September 29

What’s the ideal calorie surplus to gain muscle?

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I often get asked about what people should be eating to gain muscle.

 

It is a complex topic.

 

It is hard to measure and it is much slower than weight loss.

 

One thing is for sure;

 

You absolutely do not want to do an old fashioned ‘dirty bulk’!

 

This will lead to a lot of associated fat gain which you then have to try and lose – without losing the muscle.

 

The best way is to go into a very small calorie surplus – I am talking about just 100 – 200 calories per day.

 

You can do this without calorie tracking but it is more difficult.

 

This is where you need to push past the feeling of fullness and many people are not used to it.

 

You can of course use higher calorie foods like nuts and nut butters.

 

Remember though that with muscle gain as the goal, you must prioritise protein.

 

Choose a macro tracker and work with it.

 

If you would like my recommendation, I use Kevin Hall’s Bodyweight Planner and you can find that here;

 

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/professionals/diabetes-discoveries-practice/nih-body-weight-planner

 

From there, take the result, measure it for a while and adjust according to your progress.

 

Ideally you should be eating 4 to 6 meals a day.

 

0.3g – 0.5g of protein per kilo of bodyweight at each meal.

 

So, easy maths tells us that a 100kg individual would need 30g-50g of protein per meal.

 

In the evening slightly more protein is advised – 0.4g – 0.6g.

 

Plus some dairy or casein.

 

This will slow down the release of amino acids throughout the evening and carry on ‘feeding’ the muscles.

 

It is for this reason that many body builder diets involve 6 meals a day.

 

You are looking to consume 1.8g – 2.4g of protein per kilo of bodyweight each day.

 

With our easy maths again, a 100kg person would be eating 180g to 240g.

 

This is a lot!

 

Especially when you think that a chicken breast is 31g per 100g.

 

Try to avoid just eating chicken breasts, ensure you eat a wide variety.

 

Supplementation for helping build muscle mass would be creatine monohydrate and vitamin D.

 

Ensure you get creatine monohydrate and not another varient.

 

Take it every day.

 

After protein, meal timing and supplementation, the other thing to look at is lifestyle.

 

Get more sleep

 

Eat plenty of fibre

 

Workouts – if you’re not training hard you are not going to gain muscle.

 

You want to be training with weights 3 to 6 times a week.

 

If you are new to training then 2 or 3 times will do it.

 

If you are intermediate then 4 to 5 times a week.

 

If you are advanced then you need to be doing 5 to 6 sessions of quite aggressive body based splits.

 

Muscle gain should be slow.

 

If you gain a kilo in the first week, do not panic, that is likely to be because of extra food and water in your system.

 

It should then settle and slow right down.

 

If you are interested in our FREE 5 day habits challenge, you can sign up here;

 

https://page.nextstep-nutrition.com/5daychallenge/

 

 


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