Diet Mistakes Men Make Trying to Gain Muscle

Straight Talk for Lean Mass Gains

In the quest for washboard abs and hulk-like muscles, a small percentage of men are doing it right. However, the majority fall prey to diet mistakes not supporting lean mass gains. 

What Men Really Want

Men want to look good
Men want to look muscular and feel good. Mike Harrington Taxi/Getty Images

Women aren't the only ones feeling social and media pressure with their bodies because men definitely are thinking about it. 

Men want to look and feel good. Their goal is not being cocky about it, but definitely have pride in some muscle showing through a tight fitting shirt. 

What is getting in the way of their goals to gain or see muscle?

Guns, Guts and Beer

Men Drink too Much Beer
High Beer Consumption is Linked to Abdominal Obesity. Viorika E+/Getty Images

The arms may look good but not what's lurking under that shirt. Men love to drink beer. Beer happens to be the chosen adult beverage at sporting events or just standing around the barbecue. Downing a few brewskies while grilling up the steak is typical dude fun.

The dreaded beer belly is the downfall of men trying to achieve six-pack abs and studies link high intakes of beer to abdominal obesity. The issue with alcohol is the lack of will-power. Men tend to get caught up in the moment and unable to stop at just one beer.

Having an occasional drink after work or on the weekend in a physically active lifestyle has not been found to be a factor for abdominal girth. In contrast, heavy drinking is a muscle killer and slows protein synthesis (muscle growth). It also suppresses fat burning.

Are you serious about getting in shape and trimming down that gut?  Taking an honest look at your alcohol consumption would be a great place to start. Sports nutrition research has indicated reducing or eliminating alcohol increases fat loss and improved athletic performance.

Learn more about how alcohol affects your goals by reading: Alcohol, the Fitness Goal Setback

Eat Big or Go Home

Eating too much
Eating too much leads to a fat layer over your muscle. Stephanie Horrocks E+/Getty Images

Muscles need a healthy balance of food. Consuming too many macronutrients is going to give you a macro body with a layer of flab. 

Men can get excited about gains feeling like they need to amp up the food to accommodate the pump. Guys are typically mainstream lifters working for muscle and not competitive bodybuilders. These men may be able to gobble down pounds of chicken and white rice but this is not the norm. Men can make a mistake of following self-made bodybuilding diets not meant for their body. Also, competitive lifters may also be taking sports enhancing drugs.  

It comes down to calories. Eating too much is going to create a fit fat guy appearance. This is someone who looks like they workout but could look better if only they lost some weight. 

Eating the right amount of calories and including proper portions are essential for results. Recommended daily nutrition for muscle gains may include lean proteins, healthy carbohydrates, and fats.  

Learn more about how to eat right for lean mass gains by reading: Are you Eating for Muscle?

Lazy in the Kitchen

Unable to Cook
Not being able to cook is a muscle killer. Erik Dreyer The Image Bank/Getty Images

Guys, you have left the nest without cooking skills under your belt. If you are still single, depending on a spouse to prepare your healthy meals is out of the question.

This typically sends men to the phone ordering pizza or heading for drive-thru burgers after work. Stop right there guys because this is unacceptable for you. Processed foods are shown to cause weight gain and this is what you're trying to avoid.

Get confident in the kitchen and take responsibility for your food intake. Start buying healthy food and guess what?  Cook the stuff.  Dive into some online cooking sites, watch the food channel or ask dear Mom over to show you some cooking basics. 

Once you start cooking for yourself, you will not only feel accomplished but enjoy the whole process. The greatest success with having a lean muscular body is controlling what you put in your face. Mastering the art of cooking will be your handiest tool to make it happen.  

Accept Being Fat as Your New Normal

Complacency with Appearance
Complacency with appearance does nothing to build muscle. JGI/Tom Grill Blend Images/Getty Images

Love handles and man boobs are becoming more acceptable as the new normal. Men see their friends settling into life and expanding waistlines. 

The pressure to look good has been replaced with being prideful about a little table muscle shared among buddies. Life changes like marriage and job stress can leave men making excuses to stop taking care of their bodies. 

While women still feel the media stigma to strive for thinness, men typically shrug it off and accept an extra layer of fat as part of getting older. Having a complacent attitude about fitness is not going to get you even close to first base with achieving a muscular body. 

There needs to be a mental shift toward self-worthiness and doing what it takes to become the muscular man you want to be. If you're married, stop taking that for granted and work on looking good naked for your spouse. 

Surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook about health and make fitness a priority. Start applying the quote “change your mind to change your body” and get going on achieving that muscle definition!

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