T Nation

What Do You Increase?


hello all! I'm amidst a very slow and steady 'gaining phase' (hesitant to call it a bulk, as I'm being fairly conservative with my eating).

The approach I have taken is starting with kcal at 14 x BW and have reassessed every week to 2 weeks based on weight change and energy levels. I'm upping calories slowly to minimise any fat gain; so far I just throw in an extra 100 kcal/ day each week that my weight doesn't change/ goes down in some cases.

So, on to my question. Does anyone have any methods by which they decide what macros said calories come from? For example; low energy in the gym; increase carbs? Low energy in the day; increase fat? Or, do you just try and get carbs as high as possible? Or protein?

I know this is largely individual. Never the less; could be useful to learn from other's experience.

Cheers for any input


You can find a lot of suggestions from different coaches and authors about how they go about finding a starting point. Keep in mind that it's always just a starting point.

Here's a very simple approach:
1- Figure an approximate # of calories you need to maintain your current weight. I like to use 16 x BW and 18x BW to get a caloric range
2- Set protein at about 1.25g -1.5g x BW
3- Calculate healthy fats at about 20% of your total daily cals. This can be done with foods, supplements (I live on Flameout Fish Oils), or both
4- Figure the rest of your calories as carbs. With this figure you can then go about placing them at specific feedings/times where you will get the most out of them (ie. before, during, after training)

Now this is a VERY basic approach, and of course it ignores a lot of individual variables. What I would consider once you've gotten this far though is to adjust what end of the caloric range you follow based on what you're doing on a specific day. If you're not training one day, follow a plan calling for 16 x BW calories and even lower total carbs that day. If it's a really hard training day (ie. leg day), follow the 18 x BW plan, and maybe even jack up carb levels a bit more than usual.

Everyone has their own approaches, but I think this gives a nice starting point without getting too confusing. Hope it helps.



Thanks for the reply stu. This is actually almost identical to how I have started, which is very reassuring coming from yourself. But I think I have worded my question poorly.

In fact what I was trying to ask is once you have your starting point sorted. Let's say the time comes that you need a bump in calories. How do you personally decide where those calories come from.

So for example I started at ~2450kcal as a baseline. Since then I have added roughly 300 kcal a day. I mostly achieved this through an increase in carbs but also slightly more protein. Choosing these macros to increase was just a try it and see approach.

So really what I'm asking is if you personally have any method by which you decide which macros you increase to get the extra kcals? Or perhaps you just keep the aforementioned ratios?

I hope I clarified my question and not made it more obscure, I need to work on being more concise...

Appreciate the advice


As long as I'm certain that my other macros are right where they need to be, I'll try to get more carbs in to make up any extra #s. In my experience, it's always positively affected my training sessions, visual fullness, and general demeanor. Of course you might find that if you're not as insulin sensitive, at least at current body composition (leaner, or more active folks will generally have better sensitivity) , you can always play with fats or proteins.

Again, while it's an individual thing, this is how I usually handle my own approach.



That's great, thanks for the input stu!