How many calories to use to gain muscle mass?

Sabes quantas calorias deves ingerir para ganhar massa muscular?

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

It's through the calories that you're going to get good results or not.

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

The method is very similar to the one used to know how many calories you need to lose fat, changing only at the end.

Often the lack of results is due to the 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 what your basal metabolism is.

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

Even if you don't do anything during the day, you're going to burn calories.

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Besides, the more mass you have, the higher your basal metabolism.

So, as you may notice, it's 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 the number of calories to lose weight, you know how it works.

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


Pedro is 6 feet six feet old and at the age of 25 his weight is 80kg.

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

Pedro's account is as follows.

(10 x 80) + (6.25 x 180) – (5 x 25) + 5

800 + 1125 – 125 + 5 = 1805 kcal

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

These are the calories Pedro's going to burn at rest.

It's obvious knowing the calories you burn at rest isn't enough.

muscle mass calories

Level of activity

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

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're going to 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.

Level of activity Multiplier
Little or no 1,2
Take 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 by the number associated with your activity level.

Attention, the level of activity 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 will probably be intense.

If on the other hand you only go out of the house to train, even if it's 6 times a week, your level of activity 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 day-to-day life is not very demanding, spending much of it sitting in an office.

Pedro's calculation is as follows.

1805 x 1.55 = 2800 Kcal

That is, Pedro considers his level of activity 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 it, he wants to go up, and gain some muscle mass.

muscle mass calories

Calories to gain muscle mass

Like Pedro, you want to gain muscle mass, so it's not enough for you 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 fat mass is already a little different.

What should you do then?

Slightly increase calories.

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

To achieve the desired increase in lean mass it will add 300 Kcal to your daily life, and so your diet will rely on approximately 3100 Kcal daily.

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

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

If you have ease in gaining weight, opt for a lower number, but if on the other hand you have difficulties, then use a higher number.

Above all, don't make too many extreme increases.

Adjust according to your results.

muscle mass calories


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

It's essential to evaluate your results and adapt your diet.

The mirror is useful, but it shouldn't be the only way to evaluate your results.

Beyond the mirror you have the scale, and not only.

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

Plus, it's easy to take multiple photos 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 reviews, then you can add another 200 or 300 Kcal to your diet.

If on the other hand you're gaining weight too fast, it might be a good idea to slightly reduce the number of calories you eat daily so you don't gain too much fat.

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


Knowing how many calories you need is useful 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 maximize lean mass gain, minimize fat mass gain and better adjust the amount of macronutrients you should eat.

It's basically going to help you get the best results possible.

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

You also don't need to be strict enough to get exactly the right number of calories right, but always try to reach an approximate number.

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

Here are articles to help you with this task.

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