calories to gain muscle mass

How many calories do I need to gain muscle mass?

Calories to gain muscle mass

Whether your goal is to lose fat or gain muscle, you know that calories are essential.

It is through calories that you will achieve, or not, good results.

It is also important to know how many proteins, carbohydrates and fats you must use it daily.

The method is very similar to the one used to know how many calories do you need to lose fat, changing only in the final part.

Often the lack of results is due to a lack of calories, so do you know how many calories you should eat to gain muscle mass?

Basal Metabolism

The first step is to know your basal metabolism.

Basal metabolism is the number of calories that your body burns just to function.

Even if you don't do anything during the day, you will burn calories.

In addition, the more mass you have, the higher your basal metabolism.

So, as you must realize, it is essential to start by knowing approximately how many calories you burn at rest.

Calculate basal metabolism

The calculation of basal metabolism between men and women is slightly different, and below you will find the method for both.


(10 x Body weight) + (6.25 x Height) ? (5 x Age) + 5 = Basal Metabolism


(10 x Body weight) + (6.25 x Height) ? (5 x Age) ? 161 = Basal Metabolism

If you read our article on number of calories to lose weight, you already know how it works.

If not, let's call Pedro again to exemplify.


Pedro measures 1.80m and at 25 years old his weight is 80kg.

You want to increase your muscle mass, and as you know the importance of diet to achieve this, you will calculate the number of calories you need to have good results.

Pedro's account is as follows.

(10x80) + (6.25x180) ? (5 x 25) + 5

800 + 1125 ? 125 + 5 = 1805 kcal

That is, Pedro's basal metabolism is approximately 1805 Kcal.

These are the calories that Pedro will burn at rest.

Obviously knowing the calories you burn at rest is not enough.

We need to know Pedro's calories to gain muscle mass.

calories to gain muscle mass

Activity level

As with weight loss, your daily activity level will influence the number of calories you should be eating.

A person with a demanding routine should not consume the same calories as someone who spends the day sleeping.

The more demanding your day the more calories you will need.

Below is a table that will help you calculate an approximate amount of calories you need to maintain your weight, according to your daily routine.

Activity level Multiplier
Little or none 1.2
Light 1,375
Moderate 1.55
Intense 1,725
Maximum intensity 1.9


What should you do with this table?

It's simple.

Take the value of your basal metabolism and multiply it by the number associated with your activity level.

Please note, activity level refers not only to gym workouts, but also to the rest of your day.

If you have two jobs and still train 4 to 5 times a week, then your level of activity is likely to be intense.

If, on the other hand, you only leave home to train, even if it is 6 times a week, your activity level will be light, or at most, moderate.


Pedro continued to read the article, and after learning that his basal metabolism is approximately 1805 Kcal, he will now also take into account his lifestyle.

He trains four times a week, and his daily life is not very demanding, spending a large part of him sitting in an office.

Pedro's calculation is as follows.

1805 x 1.55 = 2800 Kcal

In other words, Pedro considers his level of activity to be moderate, which according to the table, gives him a daily value of 2800 Kcal to maintain his current weight.

Of course, Pedro doesn't just want to keep going, he wants to climb up and gain some muscle mass.

athlete doing sit-ups in the gym

Calories to gain muscle mass

Like Pedro, you want to gain muscle mass, so it is not enough to know how many calories you need to maintain your weight.

The goal is to gain lean muscle mass, not simply weight.

If the goal was simply to gain weight, then it would be extremely simple. Eat, eat and eat.

To gain lean mass and the minimum of fat mass is already a little different.

what should you do then?

Slightly increase calories.

Pedro knows that with 2800 Kcal he will keep his weight stable, but that will not give him the muscle mass he wants.

To achieve the desired increase in lean mass he will add 300 Kcal to his daily life, and for this reason, his diet will count with approximately 3100 Kcal daily.

The increase is small and conservative, but it is quite possibly enough that you can gain maximum lean mass and minimum fat mass.

That is, what you should do is add between 300 to 400 Kcal to the amount you need to maintain your current weight.

If you are easy to gain weight, choose a lower number, but if on the other hand you have difficulties, then use a higher number.

Above all, don't make too extreme increases.

Adjust according to your results.

calories to gain muscle mass


Calculating the number of calories you need to gain muscle mass is useful, but it is not an exact science and serves only as a guide.

It is essential to evaluate your results and adapt your diet.

The mirror is useful, but it should not be the only way to evaluate your results.

Beyond the mirror you have the scale, and more.

You can measure certain parts of the body, such as the arms, legs and belly.

In addition, it is easy to take several pictures every 2 weeks to be more objective.

The more tools you have to measure your progress, the better.

If after 3 weeks you are the same in all evaluations, then you can add another 200 or 300 Kcal to your diet.

If, on the other hand, you are gaining weight too quickly, it may be a good idea to slightly reduce the number of calories you eat daily so as not to gain too much fat.

Finally, don't forget that as you gain weight, your caloric expenditure increases and you may need to add calories.

Calories to gain mass, the conclusion

Knowing how many calories you need is helpful when you want to lose weight and fat, but not only.

It is also extremely useful when the goal is to gain muscle mass.

It will help you to maximize lean mass gain, minimize fat mass gain and adjust the amount of macronutrients you should be eating in the best way.

Basically it will help you to get the best possible results.

Don't forget that the number of calories needed is only an approximation, and you should adjust it whenever necessary.

You also do not need to be so rigorous as to exactly hit the ideal number of calories, but always try to reach an approximate number.

Now that you know how many calories you need to gain muscle mass, it may be a good idea to know how much macronutrients you need.

Here you will find articles to help you with this task.

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