Train hard and eat slightly more than you need to maintain your current body weight. That’s the Mike Mentzer approach and though he did not spend a lot of time discussing nutrition with his readers, he did break it down to a simple approach.
Simple answers are always a bit of a let down but this one is correct. The hard part is figuring out how much you need to “maintain”.
First, weigh yourself as soon as you wake up tomorrow morning. Then, track your diet for the next five days. You need the following information for each day:
- How many calories?
- How many grams of protein?
- How many grams of carbs?
- How many grams of fat?
- How many meals per day?
Write everything down. Don’t leave anything out. While that might sound like a terrible inconvenience, there are things you can do to make it easier. One is consistency. Eating the same things for the next five days will make it easy. Most people have no problem doing that for breakfast and lunch at the very least.
On the morning of the sixth day, weigh yourself again. Then take the daily average of the above numbers. Did you gain, lose or stay the same? If you stayed the same, you now have a pretty good estimate of what maintenance is. Eat slightly more than that and you will gain. (NOTE: “Slightly” means 300 calories).
If your weight fluctuated you can either estimate what maintenance is or adjust your calories and try again.
Continue to watch the scale, track your diet, watch the mirror and watch your progress in the gym. The last factor is most important. If you are not getting stronger you are not gaining muscle.