bulking season

Make These Small Diet Tweaks to Pack on Winter Pounds4 min read

Winter Foods for Gaining Dudes

The overall vitality of your body can be thought of as a small four-sided raft floating on water – each side of the raft represented by exercise, sleep, mindset and diet. A healthy individual is able to stay balanced in the center of this raft by not allocating too much weight on any one side and shifting behaviors when more weight is needed. Getting enough sleep, staying active and engaging your mind in activities you find interesting or challenging are all fairly straightforward – however, our diet is one side of the raft people often leave their weight off of, as it’s a challenging step to take to properly develop a diet plan to meet your personal vitality goals.

If your 2017 resolution was to make physical gains, it’s essential that you consume the properly supportive high caloric diet that quickly repairs your body post-workout and enables you to sustainably build new muscle after strength training. Winter is a great time to bulk up before shredding down to a ripped, speedo-ready body for Fire Island season. To achieve the best results, I highly suggest working with a trainer (#mjmfitness #shamelessselfpromotion) who understands your goals and who has the experience and expertise to help you reach them. But for now, let me share some tips on how to optimize your workouts by pairing them with complementary diet guidance.

Note that this list is guidance only and does not include all the details required to develop a personalized program. I typically work with my clients four times per week for an hour per session constantly monitoring progress and changing things up as we see how a body responds to different regimens.

Tips to Gaining Muscle Mass in the Winter

1. Know what your caloric intake should be.

muscle guy lifting

These days, there are a lot of great apps, including MyFitnessPal, Cron-O-Meter and SparkPeople. Each has their pros, cons and special features. I personally use MyFitnessPal with my training clients, as it has a super simple interface, allows you to scan barcodes to enter what you consume, gives you a clear breakdown of daily nutrient goals and status, and can account for calories lost due to exercise performed throughout the day. It also has a great sharing feature so you and your friend (or trainer!) can share plans and track fitness goals with one another.

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2. Get off Seamless and cook your own meals.

muscle kitchen

Granted, no one has time to do this every day, so my suggestion is to take an hour out of your Sunday and make your meals for the whole week. This will give you time to plan out your meals to meet your caloric intake, and everything will be ready to go on a daily basis with minimal prep work day-to-day. It’s important to keep on top of what you’re eating, how much and when – and ordering take out all the time will make tracking a routine nearly impossible.


3. Drink water.

guy drinking water

This may seem like a no-brainer tip, but it’s one that’s most overlooked. Water assists with protein synthesis, so staying hydrated will optimize muscle growth (in addition to the plethora of other health benefits of staying hydrated). You should be striving for a gallon a day. If you sweat a lot during workouts, maybe a little more than a gallon. Remember, your muscles are 75% water!


4. Snack all day every day.

muscle guy eating

Make it a habit to be always eating – but eat the right stuff! A low-sugar, high-protein snack variety balanced with carbohydrates and fat for energy is key. A note on protein intake – you should ideally be consuming 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Protein shakes, raw oats, almonds, granola bars, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cottage cheese are some of my favorite easy-to-make portable snacks.


5. Have a post-workout meal.

guy eating after gym

Make sure you have ample nutrients in your system 20-30 minutes after your hardcore workout – meaning not just lots of protein, but carbs too! Your protein to carb ratio to should be 2:1 for this meal, meaning for every 2 grams of protein you consume 1 gram of carbohydrates, to give your body the energy and building blocked needed for muscle repair and growth.

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6. Eat protein before going to bed

drink protein milk

I recommend Mass Gainer or Casein. While you sleep your body refreshes and repairs itself, converting amino acids and other nutrients into protein and muscle. However – there are many foods you should still steer clear from, such as lactose (dairy products), sugar, carbohydrates, saturated fat or acid.

Again, my wish is for these tips to get you thinking in the right direction. My job as a trainer is to coach, teach, and enable. I’m always available to answer questions or book a consultation or session! Namaste and good luck!

Michael Massetti

Based in New York City, Michael Joseph Massetti is an experienced, ACE certified Personal Trainer and certified Yoga Instructor through Cloud Nine Yoga. In addition to currently working on a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology(exercise science) at Brooklyn College, he fulfills his passion for health and fitness by participating in triathlons and other competitive performances. His combined professional experience, formal training and love of wellness uniquely defines his aptitude to provide high quality fitness mentorship services.