If someone is trying to maintain strength, limiting this effect of loss muscle mass is important. While protein is considered to be the key nutrient when it comes to bodybuilding, because it provides the amino acids your body requires to repair and build muscles, you may be surprised to learn that carbs are also important. Once you have your body-fat percentage, it's easy to find your lean body mass. Sanjana is a master's graduate from New York University and a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, active women need 2,000 to 2,400 calories each day to maintain a healthy body weight, and active men require 2,400 to 3,000 calories per day; moderately active women need about 1,800 to 2,200 calories, while … You can also have your body-fat percentage taken using a caliper. It's not just important to know for the sake of appearance. Here's a step-by-step guide to determining how much food you need to lose, gain, or maintain weight! Most people choose to eat less to increase the calorie deficit. The off-season is known as the bulking phase. For example, if you are trying to shed some fat but are losing less than a pound per week, or if you're trying to add lean mass but gaining too much fat, cut 100 calories from your daily intake. At best, a natural bodybuilder doing everything perfectly can put on only 2 pounds of muscle per month, or half a pound per week. With the way that pro bodybuilders burn calories, they need a lot of high-quality food to halt catabolism and keep their muscles in an anabolic state . However, the reality is a lot more complicated than that. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional prior to beginning any diet or exercise program or taking any dietary supplement. So you would need to get approximately 2,100 calories a day to maintain a body weight of 150 pounds and 30 percent body fat with lifestyle considerations. After you find out the number of calories you need for your body to have enough energy to perform basic bodily functions such as breathing and making your heartbeat.. You will then add 200 to 500 calories to this number to create the calorie surplus. Add that to the number of calories he’s getting from fat (680) and you have a total of 1,400. Next, we've already decided how important it is for a bodybuilder to eat six times per day, so to determine how many calories he should eat at each meal, divide his daily caloric requirements by six. Men who lift weights need more calories than women, simply because men are usually larger and have more muscle mass. No matter your goal, calculating your maintenance calories is the first step and you can do this with simple math equations. The lower end of these ranges is targeted toward people with sedentary lifestyles; however, bodybuilding makes for a very active lifestyle, so your calorie requirements are more likely to be at the upper end of the ranges. With the national obesity epidemic and the debilitating health issues it brings, it seems foolish to ignore the most effective tool we have for manipulating weight—nutrition. When you consistently under-eat, your metabolism slows down.And that makes it harder to lose weight.. For this discussion, we will use the Katch-McArdle equation, which is well-suited for those who aren't obese and have a decent amount of muscle. Conversely, if you are wanting to lose weight, this can be accomplished by consuming less calories or burning more calories, i.e. You can calculate the exact macronutrients with our macronutrient calculator. The BMR does not include calories needed to support daily activities or exercise. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM This will be the chief determinant of your calorie needs. Read more: 3 Essentials for Becoming a Body Builder. Lean protein … On the other hand, if your schedule doesn't allow you to eat multiple times a day, you can stick to three large meals instead. For example, the hypothetical bodybuilder needs to eat 2,400 calories a day, so 2,400 divided by 6 = 400 calories per meal. As a result, other calculators underestimate how many calories you need. Copyright © Let's call these "low days," since they're lower in carbs and calories. ), Moderately active with 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, Lightly active with 45-60 minutes of moderate exercise per day, Sedentary with 2-3 hours of moderate exercise per day, Extremely active: most of your time spent doing heavy labor such as moving objects over 50 pounds (roofer, construction worker, farmer, miner, etc. What about healthy weight gain? LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The academy recommends avoiding high fiber foods immediately before or during exercise to prevent an upset stomach. Be patient when making changes. To find this number, plug in your lean body mass to the Katch-McArdle equation: In this example, your basal metabolic rate would be about 1,400 calories. I recommend having body-fat measurements taken every 1-2 weeks during this process to make sure your lean mass is increasing steadily while body-fat percentage barely creeps up. Then, plug your measurements into the U.S. Navy Body Fat Calculator. Now subtract that 1,400 from 2,720 and what you’re left with is the number of daily calories Mike needs from carbs; in … Bodybuilding.com℠ and BodySpace® are trademarks of Bodybuilding.com. The content on our website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or to replace a relationship with a qualified healthcare professional. It's based on your age, activity level, and the BMI (body-mass index) of 21.5 for women and 22.5 for men. Read more: How Much Protein Powder Should I Drink? Your calorie needs may be slightly higher or lower than your calculations, and you will likely need to adjust your intake based on your body's response, as well as if your goals change. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, USDA's 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, American Council on Exercise: "Putting on the Pounds", Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: “Nutritional Strategies of British Professional and Amateur Natural Bodybuilders During Competition Preparation”, USDA: “2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans”, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: “Evidence-Based Recommendations for Natural Bodybuilding Contest Preparation: Nutrition and Supplementation”, Mayo Clinic: “Nutrition Rules That Will Fuel Your Workout”, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “4 Keys to Strength Building and Muscle Mass”, PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION. The number of calories you need to consume per day depends on how many calories you're burning through exercise. It will give you your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories necessary to sustain your various body systems: nervous, digestive, circulatory, endocrine, reproductive, and so on. 2021 We created a nine-video course, Bodybuilding.com's Foundations of Fitness Nutrition, to help fit-minded people learn what they need to know not only about calories, but also the three macronutrients, how to eat for healthy weight loss or weight gain, and even supplements. Sure, you need to add more calories to your regimen, but you don’t want to get carried away. You can also try these meal suggestions. Katch-McArdle fails to account for total body weight, age, height, or gender, while Mifflin-St. Jeor leaves out lean body mass. Recall that your BMR is about 1,400 calories. However, this is a slippery slope! For those wanting to maintain their weight and stay healthy, knowing how many calories you're taking in a day will also help you avoid health pitfalls like hormone imbalance, poor training performance, nutritional deficiencies, or undesired changes in body composition. Anything worthwhile takes time, and this is no different! Confused about how calorie calculators work? Bodybuilding isn't an activity that ends when you're done at the gym; it's a lifestyle that also requires you to pay special attention to what you eat. The number of meals you want to eat per day is up to you; the authors of the study suggest splitting up your calorie intake among anywhere between three to six meals per day, with each meal having a minimum of 20 grams of protein. Like excess money was left over at the end of the quarter and you’re getting a bonus at work. The on-season involves a high-protein, calorie-restricted diet with resistance training and aerobic exercise. The popular Mifflin-St. Jeor equation doesn't account for lean body mass but is still accurate (within 10 percent) for most people. While a caliper is not ideal, it's inexpensive and a quick way to get a good estimate. Although calorie counting seems cumbersome and is often ignored, calories in and out remains the number one factor affecting weight loss or gain. And if we guess that you burn say, 2,100 calories per day, then this would be ~12% of your TDEE. If vegan bodybuilding sounds like something you might be interested in … For the off-season bodybuilder, or anyone looking to gain muscle, low days are great in that they minimize or eliminate the accumulation of body fat. And of course, your diet should include a healthy mix of protein, carbs, and fat. Check out Bodybuilding.com's Foundations of Fitness Nutrition course to learn the essentials of eating right for any goal. Our example male above will take his daily calorie maintenance level of 2,639 calories and consume an additional 400 calories. Unlike powerlifting competitions where competitors are judged on their strength, bodybuilders are judged based on their aesthetics, which includes factors like muscle size, muscle proportion and appearance of low body fat. One way to determine your body fat percentage is to measure the narrowest part of your waist, the widest part of your hips, and your neck just below your voice box. However, many of these foods also have a high fiber content. This is especially true if you are transitioning out of a very lean state, such as post-competition. In fact, my tests revealed that some calculators are off by as much as 40% or 1,000 calories! That means you are 70 percent fat-free mass. If you're already eating at 70 percent of your TDEE and have hit a weight-loss plateau, it's better to add more activity into your routine rather than slash your food intake any further. Don't worry, we are still talking snail's pace weight gain. Of course, there’s no perfect set-in-stone calorie surplus, some people might do great with 250, while others do better with 500. [1] Both equations have shortfalls and are only an estimate of calorie needs. Of course, it's impossible to ensure that every extra calorie you consume goes to increased muscle mass with zero increase in body fat. – A 200 lb male bodybuilder in the offseason will consume 200 x 18 calories, which equals 3,600 These are just rough estimates and based on an average of over 20 male and female bodybuilders that were polled on their pre contest and off-season calorie consumption. You need to increase or decrease your calorie intake by 500 calories per day for a week to gain or lose 1 pound a week, respectively, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). ), Sedentary with 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise per day (brisk walking, bicycling, rowing, circuit training, vigorous weight training), Moderately active: most of your time spent walking or moving objects under 25 pounds (janitor, nurse, server, electrician, courier, etc. Once the competition is over, bodybuilders revert to an off-season diet and exercise regime known as the recovery phase. Eating nuts or seeds throughout the day can help you easily meet your increased calorie needs. Each gram of protein has four calories per gram, so: 160 grams protein x 4 calories per gram = 640 calories from protein each day If this hypothetical bodybuilder decided to take in 200 grams of protein, that would equal 800 calories per day. This phase can last for months — or sometimes even years — and is characterized by a high-protein and high-calorie diet. Here's the equation in kilograms and pounds: Your lean body mass is your total weight minus the body fat. A solid way to determine how many calories you need is to multiply your body weight in pounds by 20. This includes calories burned in daily activities like doing the laundry, driving, and even fidgeting, as well as calories burned through exercising. To achieve it, start by adding 300 calories to your current daily intake—or start more cautiously at 200 calories if you prefer—and maintain that intake until you stop gaining. Conclusion: how many calories do … The rule of thumb when it comes to weight is that 500 calories per day for a week is equal to 1 pound of body weight, according to the ACE. It refers to the daily calories you need to perform all the activities for 24 hours. Measure your results after one week and adjust again, if needed (always in small increments!). And of course, your diet should include a healthy mix of protein, carbs, and fat. Keep in mind that the type of calories you consume and the amount of resistance training you're doing is also important. So, how do you make sure that you're getting what you need to meet your goals? any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. The academy recommends eating high-quality carbohydrate source that do not have excessive fat, like whole grain breads and cereals. So, caloric intake is pretty much a non-negotiable measurement to keep track of. Calorie Needs for Fat Loss Lightly active: most of your time spent standing or working with hands (clerk, bartender, police officer, heavy equipment operator, etc. For example, if your maintenance calories are 3,000 per day, you should eat 3,450 calories per day (3,000 x … Continuing our example, let's say you have a sedentary job and work out 4-6 hours per week. The most up-to-date equation for calculating your caloric intake is the Katch-McArdle equation. Bodybuilding Nutrition 101. When you're active in the gym and want to build muscle or lose fat, it's ideal to eat the most that you can while still getting results. Related: 3 Powerful Calorie Deficit Tweaks To Lose More Weight Calories In. You can calculate the exact macronutrients with our macronutrient calculator. The Navy method is accurate within 4 percent, it but does tend to overestimate body-fat percentage.[2,3]. Here's how many calories you need while bodybuilding and some tips to build a healthy bodybuilding meal plan. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for your muscles, since carbs are partially converted to glycogen and stored in your muscles to power your workouts. A good rule of thumb is no more than a 5 percent increase in body fat for every 16 weeks of muscle building. Well, protein has four calories per gram, so 180g x 4 calories = 720 calories. Yes, this is called being on a calorie surplus. Or, if you're consistently losing more than 2 pounds per week (potentially losing muscle) or failing to measure any increase in muscle mass while attempting a lean bulk, add 100 calories to your daily intake and track your results. “How many calories should I eat to gain muscle?” Part of the answer will revolve around your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). Other answers have focused on how can bodybuilders afford to pay for so much food, but I’d like to talk about another subject. The USDA's 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adult men consume between 2,000 and 3,000 calories per day and that adult women consume between 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day. Did you ever hear th… Just because you don't see results after week one doesn't mean you should start one of those extreme fad diets or eat everything in the fridge. However, if you're in a cutting phase and want to lose 1 pound a week, you need to decrease your calorie intake by 500 calories per day for a week. Do You Need Extra Calories To Build Muscle. This is why extreme weight gainer shakes and diets like GOMAD are a horrible idea if you care anything about maintaining some level of leanness while building muscle. Which does makes sense, since the TEF tends to account for ~8 – 20 % of the calories you eat.. The study also recommends eating meals that have 0.4 to 0.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight before and after your resistance training sessions, to help your body maximize the benefits of the protein. To maintain weight, the chart below shows you your daily calorie limit. A health and fitness writer and editor since 2014, she balances her love for chocolate with a penchant for fun workouts like aerial yoga and kickboxing. Your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE, is the total energy you burn in a day. Want more info about fitness nutrition? Here’s what you need to know about female bodybuilder diets, in terms of the calorie and nutrition requirements. When I lose weight rapidly at that number because I have an ecto-meso body type. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the Here's a full day of eating 1,600 calories as a bodybuilder! , The on-season, also known as the cutting phase, is the period leading up to professional bodybuilding competitions. The aim of this phase is to help reduce body fat without losing muscle mass, to help bodybuilders showcase their physiques. Read more: Bodybuilding Without Supplements. At that point, add another 200-300 calories and repeat. Terms of Use [4] Since an increase of 3,500 calories yields approximately 1 pound of weight gain, half a pound of gain would require an additional 1,750 calories per week, or 250 calories a day. Privacy Policy Many people are able to improve blood triglycerides and heart health, reduce their risk of diabetes and cancer, and live a longer, more fulfilling life when they lose unneeded weight. A 2007 study concluded calorie restriction increased the loss of lean muscle mass when it was paired with inactivity like lying in a hospital bed for days without moving. All rights reserved. with little to no exercise. This helps ensure that you don't gain too much fat during the off-season bulking phase and that you don't lose too much muscle during the on-season cutting phase. 'Bodybuilders are mortally afraid of muscle loss while simultaneously being afraid of eating carbs at night which is a key tactic that can enhance lean mass preservation' A.Aragon 06-12-2010, 09:37 AM #8 If you're finding it difficult to eat a large number of calories at a time, splitting up your meals and eating more meals in the day may help. ), Very active with 45-60 minutes of moderate exercise per day, Moderately active with 2-3 hours of moderate exercise per day. Bottom line: It all involves tracking daily calories. If you wish to consume less, you will want to eat 500-1000 fewer calories per day than calculated, or as an alternative, eat … Interested to see what an entire bodybuilding meal plan looks like? calories in is less than calories out. To truly max out your lean-mass gains (that is, put on the most amount of muscle possible over a period of time), you should be willing to accept a small amount of fat gain. Weightlifting and eating to gain size and definition is the name of the game and the pros will do almost anything to make it happen. The USDA notes that these values are just estimates and that the actual number of calories you require varies from person to person, depending on factors like height and weight in addition to age, gender and physical activity level. On the flipside, gaining weight is how we build muscle, but there is an optimal way to do that without stuffing your face at every meal and putting on excess body fat. If you are maintaining well below your calculated TDEE (for example, your calculated TDEE was 2,100 calories but you've been maintaining at 1,600 calories or less), it indicates that you've been dieting or under-eating long enough to significantly slow your metabolism. Claudia is an expert at intuitive eating, nutrition science, and removing diets from your life. People tend to think that a bodybuilder's diet is basically just shoveling food into your mouth when you're not working out. There are bodybuilding and weight-training coaches who may endorse a protein intake of 40 percent of your daily calories. You would use an activity factor of 1.5 since you're not exercising a full hour each day. Sedentary: most of your time spent sitting (office worker, driver, student, etc.) The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. For example, the top 5 bulking calculators say I need to eat around 2,600 calories to gain weight. My guess is that you're trying to gain muscle, not fat. The body does not require many calories to simply survive. Another study that was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, this one in May 2014, recommends that bodybuilders don't gain or lose more than 0.5 to 1 percent of their body weight per week. The ACE recommends that people who are trying to gain body weight don't use their increased calorie budget on energy-dense, fattening foods and to ensure that they're doing enough resistance training to convert the additional calories into muscle; otherwise, the body will store them as fat. During your bulking phase, it’s recommended to increase your calorie intake by 15%. To achieve sustainable weight loss, I suggest a modest calorie deficit of 20-30 percent of your TDEE, and to follow that for no longer than six months at a time to avoid metabolic slowing. An activity factor will add the necessary calories to accommodate your physical activity, on top of your BMR. Calories Per Pound You can use your body weight to help determine your calories needs to gain muscle by adding 200 calories to your weight-maintenance calorie needs. diagnosis or treatment. Any time you hear the word “excess,” you should stop and pause for a second. Dairy products like milk and yogurt, as well as fruits and vegetables, are also good sources of healthy carbohydrates. If only nutrient partitioning were that perfect! Leaf Group Ltd. The number of calories you need to consume for bodybuilding depends on whether you’re in the bulking phase or the cutting phase. These already include your exercise, whether it’s cardio, strength training, or resistance training.