How much fat, protein, carbs, fiber, water, etc. do I need to build muscle?

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I am 28 years old, 125 pounds and I have ulcerative colitis so I eat healthy as much as possible…I need to gain weight and build muscle, what diet plan should I be on? What are my numbers that I should look for in calories, fats, proteins, and carbs? Water intake…FIBER? -Ateks



If you’d like to gain weight and build muscle, then you need to give your body more than it requires. Providing ample calories allows new cells to grow. To be sure they are muscle cells and not fat you’ve got to increase the resistance training in your workout regimen. Those calories should be from complex carbohydrates, lean protein and plant fat. Adding about 200-500 calories a day is all it takes. There are a few options to do this: maintaining your current meals and adding a sport shake; increasing the volume of your meals by 10-20%; or adding an extra snack to your day, perhaps at night.

Timing your fuel around your workouts is important.

We have a Healthy Living Blog article just on the subject! Read it HERE.

Focus on the added calories first, rather than attempting to fit your whole day into numerical goals. Let’s take an average of 350 calories to add. About 25% from plant fats (at 9 cals/gm) = 10 grams. Another 25% from lean protein (at 4 cals/gm) = 22 grams. The remaining 50% would be complex carbohydrates (at 4 cals/gm) = 44 grams. So what do these numbers look like in a shake or snack? A few weight gainer powders match these targets, others you’d need to mix with milk or adjust number of scoops. For real food here are four sample snacks:

  • 2 hard cooked eggs, 2 fat free waffles, ½ banana
  • 3 oz can water pack tuna, 1 tablespoon relish, 10 wheat crackers, 2 slices avocado
  • ½ cup soynuts, 2 hard Dutch pretzels
  • 3 oz. deli sliced chicken breast, 1 tablespoon pesto, 2 slices whole wheat bread


Water and fiber intake should meet recommended needs. Your fluids should total somewhere around 8-9 cups per day, including water and other beverages. Fiber should total 25-38 grams per day from fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts/seeds and whole grains.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition? Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below.

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Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.

Posted on July 14, 2014, in Ask Our Dietitian, Health, Helpful, Nutrition, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. What about a diet for building muscle but no weight gain, so pretty much for toning?

  2. Debbie, I think you missed the fact that she has Ulcerative Colitis. That can make eating a lot of fiber a bit dicey. It also means she probably has a lot of diarrhea. I know that when I ate an apple I was in real distress all day.

  3. Thank you for your comment, Sandi. A high fiber diet is good for someone with ulcerative colitis as it increases bulk, reduces strain and lessens inflammation and irritiation. During a flare-up one may tolerate less.

    Anyone with bowel issues needs to be sensitive to how much roughage they can handle. A little bit throughout the day is better tolerated than a lot at once. The type of fiber (soluble fiber or insoluble fiber) may make a difference, too.
    Also, not knowning Atkek’s gender, I provided a range that included 38 gms for men.

  1. Pingback: What should I eat to gain more muscle and weight? | LA Fitness | Official Blog | Living Healthy

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