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A few months ago I posted up an article helping you calculate the calories and macronutrients you need to help with your fat loss goals. It’s proven to be a hit with my clients and a lot of people on my social media handles.
However, Recently I have had a number of people ask me what the best way is to put on muscle and if they need to do anything different from the fat loss article. Well, the short answer is yes. There are a number of factors that you will need to change to help you put on extra muscle mass. Clients find that eating more is both psychologically and physically challenging as they are eating more than they would normally. That's all about to change in this article.
Let me help and break this down into bite size chunks much like I did when I wrote How To Calculate Your Macros For Fat Loss.
What are macro’s? Macro’s is an abbreviated term for macronutrients. They are made up of protein, fat and carbohydrates. There is a fourth and that’s alcohol but for the purpose of this article we can forget about this.
Protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram and fat contains 9 calories per grams.
For those who are interested alcohol has 7 calories per gram.
The first step in this process is to calculate how many calories you need per day to sustain the development in increasing your muscle mass. If you are not training at least twice a week you can kiss your dream of having lean muscle mass away.
Calculate Your Calories (Men)
What’s your body weight in pounds? There are 2.2lbs in a kilo. If you want to convert from a different weight you can get this conversation from a simple google search.
Once you you have your body weight in Lbs you then have to multiply it by 18, 20 or; 22.
If you have a sedentary job and train hard with weight two to three times a week multiply by 18.
If you have an active job and training hard with weights two to three times a week OR a sedentary job and train hard four to six time a week with weights and or cardio then multiply by 20.
If you have an active job and train hard with weights four to six times a week or you are training as an athlete multiply by 22.
Calculate Your Calories (Female)
Now this isn’t me being discriminative but from my experience women tend to add muscle at a slower rate than men. This is down to their physiology and not having the same level as muscle building hormones like testosterone as men. If women were to stick to the numbers above it would lead to excessive fat gain.
So take you body weight and multiply by 16, 17or; 18
If you have a sedentary job and train hard with weight two to three times a week multiply by 16.
If you have an active job and training hard with weights two to three times a week Or; a sedentary job and train hard four to six time a week with weights and or cardio then multiply by 17.
If you have an active job and train hard with weights four to six times a week or you are training as an athlete multiply by 18.
Calculate Your Protein Requirements
Protein is probably the most popular macronutrient. As mentioned in the previous article, a high protein diet for fat loss works well as it helps persevere muscles whilst keeping you fuller for longer.
Although protein is essential for muscle repair and growth, you may be surprised that for muscle gain your protein requirements may be slightly lower. This is due to the amount of calories you are eating to put on the mass. If you feel you need to change it up you are more then welcome to. As long as you work in this range everything will be grand.
Take your body worth in pounds and multiply it by 0.8.
Struggling to hit your protein target? have you seen this article on 17 High Protein Foods.
Calculate Your Fat Requirements
For those who read the fat loss article will notice that there isn’t any difference for what I am about to say. The amount of fat you should eat depends largely on your dietary preference. You do require a certain amount of fat in your diet to stay healthy. It plays an important roll in body and is essential for cell growth, cell repair, brain function and many more functions.
A good starting point is between 0.3 - 0.6 grams per pound of body weight. As long as you are hitting a minimum of 0.3 and not exceeding 0.6 you will be ok.
So how do you choose what number in that range you should go for. Well this goes with what I said in the first paragraph of this section, it all depends on your diet. If you prefer fattier foods and have a bit of a sweet tooth then 0.5, 0.6 grams of fat per pound would be a good place to start. If like me you like your carbs and enjoy toast, pastas etc then aim for 0.3 to 0.4 grams per pound. This means you can keep the carbs high and your fat will be low. Remember, it's flexible dieting not strict ass dieting.
Calculating Your Carbohydrates
There is no point in reinventing the wheel, working out your carb requirements is the same for fat loss as it is for muscle gain. The only difference is the numbers you will be using because if you remember you are trying to put on muscle mass not loose fat.
First thing first, have you calories target handy.
So far we have worked out the total calories, Protein and fat intakes. Now we need to workout how many carbohydrates you require for your fat loss journey. This is the part where you may need a calculator. Let me rephrase that, this is the part you will need a calculator.
1. Take your daily protein intake and multiply that by 4. The resulting number gives you how many calories you are consuming from protein each day.
2. Multiply your fat requirements by 9. Again, the resulting number gives you how many calories you are consuming from fat per day.
3. Add protein calories to fat calories and subtract from the total calories you are aiming for each day, This is the number I told you to remember at the beginning of the article.
4. The resulting number will give you how many calories you need from carbohydrates each day. To change this back to gram divide by 4 (4 calories per gram of carbohydrates) and bingo you get how many carbs you need each day.
There you have it, simple right?
198 pound male who works a sedentary job and trains twice per week and prefers higher-fat foods –
Calories needed = (198×18) = 3564
Protein = 198 x 0.8 = 158g
Fat = 198 x 0.5 = 99g
Protein and fat calories = (158 x 4) + (99 x 9) = 1523
Carbs = (2376 – 1523) ÷ 4 = 213g
Daily Macros = 158g Protein, 99g Fat, 213g Carbohydrates
140 pound female who trains like and athlete
Calories needed = (140×18) = 2520
Protein = 140 x 0.8 = 112g
Fat = 140 x 0.4 = 56
Protein and fat calories = (112 x 4) + (56 x 9) = 952
Carbs = (2520 – 952) ÷ 4 = 392g
Daily Macros = 112g Protein, 56g Fat, 392g Carbohydrates
Bring It All Together
I have shown you how to calculate your macro's to allow you to start packing on some serious muscle mass. I can hear you saying now I have the numbers how do I start tracking them. Well a good tool to help you with this is to download the app My Fitness Pal.
You are 100% in control with what you eat. Rather than looking for food quantity start looking at food quality first, this will make sure you are getting in the essential micronutrients.
Nutrient dense, fresh and tasty food that are packed to the brim with vitamins and minerals are the way to go. Don't try and fit junk food in just so it ticks the boxes above.
Follow the guides above to estimate your macros, adjust as needed and start to make some fantastic progress.
P.S Whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you get happier, healthier, fitter and stronger in only 120 days!
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