Feb 2009 24
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4,000 Calorie Muscle Building Meal Plans

By Vince Del Monte – Author, No Nonsense Muscle Building

While training at the gym today, I noticed that 80% of the guys were lifting weights – I assume they are trying to build muscle.  At least 95% of them don’t compete in bodybuilding or strength events, so I assume they are aesthetic-minded lifters who are striving for a Men’s Health cover model physique.

To experience muscle weight gain, they have adopted the “See Food Diet” which means when you see food, eat it.

My biggest issue is, a lot of these guys are muscular but either have a mini gut or big gut – rarely do you see the full package! My instant thought is this: They are not following a healthy muscle building  meal plan or not doing any cardio.

Recently I heard a locker room conversation between two young guys. One was slightly muscular and shredded.  The other was bulky and huge. The bulky guy says to the shredded guy, “Dude, you may be ripped and have abs but you’ve got no size.  You gotta eat man!”

I felt the critique was unfair and if someone said that to me, I would reply, “Dude, you don’t even look like you lift either – you may have lots of muscle under there but you can’t even tell because it’s covered in fat.” I thought later, most women won’t even notice your size because they’ll be turned off by your belly.

There are many problems that arise when attempting to build muscle, without fat. Yes, you need a surplus of calories but a healthy muscle building meal plan at 6,000 calories is no more effective than a healthy muscle building meal plan at 4,000 calories (assuming 4,000 calories is your goal cals).

More is not necessarily better.

It’s like building a house.  If a house requires 4,000 bricks to build but you buy 6,000 bricks, you’re going to have extra bricks that need to get stored in a storage facility.  That storage facility becomes your gut.

Below is a 4,000 calorie muscle building meal plan ideal if you weigh between 180-200 pounds.  I have experienced that as soon as you start consuming 4,000-6,000 calories, no matter how skinny you are, fat gain becomes inevitable. This means that you must include a cardio routine to keep your body fat in check.  We’ll discuss that in a future article.

Enjoy your 4,000 calorie muscle building meal plans:

Day 1

6:00 am Breakfast:

1 1/2 cups Yogurt, plain, low fat
6 Egg whites
1 cup Pineapple
1 2/3 tsp Olive, Flax, Hemp or Salmon Oils
3 Eggs, whole
2 slice Whole grain bread

63g P – 81g C – 15g F – Calories: 711

9:00 am Snack:

1 cup Cottage cheese, light/low fat
28 grams Protein powder
1 cup Grapes
3 tbsp Barley
1 oz Sunflower seeds

56g P – 72g C – 15g F – Calories: 647

12:00 pm Lunch:

5 oz Cheese, low or non fat
3 cups Vegetable soup
1 1/3 cups Oatmeal
4 Crackers
12 Peanuts
1 cup Milk, low fat (1%)

63g P – 81g C – 15g F – Calories: 711

3:00 pm Mid Meal:

9 oz Turkey breast, skinless
1 3/4 cups Chickpeas
1/2 cup Mushrooms
1/4 cup Onions
1/2 head Lettuce, iceberg
1 1/2 cups Cherry tomatoes
5 tbsp Almonds, slivered

63g P – 81g C – 15g F – Calories: 711

5:00 pm Dinner:

8 oz Beef, lean cuts
1/2 cup Tomato, puree
2 cups Celery
3 cups Carrots
1 2/3 tsp Olive, Flax, Hemp or Salmon Oils
1 cup Rice
1 cup Milk, low fat (1%)

63g P – 81g C – 15g F – Calories: 711

8:00 pm Snack:

35 grams Protein powder
2 cups Milk, low fat (1%)
2 cups Raspberries
1 1/2 tbsp Barley
1 2/3 tsp Olive, Flax, Hemp or Salmon Oils
49g P – 63g C – 15g F – Calories: 583

Total Daily Portions: Protein: 350g Carbohydrates: 450g Fat: 90g Calories: 4,010

muscle building meal plansThat’s my younger bro.  My arms used to be the same size as his until I started packing in 4,000 calories

Here is a second 4,000 calorie muscle building diet plan:

6:00 am Breakfast:

6 oz. flank steak
5 oz. egg white substitute
1 large egg yolk
3 slices whole-grain toast
2 tbsp. low-sguar jam

71g P – 52g C – 26g F – Calories: 752

9:00 am Snack:

6 oz chicken breast, boneless, skinless
1 1/2 cups of brown rice
1 cup green beans

49g P – 75g C – 5g F – Calories: 545

12:00 pm Lunch:

6 oz. round steak, chopped
2 13-inch tortillas
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped

47g P – 67g C – 14g F – Calories: 594

3:00 pm Mid Afternoon Meal/Preworkout:

6 oz ground turkey breast
2 cups pasta
1/2 cup tomato sauce

58g P – 80g C – 4g F – Calories: 617

Post Workout:

2 scoops whey protein
1 plain bagel

45g P – 56g C – 4g F – Calories: 440


6 oz. swordfish
8 oz. potato

47g P – 54g C – 8g F – Calories: 410

Bedtime Snack:

2 scoops whey protein
1 1/2 cups of oatmeal (dry)

55g P – 87g C – 11g F – Calories: 650

Total Daily Portions: Protein: 379g Carbohydrates: 464g Fat: 72g Calories: 4,008


Click the “Share” button below to hook your friends up with the same meal plan and if you liked this article.



  1. ben foley says:

    @joshua -

    mammoth 2500

    it has 970 calories per serving and you can have it up to 3 times a day, thats almost 3000calories and all you did was hav 3 drinks, it also has 50g protien per serving

    hope i helped and good luck


  2. ben foley says:

    @sri@Jeremi Emond -

    if ur looking for size ur (mammoth 2500) 970calories per serving and you can have it 3 times a day, you should know i your diet is good for you or not because you will see improvements, it is etter to have your protien shake after your workout, you will find out youself everybody is different some people get bigger with heavy weights and low reps while others get bigger with light weight and high reps, personally i start out light then increase th weight each set because the light weight will increase your heartrate.


  3. joshua says:

    can anyone tell me a cheaper way to get 4k calories each day and whats the best workout i can do? during weight lifting to be a good body builder?

  4. joshua says:

    i do it but it would cost alot of money to get food so i couldnt get 4k calories without enough everyday i work out alot. what could i do?

  5. suzan says:

    nice article about egg white…very informative and beneficial for me..thx

  6. shawn says:

    I like the artical but I’m a bit confused. Based on your calculations I would be closer to 3000 kcal per day, but on the advanced weight gain it has me over 4000, so will those extra 1000 calories push me over the top for musle gains, turn me into a blob or both?

  7. William says:

    Hey Vince,

    Great website! I got a quick question for you.

    I’m a 18 year old male and I weigh 155 lbs with 13% bf and I’m 5 feet 8.5 inches tall. I do martial arts four times a week each session lasts 60-90 min and I lift weights 3 times a week. I have been lifting weights for 5 months. My new goal is to gain some muscle and reach 180 lbs, so should I consume 4000 calories or do you recommend something else?


  8. Lucian says:

    im 14 6″3 and 170 lbs and around 9% bf is it okay to use this diet because i have 2 basketball practices a day

  9. Jonathan says:

    @survivordean -

    find out what nutrients are in in grapes and raspberries, then find a cheap alternative. simple.

  10. survivordean says:

    Expensive Weight Gain Diet but worth trying. Grapes and Raspberries are pricey here in the Philippines. Any alternatives?

  11. sri says:

    what abot my 2nd and 3rd question
    @Vince -

  12. Julio says:

    Is it ok to take the 6 egg whites and the 3 whole eggs without cooking them? just to open them on a glass of milk or juice and drink’em up???? or do you recomend to cook them?

  13. sri says:

    hi vince,
    i am male ,age 27,height of 5’7 and a weight of 141lbs ,i m working out from past 1 month.i have a good body shape as i am a sports oriented person ,but i dont have perfect size and a six pack for which i have started weight training.right know i have started the following diet

    morning 7.30am honey with warm water
    8.30am 2 slice wheat bread with 3 egg white
    12.00pm fruit juice 150ml
    2.00pm 2 wheat chapathi or bread ,1 cup rice
    4.00pm tender coconut
    6.00pm digestive biscuits with 2 banana
    7-00pm to 8.30pm workout
    8.45 pm protein powder
    10.00pm 2 wheat chapathi or bread, 3 egg white
    11.00pm apple and 2 banana

    i request you to tell me whether my
    1)diet is corect for me or not?
    2) should i have my protein shake before my workout or after?
    3)should i lift heavy weights or should i go for more reipitions from less weight?

    waiting for ur response

    • Vince says:

      Sri, add more variety. Take out some bread and put potatoes or beans in instead. Mix up the fruit too. More berries.

      • manu says:


  14. Matt says:

    I know this is completely off the wall, for what is stated here. I do apologize, but do you know of any awesome bigger fore-arm buliding exercises? Also, what are some names of Protein powders brands at GNC that would be okay to get? I want to go all natural 100% Whey and Casein, or as close as I can get at least. Look forward to hearing from you soon.

  15. Matt says:

    Hey Vince,
    I am 6’0″ and I weigh a 125 pounds (probably soakin’ wet). I have a super fast metabolism, eat alot (mostly fastfood) I was going with your advanced weight gain plan, the 4000 calorie diet. Here recently I have changed my eating habits and started going to the gym and lifting weights. I want to bulk up as soon as possible. Do you have any advice for a beginner like me?

  16. smith says:

    Don’t do it.

  17. Amar says:

    Hi Vince
    This is Amar, I want to ask one thing that would you please tell me Egg White is better or the whole Egg is better for muscles building.

  18. Michael Woody says:

    Hey Vince,

    I’m a big fan of your work. The biggest question I have is regarding diet. I know diets are a highly individualized thing and in regards to this diet, and you obviously wouldn’t write something if you didn’t believe in it,but what is your general opinion on protein intake. You have here 350 grams of protein for individuals 180-200. Should you set a diet based on macro nutrient splits or use the 1.0-1.5 grams per lb. rule. Your split comes out here to be 45% carbs, 35% protein, and 20% fat. It’s kind of a maddening thing to hear all these opinions from people on protein and diet. I just recently used a diet close to this with 4600 clean calories at 170 and 8% BFI. The split was 50/30/20 and I lost weight and got insanely ripped(5-6%),but got bigger. Then I got a little worried about protein intake and dropped it down and kept the work the same,but gained all the weight back,but it was more bodyfat(up to 11%) than I’ve ever been used to in the past. I freaked out too and dropped the calories to 4000 because of it. Your opinion would be insightful.

  19. adil says:

    Does masterbation have any effect on bodybuilding or building muscle????

  20. Chris Schrauth says:

    My son just turned 15. He is a freshman who plays football and lacrosse. He’s about 5’9″ but only 130 lbs. He’s very fast but needs to be at least 160 or so for football season. I’m working with a local high school coach on a training program that will make him bigger and stronger but won’t compromise his speed. Could you recommend a weight training and diet program to achieve these goals.

    Thx, Chris Schrauth

  21. Josh says:

    Yo vince i don’t even like eggs, yet i eat them, i especially dont like egg whites.. i make omeletes here and there but i still hate em

    what can i replace them with? their the biggest flaw in my mealplans

  22. Jeremi Emond says:

    me i can eat over 10 000 calories per day but cant get anything, try to lift some weiths but getting tired fast and hurt alot, got near no muscle, 4% bady fat, and 6.1 feet tall. Anything im doing giving me near nothing. Eathing healty all the time and alot of calories. And even all i eat i still can lose 5 lbs per day just having a headhake. Or losing 1 lbs for doing nothing. I realy need help me there is near no gym in a range of 30 km. I got 17 years old also. Realy wish to get a 6 pack and more bigger arm. I saw my sister boyfriend and hes arm are near bigger then my leg… Please help me any1 that is near same as me. Near sure im more skinny that was vince at school and me there calling me tutpick. No one hit me for fun they are all afraid to break me something. Please email me any tips at e7e2n1@hotmail.com i realy apreciat that.

  23. Steve says:

    Vince -

    I read your diet listed below.
    I’m trying to go on “raw food” (vegan) diet mostly because I’m alergic to ALL dairy, eggs, wheat, mushrooms, tomatoes, and a bunch of other things.

    What foods can I substitute?

    I also see that you suggest oatmeal late in the afternoon. I usually eat it in the mornings.

    I work nights and sleep during the day. My “shift” starts at 11:00 pm, so I get up at about 9 PM to get ready for my job. Should I follow this diet the way it is or in the reverse order?

    – Steve

  24. Gunner says:

    Hello Vince!
    Thank you for the free gift UDT and 4000 cal.meal plan.
    Vince, my body fat percentage is low and should I still do bodyweight exercises?
    And before doing bodyweight exercises should I take protein shake?
    Thank you in advance!

  25. Cedarholt says:

    HEMP oil? This is for cooking the eggs? Isn’t it loaded with THC? Are the laws different in Canada. or something???

  26. Andrew says:

    …4000 diet…what if my body do not accept chicken eggs ( digestion problem), how to go around this ?

  27. adil says:


  28. Eason says:

    Hi Vince, i know this is a good weight gain diet plan, but i’m pretty sure that some of the readers were asian. My point is, do you have any food diet plan for asian people? like any asian food??

  29. Andrew Tan says:

    I am under weight and weighs about 50kg standing at 1.72m. What kind of calorie weight gain diet do you recommend?

  30. Adit says:

    Hi Vince,
    I have been following ur articles for around 2 -3 weeks now,
    Infact have been motivated by ur videos to dare go to the gym again (After a gap of around 6 years).
    I am like the other bulky guy in ur conversation.

    I wolud like to follow the above mentioned diet.
    But, the problem is I am and Indian and a vegeterian

    So no turkey breast or egg whites for me.
    Can you specify a diet plan in pure veg.

    I would also like to get rid of the beer belly (I don’t even drink)
    I am going to start follow ur best-ab-exercises-new-sample.pdf in a couple of days after all my muscels have been flexed and all the pain goes away ;)
    Adit Malik

    • nonwe says:

      well their are sacrifices that need to me made. How much do you want this. Your nationality or food preference shouldnt hold you back, start small and work your way up. good luck

  31. Raman says:

    I am totally vegetarian person and also i want to make my six pack abs and to become muscular person. Please give me vegetarian diet. I am doing weight lifting from the last six months but there is no effect on my body till yet which make me feel that my i am becoming muscular. There is also fat on my waist for which i had done lot of exercises but nothing had happened. The results are same. Please help me out

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