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You may lift heavy weights 5 times a week. However, you won’t see any muscle growth without two key things. One of them is the right workout with the correct combination of exercises, reps, and sets and the other thing is nutrition. That’s why you need to work out your calorie intake so that you can get the most out of your workouts. Here’s how:
Calculate your BMR
BMR or Base Metabolic Rate is the number of calories you need to maintain your present weight without any exercise. Here’s how you calculate it:
- Male = 66 + (6.2 x weight) + (12.7 x height) - (6.76 x age)
- Female = 1 + (4.35 × weight) + (4.7 × height) - (4.7 × age)
For instance, if Greg is a 6 feet tall(72 inches) male who is 23 years old and weighs 160 pounds his BMR would be:
BMR = 66 + (6.2 x 160) + (12.7 x 72) - (6.76 x 23) = 1816
That means Greg should consume 1816 calories every day to maintain his current weight with no physical exercise.
You need to be honest with yourself to calculate your TDEE or Total Daily Energy Expenditure. Depending on your activity level, you can calculate your TDEE:
- If you do little to no exercise, TDEE = 1.2 x BMR
- For those who get light exercise 1 to 3 days each week, TDEE = 1.375 x BMR
- If you exercise 3 to 5 days each week, TDEE = 1.55 x BMR
- For heavy exercisers who hit the gym around 6 times a week, TDEE = 1.725 x BMR
- If you work out daily, TDEE = 1.9 x BMR
Based on our previous example with Greg, let’s say he works from home and goes on a daily jog for half an hour. Then he would be considered moderately active. Hence, his TDEE should be 1.55 x BMR = 1.55 x 1816 = 2814
So, with the current activity level, Greg would need to consume 2814 calories each day to maintain his weight.
Calculate your muscle mass
You need to consume more calories than your TDEE to bulk up. 15 percent of that should give you sustainable growth. So, to add muscle mass you need:
TDEE + (TDEE x 0.15)
That means Greg needs to increase his daily calorie intake to:
2814 + (2814 x 0.15) = 3236
Greg needs to consume around 3200 calories every day for muscle gain. However, you can’t reach that calorie intake goal with junk food and empty nutrients.
Your calorie intake should be composed of balanced macronutrients with a focus on protein. That means no sugary drinks and store-bought pizzas. You have to prepare healthy recipes to accommodate that macronutrient balance. Here’s how many calories you get from each macronutrient:
- Protein: 4 calories in each gram
- Carbs: 4 calories in each gram
- Fat: 9 calories in each gram
However, you need to know your body type to figure out the amount of each macronutrient that goes into your meal.
Figure out your body type
There are three major body types. Choose one that describes yours:
- Ectomorph - Ectomorph body types are skinny and lean. They have a naturally high metabolic rate which means they burn a lot of calories even while doing nothing and hence gaining weight becomes difficult. While they can lose weight very quickly, putting weight on is a struggle.
- Endomorph - They are the exact opposite body types of ectomorphs. They are stocky and thick. With a naturally slow metabolism it’s easy for them to put on weight, but losing weight is a struggle. That’s why they focus on fat loss.
- Mesomorph - It’s the ideal body type that is lean, muscular, and athletic. They have a moderately high metabolic rate that allows them to stay lean and pack muscle. It’s easy for them to lose fat and gain muscle.
Calculate macronutrients and design your meal
Depending on your body type here’s the ratio of macronutrients you should consume:
- Ectomorph - Carbs 40%/ Protein 30%/ Fat 30%
- Endomorph - Carbs 25%/ Protein 40%/ Fat 35%
- Mesomorph - Carbs 40%/ Protein 35%/ Fat 25%
Now you can break down your daily calorie intake according to that ratio. Continuing with the example of Greg, let’s assume that he has an ectomorph body type. Then his calorie intake should be divided like this:
- Carbohydrates - 3200 x 0.40 = 1280 calories. That means he should consume 1280/4 = 320 grams of carbs
- Protein - 3200 x 0.30 = 960 calories. He should consume 960/4 = 240 grams of protein
- Fat - 3200 x 0.30 = 960 calories. He should consume 960/9 = 106 grams of fat
You divide each figure by the number of meals you consume every day which will help you figure out how to plan your meals efficiently.