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Calorie Intake To Gain Muscle

Leading A Sedentary Lifestyle

How Many Calories Does It Take To Build Muscle?

The opposite of the above is also true- leading an inactive lifestyle can cause your muscles to atrophy .

Muscle mass grows as a result of exercise and good nutrition. So if youre eating badly and sitting on the couch all day, you can make a good bet that this is a reason why you are so skinny.

Solution: combine a bulking diet with a regular training routine. Lifting weights is one of the best things a skinny person can start doing to gain quality weight.

For more details, you can check out my full guide on how skinny people put on muscle at home.

What Does 2500 Calories Look Like

Ever wondered what 2,500 calories looks like? Use this handy visual guide to see a day’s worth of meals across 3 different macronutrient ratios!

Picture 2,500 calories. Do you have an image in your mind? Depending on the foods you prefer or whatever’s easiest for you to visualize, you might imagine a small pile of fast-food hamburgers, a carton of ice cream, or a plate of fresh fruits and vegetables. In other words, what to put on your plate to achieve 2,500 calories can vary drastically in terms of quantity, quality, and macronutrient composition.

But if you believe that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, then 2,500 of them should have the same impact on your body no matter what foods you eat, right?

Well, we’re not so sure. You can eat 2,500 calories in a day, but how these calories are broken up into protein, carbs, and fat can have a big impact on your physique, performance, and general health.

To help you visualize what 2,500 calories looks like as actual food from different popular diet plans, we’ve created daily meal plans out of three common macronutrient ratios of protein to carbohydrates to fat: 40/40/20, 30/20/50, and 20/50/30.

The 40/40/20 ratio is the typical low-fat, high-protein bodybuilder diet many of us are accustomed to seeing. The 30/20/50 ratio is a relatively high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. The 20/50/30 ratio represents what the typical American diet looks like.

How To Calculate Your Calories For Muscle Building In 6 Easy Steps

HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR CALORIES FOR MUSCLE BUILDING IN 6 EASY STEPS Youre throwing weights around five days per week, but youre still not seeing the size gains you want. Sound familiar? Muscle building is a two-sided coin: On one side, you need a comprehensive workout program that is focused on specific acute variables to target hypertrophy or muscle growth. In other words, you need to be lifting the proper amount of weight and using the correct sets and repetitions that are ideal for muscle building. If you dont have a workout, check out our article on how to build muscle. The other side of that coin is nutrition and a specific number of calories that you need to be eating every day. This is where most guys and girls fall short. Afraid of gaining too much fat or simply being oblivious, those focused on muscle building dont eat enough. Calories are key if you want to boost your size. Lets take a look at one of the easiest and most reliable ways to calculate your calories for muscle building.

Also Check: Calories Burned Rowing Machine Calculator

When To Be Eating

When it comes to how often you should be eating, since you are going to have a much higher calorie intake, it is best to eat something every three or four hours. If you eat just three times a day, it can be hard to reach a calorie intake of 4000 calories, for example. So if you divide up your intake into six meals a day, youll feel energized after each one and your muscles will get a steady stream of nutrients.

Try to eat at least 20-30 grams of protein at each of these meals, as well as some simple carbohydrates right before and after your training and workout sessions. This is the prime time for muscle growth, so you want to feed your body proper nourishment in the form of a high protein intake. About four hours after an intense workout, try to consume mostly unprocessed complex carbs. Here is a bulleted list of these key nutrient timing tips:

  • Eat every three or four hours, and aim for six small meals during the day
  • Try not to just cram your calories into three big meals to avoid feeling sluggish
  • Eat at least twenty grams of protein at each meal
  • Eat simple carbohydrates directly before and after your training sessions
  • Eat unprocessed complex carbs about four hours after an intense workout

Faq #: Should I Eat Less Or Exercise More To Lose Weight

The Ideal Caloric Surplus for Muscle Gain (men and women)

Both!

Research shows that the most efficient way to lose fat and maintain muscle is through a combination of calorie restriction and exercise. Specifically, strength training is the most beneficial kind of exercise for weight loss, but its also helpful to do a moderate amount of cardio as well.

Recommended Reading: The Best Way to Lose Weight Fast with Exercise

Also Check: How Many Carbs In Unsweetened Almond Milk

How Many Calories Should I Eat To Gain Muscle And Stay Lean

Almost everyone who presses the ink on the dotted line of a gym contract is chasing the same goal: pack on muscle while culling body fat. But, the question remains the same How many calories should I eat to gain muscle and stay lean?

Divvied up correctly, these ambitions really constitute two goals, and most experts suggest you should choose one or the other. However, you can set out to gain the maximum amount of muscle with the minimum amount of fat gain, and were going to show you how but get your calculator out.

However, you can set out to gain the maximum amount of muscle with the minimum amount of fat gain, and were going to show you how but get your calculator out.

Heres your playbook for making sure youre maximizing the nutrients and value you get from every gym outing:

Can You Build Muscle And Lose Fat At The Same Time

At higher levels of body fat, your body can be in a calorie deficit and still build muscle, as long as strength training and higher protein intake is incorporated . This is because your body will use fat stores to fuel itself. Of course, this is difficult to achieve and can take longer than focusing on muscle gain or fat loss alone. It is also not an ideal approach for everyone.

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What Percentage Of Calories Should Come From Fats

Eating enough fats is crucial to maintain your testosterone levels, which helps you build muscle and burn fat effectively. But its important to choose the right kinds of fats. Here are the differences between the four types of fat:

Saturated Fats: Saturated fats are found mostly in meat, dairy products, and oils. In the past, it was believed that a diet high in saturated fats had a lot of adverse health effects.

But this has since been disproven, especially when the source of saturated fat comes from plant-based sources such as coconut oil. Still, if you have a certain health condition, like familial hypercholesterolemia, you may want to avoid eating too many saturated fats.

Monounsaturated Fats: Monounsaturated fats primarily contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and they are found in foods like avocados, nuts, fish, and olive oil.

Theyre considered healthy fats because they protect your heart, support insulin sensitivity, and promote the fat-burning process. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation and keep your hormone levels and cell membranes healthy. Most of the fats youre eating should be monounsaturated fats.

Polyunsaturated Fats: Polyunsaturated fats contain omega-6 fatty acids and youll find them in nuts, corn, soybeans, and meat.

In moderation, omega-6 fatty acids support healthy brain functioning, but eating too many omega-6 fats causes inflammation, which can trigger a number of adverse health effects.

How To Measure Muscle Gain

I Doubled My Bulking Calorie Intake For A Week (8000 Calories)

Its not always easy to tell if the weight you gain is the result of putting on muscle rather than fat.

How can you measure muscle gain?

The simple answer is that you cant, not with any degree of precision anyway.

Most commercially available devices for measuring muscle gain, such as body fat scales or DEXA scans, arent accurate enough to detect relatively small changes in body composition.

Instead of splashing out on a DEXA or InBody scan, I think youre much better off monitoring your waist size, your weight on the scales, and your performance in the gym.

Is your weight on the scales going up? Is your performance in the gym improving? Are you seeing minimal changes in waist size? If so, the chances are very high that muscle is being gained.

If, on the other hand, both your waist size and body weight are going up, but your gym performance is flatlining, then something isnt quite right, and your training program may be in need of an overhaul.

What if your gym performance is improving, your weight is going up, but your waist size is expanding far too quickly? This is a sign that your overall calorie intake is too high, and you could do with cutting back slightly on the food intake.

Also Check: Minimum Calories Per Day Calculator

Measure Your Progress Make Adjustments

Its important to recognize that no calculator is perfect. Yes, a calculator can give you a reasonable estimation of your TDEE.

But you might find that, by using your sweet spot number, youre either gaining weight too fast or that youre not gaining enough weight. Therefore, you are not optimizing your muscle gains.

Theres a rule of thumb to prevent this from happening: You should aim to gain a maximum of one pound a week. So, if youre not hitting that number? Make changes to your diet to ensure you do.

Don’t Burn Away Your Muscle Gains With Too Much Cardio

Cardio has some great health benefits. However, it can become too much of a good thing if you’re looking to gain weight. If you’re burning too many calories during your cardio sessions, then you risk doing so at the expense of muscle and strength gains.

Limit your cardio sessions – Cardio exercise actually blunts the natural biochemistry to build muscle.

If you’re 100% focused on gaining muscle and size, then consider cutting down your cardio to a couple of light sessions per week. Light aerobic exercise should be carried out regularly to help keep you active and healthy, and also to make sure you dont end up letting your fitness suffer as you gain weight. In fact, the fitter you are the more productive your workout will be and also you may find your overall recovery is improved as well.

After a cardio workout make sure protein and carbs are consumed soon after.

If you are doing any cardio exercise and are worried about potential muscle loss, just watch the frequency and intensity of your exercise. To help off-set this, ensure you consume some carbohydrates and a fast-absorbing protein such as Promax straight after your cardio session.

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Calorie Intake To Build Muscle: A Bulking Meal Plan

Understanding your calorie intake to build muscle is essential to your success. As similar to losing weight, the way you eat and what you eat can deeply improve or detriment your muscle building process. Although it seems simple enough, there is some science to take note of to fully understand what food means to someone looking to gain lean muscle mass.

Its more common than youd think for people to put a lot of time into training only to find theyre not getting the gains they want and in these cases, diet is likely what is to blame. Trust us when we say, your calorie intake needed to build muscle is more than youd think.

Limit Your Intake Of Low

The Ideal Caloric Surplus for Muscle Gain (men and women)

While you dont want to stop consuming them altogetherthe vitamins and minerals they pack are important to helping you increase muscle massthe fact is that you can fill up on leafy greens and other low-cal produce before youve taken in enough calories to really bulk up, says Peacock. Juicing or shakes may be beneficial with these super-foods, he adds.

Read Also: Calories In Honey Crisp Apple

How Many Calories Should I Eat To Gain Muscle

How many calories should I eat to gain muscle? This is a question we get asked all the time, so its important to know how to answer it! Below, we explain how many calories you should eat to gain muscle and why calorie intake is important for gaining muscle.

If you are trying to gain muscle mass, you must take into account the amount of calories you consume daily. When I was younger, I tried to put on weight by eating as many calories as possible but that only made me fat. Today I will tell you how many calories you should eat a day to gain muscle mass

What Nutrition Helps Build Muscle

Protein, carbohydrates, and fat are key! Muscle tissue is made up of mostly protein and amino acids, so the extra calories could come from protein. They can also come from healthy fat or carbohydrates, assuming that protein macros have been met.

Fat has gotten a bad rap, but there are many types of fat. Some types of fat do have the ability to harm your health. Other fats can actually make you healthier. Fats that fall into this latter category are unsaturated fats.

Harvard University explains that unsaturated fat helps with proper brain and nervous system function. Eating healthy fat also helps bolster immunity and aids in heart rhythm and blood flow. All these factors can affect your workout, making fat important to a healthy muscle building diet.

Carbs play a role in muscle growth as well. Your body needs enough energy to sustain a workout that results in muscle gain. This energy comes from your glycogen stores. Carbs are the primary source of glycogen to the body.

Like with fat, some carbohydrates can help enhance your health and some carbohydrates can detract from it. The best carbs are those that are closest to their natural form. This includes:

Carbs to avoidâor at least limitâinclude the more processed versions. This includes baked goods, chips, and crackers. These items contain higher amounts of salt and sugar while also lowering their nutritional value during the manufacturing process.

Recommended Reading: Foods That Don’t Have Carbs In Them

What About Building Muscle And Losing Fat At The Same Time

Building muscle and losing fat simultaneously , is doable, even as a natural weightlifter.

However, theres a catch: you may or may not be able to do it, depending on your body composition, training experience, and more.

The long story short is this:

  • If youre new to weightlifting at all or to proper weightliftingwhich emphasizes heavy, compound training with the primary goal of getting stronger over timethen you probably can recomp.
  • If youve been following a proper strength training program for a year or more, you probably cant recomp to any significant degree.

If you want to learn more about why this is and how to actually go about doing it, read this article:

What Percentage Of Calories Should Come From Proteins

Can’t Eat Enough Calories To Gain Muscle? (5 TIPS!)

Proteins are the building blocks of muscle so eating enough high-quality protein is the most important part of building lean muscle. One meta-analysis of over 49 trials with 1,863 people has shown you need to eat 0.7 grams of protein per pound to optimize muscle gains.

But heres something you must take into consideration: The types of protein you eat.

Proteins are made out of 22 different types of amino acids. Thirteen of these amino acids are produced by your own body. These are nonessential amino acids. But you can only get the other nine amino acids through your food choices. These are the essential amino acids.

Based on this knowledge, you can categorize protein sources as either complete or incomplete. A complete protein source contains all nine essential amino acids. Examples of complete protein sources are red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, and yogurt.

Incomplete protein sources do not contain all the essential amino acids. Examples are mostly plant-based foods like rice, beans, and grains. Thats why vegetarians have to get their proteins from a wider variety of sources than non-vegetarians.

The Verdict: Aim to eat about 30% to 40% of your calories from mostly complete protein sources.

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Calculating Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure

Throughout the day, energy is what your body relies on for your organs to keep functioning, as well as to give you mental acuity. This energy is received from the food you eat, as your calories are burned and transformed into energy. For example, an individual losing weight will need to eat calories at a deficit so that their body will eventually eat away their fat stores by the end of the day.

When it comes to building muscle, youre going to have to calculate your TDEE to determine if youre eating an excessive amount of calories which wont cause your body to burn your fat stores. Its also important to note that eating at your TDEE is only going to maintain your current figure, keeping it in the same shape until you start eating more daily.

To calculate your TDEE there are online calculators for you to use however, you can also do the calculations yourself using this method:

  • Measure your weight in pounds and multiply the number by 14. This will give you your lower-calorie maintenance level.
  • Multiply that figure by 17 and this will give you your higher-calorie maintenance level.
  • Your ideal amount of consumed calories will be somewhere in between these two numbers depending on how fast your metabolism is and how active you are.
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