T Nation

Gaining Slowly?

Given the recent threads on bulking vs lean gaining what would be the best way to calculate calories when trying to gain LBM while keeping fat gain to a minimum? One thing I have thought about and CT touched on is that the body will need different amount of calories even if the same workout is performed. Also Muscle is not gained in a linear fashion so, estimating intake while keeping fat gain down may be difficult. I am all for gaining muscle slowly if it can keep fat gain at bay but, I feel that trying to calculate how many calories I need at maintenance and then bumping them up a bit may rob my of some chances to really make progress.

I really hope Stu will stop by and give his opinion?

[quote]Luka24 wrote:
Given the recent threads on bulking vs lean gaining what would be the best way to calculate calories when trying to gain LBM while keeping fat gain to a minimum? One thing I have thought about and CT touched on is that the body will need different amount of calories even if the same workout is performed.
[/quote]

Have you even bothered to read CT’s article series for noobs, one of which is about nutrition, along with the thousands of articles available on this site and others, or a good nutrition book?

General rule to gain is 15+ calories, then take it from there. Or you can use some pain in the ass equation like the Harris Benedict. Please read about baseline dieting.

How is this going to rob you considering a good idea is to establish baseline, maintenance calories and then bumping it up from there. It’s actually the most practical and sane way of doing it… unless you just want to do the “eat big, get big” route which is basically a guessing game that has left many a people with A LOT OF unwanted fat.

Again, please educate yourself. It takes some work and understanding to map out diets the way you are inquiring about.

You can expect to make a lot of LBM gain in your first year, along the line of 25# if you do things right and you have the genetics. Second year, maybe half that. So after that, it’s not like you’re going to make outrageous natural gains and will be in a situation in which you rob yourself because you undereat for a day here and there.

Your question is reasonable considering there’s a new trending worry over “robbing” oneself of gains in the case they don’t overeat here and there.

[quote]Luka24 wrote:
, I feel that trying to calculate how many calories I need at maintenance and then bumping them up a bit may rob my of some chances to really make progress.

[/quote]

I would agree with that…which is why many of us would not approach this with that mind set.

Even if my goal is less fat gain (like it really is now), you STILL have to find out how much allows you to gain any weight…and you won’t do that without actually eating an amount and tracking progress.

The guys UNDERshooting will not make as much progress.

That would be why many of us wouldn’t recommend a newb approach it that way.

IN my opinion, that is the time to find out your limits. If you are playing it so safe from the start that you hold yourself back, you may stay lean, but you won’t get as big as you could have.

In other words, trial and error…then reevaluate and assess. That is how big guys got big.

Some just choose to accept more fat gain when gaining in favor of making sure they are growing optimally, that’s all.

[quote]Luka24 wrote:
Given the recent threads on bulking vs lean gaining what would be the best way to calculate calories when trying to gain LBM while keeping fat gain to a minimum? One thing I have thought about and CT touched on is that the body will need different amount of calories even if the same workout is performed. Also Muscle is not gained in a linear fashion so, estimating intake while keeping fat gain down may be difficult. I am all for gaining muscle slowly if it can keep fat gain at bay but, I feel that trying to calculate how many calories I need at maintenance and then bumping them up a bit may rob my of some chances to really make progress.

I really hope Stu will stop by and give his opinion?[/quote]

I try to think of it in terms of how much food I need to eat instead of how many calories. I worked out the basic framework of my diet a while ago though, and I eat pretty much the same meals each week. So if I want to gain, I eat “more food” (with more cheat meals) and if I want to cut, I eat “less food” (with fewer cheat meals). If I need to modify further because of stalled progress, I’ll either add a snack at night when gaining or cut carbs from my evening meal when dieting.

So basically, you want to come up with a basic template of meals that you will eat on a consistent basis that you can easily modify based on your goals and progress.

EDIT: Obviously the key to all of this is consistency. You need to think of a plan that you can realistically follow for YEARS, or even DECADES, with 75-90% compliance (90 being the goal, 75 the minimum). Obviously the plan might change over time, but the key is to actually have one that works and can be altered slightly based on your goals.

If I was to start over and focus on size gain (while maintaining leanness), I think I would use a very simplistic approach, and that is tracking my gains through my 10RM on most of my lifts. The premise behind this is if my 10RM for DB Press is 100lb now and I got it up to 150lb, I’m pretty sure I’ve achieved hypertrophy.

I would also count my macros and adjust accordingly.

My little snippet of wisdom

FOR ME PERSONALLY - I had my best lean gains after I’d lost enough fat to not be ‘ripped’ but have a half decent set of abs. Between 12%bf and 16%bf I didn’t look much different so the chub could creep up quite quick if I didn’t monitor my food. Now with decent abs it’s easier to check fat gain and honestly at lower bf% my carb tolerance is much better.

I agree with prof X that calculating is the wrong mindset. Monitor your food for a week - same weight? - That’s ROUGHLY your maintenance food intake (give or take.) Eat some more cals the next few weeks (for me was carbs I increases first) and re-check. Gaining weight and still see what you like in the mirror. You’re golden.

I’m only 170lbs 175lbs when wet wearing a big afro wig, so I’m by no means an expert (35 years old happy at this weight as box and do Muay Thai) and am not a bodybuilder. Listen to the contentious prof X (sorry dude you are quite) as he’s a dude who’s been skinny and is now a big fella, and is a BODYBUILDER which I most certainly am not.

He?s stated that getting swole will require a big bulk at some point so deal with losing those abs. Not getting fat, just noticeably bigger. (Felt I should at least augment the ?contentious? part of this post with the fact that I do respect X’s opinion in general. T-Nation needs a bit of contention me thinks)
FOR ME - I’m pretty happy with the way I am and like a decent set of abs and don’t really mind that in a suit I doubt I look like I?ve even lifted a weight (I’ve got wrists and ankles a 12 year old girl would balk at they’re so skinny), but I look gud naked?, have a model fiancÃ?© (not like a plastic blow up, or shop window one either) and am a very happy chappy.

Depends where you are and where you wanna be, but at the end of the day you gottta eat the food and find out how your body is responding.

Good look young padawan

So what exactly is your question? As a noob, you should push your body and get on a realistic diet, then monitor. Realize that everything in this world comes in waves consisting of a peak and a trough.

[quote]Luka24 wrote:
I feel that trying to calculate how many calories I need at maintenance and then bumping them up a bit may rob my of some chances to really make progress.
[/quote]

I’m not quite sure why you might feel that way. Dorian always said that if you don’t know the particulars of what you’re doing (training and dietwise), you won’t know how to address what’s working or not.

As long as your calculations are fairly accurate (and you’ll know within a week or so of following the #s), and you intelligently bump up cals, and carbs as the most useful times, it should be relatively simple.

As far as how much you bump up, you’re always hearing about the +500 cals a day approach. Now, if we go by simple mathematics, 3500 calories = a lb, so 7 days at this will yield a lb each week. Obviously this ISN’T a pound of muscle, as I doubt you’re synthesizing that much in a week’s time (although I’m sure a few folks will jump on me for that statement). However, it should more than account for any extra nutrient needs to address new protein growth, and possible added training stresses. At that rate, you could potentially be up 4 lbs in a month’s time. Of course, peering into a mirror, or even gauging your strength levels will tell you a lot more about whether it’s working for your goals or not.

Remember though, a lb of new muscle doesn’t actually require 500 calories a day to maintain, it just a general overshoot to guarantee you’re getting more than you actually require.

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]Luka24 wrote:
I feel that trying to calculate how many calories I need at maintenance and then bumping them up a bit may rob my of some chances to really make progress.
[/quote]

I’m not quite sure why you might feel that way. Dorian always said that if you don’t know the particulars of what you’re doing (training and dietwise), you won’t know how to address what’s working or not.

As long as your calculations are fairly accurate (and you’ll know within a week or so of following the #s), and you intelligently bump up cals, and carbs as the most useful times, it should be relatively simple.

As far as how much you bump up, you’re always hearing about the +500 cals a day approach. Now, if we go by simple mathematics, 3500 calories = a lb, so 7 days at this will yield a lb each week. Obviously this ISN’T a pound of muscle, as I doubt you’re synthesizing that much in a week’s time (although I’m sure a few folks will jump on me for that statement). However, it should more than account for any extra nutrient needs to address new protein growth, and possible added training stresses. At that rate, you could potentially be up 4 lbs in a month’s time. Of course, peering into a mirror, or even gauging your strength levels will tell you a lot more about whether it’s working for your goals or not.

Remember though, a lb of new muscle doesn’t actually require 500 calories a day to maintain, it just a general overshoot to guarantee you’re getting more than you actually require.

S
[/quote]

Best post.

[quote]moogweasel wrote:

Eat some more cals the next few weeks (for me was carbs I increases first) and re-check.

[/quote]

How much more food? And how much more cals? And just how are you going to figure this out without calculating or at least portion control (eg, handful of carbs, palm size of meat portion, etc.)

i personally think adjusting cals up by 500 is way too much for a natty-- i know this is going to make me sound lame–but i seriously make a adjustments that may be only 50- 100 cals at a time— im very consistent and NEVER EVER ONCE miss a meal. i notice changes sometimes by just bumping up carbs by 15 grams. however recently ive been thinking of adding an extra 50 grams to my diet which may be the end of my off season. we’ll see.

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
i personally think adjusting cals up by 500 is way too much for a natty-- i know this is going to make me sound lame–but i seriously make a adjustments that may be only 50- 100 cals at a time— im very consistent and NEVER EVER ONCE miss a meal. i notice changes sometimes by just bumping up carbs by 15 grams. however recently ive been thinking of adding an extra 50 grams to my diet which may be the end of my off season. we’ll see.[/quote]

This is how Ebomb has me making adjustments.

[quote]BrickHead wrote:

[quote]moogweasel wrote:

Eat some more cals the next few weeks (for me was carbs I increases first) and re-check.

[/quote]

How much more food? And how much more cals? And just how are you going to figure this out without calculating or at least portion control (eg, handful of carbs, palm size of meat portion, etc.)[/quote]

Dude are you dieting for a show or what? I Just add around 50g - 100g of carbs to my post work out meal - extra rice usually, over the course of a week or two If I goi mental and splurge on crap I smooth out and feel bloated. Know ones body. If i’m smoothing out I’ll maybe reduce carbs and add some fats.I respect Stu’s opinion about the measuring etc, but he’s a competing bodybuilder and ‘the devil is in the details’ at that level.

You wanna be the the guy who carries around chicken breasts and broccoli in tuperware and breaks out in a sweat when someone offers to order pizza(No offence meant Stu but I used to live with a ameteur bobybuilder who did these things and others…Clen freak-outs and all sorts) Stu looks better than I ever had or will so if that’s where you wanna be he’s the man to heed.

If you can’t ‘eye’ your portion control of clean foods maybe weighing what you eat for a few weeks will give you an idea of where your at in terms of macronutriients. Just try shit out and see what happens. Why stress?

[quote]moogweasel wrote:

[quote]BrickHead wrote:

[quote]moogweasel wrote:

Eat some more cals the next few weeks (for me was carbs I increases first) and re-check.

[/quote]

How much more food? And how much more cals? And just how are you going to figure this out without calculating or at least portion control (eg, handful of carbs, palm size of meat portion, etc.)[/quote]

Dude are you dieting for a show or what? I Just add around 50g - 100g of carbs to my post work out meal - extra rice usually, over the course of a week or two If I goi mental and splurge on crap I smooth out and feel bloated. Know ones body. If i’m smoothing out I’ll maybe reduce carbs and add some fats.I respect Stu’s opinion about the measuring etc, but he’s a competing bodybuilder and ‘the devil is in the details’ at that level. You wanna be the the guy who carries around chicken breasts and broccoli in tuperware and breaks out in a sweat when someone offers to order pizza(No offence meant Stu but I used to live with a ameteur bobybuilder who did these things and others…Clen freak-outs and all sorts) Stu looks better than I ever had or will so if that’s where you wanna be he’s the man to heed. If you can’t ‘eye’ your portion control of clean foods maybe weighing what you eat for a few weeks will give you an idea of where your at in terms of macronutriients. Just try shit out and see what happens. Why stress?
[/quote]

I get your point. It’s just that there’s a new trend of power shoveling food going on.

[quote]moogweasel wrote:

[quote]BrickHead wrote:

[quote]moogweasel wrote:

Eat some more cals the next few weeks (for me was carbs I increases first) and re-check.

[/quote]

How much more food? And how much more cals? And just how are you going to figure this out without calculating or at least portion control (eg, handful of carbs, palm size of meat portion, etc.)[/quote]

Dude are you dieting for a show or what? I Just add around 50g - 100g of carbs to my post work out meal - extra rice usually, over the course of a week or two If I goi mental and splurge on crap I smooth out and feel bloated. Know ones body. If i’m smoothing out I’ll maybe reduce carbs and add some fats.I respect Stu’s opinion about the measuring etc, but he’s a competing bodybuilder and ‘the devil is in the details’ at that level.

You wanna be the the guy who carries around chicken breasts and broccoli in tuperware and breaks out in a sweat when someone offers to order pizza(No offence meant Stu but I used to live with a ameteur bobybuilder who did these things and others…Clen freak-outs and all sorts) Stu looks better than I ever had or will so if that’s where you wanna be he’s the man to heed.

If you can’t ‘eye’ your portion control of clean foods maybe weighing what you eat for a few weeks will give you an idea of where your at in terms of macronutriients. Just try shit out and see what happens. Why stress?
[/quote]

I weigh/measure the majority of my meals and am nothing like the neurotic individual you just described. There is a middle ground, you know?

it helps that 2/3 of my daily meals are packed the night before because I work on a remote site, so hopefully no one judges me for carrying a lunch bag with me when I go to work. If I go out to eat and the restaurant isn’t listed in the calorie counter app that I use (hugely beneficial tool, btw), then I’ll eye-ball my portions, but humans are notorious for over-estimating food portions so I much prefer to know rather than guess, especially when knowing doesn’t require that much additional effort.

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
i personally think adjusting cals up by 500 is way too much for a natty-- i know this is going to make me sound lame–but i seriously make a adjustments that may be only 50- 100 cals at a time— im very consistent and NEVER EVER ONCE miss a meal. i notice changes sometimes by just bumping up carbs by 15 grams. however recently ive been thinking of adding an extra 50 grams to my diet which may be the end of my off season. we’ll see.[/quote]

For some reason, I didn’t figure we would have guys saying to count calories down to 1.5% accuracy in this forum.

Seems pretty fucking unreasonable (not to mention unrealistic) if you’re not dieting for a show.

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
i personally think adjusting cals up by 500 is way too much for a natty-- i know this is going to make me sound lame–but i seriously make a adjustments that may be only 50- 100 cals at a time— im very consistent and NEVER EVER ONCE miss a meal. i notice changes sometimes by just bumping up carbs by 15 grams. however recently ive been thinking of adding an extra 50 grams to my diet which may be the end of my off season. we’ll see.[/quote]

For some reason, I didn’t figure we would have guys saying to count calories down to 1.5% accuracy in this forum.

Seems pretty fucking unreasonable (not to mention unrealistic) if you’re not dieting for a show.
[/quote]

Agreed…but when you have the same posse from the bodybuilding forum ganging up here as well, this is what you get.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
i personally think adjusting cals up by 500 is way too much for a natty-- i know this is going to make me sound lame–but i seriously make a adjustments that may be only 50- 100 cals at a time— im very consistent and NEVER EVER ONCE miss a meal. i notice changes sometimes by just bumping up carbs by 15 grams. however recently ive been thinking of adding an extra 50 grams to my diet which may be the end of my off season. we’ll see.[/quote]

For some reason, I didn’t figure we would have guys saying to count calories down to 1.5% accuracy in this forum.

Seems pretty fucking unreasonable (not to mention unrealistic) if you’re not dieting for a show.
[/quote]

Agreed…but when you have the same posse from the bodybuilding forum ganging up here as well, this is what you get.[/quote]

I saw a reasonable discussion happening in this thread with no “ganging up”. Contribute in a like manner or stop, please.

[quote]Stronghold wrote:

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]Steel Nation wrote:

[quote]GrindOverMatter wrote:
i personally think adjusting cals up by 500 is way too much for a natty-- i know this is going to make me sound lame–but i seriously make a adjustments that may be only 50- 100 cals at a time— im very consistent and NEVER EVER ONCE miss a meal. i notice changes sometimes by just bumping up carbs by 15 grams. however recently ive been thinking of adding an extra 50 grams to my diet which may be the end of my off season. we’ll see.[/quote]

For some reason, I didn’t figure we would have guys saying to count calories down to 1.5% accuracy in this forum.

Seems pretty fucking unreasonable (not to mention unrealistic) if you’re not dieting for a show.
[/quote]

Agreed…but when you have the same posse from the bodybuilding forum ganging up here as well, this is what you get.[/quote]

I saw a reasonable discussion happening in this thread with no “ganging up”. Contribute in a like manner or stop, please.[/quote]

best post
(couldn’t help myself, this is just too repetitive with some people )

S

I will say this, if you are someone who cooks the majority of their own food, then counting calories is not in any way difficult, give you take about 3 minutes each day to think about what you’re eating. Like I said, I use an app on my phone to tally it up and I have saved meals since I tend to eat a lot of the same things. Literally next to no extra effort expended.

For instance, my normal training day meals right now are usually along the lines of:

meal 1: breakfast
1c (dry) oatmeal - use the 1c measure to scoop it out of the container
1c frozen berries - same 1c measure to scoop them out of the bag
1tbsp coconut oil - use a spoon to get it out of the jar, not difficult
2 scps protein

meal 2: lunch
9oz chicken or beef - I actually weigh this, but I have an electronic scale that only requires me to set the container I’m packing my food in on it, press a button, and then measure the food
2c rice - same as with the fruit and oats, scoop it out of the big gladwear with a 1c measure
veggies - I throw a handful of these in, don’t count them

meal 3: training
usually a carbohydrate bar (power bar or finibar or something) - no need to measure and 20g of casein hydrolysate, measured by the scoop in the container. Not difficult.

meal 4: Dinner
I like breakfast supper a lot lately, so it’s usually
2 eggs - no need to measure these
1.5c egg whites - I scramble the eggs/whites in a measuring cup, so I dump the whites out of the carton into the measuring cup up to the 1.5c line, add my eggs, salt, pepper, and whisk
.5c (dry) grits - scoop them out of the bulk storage container with a .5c measure and use the same measure to add the 1.5c water that I cook them in
.5 tbsp kerrygold butter - this is easy for me to eyeball since it’s always about the same amount chopped off of the bar
1 oz ff cheddar cheese- this is easy as well, as it’s about a ping-pong ball sized pinch.

Maybe I’m missing something or everyone else here eats at Golden Corrall for every meal or something, but measuring food when you’re cooking your own meals is far from rocket surgery.