Building Muscle: How Many Calories Should I Eat to Bulk?

Building Muscle: How Many Calories Should I Eat to Bulk?

Health and Fitness

Building Muscle: How Many Calories Should I Eat to Bulk?


Tons of people complain about how easy it is to gain weight. After all, 39.8% of America is obese. However, people rarely talk about how to gain weight the right way. 

That’s right — gaining weight isn’t exclusively a bad thing. For those underweight or trying to build muscle, it’s a necessity. In fact, it can be pretty complicated to figure out the perfect nutritional diet for healthy weight gain. 

Figuring out what to eat involves understands how the big 3 macronutrients — fats, carbs, and proteins — work with your body. Then, ask yourself, “How many calories should I eat to bulk?” To find out what you need to bulk up, check out the info below. 

Jul 21, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Josh VanMeter (17) lifts weights in the dugout prior to the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

How Many Calories Should I Eat to Bulk?

Essentially, eating more calories than a human body can burn will lead to weight gain. However, not every caloric source will help the human body build muscle. 

The body can choose to store these extra calories as either excess fat or muscle. The key difference is how excess calories are consumed. 

Gaining Fat vs. Gaining Muscle

The body can easily store excess calories from fat as body fat without much effort. Each gram of fat can store about 9 calories. Calories from other macronutrients, like carbs and protein, are not stored as body fat as easily. The extra effort means each gram of body fat stores about 7 to 8 of these calories. 

Muscle, on the other hand, take the most effort to form. The body needs more than 2,500 extra calories to make one pound of muscle. The good news is that the body can use high-fat stores to help meet this high caloric demand. 

Sep 16, 2017; Provo, UT, Wisconsin Badgers defensive end Conor Sheehy (94) lifts weights before a NCAA football game against the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Lean Body Mass

Before you can determine your ideal caloric intake, you need to calculate your lean body mass. There are scales and readers you can you at home, as well as companies that provide more accurate services. 

Getting the right picture of your overall body composition will help tell you how your body burns fat and gains muscle. 

Caloric Weight Gain Needs

First, determine your maintenance calories. This is usually a simple calculation that involves your current body weight. Multiply it by 10 for women and 11 for men. Finally, multiply it by your amount of daily exercise.

The calorie surplus is usually 5-10% of this amount; however, it depends on your body composition. Lean people may require more, while those with high stores of body fat may require less.

You can also look to your bulky idols. For example, how many calories does the Rock eat per day? Sometimes it may take a variety of methods before you find the right one for you.

Nov 2, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock prepares to present the BMF belt after the fight between Jorge Masvidal (red gloves) and Nate Diaz (blue gloves) during UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports

More Health and Fitness Tips

If you’re still wondering, “How many calories should I eat to bulk?” it’s time to get started. After doing the research listed above, the only way to find the right bulking diet is to start. 

For more of the best health and fitness advice on the web, don’t forget to stop by our page.

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