I remember when I first begun lifting weights, I didn’t really bother changing my diet at all. In fact, for a while all I did was lift, and that was it. And, I did notice a difference. I did put on some extra muscle, but, certainly not an amount which was really noticeable to anybody but myself.
In order to put on a lot of muscle when bodybuilding you need to eat more calories than you normally would. If you’ve ever managed to stay at the same weight for any period of time before, what you have done in bodybuilding jargon is ‘maintained’ your weight. And, you’ve done so by consistently eating the same level of calories.
Well, in order to gain weight, you must eat more calories than your maintenance level. The idea is, to eat just enough to feed and grow the worked muscles, but, not so many that you start to put on pounds of fat.
You do this in what is called a bulking phase. A bulking phase can last as long as you want it to. Most tend to bulk as long as they can, before the fat increases become too much, and then they cut, to maintain muscle and lose fat. During the bulking phase, because you are eating a calorie surplus, the calories which aren’t used for building muscle become stored as fat; so over time, you will put fat on too. It’s just how it goes.
- To maintain, you should eat 15 calories per lb of bodyweight, daily.
- To bulk, you should eat 15 calories per lb of bodyweight, plus 500, daily.
- To cut, you should eat 15 calories per lb of bodyweight, minus 500, daily.