Good old muscle-building, the goal of many men and women across the world. As you are well aware, this takes a lot of discipline, hard work, and heavy lifting in the weight room. You don’t get great results by sitting on a bench sending messages to your peeps about the latest movie you saw.
The effort doesn’t stop in the weight room it also extends to the kitchen and quite often we have people asking us how many calories they should eat to gain muscle. It takes the same amount of work and discipline as your training, especially when you are dead set on building more muscle.
Well, there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. It all revolves around calorie manipulation. And with a little bit of guidance, the question of how many calories you need to build muscle will easily be answered.
A word of caution
Any time you hear the word “excess,” you should stop and pause for a second. In some cases it’s used in reference to something good. Like excess money was left over at the end of the quarter and you’re getting a bonus at work.
But you need to be guarded when it comes to your diet. Although you are looking to pack on some muscle mass, you have to be careful when you increase your caloric intake. Sure, you need to add more calories to your regimen, but you don’t want to get carried away.
Did you ever hear the term “excessive alcohol intake”? Well, that can lead to weight gain, lowered testosterone, and eventually liver disease. Take that into consideration with your diet. If you’re excessive with your caloric intake, you won’t necessarily experience a testosterone hit or liver disease, but you can end up getting fat. And that’s not what you want.
A solid formula
As for the exact number of calories you need in order to build muscle, that’s vague. No two bodies are exactly the same. That’s why it is a better idea to follow a more methodical approach.
Far too often, people listen to hype about you need this many calories or that many calories to bulk up and gain size. You are better served by letting the uninformed follow that advice. Here’s what you should do.
Spend five days tracking all of the calories you currently consume. Be as precise and detailed as possible and include liquid calories too. They still count.
Add all the amounts together for each day and then add them up. For example, if you have 2,200, 2,500, 2,300, 2,100 and 2,400, your total will be 11,500 calories. Divide this number by five to get an average for the day, which would be 2,300. You now know your current daily intake.
Here’s where the important part sets in. Add 250 to this number and eat that many extra calories a day. Go about your business and continue to do your workouts like normal.
After two weeks, step on the scale and see if you’ve gained any weight. If you have, keep everything the same. If not, add another 250 calories to your intake and follow the same procedure.
Keep checking every two weeks until you start gaining weight. Once you reach a point where you are satisfied with your size, keep your caloric intake where it is.
Tips to consider
Although scale weight is the quickest and easiest way to measure progress, don’t forget that you are trying to gain muscle. It is also a good idea to do regular measurements and body fat checks. Do this when you first start out and every four weeks thereafter.
By checking your measurements, you can quickly see if you are growing in the areas you want. And by keeping up with your body fat percentage, you can easily see if you are gaining muscle or fat.
Just for the record, there is a good chance you will gain at least a little bit of fat in the beginning. This almost always happens, as it is really hard to gain pure muscle without some fat. As long as you keep track of your calories and monitor your progress through the means mentioned, you can keep your fat gain minimal.
To recap, it’s a lot more precise to use a solid method like the one mentioned than to just guess how many calories it’ll take to build muscle.
Make sure to choose healthy fare like lean meats, eggs, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and fish. You will have a really hard time building muscle and warding off fat if you eat junk food.