize carbs is before, during and after strength training so the skeletal muscle can best absorb and use the carbs to refuel, recover and grow lean muscle mass. Which is why when I hear clients say "I won't eat any carbs" I get a little nervous because I know the implications of severe carb depletion and what it does to your body. It is the QUALITY of the carbohydrate that often makes a world of difference.

As Carbs play a leading role in your training, proteins and fats play a critical supporting role: recovery, tissue repair and growth. Protein needs are met best when we consume moderate amounts throughout the day. Protein is best utilized and most efficiently in approximately 20 to 25 grams of protein per serving ( 4 oz of lean animal protein or 1 1/2 cups of beans/lentils). If you follow that amoutn 4-5 times a day, you will consume very close the amount of protein you need to build lean muscle.

So what can you do?

Plan for it!! First fuel and refuel your training with carbs and protein! Plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and two small snacks with your training time in mind. Below Ive included a sample plan heavy in plant based foods so you can maximize the micronutrient intake(vitamins and minerals) as well as the macronutrient intake. Try to include three to five meals including fish a week to keep your brain and central nervous system operating at its best!!!

Meal One

4 oz. protein rich food (eggs/egg whites)

1 cup raw cooked/veggies (sauteed pepers/onions etc)

1 serving fruit or 1/2 whole grain complex carb oats

2 fat servings (peanut butter mmmm)

water and coffee


1 cup greek yogurt or cottage cheese

1 fat serving

1 cup veggies

Meal Two

4 oz lean protein source

1 cup cooked veggies or 2 cups raw

1 complex carb - sweet potato/baked

potato/jasmine rice

1 fat serving


see above

Meal three

4 oz lean protein

2 cups of raw veggies

1 serving complex carb

2 servings fat

Come and see us at Shannon Connors Fitness and let us help you meet your fitness goals!!

You too can be #unbreakable!