What you eat and how you train, will play a huge role in minimizing the fat gains that comes along with the extra mass you’re looking to pack on. To bulk up, you’ll need to eat 100-500 more calories than your maintenance calorie, this is what we call a “Calorie Surplus”, eating more calories than your body burns.
By doing so, you will definitely put on overall mass and generally get stronger in all your lifts, provided that you have a good training routine and a proper diet plan. Unfortunately, during a bulk ( off season ), it is easy to get carried away and consume more than you really need, resulting in high body fat gains and little to no muscle gain. The best way to prevent that is to bulk as slowly as you can, a weight gain of 0.5 – 1lb per week is optimal.
What is “Calorie Surplus” and how does this help to build more Muscles?
A calorie surplus is a state in which you eat more calories than you burn. If you eat 5,000 calories per day and burn 4,500, your surplus is 500 calories per day. When you are in a calorie surplus, your body either uses that extra energy to build muscle or store fat. While gaining weight simply requires a calorie surplus, building muscle requires combining a surplus with a proper workout routine. A routine where you overload your muscles with work, only then, will your body direct the calorie surplus to be used to build more muscle.
When you lift weights and work out, you create tiny tears in your muscle fibers. These tears are treated as injuries by the body and repaired during rest. When the damage is repaired, your muscle fibers become bigger and stronger, resulting in overall muscle growth and weight gain. For this to happen, you will need to provide your body with enough calories or else you will not gain weight or get stronger as this recovery process is very energy intensive.
A large calorie surplus will generally lead to fast weight gains. A common mistake, however, is eating too much. Though your goal is to build muscle and put on weight, you want to make sure that you’re putting on as little fat as possible. To do this, you ensure a steady 300-500 calorie surplus and ensure that you’re hitting all your macros.
What are Macros and why can’t I eat more calories and build muscles faster?
Macros are Macro Nutrients like “Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats”. In order to build muscles, you will need to ensure a proper intake of nutrients and calories. Balancing out your daily macro intake will determine how much muscles you can build and possibly lose body-fat while you’re bulking ( Eating at a calorie surplus ).
Protein food sources
- Tuna or most any fish
- Cottage cheese
- Eggs (especially the whites)
- Chicken breast (boneless skinless)
- Turkey breast (boneless skinless)
- Lean beef
- Low fat or no fat cheese
- Low fat pork
- Milk protein isolate
- Whey protein
- Soy protein
Carbohydrate food sources
- Sweet potatoes
- Oat meal, oat bran, oat bran cereal (i.e. cheerios)
- Bran cereal
- Brown rice
- White rice
- Wheat bread
- Low fat popcorn
- Fruits (limit to 2-3 servings per day)
- Malto dextrin (during workout)
- Dextrose (during workout)
Fat food sources
- Omega 3 capsules (i.e. fish oil capsules)
- Flax seed oil
- Primrose oil
- Borage oil
- Olive oil
- Nuts (limit to 1 serving per day
- peanut butter
- Egg yolks
- Fish (salmon especially)
Basic Guideline for macro Intake
Protein : 0.8-1.6Gram per Body-weight LB.
If your body-weight is 170 LB, you should be consuming 136 – 272 Grams of Protein.
Carbohydrate : 2-2.6Gram per Body-weight LB.
If your body-weight is 170 LB, you should be consuming 340 – 442 Grams of Carbohydrate.
Fats : 0.4-0.5Gram per Body-weight LB.
If your body-weight is 170 LB, you should be consuming 68 – 85 Grams of Fats.
The average human body can only build muscles at the rate it can handle, over-feeding yourself with more calories will only lead to excessive fat gain and may cause health-related issues in the future.
Gaining some fat is unavoidable when gaining muscle. Keeping your calorie surplus at a moderate level (around 500 calories over what your body burns each day) will keep the fat gain to a minimum. Keeping track of your weight, body fat percentage and calorie intake will help to ensure that you’re doing it right.
The key here is to eat at a calorie surplus, ranging from 100 – 500 and you will definitely put on more muscle mass and get stronger. If you’re not gaining weight, it means you’re not eating enough! Since you’re consuming more calories, you should train twice as hard and make sure that you’re pushing yourself. Remember to make use of the energy boost you’ll get from eating more.
Can I Build Muscles and lose fats at the same time?
It is possible but highly unlikely and will require a huge amount of effort and time. Building muscles while dropping body-fat is usually referred to as “Re-comp diet”, by eating at a maintenance calorie, it is possible that you can build muscles based on how well your daily macro intake is and drop body-fat at the same time. However, this usually requires a huge amount of time and effort, having to constantly ensure that you’re exactly on your maintenance calorie and not on a surplus or a deficit.
Eating at a calorie surplus will lead to weight gain, as long as you’re progressively overloading yourself at the gym, you will pack on muscles and increase your strengths.
Eating at a calorie maintenance may lead to little muscle gains and fat loss at the same time, however, this usually requires a huge amount of effort having to constantly check your nutrition intake and the traditional “bulk and cut, cut and bulk” is a much faster process.
Eating at a calorie deficit will lead to fat / weight loss, since the body has little to no fuel left, it will start to target the fat storage in your body or your muscles depending on both, nutrition and training.