In order to build lean muscle mass, one needs to eat the right proportions of macronutrients. The macronutrients (also known as macros) the body needs include proteins, carbs, and fat. According to experts, the overall daily macros intake is the foundation of every muscle-building plan. Up to 90 percent of any workout plan results from a dietary perspective. So, what are the best macros for bulking that will optimize muscle building while minimizing fat gains?
Macros and Bulking
Macros are essentially proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. They are what your body needs to generate energy, to recover and to carry out day-to-day functions. Each of the three macronutrients has an assigned calorific value. Fat has a calorie value of 9 per gram while protein and carbs each has a calorie value of 4 per gram.
Bulking, on the other hand, is defined as the process of gaining body weight, ideally in the form of lean muscle growth. You can achieve bulking in either of two different ways. The first approach referred to as eat everything involves eating as much as physiologically comfortable without monitoring calories. This delivers excelled bulking but it also brings a lot of unwanted fat. The ratio of fat to proteins can go as high as 4:1.
The second approach referred to as lean gaining allows trainees to gain lean muscle slowly while minimizing fat gain. It involves calorie monitoring. Most people prefer this approach because it guarantees them good results although slowly.
The Lean Gaining Approach of Bulking
The human body has its own way of doing things. Any attempts to increase muscle mass will automatically result in gaining some amount of body fat as well. It is a natural process. Any surplus dietary calories are stored in the form of fat. While many people would like to convert the entire calorie surplus to muscle growth, the body simply refuses to work that way. The only way to go about it to appreciably increase muscle bulk is to minimize fat.
Another important fact every muscle builder needs to know is the physiological differences between individuals. This makes it impossible to have the best and standardized set of macros for bulking that will deliver the best results to each person. Each individual responds differently to the varying levels of the macronutrients based on certain factors. The best way to go about it is to develop a basic plan, a starting point for an average trainee. Thereafter, you can develop a plan that suits your bulking needs.
1. Determining the daily caloric intake for lean muscle growth
The very first step in knowing the right macros for bulking is for you to determine your daily calorie needs. The total net energy balance in the body of a trainer will determine whether he/she gains, losses or maintains weight. This number is vital because it is what is translated into the correct amounts of proteins, fat, and carbs for bulking.
Generally, calorie surplus (or net energy balance) of 350 is high enough to enable an individual to maximize muscle growth and low enough to minimize gain of excess fat. We will use this value in an equation later to determine the amount of calories you will need to maximize lean muscle growth and prevent excessive fat.
We start by calculating your basal metabolic rate. This is the number of calories you will burn at rest. It differs depending on gender, height, weight, age and the level of activity of an individual.
For men: (6.25 x height in centimeters) + (10 x weight in kilograms) – (5 x age in years) + 5
For women: (6.25 x height in centimeters) + (10 x weight in kilograms) – (5 x age in years) -161
Enter the values correctly and work out the arithmetic. Multiply the result thereof by your activity level. Use the following guidelines:
· Extremely Active (strenuous physical job or intense daily workout routine) = 1.9
· Very Active (intense activity for 6-7 days/week) = 1.725
· Moderately Active (moderate workout for 3-5 days/week) = 1.55
· Lightly Active (light workout for 1-3 days/week) = 1.375
· Sedentary (little or no exercise) = 1.2
The product of the above calculation is your daily caloric maintenance level. It is essentially the number of calories you need to take per day to maintain your current weight. Remember the calorie surplus of 350 mentioned earlier. Simply add this to your daily maintenance calorie value. The sum is your daily caloric intake for bulking.
2. Determining the Right Proportions of Macros for Bulking
After knowing the amount of calories you need to consume daily, you now need to break down the total calorie intake into the specific amounts of grams of carbs, protein, and fat. The macros breakdown will determine the type of weight gained or lost (whether fat or muscle). Here is how to go about it:
· Take proteins based on your body weight
Experts recommend that you consume 0.8 to 1 gram per pound of your body weight. The amount will vary depending on your lean body mass as well as other factors but the range is good enough.
· Take fat based on the percentage of your total calories
You must take sufficient amount of fat to optimize mood, testosterone levels and promote general well-being. Experts recommend that your daily fat consumption should be 25 percent of your total calories. Multiply your total caloric intake by 0.25 then divide the product by 9. You will get your daily fat intake in grams.
· The remainder of your daily calorie intake for bulking is your daily carbs need
To arrive at this number, add the sum of protein calories (4 calories/gram) and total fat calories (as calculated above) and then subtract it from your daily caloric needs for bulking. The result is the total number of calories that you will need to get from carbs. Once you get this number, divide it by 4 (4 calories per gram of carbs). You will get the total daily grams of carbohydrates you will need to achieve your bulking needs.
Taking the right amount of macros for bulking is essential if you want to achieve your fitness goals in muscle building. With the right approach, it is possible to maximize muscle growth and minimize fat gains allowing you to bulk with healthy, lean muscle growth. Your current weight, height, level activity and age are important determinants of your daily caloric intake plan for bulking.