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How to Gain Weight Counting Macros

Bretton Curtis - TOBS

If you want to pack some muscle on to your frame, you're going to have to start being intentional.

Last week we talked about calories macronutrients, calculating your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and using them to lose weight effectively. This week we are talking about taking those same metrics and using them to gain weight effectively. It's extremely simple, just as simple as losing weight.

How much weight should I be trying to gain?

Most of us have a "goal weight" or the weight we think will get us the overall shape and physique we desire. Achieving this is not going to be overnight, the longer it takes to gain the weight, the more quality the weight will be. Gaining weight can happen more quickly but the quality will probably not be the results you're looking for. For a good old fashioned "bulk" aiming for about 1 lb per week will probably be a good place to start. If you want to gain 20 lbs, plan on it taking about 20 weeks.

What are the calories needed to gain 1 lb per week?

First you need to go calculate you TDEE, you can find this in last weeks post How to Lose Weight Counting Macros. Once you find the TDEE, simply add 3500 calories per week, divided among 7 days. This could be done easily by adding simply 500 calories per day (caloric surplus) for 7 days or making a couple days even heavier (weekends) and dividing the total goal of 3500 by 5 after substracting your high weekend days ie: 700 calorie surplus sat+sun = 1400, 3500-700-700= 2100 remaining surplus/5 = 420 surplus m-f. It's important to not try and cram all of your surplus calories into just one day or so because this can cause bloating and gi issues as well as negatively effect your blood sugar response. It's also important that these calories are coming from whole food sources as well as some protien supplements and not just junk.

What about the macros?

The macros while in a surplus matter just as much as they do in a deficit. Protien being your number one priority. If you're trying to gain weight it's unlikely that you are trying to just gain fat and will want to support the best environment possible for growth. Protien is #1. You should be eating around a gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. Minimum Carbohydrates Added carb around your workout (intra,post) can definitely help you gain muscle due to the insulin response from carbs coupled with physical activity. This is due from the spike in Insulin. Insulin will help shuttle the nutrients to the muscles and use your fuel more efficiently as long as you aren't abusing it too often. Quick digesting - Pre workout carbs can give you an extra boost and help you achieve a better pump (who doesn't like that?).

Fats, it doesn't make much sense to add a bunch of fat to your diet to add muscle as fat is much more easily asimilated from dietary fat to stored fat rather than the process of storing sugar as fat. It's important to maintain around 30% of your maintenance calories from fat to maintain healthy hormones.

Example: a 200 lb person with an activity level of 12 would need 2400 calories per day to maintain, 2900 calories to gain 1 lb.

2400( calculate fat from maintenance) x .3 = 720 calories/ 9 cal per gram = 80 g fat

2900 bulk calories - 720 fat calories leaves 2180 calories worth of carbs and fat left to play with.

2180 calories/ 4 calories per gram of carb or protein = 545 g of carbs or protein. Here you can have some flexibility as long as you're maintaining your 1 g/lb body weight protien requirement. Ie 200g protien minimum, 345 g carbohydrates maximum.

Measure and adjust

If you aren't consistently gaining 1 lb per week you will have to make some adjustments. Remember to weigh yourself at the same time every day (I recommend first thing in the morning) and writing it down, taking a weekly average. Track this number week to week and not day by day. Eventually it will become second nature and you may not even have to measure your food to gain or lose weight from so many reps of doing it day in and day out.

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