In a recent issue of Men’s Health magazine, they provide a formula from Alan Aragon, M.S. that calculates your calorie needs if you’re looking to gain some muscle weight.
They also mention that under-muscled people tend to overestimate their calorie intake, while overweight people tend to underestimate.
Step 1: (T) – Take your current weight and add 12 to 24 pounds.
This is a realistic range for the muscle mass you can build in a year; it also depends on how long you’ve been lifting weights. If you’re a beginner, you’ll be able to gain more pounds than an advanced weight trainer will.
Step 2: (H) – Total your weekly training hours
Include warmups and any additional cardio.
Step 3: (C) – Calculate the calories you’ll need
T × (H + 11) = C
The 11 represents high-intensity training for the average guy, according to Aragon’s client experience.
If the number of calories seems too high, drop it by 10% and work your way up gradually as your body adapts to the food load.
Step 4: Break down your protein, carbohydrate, and fat requirements
(P) – Daily protein intake in grams:
T × 1.25 = P
Your protein should come mainly from lean meat and fatty fish.
Daily carbohydrate intake in calories:
[C – (P × 4) – (F × 9)] ÷ 4
Go with unprocessed and minimally processed foods, like fruit, potatoes, and whole grains.
(F) – Daily fat intake in grams:
T ÷ 2 = F
Choose mostly sources of mono-unsaturated fat (such as nuts, avocados, olive oil and other vegetable oils) along with some saturated fat from dairy sources (such as milk and cheese).