Calorie Intake to Build Muscle: A Bulking Meal Plan

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Understanding your calorie intake to build muscle is essential to your success. As similar to losing weight, the way you eat and what you eat can deeply improve or detriment your muscle building process. Although it seems simple enough, there is some science to take note of to fully understand what food means to someone looking to gain lean muscle mass.

It’s more common than you’d think for people to put a lot of time into training only to find they’re not getting the gains they want and in these cases, diet is likely what is to blame. Trust us when we say, your calorie intake needed to build muscle is more than you’d think.

The Importance of Eating to Build Muscle

You might be wondering why food is such an important component of building muscle and the simple answer is that it gives you the nutrition your muscles need to get bigger. When you train, you’re breaking your muscles down and as such, they require support to build themselves back up again. Training hard and not maintaining a healthy diet plan will only break down your muscles, causing them to never grow.

This is one of the main reasons strength training is as difficult as it is. Every movement creates a micro-tear which will heal over time when the muscles are nourished and rested. With that said, you need the perfect amount of calories to protect and build your muscles.

Calculating Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure

Throughout the day, energy is what your body relies on for your organs to keep functioning, as well as to give you mental acuity. This energy is received from the food you eat, as your calories are burned and transformed into energy. For example, an individual losing weight will need to eat calories at a deficit so that their body will eventually eat away their fat stores by the end of the day.

When it comes to building muscle, you’re going to have to calculate your TDEE to determine if you’re eating an excessive amount of calories which won’t cause your body to burn your fat stores. It’s also important to note that eating at your TDEE is only going to maintain your current figure, keeping it in the same shape until you start eating more daily.

To calculate your TDEE there are online calculators for you to use; however, you can also do the calculations yourself using this method:

  1. Measure your weight in pounds and multiply the number by 14. This will give you your lower-calorie maintenance level.
  2. Multiply that figure by 17 and this will give you your higher-calorie maintenance level.
  3. Your ideal amount of consumed calories will be somewhere in between these two numbers depending on how fast your metabolism is and how active you are.

Now that you have an idea of what your TDEE is, you know exactly what the minimum number of calories you should be consuming daily is. Eating more than this amount will help you to bulk up faster than before, which is exactly what you should be looking for.

The Type of Food You Eat

Equally as important as calculating the calories you consume daily, you’re also going to need to take the type of food you eat into account. Although we’d all like to think you can eat as many fast-food burgers as your suggested calorie intake will allow, this will build unhealthy fats that never turn into muscle.

Instead, you’re going to need to focus on foods that have an adequate amount of proteins, including amino acids. The most recommended foods to eat when you’re looking to bulk up include:

1. Eggs

If you’re a fan of breakfast foods, you’ll be glad to know that eggs are one of the best things to eat when you want to gain muscle. They’re packed with high-quality protein as well as essential vitamins, such as B vitamins. In addition, eggs are known to have leucine, an amino acid highly recommended for muscle gain.

2. Chicken Breast

The main premise behind eating better to bulk up has a lot to do with meat, especially lean meats. Chicken breasts have approximately 26 grams of protein per serving as well as niacin and vitamin B6. With the combination of these elements, your body will have better support before, during, and after your workouts, so you can gain muscle faster.

3. Salmon

There’s nothing quite like having a fantastic piece of fish to finish off the day and salmon is one of the favorites for building muscle. A single serving of salmon offers up to two grams of omega-3 fatty acids as well as 17 grams of protein. By including salmon in your daily eating plan, you’ll experience heightened energy levels.

4. Soybeans

Soybeans can easily be prepared in numerous ways, whether you eat them on their own or combine them into a salad. There is 14 grams of protein in a ½ cup of soybeans as well as vitamin K, phosphorus, iron, and unsaturated fats. It’s one of the top ingredients for boosting iron production, especially for those with a deficiency.

5. Beans

Aside from soybeans, it’s also highly recommended you consider adding regular beans to your diet. The most popular choices are kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans, as a cup carries approximately 15 grams of protein. Other advantages of eating beans are you’ll have improved fiber levels as well as B vitamins, not to mention phosphorus, iron, and magnesium.

6. Protein Powders and Supplements

Even though you’ll likely spend most of your time focusing on whole foods, there is the potential for giving your muscles an extra boost by considering dietary supplements such as protein shakes. If you find that you’re struggling to keep your protein consumption above your regular daily intake, supplements are ideal.

With a protein shake, you can easily replace a meal or add it into your regular diet plan. You’ll want to make sure though that it is made with as many natural ingredients as possible. Ensure the source of protein is from whey, casein, peas, beef, chicken, or even soy, instead of artificial ingredients.

Calorie Intake to Build Muscle: Final Thoughts

It might not be a one-size-fits-all approach, but calculating your personal calorie intake to build muscle is easy once you know your total daily energy expenditure. By eating an excessive number of calories, you’ll begin bulking faster than ever before.