Nutrition Meal Plan for Weight Lifters

by Matt Stark

Gaining lean muscle mass can be a difficult task. It is impossible to develop muscle mass if you are not taking in adequate amounts of calories. Weight lifters require different calorie and nutrient ratios than the general population. Choosing the correct foods at the correct times will help you grow into the body of your dreams.

Overall Diet

Choosing the appropriate calorie range for you will help you reach your goals. When trying to gain muscle mass, it is important to eat more calories than needed to maintain weight. For most males, 3,000 to 4,000 calories will be sufficient. For most females, 2,000 to 3,000 calories will be sufficient. University of Miami Nutrition Professor Lisa Dorfman recommends consuming at least 50 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 10 percent to 20 percent from protein, and 20 percent to 30 percent from fat.


Breakfast has been referred to as the most important meal of the day because your body has not had food for a period of about eight hours, and it is in great need for nutrition. You should start off your day with high-quality foods.

An example of a well-balanced breakfast for weight lifters would be a bagel with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, one cup of two percent milk and a medium banana.


Depending on your daily routine, lunch can be a variety of things. If you are able to sit down and enjoy your lunch, bringing a packed lunch from home will be your best bet. This will ensure that you know exactly what is in your food and what you are putting into your body.

An example of a lunch for a weight lifter would include a sandwich consisting of 2 to 4 ounces of ham or turkey, a small handful of shredded cheese, a handful of spinach, a few slices of tomato, 1 tablespoon of mayo and two slices of whole wheat bread. To go along with the sandwich could be an orange, 1 1/4 cups of broccoli and cauliflower, one serving of whole wheat crackers and a handful of trail mix or assorted nuts.


Supper is generally the last meal of the day for most people. Getting a variety of different colors and flavors on your plate is essential for adequate nutrition.

An example of a supper suitable for weightlifters would include: 4 to 8 ounces of fish, chicken or lean beef, depending on preference. Add a baked potato or sweet potato with one tbsp. of sour cream, margarine or butter. You should also consume one cup of steamed mixed vegetables, one cup of two percent milk and a small dinner roll.


Snacks should be healthy foods that can be added so that you meet your daily requirements for fruits, vegetables and other food groups.

Examples of snacks may include celery with peanut butter, apples, tossed salads, almonds, cashews, protein shakes with milk and fruit smoothies. Try choosing foods that are not highly processed. Strive for combinations of foods that provide some fat, protein and carbohydrates.

Aim for at least one snack in between meals and another within an hour of bed so that you continually provide your body with nutrients.


  • "Perspectives in Nutrition"; Dr. Gordon Wardlaw; 2007
  • "Krause's Food and Nutrition Therapy"; L. Kathleen Mahan; 2008

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About the Author

Matt Stark began writing professionally in 2010 for various websites. His areas of interest are nutrition and fitness and he is currently on his way to becoming a registered dietitian with a Master of Science in nutrition. Stark holds a personal training certification through the ISSA and a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Northern Illinois University.