One of the most challenging aspects of bodybuilding or weight training, in my opinion, would be the bulking phase. When bulking the idea is to put on as much lean mass as possible. Which in essence would seem rather easy. Just eat clean but eat a lot more. The problem with that is we also run the risk of gaining more fat cells.
Gaining muscle and minimizing fat in the process can be done by first figuring out your daily caloric intake for maintenance and then creating a surplus that will adjust as the body changes. When bulking our plans have to be fluid and adaptive. Knowing our maintenance calories can allow us to determine an amount that will help to increase our size and strength while utilizing any stored fat as energy.
A great tool for determining these numbers is Calorie Calculator – Daily Caloric Needs also if you haven’t read the article Learn to Calculate Your BMR and Asses Your Daily Caloric Intake take a look. I go in depth more about the daily caloric intake and the differences for a surplus or a deficit.
Once we have determined our maintenance caloric intake we can move forward from there … literally.
A suggested caloric surplus is usually around 200-300 calories. Having too little of a surplus will cause us to bulk at a slower rate. However on the opposite end having too much of a surplus puts us at risk of gaining more fat faster. It is not realistic to think that one can gain muscle without gaining fat. Depending on your choice you can bulk cleanly by watching the foods you eat and your calorie intake or your can bulk haphazardly aka dirty by just eating tons of food.
Anything that is worthwhile usually takes time, so my best suggestion is bulk as cleanly as possible, eat good whole foods, this way when it comes down to cutting your not driving yourself nuts trying to drop pounds and pounds of fat. Not to mention being in relatively great shape all year long is a plus for any bodybuilder.
If It Fits Your Macros . . .
Now that we have an idea of what our calories look like we can go ahead and adjust our macros to fit. It has been suggested that we consume about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Consuming more in moderation will not be a bad thing, most likely the body will use the excess as energy. With that being said don’t go overboard, because remember anything in excess can get stored as fats.
The remaining macros we need to consider are fat and carbs. Fats can be increased to about 1/2 a gram per pound of bodyweight. Where as carbs should fill up the rest of our macro scale.
Putting all of this to play is simple. Lets assume we are a 215 lb male. And we need to ingest 3200 calories a day. With our simple rule of thumb based on our body weight our protein and fat macros would be 215 g (based on body weight) and 108 g (based on body weight) after simple calculations we are left with approximately 342 g for carbs.
Once you have established a starting point be sure to keep an eye as to what is going on. If after some time your not gaining weight then your maintenance intake was off and you need to adjust accordingly. If your gaining to much weight to fast, again you need to adjust accordingly. Eventually you may hit a plateau and that will also be another time to adjust your intake as well.
To sum it up, figure out your maintenance level of calories, establish your surplus, base your essential macros off your bodyweight, make sure you stay in a surplus and don’t go nuts.
Gain Weight – Macros Made Simple
A great video that explains everything I just wrote about is Gain Weight – Macros Made Simple by Brandon Campbell of Campbell Fitness .