Proper Daily Calories To Build Muscle
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Proper Daily Calories To Build Muscle

December 11, 2019

Hey guys, Sean Nalewanyj here,,, in today’s video I’m going to be going back to the basics
for all the beginners out there or for those who aren’t seeing the results that they
want from their program, by going over how to determine your daily calorie needs for
muscle growth and how to adjust those numbers over time for ongoing results. So if your
main goal is to get bigger and stronger then it really doesn’t matter how much effort
you’re putting in at the gym, which specific types of foods you’re eating, which supplements
you’re taking, if your daily calorie intake is not landing in the proper range, you’re
just not going to make any real gains, period. Calorie intake is the absolute foundation
of your entire diet, and everything else that you do is ultimately built on top of that.
So simply put, calories are energy, and in order to gain significant muscle you need
to eat in a calorie surplus by taking in more energy than you’re burning, because that’s
going to provide your body with the extra energy that it needs to build new muscle.
In people who are brand new to training or for those who have really good genetics it
is possible to build a small amount of muscle while eating at maintenance or in a deficit,
because your body can use the calories from stored fat as a way to fuel the process, but
it’s not going to be anywhere near what you’d gain by eating in a straight calorie
surplus. So bottom line, again, if your primary goal is to get bigger and stronger, and to
do it in the fastest way possible, then you need to be eating in a calorie surplus. So
here are the 4 steps that I recommend following to determine your individual calorie needs
to build muscle. Step 1 is to find your calorie maintenance level. Your calorie maintenance
level is the number of calories that you’d need to eat each day in order to maintain
your current body weight. This takes into account your basal metabolic rate or BMR,
which is the number of calories that your body needs each day for natural processes,
likes breathing and digestion and circulation etcetera, plus your activity level. Now keep
in mind that your initial calculation here should always be treated as sort of an “educated
guess” at the start, because there’s just no way for you to know for sure what any single
person’s exact calorie maintenance level is going to be because it’s affected by
so many different factors. So you just want to estimate at the start, and then tweak it
later on depending on the results that you get. So as a basic starting point, you can
just take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by one of the following activity level
figures to estimate your current calorie maintenance level. And you’ll want to take into account
your training frequency, your job, as well as additional activities that you perform
outside of the gym when you make your selection. Step 2 is to create a small calorie surplus
to support muscle growth. So now that you have your starting calorie maintenance level
in place, you’ll then want to increase that number in order to land on the proper daily
calorie intake for muscle growth. Now the key here is to take things slowly and to only
create a small surplus at the start, and then gradually adjust it as you go along. Always
keep in mind that any time you try to gain a significant amount of muscle, you’re always
going to gain some body fat along with it. This is completely normal and it’s to be
expected, because there’s just no way to divert 100% of your calorie surplus towards
muscle growth only. And if you start off by making a sudden, large increase to your calorie
intake by just stuffing yourself with food all day long in an effort to “get huge”, you’ll
almost certainly end up gaining an excessive amount of body fat in the process which you’re
then going to be stuck with for the entire duration of your bulking phase. Your body
can only build a limited amount of muscle over any given day anyway, so just eating
more and more calories beyond what your body can use at one time, that’s not going to help
you build muscle at a faster rate anyway. So, my recommendation to build muscle effectively
while keeping your body fat levels under control, is to start by adding 250-350 calories on
top of your maintenance level. This amount is large enough to help you build muscle at
or very close to your maximum potential, but it’s also small enough to help you stay relatively
lean throughout the process. So again just take your estimated calorie maintenance level,
increase it by 250-350, and that’s going to give you a range of calories to aim for each
day. Step 3 is to monitor your initial results and adjust accordingly. So, now that you have
your starting point calorie intake in place, you’re going to want to monitor your changes
in body weight, because that’s going to tell you how large or how small of a surplus you’re
actually in. If you’re gaining body weight too quickly then you’ll need to dial the
calories back, or if you’re gaining weight too slowly (or not at all) then you’ll obviously
want to increase them. A good general guideline for a typical beginner is to aim for a total
body weight gain of about 2-3 pounds per month. Now this is just an estimate though because
it will depend on the person, but, if you’re gaining much less than that then you’re
probably not building muscle at your maximum potential, and if you’re gaining much more
than that, then you’re probably gaining body fat at too quick a pace. And for every
year of proper training and proper eating you have under your belt, those figures should
decrease by about 50%. So make sure to weigh yourself first thing in the morning without
any clothes on, before eating and after using the washroom, and then based on the results
that you’re getting, you can adjust your calories up or down until you fall into your targeted
weight gain range. And step 4 is to gradually increase your calories as you make continued
gains. So once you’ve settled into your diet and you have a good idea of how many
calories you require to maintain your current weight as well as to gain new muscle (and
this is something that just largely comes with experience), you’ll want to continue
monitoring your results and tapering your calories upward whenever you hit a weight
gain plateau. Remember, your body not only needs calories to build additional muscle,
but also to maintain the existing muscle that you have. So the more and more lean mass you
add to your body, the higher you’ll need to increase your calorie intake in order to keep
up. To do this effectively, just monitor your changes in body weight, and whenever they
stall for a period of about 2 weeks, you can increase your daily calorie intake by about
100-150 in order to keep things moving along, and just continue with that process until
you’ve reached a level of muscular development that you’re happy with or until you want
to switch into a cutting phase and focus on losing the extra body fat that you’ve gained.
So remember, proper calorie intake forms the entire foundation of your diet, and without
it, your results are either going to be far below your potential or they’re going to be
non-existent altogether. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking this basic principle
like so many other people do, or all of your effort in the gym could basically just go
to waste. So thanks for watching, I hope you found this advice helpful. For more effective,
the point nutritional advice along with training and nutrition tips to help you build muscle
and lose fat at your maximum potential, make sure to check out my complete “Body Transformation
Blueprint” System by clicking here or using the link in the description box below. If
you enjoyed the video, make sure to hit the LIKE button, leave a comment and subscribe
to stay up-to-date. And you can also check out my official blog over at for
all of my latest articles, tips and other updates. Talk to you again soon.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Great video! Watching this video Basically eliminates the need to hire a "macro coach" if the goal is to lean bulk. Do one for cutting too and all "macro coaches" will be out of business bro Lol.

  2. Thank you very much Sean. Although this is a largely discussed subject, and there is already videos talking about it in ur channel, this video adds up by providing an insight on how to adjust gains over time and avoid plateau. Good Work.

  3. Sean man you out did yourself here. Awesome information..simple but detailed we appreciate ya!

  4. "How Many Calories Per Day To Build Muscle?"

    In case you missed the blog post or just prefer video, here's my complete rundown of how to calculate your daily calorie needs to build muscle effectively while staying lean throughout the process…

  5. I go to the gym once a day. After that I remain fairly sedentary. I'm in the gym 90 to 120 minutes. what activity level would I be?

  6. Sean, what do you think about transition point from cut to bulk as the body wants to store fat with any chance it has. How do you prevent it? Do you have to wait some time? Thnx

  7. Solid no-B.S. advice Sean. In the past I've made the mistake of consuming a larger surplus while in muscle building mode. In the end it didn't increase my muscle gains above and beyond what I experience in a 200-300 calorie surplus… plus, it meant that I had to spend more time in a deficit to diet down and burn off the excess fat I gained. If I had kept my surplus small I could have spent more time in that surplus, leading to more gains.

  8. Hey sean I had a couple of questions, so pretty much what I got from this video is that we put on muscle everyday we workout and are in a surplus is this corrct? Also you mentioned if you put on too much fat you're stuck with it throughout the bulk so there is no way your body will re composition if you're nutrition eventually gets on point

  9. @Sean Nalewanyj , I have been a follower of your channel for a while and I have probably seen all of your videos but this is the first time I disagree with you on a topic. I could always gain muscle when I am on a calorie deficient and I don't think that it's because I have good genetics. On my last diet, I lost around 10 KG and it's obvious that I was on a calorie deficient because I lost so much fat but also simultaneously I could increase my arm size by 1 cm (from 42 to 43) in the same period. My arm size was actually supposed to decrease because I was losing fat, so probably my gains was more than just 1 cm in size because my gains also compensated the size I lost from losing fat. I got also stronger in that period. Of course that my diet had a lot of proteins from good sources and I was eating healthy. This also not happened in a single time in my life, I had experienced the same few years back. I think 5 years in future, people will start referring to this matter as an old myth like they used to tell that one could absorb only 30 grams protein at a time so that we should eat small portions in every 3 hours. Anyway, I always appreciate your comments and videos, but this time I must disagree with you.

  10. hey sean great vid i just started counting my macros but im not sure if im using the right multiplier for my calories,,im a gate officer,dont do much but walk around a little bit and i go to the gym 5x per week do heavy weightlifting for 1 1/2 to 2 hours ,.which activity level would i be??

  11. I do cardio 3-4 times a week and gym exercising 3-4 times a week. Im not sure am i very active or extremely active, what you think?

  12. I go to the gym 4 times per week what activity multiplier should I use, I'd guess between 15 and 16. Correct me if I'm wrong. Thanks

  13. Thanks my man. One question what would you say is the maximum amount of muscle gain in pounds that you can have in a year if you are an intermediate lifter? And been working out for 2 years. Thanks again

  14. Sean I love your videos but I'm a bit confused… in this video you recommend increasing caloric intake by a flat 250 – 350 calories, however in some of your others you suggest an intake based on a 15-20% percentage. These 2 calculations seem to produce considerably different results for myself, and I was wondering if that could be explained. Also, you seem to use different caloric maintenance formulas in some of your older videos. Have things changed? Thank you.

  15. Sean. I am doing a begginer hiit strength training routine 20 minutes. I am taking like a full ten days to recover is that to much time? I just calculated my maintenance and I believe I was not eating enough can that be why Iam feeling lousy and taking long to recover? great video😎 thanks.

  16. So eat 300 to 500 over your maintenance. Cause mostly your maintenance is 2,400 so your calorie surplus would be 2,800 to 2,900 which is me, but it all depends on activity level, and how much you burn through out the day.

  17. I'm 18, 157lbs 5'10 and moderately active, did my weight x 15 and says my maintenance is 2350 calories?? That's 150 calories less than the average maintenance calories for males, makes no sense, should be more like 2600-2700 right??

  18. You really piss me off with your calorie counting BS. Yeah yeah I saw you on the main front of another video and you looked skinny. Whats up? Did you have a burnout after counting your calories. Of course you had. Our fellow bodybuilder knows all about building muscle right? You should know that not all calories are equal. Secondly, people work, they go to the doctor, doing other things, so it is practically impossible to meet your daily deadline and go through your fixed meal diet plan every f*cking day. What you are actually doing is making you nuts meeting your deadline and that is plain stupid and brings you nowhere. Besides, do you really think you can gain control over your body by sticking to artificial numbers? The body does not respond in the way we want it. The body does not know what a calorie is and your daily energy requirement cannot be calculated by some f*cking online calculator which your probably recommend. Consistent calories, BS science. It is sad to watch those noob skinny guys fall into your trap and ending nowhere in the long run.

  19. Can you eat a surplus on the days you lift and a deficit on your rest days to gain muscle and lose body fat at the same time?

  20. Can you do a video about those 10,000 calorie challenges?
    Why do people do them and would you do them?

  21. I agree 1-2 lbs of muscle per month is probably max for most beginners. But I think for a lean beginner who’s bulking they should try to gain at least 2 maybe even 3 lbs per month so that way you ensure you’re gaining the maximum amount of muscle possible given you’re training hard enough, because if you’re overemphasizing the need to stay at 10% Body Fat when bulking you’re def Holding back some muscle gains you could be making. Even if you gain 5-10 lbs of fat you can still cut for a month or 2 and get that off

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