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Elite MMA Houston - Buddy Week

What to Eat In Order to Gain Muscle


Great job for taking notice! They mean two different things.

Essentially, all muscle is “lean,” meaning it is primarily composed of proteins, which are lean. However, things start to get more confusing when some folks use lean body mass and skeletal muscle mass interchangeably.

Lean body mass (LBM), also known as lean mass, refers to the total weight of your body minus all the weight comprised of fat mass. This includes your organs, your skin, your bones, your body water, and your muscles.   

On the other hand, skeletal muscle mass (SMM) is a part of your LBM, but it is the part that is referring to the specific muscles used that are controlled voluntarily to produce movement and maintain posture. When you’re thinking about gaining muscle, you are actually referring more specifically to your SMM. This is what we want to track and here’s why:

Apart from changes in your SMM, a gain in your LBM numbers can also be a result of water gain. Water gain can occur from bloating or eating salty foods but also from swelling from injury or disease. For this reason of water storage, you cannot confidently declare that you’ve successfully gained muscle if you simply look at your LBM numbers. 

You can learn more about the distinction between the two in Lean Body Mass and Muscle Mass: What’s the Difference?

Semantics aside, let’s dig into the facts and findings about building muscle through diet and nutrition.


As of June 2017, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recommends an overall daily protein intake in the range of 1.4–2.0 g protein/kg body weight/day (g/kg/d) for building and maintaining muscle mass. Remember, your specific needs depend on the amount of muscle mass you have as well as the type and intensity of your physical activity

With these figures in mind, let’s say you weigh 125 pounds (57 kilos), and you’re working to increase your LBM.  You would need 57 x 1.4- 2.0, or 79.8 - 114 grams of protein a day.

This may sound like a lot but it’s not. A cup (140 grams) of chicken contains 43 grams of protein.   Meanwhile, a can of tuna can contain as much as 49 grams.  With a cup of chicken and a can of tuna, you’d almost entirely meet your protein needs.  If you add in a glass of 2% milk (another 9-10 grams of protein), you’ve already hit your goal.

Below is a rough estimate of the recommended daily protein intake based on activity level:

0.8-1.2 g/kg for regular activity

1.2-1.5 g/kg for endurance athletes

1.5-1.8 g/kg for strength/power athletes

If counting grams of protein for the day is not your thing, researchers have recommend an intake of about 20-40 grams of whey protein following a heavy bout of whole body resistance exercise to promote greater muscle recovery. The results stressed that the traditional 20 grams of whey protein post exercise did not promote as much MPS as the 40 grams of protein.


Not really. 

Researchers found that consuming five times the recommended daily allowance of protein has no effect on body composition in resistance-trained individuals who otherwise maintain the same training regimen. That means that doubling or tripling your protein intake doesn’t translate to greater muscle gain after exercise.

It’s also worth noting that this is one of the first interventional study to demonstrate that consuming a high protein diet does not result in an increase in body fat mass.




While protein restriction may be appropriate for treatment of existing kidney disease,  some research has shown high protein intake in healthy individuals to not be harmful to kidney function.  Unlike extra stores of fat that the body is so keen about in holding on, the amino acids in protein are more likely to be excreted via the urine when not in use. With that in mind, there are certainly risks associated with consuming too much protein so it’s wise to keep your intake in check. So what our conclusion here? Eating more protein makes you feel fuller longer, can help curb overeating, and is essential for muscle recovery and growth but don’t replace all of your carbohydrates and fats for proteins when hitting your daily caloric goals (we’ll address this issue later).


If you want to build muscle, increasing your dietary protein intake makes sense. However, this doesn’t mean that you should disregard carbs and fats. For one, carbohydrates help replace muscle glycogen (aka muscle fuel) and aids in enhancing the role of insulin when it comes to transporting nutrients into the cells, including your muscles. Combining protein and carbs also has the added advantage of limiting post- exercise muscle damage and promoting muscle growth. In a nutshell, a diet balanced in protein, carbs, fats, and fiber is the most effective way to build muscle.

In summary, here’s what you need to remember when it comes to eating in order to gain muscle:

Muscle gains are hard to come by if you don’t complement your exercise training with the right nutrition. Besides acting as fuel for physical activity, eating right helps in muscle recovery and  development of new muscle tissue.

Pay special attention to your protein intake in order to build muscle. Helpful figures to remember are 1.4–2.0 g protein/kg body weight/day (g/kg/d) depending on your body composition, activity type and activity intensity.

There’s been a lot of talk about a specific amino acids and anabolic (muscle-building) superpowers. However, it’s still important to consume different sources of protein when you can and not just focus on a single protein source. Plus, remember that your body needs carbs and fat too.

Do not worry about when is the best time to eat your steak. Eating a portion of lean protein with some fiber-rich carbs and fat every meal is a good way to help your body repair and rebuild muscle after resistance exercise. As much as possible, increase make sure to complement your exercise with the appropriate nutrients to promote muscle recovery and growth.

If you’re on a plant-based diet, make sure you're incorporating a wide variety of protein-rich plants to ensure that you’re getting the full range of amino acids. You may have to consider plant-based protein powder supplementation. Remember, people have different goals for gaining muscle  — from aesthetics to improved sports performance to feeling better about yourself. That means there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Whatever your goal, it all begins with one small step at a time. What changes are you going to make today?



Baytown Student Highlight: Rachel Wotipka

What is your name and age?

My name is Rachel Wotipka, and I’m 31 years old.

When did you join Elite MMA?

I joined Elite MMA in Baytown in May 2017.

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts?

I decided to start kickboxing to get back in shape and live a healtheir lifestyle. Self-motivation is difficult but I really enjoy the classes and that keeps me coming back. The best thing about kickboxing is my entire body gets a workout from every class.

In the past what had caused you not to take martial arts?

In the past, I didn’t consider taking a martial arts class. I thought martial arts was all laying on the floor hugging each other or being sat on until you tap out. After being introduced to kickboxing, I’m hooked.

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take?

This is my first time taking a legitimate martial arts class. I used to do some boxing with my dad growing up but it wasn’t disciplined or structured like a class.

If you had any concerns about joining Elite MMA, what helped you with your decision?

My major concern joining Elite MMA was how I would be motivated to come back each day. I keep coming back because the classes are fun, the coaches are cool, and Rob shows us how to do cool kicks on Thursdays! Also, having a friend taking class with me is a huge help because she makes me accountable for going more than once a week. Thanks Danya!!

Since you have been part of Elite, please share what you have been able to accomplish.

Since joining Elite MMA, I’ve taken my first belt test and ranked at a white/purple stripe. I was shocked that’s where I tested because I’ve only been taking classes for 5 months. I’m super excited to keep going and get better.

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?

I encourage both adults and kids to get involved with martial arts. My lifestyle used to be sedentary, working too much, and eating poorly. Now I’m doing kickboxing, still working too much, and eating healthier so I feed my body what it needs to perform my best.

UFC Fight Night 123 on December 9th in Fresno, CA Featuring Elite MMA’s Own Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Braga Neto!



Kingwood Instructor Highlight: Tyler Weisinger

Birth place: Houston, TX

Profession: Assistant Instructor   

What classes do you teach: Kids BJJ 

What martial art(s) have trained in: BJJ, Kickboxing, Wrestling

Number of years of training martial arts: Started training in October of 2013.

When did you start teaching at Elite MMA? I started volunteering to help the kids class about 3 months after I started training, I officially started assisting the class on 4/6/15

What is a memorable moment for you at Elite MMA? Going through the gauntlet for my blue belt was a very memorable moment.

In your own words why do you enjoy Elite MMA? The energy is always so positive at elite. Elite MMA is one huge family that has my back and always pushes me to greatness. The other big enjoyment I get from elite is passing on the knowledge and experiences I've learned from teaching the children in the kids program.

Do you have any martial arts accomplishments that you are proud of and why? An accomplishment that i am proud is i stepped out of my comfort zone and competed at the 2015 NAGA Houston tournament in the blue belt expert division and i took home the championship belt.

Are there any professional accomplishments that you are proud of and why? I am currently a junior in high school and i am proud to have the next few years of my life planned out and ready to go.

What hobbies do you enjoy and why?  I have played so many sports from speed skating to football but none have grasped my attention as much as MMA I enjoyed them all but none grasped me like Elite MMA did.

Any memorable family moments that you would like to share?  A memorable family moment for me was when my little sister was born it pushed me to be a good role model for her also felt great to be a big brother.

Academic accomplishments: I'm currently in high school striving to make A's and B's.

If you could walk us through a day or week in your life what would it consist of? My week consist of school in the morning, then immediately to Elite MMA to teach and train BJJ. Then go home study and get  a good amount of rest for the next day to come!



Westheimer Student Highlight: James Rudolph

What is your name and age?

My name is James Rudolph.  I'm 46 and am originally from Houston.

When did you join Elite MMA? How has it been coming back? When you weren't able to train, what did you miss the most?

 I joined Elite in April of 2014.   In May of 2015 I was diagnosed with a rare illness, Guilliane-Barre syndrome.  Your body attacks the nervous system resulting in nerve damage and muscle paralysis.  The original prognosis was one that did not include jiu jitsu.  A secondary test confirmed no nerves damage which means with time, and a year's plus worth of physical therapy I would be able to roll again. The nineteen months of no rolling gave me plenty of time to think about rolling and coming back.  So four weeks ago when I had my first opportunity to train with Coach Hai I was nervous and excited to come back. While I was rolling I started to cry.  You couldn't tell from the sweat in my face, but there really are no words for that moment when you are on the mat and in the back of your head you hear the doctor telling you that you would need to be in a wheelchair the rest of your life, and now here you are on the mat. I waited nineteen months for that moment.  It was bliss. I still shed a few tears of bliss when I roll these past four weekends.  I cannot find the words to describe the depth of my happiness and my love for being able to do this again.

It was incredible to walk into the gym on my own two feet and see supportive and familiar faces.  Coming back has been very easy with the support of the Instructor's and my fellow students.  It is an amazing feeling when every time you walk in the gym someone asks if you need help with your training.  The best part was being able to come in and hug all those people who had supported me during the past year. To personally say thank you for the visits and messages.

The things I missed the most were people at the gym. Being social and interacting with others. I missed all the smiles and laughter after a good roll.  I missed conversations on Mondays about the weekend’s jiu jitsu tournaments or the latest UFC. I missed being smashed and choked by my friends. 

Why did you decide to start taking martial arts? How has it impacted your life?

I decided to take martial arts for only two basic reasons. Self-defense and fitness. The impact of martial arts in my life can be seen any many areas.  It really helps to clear my head after a long day. It has helped me to be a better communicator. 

Is this your first time taking martial arts and what classes do you take and what do you enjoy about them?

It's not my first time to take martial arts.  I currently stick with the jiu jitsu classes. Jiu jitsu helps me obtain my goals in and out of the gym. Those goals have included better physical health, communication skills, and patience. I also really just enjoy rolling.  It's fun!   The people and instructors are what really make those classes for me. 

Anything else you want to share with someone who is looking to get involved with martial arts or looking to change their current lifestyle?    

Martial arts has given me the gift of mental fortitude.  No matter how tough things ever got I believe it would have been far worse without martial arts.  I learned from martial arts that tough is not about being not knocked down or winning.  It's about picking yourself back up and trying again no matter how many times it takes.  It's about not giving up.  I cannot say how I would have dealt with this past year without martial arts or my jiu jitsu family.  I can say that I'm glad I did not have to find out.  I can say that training helped me, and my jiu jitsu family helped me when I could not help myself.




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