T Nation

Bulking: How Much Over Maintenance?


For those of you currently bulking, what percentage over maintenance are you currently eating? I realize most of us aren't calorie counters, but just curious on a rough estimate..


Bulking just means eating enough to gain muscle. That is ALL it means. It means you are not worried excessively about how lean you are. It means you are making mass gains your TOP priority. There is no preset caloric limit. You eat enough to make gains, period.

This is drastically different than the retards we get on this forum who think they are about to maintain sub-8% body fat levels the entire way or those who think you get big by losing fat at the exact same time.


I realize that bulking is about eating whatever is necessary to gain the most muscle, just curious how much over maintenance that is working out to be for most people. I know you're in a cutting phase right now, but if you had to estimate what percentage over maintenance you typically eat while bulking, what would you say?

I know it's not a scientific formula and is going to vary from person to person, just looking for a rough estimate (10% over maintenance, 50% over maintenance, or what?).


I would think it's highly individual.

A lean ectomorph vs. a thicker mesomorph - I would say one of them certainly needs more calories than the other.

Exactly what that # is - hard to say. Again, it will wind up being more of a trial and error thing than an exact formula....


I don't calculate it...AT ALL. I eat until the scale goes up...PERIOD. That is as complicated as I make this. There is nothing more to it. No calculations, no spread sheets and no massive computer networks.

If the scale ain't moving, I ain't eating enough. If I'm not getting any stronger, I am not eating enough. If I am doing nothing but gaining body fat, THAT is when changes are made and I cut back.


It took me about 2 years to really believe this but guess what, your body doesn't just say well I got 3500 calories today, that's 350 over maintenance so I'm gonna put on 1/10th of a lb of muscle today. Tada, it's just math!

It has nothing to do with math, it has to do with a myriad of factors between how the meals we're set up macro wise, insulin factors, food allergies or nutrient deficiencies, recovery, activity that day, the winning lottery balls from today's drawing and everything else.

You can't figure it out on paper and say if I do X im getting Y. As far as "bulking", I just try to get stronger, at this point if I'm getting stronger consistently I'll be gaining muscle. If I'm not getting stronger, I eat more, not 273.54 calories which breaks down perfectly into 70.97% protein. I just add another meal in the day. 5 meals for dropping body fat and 7 meals for gaining strength seems to work for me.

Also, everyone has many worse problems than trying to breakdown every meal into a calculator. Are you sleeping enough? Do you go out and get trashed every night? Do you train hard or just kinda go?


I would think it is something you need to adjust on an almost weekly basis..

As PX said, just add until you grow..


I hear what y'all are saying. It was really just a curiosity, I know that there is no magic formula for bulking locked away in PX's personal vault.

When I first started working out, I used Fitday religiously and weighed myself every day to be sure I was making progress. I've long since realized that the body doesn't follow some linear formula for growth. The key is to follow a few basic principles, and let everything else take care of itself.


The simplest method is this:

Take your weight in pounds, MULTIPLY it by 10, add .5 for kg of bodyweight after consuming 1 gallon of water with exactly 2.25g of glucose sugar. Take that number DIVIDE by initial bodyweight, then MULTIPLY by 1.01 for each letter of your first name.

After that assign a number for each letter of the alphabet (a=1, b=2, etc). SUM those letter values then ADD that number in kg to the previous number.

YOU MUST ACCOUNT FOR MOON PHASE. Full moons will exert a slight pull thereby lessening the gravitational pull, so you must ADD your weight in grams multiplied by .0003452 on a full moon to negate the effect. You must pro-rate each day from full moon by ADDING .0000032 to the previous coefficient.

Initial weight must be taken EXACTLY 3.25 minutes after rising AND FACING WEST so as to minimize the gravity vector of the sunrise. You will have to adjust slightly for your specific latitude north or south of the equator. If you are at either pole, there is a seasonal coefficient which you must adjust for by mulitplying .0232345566 times the number of days from vernal equinox, or autumnal equinox if you are past that point in the year.

Take that number and write it down.

Next, eat until you start gaining scale weight.



I eat about 500-700 above maintenance. I maintain around 3800 cals/day, so when bulking I shoot for 4200-4500 roughly

I believe in counting, otherwise I usually end up falling short.


If the scale is moving up, there is no way in hell you are falling short. I could see this level of analysis if getting ready for a contest. the guy I keep speaking of who is doing NPC states he is dieting at over 3,500cals a day. I am sure he has his food intake calculated....but he also looks like each individual muscle was taken out, carved separately and then replaced on his body....then airbrushed in. If you look like that, calculate the hell out of your food intake.

However, I usually see people who are nowhere near that level acting like they need advanced Calculus before they start eating.


:slightly_smiling: Oh, it's on :stuck_out_tongue:

It sounds like a chore, but I just plug my meals into a program on my iPhone that makes it quick and simple.

I'm sure I could do without it, but there have been times that I look at the program late and realize I need 1,000 cals before bed.
It has gotten A LOT easier to consume over 4,000 cals so I could do it now, but I know before it was hard as hell to make sure I ate enough.
I dunno, what works for you is obviously doing fine, jsut seems for me I need to keep track to make sure I reach my calories, I'd rather make sure I meet that daily than wait a few weeks to make sure the scale is moving up.


The problem with you is PX can calculate the SIN of chicken in his head, you have to write it down.

Have you tried just eating without calculating everything out now that you know about what you need to eat? I used to be the same way and see much better results just kinda eating now and worrying about whether the meal is carb or fat dominant, timing of the meals, and getting in veggies as opposed to counting it out every calorie and gram.

Just "food" for thought.


I don't weigh and measure. The only things I measure are for my shakes which is just so that the shake has the right consistency and tastes good.




Ahahaha, this made my day XD.


hahaha you fucking guy. zakk wylde doesnt play guitar, he rapes it.