Three Things You Need To Put On Muscle Mass

Three Things You Need To Put On Muscle Mass

by Nutritionist Denise Olson

Putting on muscle is essential for each and every one of us. As a teenager, increased muscle mass translates directly to improved performance in sports. As a young adult, increased muscle mass supports PRs in the gym and a lean/fit appearance. As we age, muscle mass is essential to prevent injury and allow us to carry out activities of daily living. With this in mind-it’s important to eat and workout in a way that supports the growth and maintenance of muscle mass. 

Let’s be clear about something...a LOT goes into putting on muscle; I’m just highlighting three of them in this blog. 

  • Being in a calorie surplus

    • This means that you need to take in more calories than you are burning. If you are in a calorie deficit-it is going to be very challenging to put on muscle mass! This does NOT mean eat as much/whatever you want. You want to focus on whole, unprocessed foods. Integrating more calorie dense foods into your meals and snacks is a great way to increase the calories. Examples of these include:

  • Avocado
  • Cooking oils (oil, coconut, avocado, etc.)
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter, almond butter, etc.
  • Eggs
  • Seeds 

Eating Adequate Calories from Protein 

  • To both build and maintain lean muscle mass, we need to consume adequate amounts of protein. 

  • About 30% of your nutrition should come from lean protein. 

  • How do you go about doing this?

    • Include a source of lean protein at every single meal and snack. Use the plate method at your meals! (¼ plate lean protein, ¼ plate starch, ½ plate veggies)

Strength Training

  • It may seem obvious-but in order to put on muscle mass, you need to be strength training. Spend more time under tension in order to build those muscles! 

It’s important to mention that if you aren’t getting adequate sleep (at least 8+ hours each night) and drinking plenty of water (at least 80-100 ounces of water a day) you’re not going to see much success in implementing these three things alone. Set yourself up for success by prioritizing your sleep, hydrating well and focusing on real, whole foods. If you have questions, feel free to email me:  

Recipe: Egg Muffins

*These are awesome for breakfast! Pair with some oatmeal or whole grain toast for a balanced meal! Feel free to swap out the veggies for any that you like!*


  • 5 eggs
  • 5 egg white
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms diced
  • 1/2 cup bell peppers diced
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 cup broccoli diced
  • 6 oz ham


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. Dice up all vegetables

  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs then add in all the diced vegetables

  4. Pour mixture in greased muffin pan (should fill about 10 muffins)

  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean