The Man's Meal Plan For Getting Strong

Want To Get Bigger And Stronger? Forget the gym. Building Muscle Stars At The Plate. Here's How To Gain The Right Kind Of Weight.

Dear Men: You’re wasting your time in the gym.

You heard us. If your goal is to add strength and mass to your body, all of the hard work you put in lifting weights, doing body weight exercises, and pushing your body to become something bigger and better won’t lead anywhere without the right diet.

That’s not our opinion. It’s a matter of science. And the reality is, even when you do try to “eat more” to help change your body, you’re usually not eating enough or eating enough of the right foods.

Which is why we’ve worked with thousands of clients, everyone from big name athletes to people no different than your neighbor, to develop an eating solution that will ensure every bite you take, every weight you lift, will lead you step-by-step towards your goal.

Dig in to this plan and you’ll be armed with the “secrets” you’ve been looking for to become a bigger man and live a bigger life.

A Real World Plan

This example eating plan has been specifically created with your goals in mind. During a strength phase where you want to add more mass, the goal is add more calories to help push you to new levels in your training and help you grow.

So while you will be eating more, you don’t want to push too hard too fast or else you’ll be adding fat. Your focus therefore becomes eating more than before, but following our guidelines so that every food selection you make only helps you look better than before.

That’s why you’ll see a focus on nutrient-dense (and delicious) foods that will keep you satisfied. More importantly, you’ll be supplying your body with the type of food you need to add some strength and muscle and look like a different person.

To this end, we’ve created a four-meal plan that can apply to any type of daily schedule. We selected four meals because it’s a realistic option for most people that live busy lives. Oftentimes, eating too frequently becomes a hassle and is too difficult to schedule, while eating fewer meals might lead to binge-type eating that undercuts your goals.

However, you can follow this plan as outlined or you can make small adjustments that allow you to eat the number of meals that works best for you. From a scientific perspective, it’s not how often you eat, but rather what you eat that makes the biggest difference.

How to Use This Diet

The plan below outlines a day of perfect eating for someone trying to add strength.

We’ve outlined calorie goals and meal breakdowns for those of you who like to do calorie math. And, if you want to really individualize and adjust based on body type and activity levels, here’s our approach.

However, the truth is, we’re not big fans of counting calories. Rather, we think you should eat according to hunger cues and adjust according to results.

That’s the real magic of what we do at Precision Nutrition. Instead of strict meal plans we teach a habit strategy, outlining best practices like: slowing down your meals, eating lean protein with every meal, eating veggies and fruits with each meal, and including healthy fats.

Of course, the menu below is an example of these practices in action. Just remember that it’s a template. And that you’re in control. In other words, you can adjust as needed. If you don’t like chicken, substitute with steak, fish, or turkey. Same with the veggies, starches, and fruits.

A Note On Portion Size

Also keep in mind that instead of using ounces, grams, and other metrics, we prefer to use the simplest metric possible: the size of your hand. For example, for men we recommend 2 palm-sized portion of chicken.

This is the preferred approach because your hand generally scales with your body size. So, if you’re bigger, you eat more, according to your hand size. And, if you’re smaller, you eat less, according to your hand size. For more on this strategy, check out our “Simple Guide to Portion Size,” which we’ve linked to at the bottom of this article.


~5 eggs (2 palm-sized portions)

~1 cup (1 fist-sized portion) of mixed peppers and onions

~1 slice (1 cupped handful) of sprouted-grain toast

~1 tbsp (1 entire thumb) of peanut butter

~1 banana (1 cupped handful)

~1 glass water / green tea / black coffee


~8oz (2 palm-sized portions) of chicken

~2 cups (2 fist-sized portions) of mixed peppers and onions

~½ cup (1 cupped handful) of black beans

~½ cup (1 cupped handful) brown and wild rice (cooked measure)

~2 tbsp (2 entire thumbs) of guacamole

~1 glass water / green tea / black coffee

Mid Afternoon Snack

~2 scoops (2 palm-sized portions) protein powder

~1 cup (1 fist-sized portion) spinach

~1 apple (1 cupped handful)

~½ cup (1 cupped handful) old-fashioned oats

~2 tbsp (2 entire thumbs) almond butter

~8oz plain whole yogurt

~ice cubes and water as desired


~8oz (2 palm-sized portions) of lean sirloin

~2 cups (2 fist-sized portions) of green beans

~1 tbsp (1 entire thumb) of extra virgin olive oil

~1 medium (2 cupped handfuls) potato

~1 glass water


Calories - 2819

Protein - 236g

Carbs - 255g

Fiber - 53g

Fat - 95g

Staying on Track

The most common question we receive is: “How do I know if it’s working?” Well, your strategy should be based on what your body weight is doing and what you’re seeing in the mirror. On this plan, a good expectation is gaining about 2 to 3 pounds per month. If you’re really skinny, you could easily gain more.

However, keep an eye on things to determine if you need adjustments. If you’re gaining weight too quickly, simply eat a bit less by decreasing your calories/portion sizes. And if you’re losing weight (or not gaining), simply eat a bit more by increasing your calories/portion sizes.

Over time, you will have to make adjustments based on preferences, variety, and the results you see and feel. That’s the beauty of a flexible approach to nutrition. There are unlimited variations.

Last updated on: Nov 19, 2012