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Nutrition for Women

The One-Week Muscle-Building Meal Plan

Maximize your gains in the gym and in the kitchen with this super-simple muscle-building meal plan.

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If you’re hitting the gym hard and have little to show for it, you might need to revamp your fueling strategy. Likely you’re not eating enough calories to support your muscle tissue repairing and rebuilding itself and may even be cannibalizing your hard-earned muscle to fuel your daily activities. 

This plan makes the most of every meal by using high-quality ingredients for all the recipes. It also features a “floating” snack, which should be consumed postworkout (no matter what time of day you train) to kick-start the muscle-building process.

Day 1

Breakfast 

  • 3 egg whites 
  • 2 slices whole-wheat toast 
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

Chicken Avocado Bowl
Chicken Avocado Bowl

Lunch 

Chicken-Avocado Bowl

INGREDIENTS 

  • 4 oz chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 1 cup white rice, cooked
  • ¼ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cooked
  • ¼ cup avocado, diced 
  • 1 tbsp tomato, diced

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine.

Snack 

  • 1 oz mixed nuts 
  • 1 medium apple

Dinner 

Healthy Burger

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz 90% lean ground beef burger
  • 1 hamburger bun
  • 2 lettuce leaves 
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese 
  • 1 ear of corn

DIRECTIONS

Grill or broil burger to desired doneness. Serve on bun with lettuce and cheese. Enjoy corn on the side.

“Floating” Snack

  • 1 scoop whey protein + 1 cup nonfat milk 
  • 1 medium banana

Day 1 Nutrition Totals 

  • Calories: 1,793
  • Protein: 129 g
  • Carbs: 219 g
  • Fat: 50 g

Day 2

Breakfast 

Protein Oats

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup oatmeal 
  • ½ scoop protein powder
  • dash salt 
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips
  • 1 apple

DIRECTIONS

Stir together oatmeal, protein powder and salt. Add milk and stir to combine. Microwave on high 90 seconds. Top with chocolate chips. Enjoy apple on the side. 

Lunch 

  • 1 (4-oz) can solid white tuna in water (drained) + 1 tbsp olive oil mayonnaise 
  • 17 Wheat Thins 
  • 1 medium celery stick, sliced

Snack 

  • 6 oz plain nonfat Greek yogurt 
  • ¼ cup blueberries 
  • ¼ cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1 oz walnuts

Dinner

  • 3 oz cooked chicken breast
  • 8 oz baked sweet potato + 1 tbsp butter + dash cinnamon
  • 1 cup steamed mixed vegetables

“Floating” Snack

  • 1 scoop whey protein powder + 1 cup water 
  • 1 medium banana 
  • 1 oz raisins

Day 2 Nutrition Totals

  • Calories: 1,838 
  • Protein: 126 g
  • Carbs: 235 g
  • Fat: 49 g

Day 3

Spinach and Egg Omlete
Breakfast Omelette

Breakfast 

  • Omelette: 2 whole eggs + 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 toasted bagel + 2 tbsp whipped cream cheese

Lunch 

  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread 
  • 2 slices deli turkey 
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese 
  • ¼ cup hummus 
  • 17 mini pretzel twists

Snack 

  • 6 oz 2% cottage cheese 
  • ½ cup canned pineapple chunks (drained)

Dinner 

Shrimp and Broccoli Pasta

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup cooked pasta 
  • 3 oz cooked jumbo shrimp, peeled 
  • ¼ cup marinara sauce 
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cooked
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese 

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with cheese.

“Floating” Snack

  • 1 cup low-fat chocolate milk

Day 3 Nutrition Totals 

  • Calories: 1,873
  • Protein: 125 g
  • Carbs: 231 g
  • Fat: 49 g

Day 4

Breakfast 

Bagel and Egg Sandwich

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1 bagel, toasted
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese 
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced

DIRECTIONS

Heat a skillet over medium-high and coat with cooking spray. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add egg and cook until set. Place egg on bagel bottom. Place cheese on top of egg and sandwich with bagel top. Enjoy strawberries on the side.

Lunch 

Chicken Pita

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large pita 
  • ¼ cup hummus 
  • 2 lettuce leaves 
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 2 oz cooked chicken breast, sliced thin

DIRECTIONS

Open pita and spread hummus on one side. Layer in lettuce, tomatoes and chicken.

Snack 

PB&J

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 slices light wheat bread 
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter 
  • 1 tbsp jelly

DIRECTIONS

Spread peanut butter on one slice of bread and jelly on the other. Sandwich together.

Baked Salmon
Salmon

Dinner 

  • 3 oz baked salmon 
  • 8 oz baked potato 
  • 1 cup steamed green beans

“Floating” Snack

  • 1 scoop whey protein + 1 cup nonfat milk 
  • 1 medium banana

Day 4 Nutrition Totals

  • Calories: 1,915
  • Protein: 124 g
  • Carbs: 251 g
  • Fat: 49 g

Day 5

Breakfast 

  • 2 frozen high-protein waffles 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 4 egg whites

Lunch 

Chicken Quinoa Salad

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 oz cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa 
  • ¼ cup corn kernels
  • 1 baby cucumber, diced
  • 2 tbsp light dressing of choice 
  • 1 cup salted edamame (in the shell)

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients except edamame to a large bowl and mix well. Enjoy with edamame on the side.

Snack 

  • ½ cup sliced strawberries 
  • 2 rice cakes 
  • 4 oz nonfat Greek yogurt + 1 tsp maple syrup
Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes

Dinner 

Stuffed Sweet Potato

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp red onions, chopped
  • 2 oz chorizo, chopped
  • ¼ cup baby spinach, chopped
  • 8 oz baked sweet potato 

DIRECTIONS

Heat a skillet over medium-high and add oil. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add chorizo and cook through. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Slice potato down the center and open with a fork. Spoon in chorizo mixture.

“Floating” Snack

  • 1 scoop whey protein + 1 cup coffee or water 
  • ½ cup dried fruit of choice

Day 5 Nutrition Totals 

  • Calories: 1,847
  • Protein: 119 g
  • Carbs: 219 g
  • Fat: 59 g

Day 6

Breakfast 

Protein Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup oats
  • dash salt
  • dash cinnamon
  • ½ scoop protein powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup nonfat milk
  • 1 tbsp syrup

DIRECTIONS

Add oats, salt, cinnamon and protein powder to a blender cup and pulse until smooth. Add egg whites and milk and blend until smooth. Heat a skillet over medium and coat with cooking spray. Pour in batter and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side. Top with syrup.

Turkey wrap
Turkey Wrap

Lunch 

Turkey Wrap

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole-wheat wrap 
  • 2 slices deli turkey 
  • 2 slices cooked bacon 
  • 2 tbsp ranch dressing 
  • 2 lettuce leaves 
  • 2 tomato slices

DIRECTIONS

Spread out wrap. Layer on ingredients. Roll up and enjoy.

Snack 

  • 1 cheese stick 
  • ½ cup carrots 
  • ½ cup celery sticks 
  • 17 Wheat Thins 

Dinner 

  • 3 oz cooked 90% lean ground beef or fat-free ground turkey 
  • 8 oz sweet potato 
  • ¼ cup black beans 
  • 2 tbsp salsa 
  • 1 cup steamed mixed vegetables

“Floating” Snack

Smoothie 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 scoop whey protein powder 
  • 1 cup nonfat milk  
  • ½ frozen medium banana 
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to a blender cup and blend on high until smooth.

Day 6 Nutrition Totals 

  • Calories: 1,795
  • Protein: 117 g
  • Carbs: 228 g
  • Fat: 48 g

Day 7

Bagel Sandwich
Bagel Sandwich

Breakfast

Bagel Sandwich

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 egg whites, whisked 
  • 1 bagel, toasted
  • ¼ cup avocado, mashed
  • dash everything bagel seasoning

DIRECTIONS

Heat a skillet over medium and coat with cooking spray. Add eggs and cook until set. Spread both sides of bagel with avocado. Spoon eggs onto bottom and sprinkle with seasoning. Sandwich together with bagel top. 

Lunch

Italian Tuna Pasta

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup cooked pasta  
  • 1 (4-oz) can tuna (drained) 
  • 2 tbsp light Italian or balsamic dressing 
  • 1 small cucumber, diced 
  • ¼ cup tomato, diced
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.

Snack 

  • 1 medium apple 
  • 1 oz mixed nuts

Dinner 

  • 3 oz sirloin steak, grilled or broiled
  • 1 cup broccoli, steamed
  • 8 oz acorn or butternut squash, cooked
  • 1 tsp olive oil

“Floating” Snack

Smoothie 

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ scoop whey protein powder
  • 1 cup nonfat milk 
  • 1 frozen medium banana 
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

DIRECTIONS

Add all ingredients to a blender cup and blend until smooth.

Day 7 Nutrition Totals 

  • Calories: 1,868
  • Protein: 124 g
  • Carbs: 230 g
  • Fat: 56 g