Diet to build muscle

All Woman

Dear Donovan,

I am a 24-year-old woman who has been struggling to lose weight over the years. I managed to change my diet and I now weigh 158 pounds. The issue I am having is that I want to build muscle, but I don't know what would be the perfect diet to reach my goal. I am currently going to the gym where I do weightlifting, but my trainer says that muscles are built in the kitchen. So could you give me an idea of what my diet must consist of?

I am very happy that you have managed to lose some weight. However, I am wondering if you have reached your weight loss goal, and also what your height is. Knowing your height would give me a rough idea as to whether you still need to lose some weight.

It is important to be very clear about what you want to do. For example, 'I want to lose some more weight' or 'I want to be buff and toned'. My normal suggestion is to reach your weight loss goal, then tone afterwards. However, there are some people who believe that building muscles will help to burn the fat faster, and weight loss will take place. I am yet to be totally convinced about this.

My general suggestion is to lose the fat which will make you a bit soft, and when you reach your weight loss goal, tone up and put on some muscles. If you try and tone while you still need to lose weight, there is the possibility that you could look too bulky. So that's why it is very important to have an idea of how you want to look while doing a weight loss programme.

It is also important to be mindful of your God-given shape. Another consideration is that muscles are more dense and compact than fat, so if and even when you lose some fat, there might be no significant weight loss.

In my opinion, if you want to continue to lose weight you should stick more to cardio-type exercises. However, I must tell you that you will definitely see the results of muscle-building exercises in losing inches and how your clothes fit.

If you really want to gain or grow muscles, paying attention to your diet is important. You will definitely need to keep doing your weight training. In addition, you could slightly increase your protein intake. Protein is very important to repair and grow muscles.

However, eating good-quality protein is important. These could include peas and beans, sea fish, egg white, yoghurt, whey protein, etc. It is also important to increase your carbohydrate intake slightly. You will need the carbohydrates to do the workouts.

Overall, your diet should have good sources of minerals and vitamins. In addition, your fruits and vegetables are very important. As much as possible, reduce fried and oily foods. In order to keep healthy, you should build muscles but not put on too much weight. Therefore, you will have to watch your calories.

Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight, or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to




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