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How Do I Use This Calculator?
This calculator is for people who want to increase muscle (bulk up) while keeping fat gains to a minimum.
An effective weight training program is absolutely essential (otherwise all calorie excess will be stored as fat). See the weight gaining article for more.
- The calculator is a start point for weight gain – because of our unique makeup we all respond differently.
- The Calorie Boost option is there for those who have real trouble gaining any sort of weight (the kind of people that can eat anything but never gain).
- Due to the large amounts of food needed, meals will need to be divided into 5 or 6 per day.
- If you are really trying to gain then keep cardio exercise to a minimum (perhaps 2 low-intensity walks per week).
Weight Training Program
Stick to the big core movements:
- Bench Presses
- Push Ups
- Pull Ups
- Bent Over Rows
- Overhead / Shoulder Presses
Do them once a week in a split routine like this:
Monday: Deadlift, Bench Press
Wednesday: Dips, Chins or Pull Ups
Friday: Squats, Shoulder Press
Further: Take a look at the downloadable program Old School New Body. Read Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength or look at the StrongLifts 5×5 program.
How Many Calories Should I Eat?
Gaining weight requires a calorie excess.
Depending on your current metabolic rate, activity levels (and other factors including hormones), this amount will vary from person to person.
Begin with this amount and monitor your weight week-by-week. If you are not gaining, then you will need to boost your food intake until you see gains.
If you have trouble putting on weight you will need to eat a LOT of food. For some people this could be 5000+ Calories per day.
As you gain weight, you will need to re-calculate your calorie needs as a high weight means more calories are burned every day!
Having Trouble Gaining Weight?
You are not alone! Read on for some good places to get help.
Some writers refer to you as a hardgainer – you do the same exercises and eat the same as your friend. He puts on muscle, and you gain nothing.
We recommend avoiding muscle building magazines.
Most present a very false and unrealistic representation of the hard work and discipline it takes to gain weight. A number of magazines are owned by supplement companies – which makes some of these publications one big glossy ad for the supplement of the month.
Supplements can play a role – but the basis of weight gain is nutrition – not pills and potions.
Weight gain comes from three sources; fat, muscle, or water. The kind of weight that is gained depends on:
- Kind of exercise performed
- Macronutrient levels
- Your genes.
Only the genetically superior will gain pure muscle mass without any fat (and often this can occur with weight training beginners – called beginner gains).
The average person will gain fat alongside muscle – this can often only be monitored by measuring body fat percentage against weight.
Some believe that more protein may be beneficial if more intense training is carried out – but this is a controversial point and many bodybuilders often consume too much protein.
However research does point to the fact that muscle hypertrophy (growth) requires a positive balance of muscle protein and amino acids. This can only come from food intake. Without food, resistance training can result in muscle catabolism (breakdown).
Hormones – specifically insulin and testosterone have a significant role to play also.
Formula Used in Calculator
This weight gainer will estimate your current daily maintenance level and add a percentage of calories to the total. Daily maintenance level is estimated using the Mifflin St Jeor formula.
There are many opinions as to what constitutes the best macronutrient levels. However it is commonly agreed that increased amounts of protein are helpful if doing strength training.
The calculator will estimate optimal nutrient levels for quality gains.
- Protein is calculated at 1.1 gram per pound of body weight.
- Fats will come in at 30% of total daily intake.
- The remainder is made up of carbohydrates.
If you struggle to get enough protein into your body from your diet try using whey protein. This is taken in shake form and can be had at any time throughout the day.
- Mifflin, M. D., St Jeor, S. T., Hill, L. A., Scott, B. J., Daugherty, S. A., Koh, Y. O. (1990). A new predictive equation for resting energy expenditure in healthy individuals. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 51(2), 241-247. URL: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/51/2/241.short
- Tipton, K., Wolfe, R. R. (2001). Exercise, protein metabolism, and muscle growth. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 11(1), 109-132. URL: https://dspace.stir.ac.uk/handle/1893/7628#.VH0CFtYVfxo
- Yarasheski, K. E., Zachwieja, J. J., Campbell, J. A., Bier, D. M. (1995). Effect of growth hormone and resistance exercise on muscle growth and strength in older men. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 31(2), E268. URL: http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/ajpendo/268/2/E268.full.pdf