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Muscle Gain Math - Bulking

AnvilHeadAnvilHead Posts: 11,910Member Member Posts: 11,910Member Member
New article by Lyle McDonald about how much of a calorie surplus is optimal to support muscle growth.
Spoiler: prepare to be shocked:

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/muscle-gain-math.html/

Replies

  • livingleanlivingcleanlivingleanlivingclean Posts: 6,779Member Member Posts: 6,779Member Member
    I'll just stick to maintenance... And figure in a few grams over here and there will get me my gains :'(
    edited August 12
  • DresdenSinnDresdenSinn Posts: 615Member, Premium Member Posts: 615Member, Premium Member
    I'm just going to pretend I didn't read that as I open this new jug of delicious Heavyweight Gainer 900 :wink:
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 9,821Member Member Posts: 9,821Member Member
    Interesting article.
    Puts into perspective the small difference between recomp calories and optimal muscle growth without excessive fat gain, especially for advanced trainers.
    edited August 12
  • Gallowmere1984Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,444Member Member Posts: 6,444Member Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    Interesting article.
    Puts into perspective the small difference between recomp calories and optimal muscle growth without excessive fat gain, especially for advanced trainers.

    Oh definitely. As Lyle has put it before, after ones third year of consistent, proper training, you'll be gaining around 3/4th of jack-*kitten* on a monthly basis. Dreamer bulks are a bad idea in year one, but a recipe for disaster after year three, unless you're on dat 600mg.
  • pbrydpbryd Posts: 273Member Member Posts: 273Member Member
    I like the fact he's using a % of bodyweight as a measure. Help adjust for people who are shorter with a light bone structure.
  • JerSchmareJerSchmare Posts: 434Member, Premium Member Posts: 434Member, Premium Member
    Well, that really takes the wind out of my sails. I thought bulking meant, eat all the foodz. So much for eat big to get big.
  • mmapagsmmapags Posts: 5,007Member Member Posts: 5,007Member Member
    Great link! Thanks
  • fernt21fernt21 Posts: 315Member Member Posts: 315Member Member
    Well it supports what I experienced, that essentially the difference between my bulk diet and what I'm maintaining at now is a tbsp or two of peanut butter. The difference between bulking and maintaining is so small, but I swear that going from maintenance to cut takes way more effort and calorie drop than just a tbsp or 2 of pb a day... no science there, just seems that way.
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Posts: 28,623Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator Posts: 28,623Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium MFP Moderator
    Fascinating.
  • Gallowmere1984Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,444Member Member Posts: 6,444Member Member
    JerSchmare wrote: »
    Well, that really takes the wind out of my sails. I thought bulking meant, eat all the foodz. So much for eat big to get big.

    You can still "eat big to get big", it just might not be the kind of big you're looking for. Hah.
  • livingleanlivingcleanlivingleanlivingclean Posts: 6,779Member Member Posts: 6,779Member Member
    fernt21 wrote: »
    Well it supports what I experienced, that essentially the difference between my bulk diet and what I'm maintaining at now is a tbsp or two of peanut butter. The difference between bulking and maintaining is so small, but I swear that going from maintenance to cut takes way more effort and calorie drop than just a tbsp or 2 of pb a day... no science there, just seems that way.

    Probably more like 1/2 tbspn.... :s
  • filbo132filbo132 Posts: 715Member Member Posts: 715Member Member
    Kind of what I thought. I have been lifting for 4 years in a half and this is my first bulk where I am really taking it slow.
  • AnvilHeadAnvilHead Posts: 11,910Member Member Posts: 11,910Member Member
    fernt21 wrote: »
    Well it supports what I experienced, that essentially the difference between my bulk diet and what I'm maintaining at now is a tbsp or two of peanut butter. The difference between bulking and maintaining is so small, but I swear that going from maintenance to cut takes way more effort and calorie drop than just a tbsp or 2 of pb a day... no science there, just seems that way.

    Probably more like 1/2 tbspn.... :s

    :'(
  • blackcomaroblackcomaro Posts: 657Member Member Posts: 657Member Member
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    New article by Lyle McDonald about how much of a calorie surplus is optimal to support muscle growth.
    Spoiler: prepare to be shocked:

    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/muscle-gain-math.html/

    Very interesting read. Thanks for sharing!
  • skymningenskymningen Posts: 241Member Member Posts: 241Member Member
    But as far as I understand, the surplus for this bulk is calculated in a way that you would theoretically be able to only gain muscle, while "real life" bulks work by accepting that you will gain muscle and fat and then follow up with a cut to lose the fat? So this is a plan for an 'infinite bulk' without cutting after.
  • livingleanlivingcleanlivingleanlivingclean Posts: 6,779Member Member Posts: 6,779Member Member
    skymningen wrote: »
    But as far as I understand, the surplus for this bulk is calculated in a way that you would theoretically be able to only gain muscle, while "real life" bulks work by accepting that you will gain muscle and fat and then follow up with a cut to lose the fat? So this is a plan for an 'infinite bulk' without cutting after.

    What I took from it is that eating more than a few excess calories is pointless and just contributing to fat gain....if you only eat a small amount above maintenance, your fat gain will be minimal.
  • AnvilHeadAnvilHead Posts: 11,910Member Member Posts: 11,910Member Member
    skymningen wrote: »
    But as far as I understand, the surplus for this bulk is calculated in a way that you would theoretically be able to only gain muscle, while "real life" bulks work by accepting that you will gain muscle and fat and then follow up with a cut to lose the fat? So this is a plan for an 'infinite bulk' without cutting after.

    In the article he says:
    ...Now, the reality is that it’s very rare to gain 100% muscle no matter what you do. This gets into the issue of calorie partitioning that I don’t have space to get into here. Just accept that it’s damn near impossible and the goal is to simply limit fat gain. Based on some fairly solid assumptions, Eric uses the rule of thumb that to gain a true one pound of muscle, accounting for fat gain, will take about 3,500 calories over maintenance. I’ll use that value going forwards...
    ...Ok, so now I’ve presented some relatively reasonable rates of muscle gain for a male trainee throughout three different phases of training. Along with this I provided a rough value of calorie surplus per pound of muscle (assuming some fat gain).


    IIRC from what I've read from Lyle and Eric in the past, even under optimal conditions, a man is looking at somewhere around a 50/50 muscle/fat gain when bulking; women are more like 25/75 muscle/fat gain.
    edited August 13
  • pbrydpbryd Posts: 273Member Member Posts: 273Member Member
    I have a theory on very lean bulking.

    Over the course of a month, you spend most of your time in a calorie surplus and a small part of it either at maintenance or small deficit. The maintenance and deficit helps keep fat gains to a minimum.

    As seen above, the calorie range is so small, and your expenditure differs from day to day too.
  • piperdown44piperdown44 Posts: 838Member, Premium Member Posts: 838Member, Premium Member
    I wonder, and also wonder if Lyle might address it, is to look not only at the where you are in your lifting journey but also the age of the lifter.
    I have no studies (and don't plan to look) but I'd 'think' that a 16 yr old male, who is in a growth spurt, might make more muscle gains than someone in their 30's on a larger surplus? I have no idea but it would be interesting to see. Of course that wouldn't help me out lol.
    Guess there's something to be said about recomp.
  • Gallowmere1984Gallowmere1984 Posts: 6,444Member Member Posts: 6,444Member Member
    I wonder, and also wonder if Lyle might address it, is to look not only at the where you are in your lifting journey but also the age of the lifter.
    I have no studies (and don't plan to look) but I'd 'think' that a 16 yr old male, who is in a growth spurt, might make more muscle gains than someone in their 30's on a larger surplus? I have no idea but it would be interesting to see. Of course that wouldn't help me out lol.
    Guess there's something to be said about recomp.

    There's absolutely no question there. Teenagers, especially boys, can make gains seen only in adults who are gear users. That said, they usually have more leeway on the high side anyway, due to organ and bone development and the like.
  • Rusty740Rusty740 Posts: 674Member, Premium Member Posts: 674Member, Premium Member
    skymningen wrote: »
    But as far as I understand, the surplus for this bulk is calculated in a way that you would theoretically be able to only gain muscle, while "real life" bulks work by accepting that you will gain muscle and fat and then follow up with a cut to lose the fat? So this is a plan for an 'infinite bulk' without cutting after.

    This is what I'm thinking too. While I see that he says 3500 while accounting for fat gain, said fat gain is still ideally very small. This is equivalent to a perpetual lean bulk.

    We know that Lyle is a loud proponent of making sure to read articles for what they say and do not say. Lyle has provided the calories for a super lean efficient bulk in this article, not as the fastest way to gain muscle, nor necessarily the fastest way to get bulked and cut. Something to keep in mind.

    But also, he is not a proponent of eating s tub of ice cream before bed, "cuz I gotta stay anabolic dude"
  • AnvilHeadAnvilHead Posts: 11,910Member Member Posts: 11,910Member Member
    I wonder, and also wonder if Lyle might address it, is to look not only at the where you are in your lifting journey but also the age of the lifter.
    I have no studies (and don't plan to look) but I'd 'think' that a 16 yr old male, who is in a growth spurt, might make more muscle gains than someone in their 30's on a larger surplus? I have no idea but it would be interesting to see. Of course that wouldn't help me out lol.
    Guess there's something to be said about recomp.

    He kinda sorta indirectly addresses it in his article about Calorie Partitioning. A higher T level makes for a better P-ratio, and teenage boys (speaking in general terms) have higher T levels than older guys. And not just testosterone - their entire hormonal milieu is primed for growth at that age. I'd say it's a safe assumption to make, with the realization that there will be outliers on either end.

    As an aside, that would also make sense as being the reason that men tend toward a more favorable muscle/fat gain ratio than women when bulking. Men generally have higher T levels than women do, thus a different P-ratio.
    edited August 13
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 9,821Member Member Posts: 9,821Member Member
    I wonder, and also wonder if Lyle might address it, is to look not only at the where you are in your lifting journey but also the age of the lifter.
    I have no studies (and don't plan to look) but I'd 'think' that a 16 yr old male, who is in a growth spurt, might make more muscle gains than someone in their 30's on a larger surplus? I have no idea but it would be interesting to see. Of course that wouldn't help me out lol.
    Guess there's something to be said about recomp.
    @piperdown44

    You just wait until your 50's!!
    I've never trained so hard for such slow progress.

    It sucks getting old, but it's better than the alternatve.... :)
  • AnvilHeadAnvilHead Posts: 11,910Member Member Posts: 11,910Member Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    I wonder, and also wonder if Lyle might address it, is to look not only at the where you are in your lifting journey but also the age of the lifter.
    I have no studies (and don't plan to look) but I'd 'think' that a 16 yr old male, who is in a growth spurt, might make more muscle gains than someone in their 30's on a larger surplus? I have no idea but it would be interesting to see. Of course that wouldn't help me out lol.
    Guess there's something to be said about recomp.
    @piperdown44

    You just wait until your 50's!!
    I've never trained so hard for such slow progress.

    It sucks getting old, but it's better than the alternatve.... :)

    ^ Cosigned. 54, about to turn 55 here.
    edited August 13
  • mmapagsmmapags Posts: 5,007Member Member Posts: 5,007Member Member
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    sijomial wrote: »
    I wonder, and also wonder if Lyle might address it, is to look not only at the where you are in your lifting journey but also the age of the lifter.
    I have no studies (and don't plan to look) but I'd 'think' that a 16 yr old male, who is in a growth spurt, might make more muscle gains than someone in their 30's on a larger surplus? I have no idea but it would be interesting to see. Of course that wouldn't help me out lol.
    Guess there's something to be said about recomp.
    @piperdown44

    You just wait until your 50's!!
    I've never trained so hard for such slow progress.

    It sucks getting old, but it's better than the alternatve.... :)

    Cosigned. 54, about to turn 55 here.

    66 here youngsters. And sijomial is right. It sucks but it does beat the alternative...
  • piperdown44piperdown44 Posts: 838Member, Premium Member Posts: 838Member, Premium Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    I wonder, and also wonder if Lyle might address it, is to look not only at the where you are in your lifting journey but also the age of the lifter.
    I have no studies (and don't plan to look) but I'd 'think' that a 16 yr old male, who is in a growth spurt, might make more muscle gains than someone in their 30's on a larger surplus? I have no idea but it would be interesting to see. Of course that wouldn't help me out lol.
    Guess there's something to be said about recomp.
    @piperdown44

    You just wait until your 50's!!
    I've never trained so hard for such slow progress.

    It sucks getting old, but it's better than the alternatve.... :)

    47 1/2.
    Thank God for muscle memory otherwise I'd be a lot worse off. 4 years back in this lifting game.
    I'll take the tiny gains as long as I keep moving forward.

    Now if I could just figure out if repairing the deck today (working for 6hrs) counts as aerobic, lifting or circuit training..... :)

  • sgt1372sgt1372 Posts: 1,501Member Member Posts: 1,501Member Member
    AnvilHead wrote: »
    Spoiler: prepare to be shocked:

    Not shocked but pleasantly surprised that the article confirmed my seat-of-the-pants approach to recomp (which I guess you could call a "lean bulk") over the past 8 months, during which time I lost 4# but also exchanged 8# of BF for LBM (1#/mo or almost exactly the amount predicted in the article) based on 100 cal/day increases from 1800 to 2100 cal over this time period resulting in a change from 162# @ 84% LBM & 16%BF to 158# @ 91%LBM & 9%BF.

    It seems that the cals necessary to remain in maintenance changed as my body changed. More specifically, the cals needed for maintenance increased as my LBM increased and BF dropped, which makes sense if you believe that more LBM burns more cals and requires more cals to maintain.

    As it stands now, I am again slightly increasung cals by about 100/day to between 2100-2200 and, if prior experience is confirmed, I should still remain at or near maintenance while increasing LBM vs BF by a 1#/month or 3# over the next 3 months.

    I'm sure there will be a point of diminishing returns beyond which this theory will no longer apply but I don't know think that I have reached that point yet.

    We'll see . . .
    edited August 14
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