If you’re looking to increase your muscle mass, you’ve probably heard of bulking diets. These diets consist of consuming more calories than you expend, in order to create a positive energy balance that favors muscle anabolism. However, it’s not about eating just anything or in an uncontrolled way, but about following a nutritional plan that is appropriate to your goals, needs, and preferences.
In this article, we are going to explain how to gain 2 kg of muscle per month with an optimal volume diet. We’ll teach you how to calculate calories and distribute meals to achieve this goal, what foods to prioritize and how many times to eat a day to increase muscle mass, how to create a hypercaloric diet to gain muscle quickly, how to structure a bulking diet to gain muscle and minimize fat, and some tips for designing a nutritional plan for muscle hypertrophy. In addition, we will answer some frequently asked questions that often arise on this topic.
So, if you want to know how to gain 2 kg of muscle per month with a volume diet, read on and take note of everything we are going to tell you. We are sure that with this information you will be able to create your own personalized volume diet and achieve the results you want.
How Much Muscle Can You Gain Per Month With A Volume Diet?
The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as genetics, training level, type of diet, sleep quality, stress, etc. However, it is estimated that a beginner can gain between 1 and 2 kg of muscle per month, while an intermediate can gain between 0.5 and 1 kg, and an advanced between 0.25 and 0.5 kg. These values are approximate and may vary from person to person.
To gain muscle per month on a volume diet, you need to create a caloric surplus, i.e., consume more calories than you expend. This allows the body to have enough energy to synthesize new muscle proteins and repair fibers damaged by training. However, the caloric surplus should not be excessive, as it can also lead to an increase in body fat, which can harm health and performance.
Therefore, to gain 2 kg of muscle per month on a volume diet, it is recommended to create a moderate caloric surplus, between 10 and 20% above total energy expenditure. This means that if you expend 2500 calories a day, you should consume between 2750 and 3000 calories. In this way, muscle anabolism is favored without accumulating too much fat.
What factors influence the increase in muscle mass?
In addition to diet, there are other factors that influence muscle mass gain, such as training, rest, supplementation, and lifestyle. Let’s look at each of them in more detail:
- Training: To stimulate muscle growth, it is necessary to subject the muscle to mechanical and metabolic stress, which causes microtraumas in the fibers and activates protein synthesis. To do this, it is recommended to follow a strength training program that includes basic, compound and isolated exercises, which work all muscle groups, with an appropriate frequency, intensity, volume and progression at each level. You should also take care of the technique, time under tension, range of motion, and speed of execution of each exercise.
- Rest: Rest is essential for increasing muscle mass, as it is the time when the body recovers and adapts to the stimulus of training. During sleep, anabolic hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone, are released, which promote muscle regeneration and growth. Therefore, it is recommended to sleep between 7 and 9 hours a day, in a dark, quiet and cool environment, and avoid the use of electronic devices before going to bed.
- Supplementation: Supplementation can be a useful supplement for increasing muscle mass, as long as you follow a proper diet and training. Some supplements that can help improve muscle performance, recovery, and anabolism include creatine, whey protein, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), glutamine, caffeine, beta-alanine, and nitric oxide. However, not all supplements are necessary or effective for everyone, so you should consult with a professional before consuming them.
- Lifestyle: Lifestyle also influences the increase in muscle mass, as it can affect metabolism, hormonal system, immune system, and mood. Some habits that should be adopted to promote muscle anabolism are: avoiding alcohol, tobacco and drug consumption, reducing stress, hydrating properly, exposing yourself to the sun to obtain vitamin D, practicing leisure and relaxation activities, and maintaining a positive and motivated attitude.
How to Plan a Bulking Diet to Increase Muscle Mass
Once you know how much muscle you can gain per month on a volume diet and what factors influence muscle mass gain, it’s time to plan your own personalized volume diet. To do this, you need to follow the steps below:
How to Calculate Calories and Distribute Meals to Gain 2 kg of Muscle in a Month
The first step in planning a volume diet is to calculate the calories you need to consume per day to gain 2 kg of muscle in a month. To do this, you can use the following formula: Calories = (Weight in kg x 24 x 1.2) + (500 x 30)
- Weight in kg: This is your current weight in kilograms.
- 24: This is the factor used to estimate basal metabolic rate, i.e. the calories you burn at rest.
- 1.2: It is the factor used to estimate the level of physical activity, which in this case is considered sedentary. If you exercise regularly, you can increase this factor depending on the intensity and duration of your workout.
- 500: This is the recommended number of calories to add per day to create a moderate caloric surplus and gain 2 kg of muscle in a month.
- 30: This is the number of days in a month.
For example, if you weigh 70 kg and exercise 3 times a week, your formula would be:Calories = (70 x 24 x 1.4) + (500 x 30)
Calorías = 2520 + 15000Calorías = 17520
This means that you need to consume 17520 calories per month, which equates to about 584 calories per day, to gain 2 kg of muscle in a month.
The second step is to distribute the calories among the different meals of the day. To do this, you need to take into account the frequency, timing, and size of each meal. It is recommended to eat between 4 and 6 meals a day, spaced between 3 and 4 hours apart, and adjust the size of each meal according to appetite, satiety, and goal. For example, you can make a breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and bedtime snack, and distribute the calories as follows:
- Breakfast: 20% of total calories.
- Food: 25% of total calories.
- Snack: 15% of total calories.
- Dinner: 25% of total calories.
- Snack: 15% of total calories.
Following the example above, if you need 584 calories a day, your distribution would be:
- Breakfast: 117 calories.
- Food: 146 calories.
- Snack: 88 calories.
- Dinner: 146 calories.
- Snack: 88 calories.
These values are indicative and may vary according to your preferences and needs. The important thing is that you stick to the total calories per day and that you don’t skip any meals.
What foods to prioritize and how many times to eat a day to increase muscle mass
The third step in planning a volume diet is to choose the foods you’re going to consume at each meal. To do this, you must take into account macronutrients, i.e. proteins, carbohydrates and fats, which are what provide energy and raw material for muscle growth. Let’s take a look at how to distribute them and what foods to choose:
- Proteins: Proteins are essential for the increase of muscle mass, as they are what form muscle fibers and stimulate protein synthesis. It is recommended to consume between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, spread over all meals. Protein-rich foods include meat, fish, eggs, dairy, tofu, tempeh, seitan, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
- Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body and brain, and they also help preserve muscle glycogen and prevent catabolism. It is recommended to consume between 4 and 6 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per day, preferably low or medium glycemic index, and increase them on training days and reduce them on rest days. Some carbohydrate-rich foods include: rice, pasta, bread, cereals, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables.
- Fats: Fats are necessary for the proper functioning of the body, as they are involved in the production of hormones, the absorption of vitamins, the protection of organs and the regulation of inflammation. It is recommended to consume between 0.8 and 1.2 grams of fat per kilogram of body weight per day, prioritizing unsaturated fats and avoiding trans fats. Some high-fat foods are: olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, salmon, tuna, egg yolk, and dark chocolate.
In addition to macronutrients, you should also consider micronutrients, i.e. vitamins and minerals, which are important for the proper functioning of the metabolism, immune system, nervous system, and skeletal system. To get them, you should eat a variety of foods from all food groups, especially fruits, vegetables, and whole foods, and avoid processed, refined, and sugary foods.
Finally, don’t forget hydration, which is essential for transporting nutrients, eliminating toxins, regulating temperature, and maintaining cell volume. It is recommended to drink between 2 and 3 liters of water a day, and increase it depending on the weather, sweat, exercise, and caffeine and alcohol consumption.
How to Create a Hypercaloric Diet to Gain Muscle Fast
The fourth step in planning a volume diet is to create a high-calorie diet, that is, a diet that provides more calories than you expend. This is achieved by increasing the consumption of energy foods, such as carbohydrates and fats, and reducing the consumption of low-calorie foods, such as vegetables and fruits. In this way, a caloric surplus is created that allows the body to have more energy for muscle growth.
To create a high-calorie diet, the following strategy can be followed:
- Increase portion sizes: A simple way to increase calories is to increase portion sizes of foods you eat regularly. For example, you can go from one cup of rice to one and a half cups, from a chicken fillet to one and a half, or from a handful of nuts to two. This means an increase in calories without changing the quality of the diet.
- Add caloric foods: Another way to increase calories is to add caloric foods to meals that are normally made. For example, you can add cheese, ham, avocado or salsa to a sandwich, milk, peanut butter, banana or honey to a smoothie, or oil, nuts, seeds or raisins to a salad. These foods provide calories, but also nutrients that are beneficial for health and muscle.
- Reduce your intake of low-calorie foods: The last way to increase calories is to reduce your intake of low-calorie foods, such as vegetables and fruits, which take up a lot of space in your stomach and can lead to satiety. This doesn’t mean eliminating them entirely, as they are important for health and performance, but limiting their amount and choosing the ones with the most calories. For example, you can substitute lettuce for corn, cucumber for carrot, or apple for mango.
These are some ideas for creating a high-calorie diet to gain muscle quickly, but they must be adapted to each person and their tastes, habits, and goals. The important thing is that the diet is varied, balanced and healthy, and that it is combined with proper training and sufficient rest.
How to Structure a Bulking Diet to Gain Muscle and Minimize Fat
The fifth and final step in planning a bulking diet is to structure the diet in a way that maximizes the gain in muscle mass and minimizes the gain in body fat. To do this, the following aspects must be taken into account:
- Nutritional timing: Nutritional timing refers to the timing of food and nutrients, and its relationship to training and the circadian cycle. Nutritional timing has been shown to influence performance, recovery, and body composition. Some general recommendations are: consume a meal rich in protein and carbohydrates before and after training, to promote protein synthesis and glycogen replenishment; consuming a meal rich in protein and fat before bed, to improve sleep quality and the release of anabolic hormones; and distribute protein intake evenly throughout the day, to maintain a high rate of protein synthesis.
- Macronutrient balance: Macronutrient balance refers to the proportion of calories you get from each macronutrient, and its relationship to the goal and type of training. It has been shown that macronutrient balance can influence performance, recovery, and body composition. Some general recommendations are: consume between 25 and 30% of total calories from protein, to optimize muscle anabolism; consume between 40 and 50% of total calories from carbohydrates, to maintain energy levels and avoid catabolism; and consume between 25 and 35% of total calories from fat, to ensure the proper functioning of the body and the production of hormones.
- Food quality: Food quality refers to the nutritional value and caloric density of the food being consumed, and its relationship to health and performance. It has been shown that food quality can influence performance, recovery, and body composition. Some general recommendations are: consume natural, fresh, whole and varied foods, which provide all the essential nutrients and have a low or medium glycemic index; avoid the consumption of processed, refined, sugary and fried foods, which provide empty calories and can lead to inflammation, oxidation and insulin resistance; and moderate alcohol consumption, which provides empty calories and can interfere with metabolism, hormonal system, and nervous system.
These are some ideas for structuring a bulking diet to gain muscle and minimize fat, but they must be adapted to each person and their tastes, habits, and goals. The important thing is that the diet is varied, balanced and healthy, and that it is combined with proper training and sufficient rest.
Tips for Designing a Nutritional Plan for Muscle Hypertrophy
You already know how to plan a bulking diet to increase muscle mass, but there’s more. In this section, we are going to give you some tips for designing a nutritional plan for muscle hypertrophy, which will help you optimize your results and avoid the most common mistakes. These tips are:
How to Adjust Your Diet Based on Progress and Goals
One of the most important tips for designing a nutritional plan for muscle hypertrophy is to adjust your diet based on your progress and goals. This means that you should regularly assess your weight, fat percentage, muscle mass, strength, performance, and health, and modify your diet based on the results you get. For example, if you find that you’re not gaining muscle or that you’re gaining too much fat, you can increase or decrease calories, respectively. You can also vary the macronutrient balance, nutritional timing and food quality, depending on your needs and preferences.
To adjust the diet according to progress and goals, it is recommended to do an evaluation every 2 to 4 weeks, and change the diet in small amounts, between 5 and 10% of the calories or macronutrients. In this way, you avoid making sudden changes that can affect your metabolism, hormonal system, and mood. It is also recommended to keep a record of diet, training, and measurements, so that you can analyze the data and make any necessary corrections.
How to combine diet with training and rest
Another tip for designing a nutritional plan for muscle hypertrophy is to combine diet with training and rest. This means that you should adapt your diet to the type, intensity, duration, and frequency of your training, and the time and quality of your rest. In this way, the effect of the training on the muscle is enhanced and muscle recovery and growth are promoted. For example, if you do a high-intensity, short-duration workout, you can consume more carbohydrates before and after training, to improve performance and recovery. If you do a low-intensity, long-duration workout, you can consume fewer carbohydrates and more fats, to improve endurance and fat oxidation. If you do strength training, you can consume more protein, to improve protein synthesis and muscle anabolism.
To combine diet with training and rest, it is recommended to follow the following guidelines:
- Pre-workout: Eat a meal rich in protein and low- or medium-glycemic carbohydrates, 1 to 3 hours before training, to provide energy and amino acids to the muscle. A caffeine, creatine or beta-alanine supplement can also be consumed 15 to 30 minutes before training to improve performance and strength.
- During training: Consume water or an isotonic drink to maintain hydration and electrolytes. A BCAA or glutamine supplement can also be consumed, to prevent catabolism and improve recovery.
- Post-workout: Eat a meal rich in protein and high-glycemic carbohydrates 30 to 60 minutes post-workout to stimulate protein synthesis and glycogen replenishment. A whey protein, creatine or glutamine supplement can also be consumed to speed up muscle recovery and growth.
- Before sleeping: Eat a meal rich in protein and fat, 1 to 2 hours before bedtime, to improve sleep quality and the release of anabolic hormones. A casein, glutamine or melatonin supplement can also be taken to prolong protein synthesis and promote rest.
How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes on a Volume Diet
The last tip for designing a nutritional plan for muscle hypertrophy is to avoid the most common mistakes that are usually made in a volume diet. These mistakes can compromise results, health, and well-being. Some of the most common mistakes are:
- Eating too much or too little: Eating too much can lead to excessive body fat gain, which can affect health, performance, and aesthetics. Eating too little can lead to stagnation or loss of muscle mass, which can affect metabolism, strength, and recovery. Therefore, calorie intake should be adjusted according to each person’s goal, progress, and needs.
- Neglecting food quality: Neglecting food quality can lead to nutritional deficiencies, inflammation, oxidation, insulin resistance, and other health problems. For this reason, priority should be given to the consumption of natural, fresh, whole and varied foods, which provide all the essential nutrients and have a low or medium glycemic index. Processed, refined, sugary and fried foods, which provide empty calories and can impair health and performance, should also be avoided.
- Overusing supplements: Abusing supplements can lead to side effects, interactions, intolerances, and dependencies. Therefore, supplements should be used judiciously, as a supplement and not as a substitute for diet. You should also consult with a professional before consuming them, to choose the most suitable and safe ones for each person.
- Not adapting the diet to training and rest: Not adapting the diet to training and rest can lead to poor performance, slow recovery, and unfavorable body composition. Therefore, the diet should be adapted to the type, intensity, duration and frequency of training, and to the time and quality of rest. Nutritional timing should also be followed to optimize muscle anabolism and recovery.
These are some of the most common mistakes often made on a volume diet, but there are many more. The important thing is that you are aware of them and avoid them, in order to achieve your goals in a healthy and sustainable way.
In conclusion, we have explained how to gain 2 kg of muscle per month with an optimal volume diet. We’ve taught you how to calculate calories and distribute meals to achieve this goal, what foods to prioritize and how many times to eat per day to increase muscle mass, how to create a hypercaloric diet to gain muscle quickly, how to structure a volume diet to gain muscle and minimize fat, and some tips for designing a nutritional plan for muscle hypertrophy. In addition, we have given you some recommendations to avoid the most common mistakes that are usually made in a volume diet.
We hope you found this article helpful and that you can apply what you’ve learned to your own volume diet. Remember that in order to gain muscle in a healthy and sustainable way, you must combine a proper diet with effective training and sufficient rest. You should also be patient, consistent, and disciplined, and adjust your diet according to your progress and goals.
Frequently asked questions
Is it necessary to weigh and measure food on a volume diet?
It is not essential, but it is recommended, at least at the beginning, to have a reference of the quantities and calories consumed. In this way, you can better control your caloric surplus and avoid over- or under-eating. Over time, you can gain experience and confidence, and use other, more practical methods, such as hand size, plate size, or fist.
What happens if you don’t meet the calories or meals in a day?
Nothing serious happens, as long as it’s a one-off thing and doesn’t become a habit. The important thing is that you meet your total calories and macronutrients at the end of the week, and that you maintain regularity in your meals. If you eat less or more than you planned one day, you can compensate the next day by increasing or reducing calories, respectively.
What to do if the increase in muscle mass stagnates?
If muscle mass gain stagnates, you can do the following:
- Review diet: Metabolic adaptation may have occurred and calories or macronutrients may need to be increased. You can also review the quality, timing, and balance of food, and make some changes to improve the assimilation and utilization of nutrients.
- Review the workout: Muscle adaptation may have occurred and the type, intensity, volume, frequency, or progression of the workout needs to be changed. You can also review the technique, time under tension, range of motion, and speed of execution of the exercises, and make some changes to increase the stimulus and stress on the muscle.
- Check rest: A build-up of fatigue may have occurred and the quality and quantity of sleep and rest need to be improved. You can also review your stress level, hydration, supplementation, and lifestyle, and make some changes to support muscle recovery and anabolism.
How Long Should You Follow a Volume Diet?
There is no set time to follow a bulking diet, as it depends on each person, their goal, their progress, and their tolerance to fat gain. Some people may follow a volume diet for several months, while others may prefer to do shorter cycles, alternating periods of volume with periods of definition. It is advisable to follow a bulking diet until the desired muscle mass goal is reached, or until an acceptable fat percentage is exceeded, which is usually between 15 and 20% for men and between 25 and 30% for women.