T Nation

How Much to Up Calories By?


#1

Since January, I’ve been on a successful bulk doing 2800 cals/day. Some may say that’s too low for a 6’3" guy but it worked since I’ve been pretty sedentary. However, that’s changed recently, when I fairly drastically increased conditioning intensity. My plan has been gaining about 2 lbs a month, ending up at 210 lbs at the end of the year. Right now, I’m 189 lbs and I actually dropped to that from 190.7 lbs over the last 2-3 weeks.

By how much should I increase my cals to get back into bulking without overshooting it too much as well as not wasting any more weeks crawling up by like +100 cals/week? What’s a reasonable amount?
Although doing a bigger bump would catch me up to the plan, I want to avoid unnecessary fat.

BONUS QUESTION, since I’m already here, what macro split would you recommend? Right now I’m doing 210P, 350C, 62F. Any point in pushing the protein further up with increased calories? How about fat? Keep it low, up it somewhat? I already tend to under-eat carbs by like 50g in favor of fat.


#2

Increasing protein above 1g/1 lb of lean body mass is pointless IMO. The body can process approximately 30 g/meal and if you eat 6 meals per day that’s only 180 g.

In the past when bulking I kept my fat at .5g/1 lb of goal weight so in your case around 105 g/day. Then fill the rest in with carbs. The reason I kept my fat higher was based on my experience with zone dieting. I believe having healthy fat at every meal keeps the body burning fat while bulking. My experience doing it this way yielded the following results.

Beginning weight: 189
Ending weight: 198
Beginning bf%: 19
Ending bf%: 13

This was six months of intense conditioning (read crossfit) along with 5/3/1. I only gained 1.5 lbs/month on the scale, but approximately 3 lbs of lean body mass per month. I didn’t track calories too closely, but looking back at my logs, I was between 3300-3800 per day.

I have been on a cut for 3 weeks using keto, but I plan on going back to a clean bulk when I get back from vacation at the end of the month.

Good luck.


#3

you, sir, have just made an enemy for life.


#5

To be fair, these studies (and I think there are quite a few) show that ~30g protein maximally stimulates muscle protein synthesis acutely. Other studies (and maybe these - I admit to not reading through the whole link) have pointed to Leucine being the limiting factor, and, across sources, ~30g protein yields ~3g Leucine. While an acute rise in muscle protein synthesis is often studied (in response to both training and nutrition variables) it’s not always the only story. It’s studied because it does correlate to our goal (duh), but also because it can be reliably measured in the short term.

I’m not arguing how much protein you need per meal or day, just that your body will “process” more than 30g protein per meal; otherwise what would happen to it?


#6

I think I chose my words poorly. Rather than process I should have said synthesized for muscle development. In my experience, though nowhere near as vast as others on this site, is that unsynthesized protein ends up processed elsewhere, mainly the toilet. With protein being the most expensive of the macros I have never prescribed to more than 1.5 g/lb.


#7

Someone who I trust (but have forgotten who it is - I think it may have been Jerry Branium) recently pointed to a controlled study on athletes which showed increased protein synthesis with up to 70g post workout. Beyond 70g did nothing.

It was an in depth study where they did tissue biopsies etc

I’m sorry i don’t remember the source - I’m posting this in case someone else can point to it

To the OP, I’m the same height as you and a little bit heavier - and if it were me I’d actually up the fat slowly and see how I went. Protein beyond 1g/lb does nothing for me personally and at over 300 carbs I’d be a fat pig already… = ) Everybody’s different though - just be sure to make changes slowly and one at a time so you can see how your own body responds


#8

Exactamundo.

Your body will “process” all of the protein you eat.

You’ll be pleased to hear you have been downgraded from “enemy for life” to “moderate fanny”


#9

The question is, why are you in a rush to be 210 pounds by the end of the year?

I think with that mindset you’re always likely to gain significant body fat.

Personally, I would raise calories by 200-300, and see how you go from there. Raise or lower from then on as required. No need to increase protein beyond 1g per pound, that may be too much as it is to be honest.

Also don’t worry about protein per serving, it doesn’t make any difference in reality - focus on hitting the right calorie balance first, don’t bother upping protein, and you’ll be fine.