Meal Prep Plan for Muscle Gain

Meal Prep Plan for Muscle Gain

Meal prep planning, what is it, and why should you care?

Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. You’ve heard it before, the fitness personalities’ magic bullet to health and aesthetics. When picturing ‘meal prep planning’ it usually brings about an image of a bland chicken breast, beans, and sweet potato accompanied by a lean, bodybuilding physique. We’ve seen it, we’ve tried it. It sucks.

At The Clean 5, we are in full agreeance of the important role that meal preparation and planning has on continued, long term results. No question. The issue we have is the way that meal prep is portrayed in the media. The ‘rules’ that people have placed on their prep is limiting its effectiveness. Our platform is all about explaining the benefits and convenience of a properly planned meal prep and removing the perception that ‘healthy’ is a bland, boring, struggle.

In this article, we are going to explain why meal prep is not only effective, it is extremely convenient. We follow up by looking at the differences between beginners and more experienced trainers, meal prepping for fat loss or muscle gain, and the best ways to ensure that you stay on track.

What are the core benefits of a meal prep plan?

  1. By preparing your meals in bulk and in advance you are more likely to stick to your diet.
  2. Prepping your meals in bulk is often much cheaper.
  3. You can more easily gain an understanding of the macro/calorie content of what you’re consistently eating.

If you’re struggling to maintain your diet, you’re not alone

We’ve all been there, in a place where we aren’t satisfied with the way we look, how we feel or the goals we’ve achieved. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. Meal prep is a very effective tool we can use to create better long term habits.

We get bombarded with Men’s Health & ripped actors or Instagram models nearly daily. You compare yourself to these bodybuilders, but when your own habits slip, you feel dirty and unmotivated. When you go out with friends, you’re worried about the calories you’re taking in, and how this will just further set you back.

There’s nothing worse than setting a health and fitness goal, then falling flat halfway through. This often happens because you’re so damn exhausted from a brutal workout regime, and hard dieting. Often, you’ll slowly snap back to the way you were without realising. Then one day you wake up and think, holy shit, I’m back where I started. The good news is, you’re not alone. The even better news is meal prep for muscle gain is a very real tool we can use to sustain long term fitness. It’s been shown time and time again that meal prep can effectively help you control what you’re eating.

Whether you are wanting a meal plan to gain muscle, or just to shed fat, meal prep is an important tool that can help you stick to a diet consistently.

The Clean 5 app was created to make meal prep easy

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We provide 2 new meal prep recipes each week, tailored to your calorie needs. There’s also a 5-day training program uploaded each week.

Preparing your meals: Meal prep is one of the best ways to take control of your diet, and grasp success.

Beginners vs Experienced

Beginners, I have good news for you. Early gains are the best kind of gains! You have the rare capability to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time. Don’t take this for granted as this definitely isn’t the case long term.

Where you do need to work hard is creating new dietary habits. Changing your meal plan is by no means an easy task, but it is vitally important to your long term success. The best way to engrain new habits is to start small and build slowly. Rather than jumping into a full-on 7-day a week, no sugar or fat diet plan, start by just meal prepping your lunch for Monday to Friday. Once you feel like that has become routine, start prepping your dinner. Diving into the deep end usually doesn’t work for a number of reasons including a drastic change in calorie intake, cravings, and body clock adjustments.

More experienced lifters beware

For more experienced lifters and those who have already experienced meal prepping, the focus must shift. Very few of you will be able to ride the beginner’s wave of concurrent fat loss and muscle gain. That does not mean you must starve, or drastically over-eat to get results. It means you need to have a greater awareness of how your body is responding to your dietary and exercise habits. Being in a slight calorie surplus or deficit can be enough to create the energy changes required to drop or gain weight. Your best option is to find a calorie intake that maintains your current weight and then slightly adjusting it either way to suit your goal.

Regardless of experience, slow and steady always wins the race. Large changes in energy intake (either up or down), can throw the body out of whack. Your body will deal with small changes extremely well, whereas starving and over-consumption can produce large stress responses and/or rapid fat gain. Don’t take shortcuts!

Meal Planning for Fat loss vs Muscle gain

As discussed previously, experienced lifters must choose whether to lose fat, gain muscle or to maintain their current conditioning. Regardless of the choice, one thing is for certain, protein intake must remain high. High protein intake (2-2.5g/kg of lean body mass) optimizes muscle gain during a calorie surplus and prevents muscle breakdown during a calorie deficit. Our recommendation is that you never reduce your protein intake during periods of intentional weight loss to avoid losing hard-earned muscle throughout the process. On the other hand, producing a caloric surplus through increased protein intake won’t necessarily make you superman, but it will certainly aid your muscle gaining ambitions.

No matter who you are, one thing that will always stand in the way of fat loss is hunger. Through sight, smell, taste, food volume, energy density, and absorption rates our body has a complex, yet a manageable way of stimulating hunger. Learning how to manage our senses is the key to producing long term dietary adaption. Food volume and absorption rates are two areas that are often missed when designing a meal plan. Feeling fuller for longer is a very easy way to minimize unnecessary hunger cravings. Increasing food volume, without increasing energy intake is easily done by including vegetables and avoiding highly processed foods. Vegetables carry very little calories, take up room in your stomach and slow our digestion rate. They are the perfect option for increasing food volume. Processed foods, however, have very high energy densities. They usually carry very little water and have very fast digestion rates. Limiting the inclusion of processed food will automatically reduce the amount of energy your body is able to take in.

Flavour, flavour, flavour

Now for what you have all been waiting to hear; your food is actually allowed to taste good. Yes, you are allowed to use marinades and sauces. Yes, you are allowed to use herbs and spices. And no, a little bit of sodium or sugar in the flavouring is not going to kill you. This is how we are able to turn slightly boring core ingredients into tasty, enjoyable meals. The benefits of consuming a diet that is 95% whole foods far outweighs any negatives that may be associated with small sugar or sodium intakes. The ability to add a garlic sauce to your chicken breast and vegetables is going to keep you on track long term. That’s what this is really about, long term consistency. 

Your ultimate muscle building meal plan is only as good as your will to actually implement it.

Shepherd’s Pie: An example of a meal that can help you shed fat and build muscle.

Prepare to succeed

Now that you know the why’s of meal prep its time to turn it into a lifestyle. Successful meal prep requires you to source or create recipes that satisfy the rules above and to ensure that you have a meal schedule that suits your life.

There is no point in creating meals that are not going to work for you long term. Some things to consider when designing your meals and layout include:

Storage?

At The Clean 5, we always recommend having no more than 2 meals in the fridge. This ensures that the majority of your meals can remain frozen fresh and you avoid wasting food when life throws a curveball. It also means that preparing lunch and dinner is as simple as reheating a meal, saving you valuable time every day.

Do you have access to a microwave at work?

This is important, especially for tradesman and those who are always on the move. Having access to a microwave drastically opens up your meal prep options.

Can you eat the same meals repeatedly?

Some people are happy to eat the same meal for lunch and dinner all week. But for those that like variety, we suggest that you cook multiple meals at a time (2-4) so that you can pick and choose from the freezer.

Do you need to fit in snacks?

Snacks are fine! If you prepare for them. Our recipes can often time produce up to 10 meals per batch. This can come in handy if you like to spread your meals out throughout the day. It also means that if you are a snacker, you can sacrifice calories at your main meals to use on snacks.

When will you cook?

Designate a time throughout the week to prepare your food. Remember, it only has to be 1-2 hours and your whole week is set up for success. If you compare it with the time spent sourcing out and making food at every meal, you will realize how time efficient meal preparation really is.

In the end, it is all about consistency. If you can create a meal plan that is sustainable and also provides the right amount of calories, you are setting yourself up for prolonged success. There are so many people out there that want to tell you that they have found the magic formula. Unfortunately, what fits someone else, probably won’t fit you. If you really want to improve, find out what works for you and do it for a long time!

How does meal prep actually help us lose fat & build muscle?

So does meal prep actually help us with our primary goal of muscle gain? It’s not the meal preparation itself that actually helps you, it’s related to the habits and sustained healthy eating, that routine meal preparation is able to help you achieve. You’ll spend far less time worrying about what you’re going to eat, and you’ll spend far less money actually buying your food.

It’s a myth that eating healthy, whole foods is expensive. It’s also a myth that eating whole foods is disgusting. Our Clean 5 recipes cater directly to this, we provide weekly recipes for meals that genuinely taste good, are cheap, and most of all, help you lose fat & build muscle. Read more here. We provide you with a meal plan for gaining muscle mass, each week.

Simple meal prep recipe examples.

So let’s actually take a look at some meal prep ideas for weight loss and muscle gain!

High protein pork meal prep recipe

DifficultyBeginner

Pork Fusilli Pasta Bolognese: A delicious spiral pasta take on our favorite bolognese recipe.

Prep Time5 minsCook Time15 mins
 500 g Mince Pork
 500 g Fusilli Pasta
 200 g Sliced Mushrooms
 61 g Baby Spinach & Rocket
 50 g Cherry Tomatoes
 500 g Roasted Garlic with Chunky Tomato & Onion Pasta Sauce
 1 Carrot
1

Heat a large pan, before spreading a tablespoon of olive oil evenly throughout its surface. Slice your cherry tomatoes into quarters, then set them aside. Peel, then chop your carrot into large pieces, set these aside also.

2

Add your minced pork to the pan, mixing it through evenly and heating until the mince is browned.

3

Add your fusilli to a large pot, then bring the pot to a boil. Once the pot is heated, leave it for 10 minutes, stirring throughout.

4

Add your spinach & rocket to the pan once the minced pork is browned, stirring it through evenly until it's approx 1/5 of its original size.

5

Add the sliced mushrooms, carrot & cherry tomatoes to the pan, mixing them through evenly until they are browned.

6

Turn down the heat of the pan slightly, before adding the bolognese sauce and mixing it through evenly.

7

Divide the now done fusilli from the pot into containers, before adding the contents of the pan on top.

4 containers: 874 cal
5 containers: 699 cal
6 containers: 582 cal
7 containers: 499 cal
8 containers: 437 cal

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 6


Amount Per Serving
Calories 582
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 17g27%
Total Carbohydrate 68g23%
Protein 36g72%

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Ingredients

 500 g Mince Pork
 500 g Fusilli Pasta
 200 g Sliced Mushrooms
 61 g Baby Spinach & Rocket
 50 g Cherry Tomatoes
 500 g Roasted Garlic with Chunky Tomato & Onion Pasta Sauce
 1 Carrot

Directions

1

Heat a large pan, before spreading a tablespoon of olive oil evenly throughout its surface. Slice your cherry tomatoes into quarters, then set them aside. Peel, then chop your carrot into large pieces, set these aside also.

2

Add your minced pork to the pan, mixing it through evenly and heating until the mince is browned.

3

Add your fusilli to a large pot, then bring the pot to a boil. Once the pot is heated, leave it for 10 minutes, stirring throughout.

4

Add your spinach & rocket to the pan once the minced pork is browned, stirring it through evenly until it's approx 1/5 of its original size.

5

Add the sliced mushrooms, carrot & cherry tomatoes to the pan, mixing them through evenly until they are browned.

6

Turn down the heat of the pan slightly, before adding the bolognese sauce and mixing it through evenly.

7

Divide the now done fusilli from the pot into containers, before adding the contents of the pan on top.

4 containers: 874 cal
5 containers: 699 cal
6 containers: 582 cal
7 containers: 499 cal
8 containers: 437 cal

Pork Fusilli Pasta Bolognese

High protein chicken meal prep recipe

DifficultyBeginner

Cheesy Chicken Pasta: Chicken, angel pasta and a creamy cheese sauce.

Prep Time5 minsCook Time15 mins
 1 kg Chicken mince
 500 g San Remo short cut angel hair pasta
 1 kg Mixed greens
 490 g Dolmio 3-cheese sauce
 2 tsp Mixed herbs
 200 g Chopped mushrooms
1

Bring 5L of water and 1 tbsp of salt to the boil in a large pan. Add the pasta to the boiling water for 3 minutes, before draining and allowing to sit.

2

Place the chicken mince in a large pan over high heat for 5-10 minutes. As the chicken mince brown, add the mushrooms in for 3-5 minutes.

3

Reduce the heat to low-medium and add the 3-cheese sauce. Mix the mushrooms and mince through the sauce and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.

4

Mix the pasta, vegetables and mixed herbs through the mince and distribute evenly into your containers.

4 Containers: 860 cals
5 Containers: 688 cals
6 Containers: 573 cals
7 Containers: 491 cals
8 Containers: 430 cals

Nutrition Facts

Servings 6


Amount Per Serving
Calories 573
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g11%
Total Carbohydrate 75g25%
Protein 52.5g105%

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Ingredients

 1 kg Chicken mince
 500 g San Remo short cut angel hair pasta
 1 kg Mixed greens
 490 g Dolmio 3-cheese sauce
 2 tsp Mixed herbs
 200 g Chopped mushrooms

Directions

1

Bring 5L of water and 1 tbsp of salt to the boil in a large pan. Add the pasta to the boiling water for 3 minutes, before draining and allowing to sit.

2

Place the chicken mince in a large pan over high heat for 5-10 minutes. As the chicken mince brown, add the mushrooms in for 3-5 minutes.

3

Reduce the heat to low-medium and add the 3-cheese sauce. Mix the mushrooms and mince through the sauce and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.

4

Mix the pasta, vegetables and mixed herbs through the mince and distribute evenly into your containers.

4 Containers: 860 cals
5 Containers: 688 cals
6 Containers: 573 cals
7 Containers: 491 cals
8 Containers: 430 cals

Cheesy Chicken Pasta

Now obviously, there are thousands of recipes out there. Whether you’re looking for bulking recipes, shredding recipes or anything else, you will run into thousands of diets that claim to ‘hack’ your body into losing weight and gaining muscle.

The hard facts are something the fitness industry doesn’t really want you to hear. No, fat burners and other ridiculous supplements, are not going to be effective. No there isn’t really a ‘secret’ to shredding, or bulking, or cutting or whatever you want to call it.

The fundamentals have been the same for years, and will continue to be the same for many more to come! We’ve created our entire program to make this process easier for you. By providing 2 new meal prep recipes each week, then allowing you to tailor their portion sizes to your calorie goal with our app, you’ll soon learn that this process isn’t that hard!

Should I focus on a good quality meal plan for muscle gain rather purchasing expensive supplements?

At The Clean 5, we despise a greedy fitness industry harvesting money from individuals that lack the ‘know how’ to actually change their diet for the better. A sustainable change to your diet consisting of whole foods, will have 10,000 times the impact on your body composition, compared to BS supplements such as ‘fat burners’ and ‘test boosters’. Having a real meal plan for muscle gain will provide you with 95% of the nourishment your body needs.

If you can take two things away from this article, let them be this;

  1. The best diet is the one that you stick to
  2. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

If you’re interested in getting 2 new meal prep recipes each week head here.

We offer our plans through our app, for $5 per week. We also include a ‘meal planner’ system and calorie calculator, so you can plan your week and access our new recipes.

If finding meal prep ideas for muscle gain is a regular issue for you, then checking out our app could be a good move. We provide two new meal prep recipes each week, that help you meet your caloric needs, depending on your goal.

Start 7-day Free Trial NOW!

Sign up to The Clean 5 below, for just $5 AUD per week!

No lock-in contracts. 

Sign up for your 100% free trial below.

We provide 2 new meal prep recipes each week, tailored to your calorie needs. There’s also a 5-day training program uploaded each week.

Where did this big problem start?

As young adults, some people learn to prepare meals that help them gain muscle and lose fat in the long term. The majority, however, have this awful ‘all or nothing attitude’. You’re supposedly either dieting ‘hardcore’ or you’re just in the category of ‘IDGAF’ #YOLO. Meal prep is often seen as ‘extreme’ among the general public. If you’re prepping your own meals to achieve your fitness goals, you must be on a health kick. It’s perplexing why there isn’t any happy medium; actually knowing how to prepare meals for your ideal body composition, but without driving yourself crazy.

It turns out, it’s a big mental hurdle, you don’t think you can cook, you don’t think you belong in the kitchen. Once you start cooking in bulk and dividing your food into containers, you’ll quickly learn two very important things.

  1. Eating real food doesn’t involve starving yourself
  2. Eating real food is much cheaper than whatever you were doing before

You most likely get bombarded with ‘food porn’, awesome chefs on Instagram making you drool over their expertly prepared dishes. Then you’re bombarded with soul-sucking reality TV that makes cooking seem like the Cuban missile crisis.

The hard fact is, what these TV celebrities think, doesn’t matter, you are a human being, and you belong in the kitchen. Cooking tasty, cheap meals in bulk, that genuinely fill you up. Meal prep for muscle gain is a genuine, long term solution that works.

Failure, or eating something that tastes sub-par, is surely no worse than the alternative; spending hundreds of dollars a month on fast food, or ready-made meals. Gaining muscle through meal planning is only hard because we can’t stick to it.

Does meal planning for muscle gain involve starving yourself?

What if we told you, that you could actually be MORE satisfied & full, whilst eating fewer calories? It’s true, you can trust your bodies sense of hunger much more, especially when you are feeding it what it’s naturally designed to consume. Even if you are bodybuilding and trying to pack on mass, it’s still important to listen to your body when it comes to food intake.

No-one really, ‘over eats’. People don’t sit there shovelling their faces full of more sherbert after their shirt buttons have burst off and rolled under the bench. In fact, overweight people don’t really feel full at all. The simple reason for this is the calorie density of processed foods. For example:

After eating 2000 calories of Big Macs, you probably wouldn’t feel full. After eating 600 calories of Ravioli, Mushrooms & Chicken, you would be bursting at the seems! Take a look at some of our recipes to see what we’re talking about.