Eating for Muscle
Nutritional needs will vary depending on what our goals are. However, in this blog post I am going to be discussing how to eat for muscle gain.
Now there are a few factors that come in to play when it comes to eating for muscle gain. so, we will start with the biggest factor of them all… calories.
To gain muscle, we need to eat at what we call a “calorie surplus” this means consuming more calories than our body needs to maintain its current weight (maintenance calories) but to know exactly how many calories we need to consume, we must start with figuring out what our “maintenance calories” are. Now, there are many different methods of doing this, some more accurate than others, however the simplest way of doing this yourselves would be by using an online calculator that does the mathematics for you.
once we know what our maintenance calorie intake is we can now create a calorie surplus. This is simply done by eating more calories per day than our daily maintenance amount. For example, an individual that has the maintenance intake of 2,000kcals will need to consume more than 2,000kcals per day to experience weight gain.
how big should the surplus be? Science suggests that for 1lbs of weight gain per week we need to consume a 3,500kcal WEEKLY surplus. This would mean eating at a 500kcal DAILY surplus. However, I would recommend starting off with a slightly lower surplus of 10% of your DAILY maintenance calories, for example an individual that has the daily maintenance calories of 2,000kcal would consume 2,200kcals DAILY. I believe that the 10% surplus is enough to gain a good amount of lean muscle mass without adding too much access bodyfat.
Another key thing to remember is as we gain weight the distance between our maintained intake and surplus intake will begin to shorten and eventually close up. Once this happens we can simply increase our daily calorie intake by another 10%, putting us back into a surplus.
Now, once we have mastered our caloric needs, we can begin to look at the other factors of muscle building. These are going to be our macronutrients. Macronutrients are what makes up our calories. There are three different macronutrients, these are known as Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates.
To keep things simple here is the main role of each macronutrient:
Proteins: repair muscle tissue.
Fats: bodily function & body insulation.
Carbohydrates: provides the body with energy.
Now, how much of each macronutrient do we need? As muscle gain is our goal here we will start with protein. I recommend consuming 1g of protein per lbs of lean bodyweight. This means that an individual that is relatively lean and weighs 170lbs will need to consume 170g of protein per day. This means that this individual is consuming 680kcals per day from protein alone. 1g of protein=4kcals. 170×4=680.
Next up we have our fats. This can vary depending on the individual’s lifestyle and their daily physical activity levels. I would recommend consuming between 15-30% of your remaining calories from fats. If you live quite a sedentary lifestyle (inactive) then I would consume closer to 30% and if you live more of an active lifestyle then I would recommend consuming closer to 15%. So, for example, our individual that weighs 170lbs and lives an active lifestyle and has the daily surplus calories of 2,200kcals has 1,520kcals left to split between fats and carbohydrates after taking out his calorie intake from proteins. As we state that he is an active individual we will set his fats intake as 15% this means that we will be consuming 228kcals a day from fats. (25g of fat) 1g of fat=9kcals. This leaves us with a remainder of 1,292kcals per day.
Finally, we have our carbohydrates. Now, after working out our protein and fat intake, we have been left with our remainder calories. These calories will be consumed as carbohydrates. To work out how many grams of carbohydrates we need to consume we simply divide the remaining number (1,292 by 4) this is because 1g of carbohydrates=4kcals. This leaves us with 323g of carbohydrates per day.
This means that the example individuals surplus calorie & macronutrient intake will look like this:
For any further questions or enquiries of nutritional coaching then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
thanks for reading, Jake.