5-Step Guide to Bulking Macro’s

It is that time of the year again and the majority of gym-goers are starting their winter-bulk! Many of you have subscribed to my 8 Week Muscle Building Plan, which focuses on the training aspect of building muscle. This article outlines a 5 step nutritional guide on how to correctly structure a “bulking” diet.

The goal of a “bulking phase” is to increase your kcals so you’re eating a kcal surplus each day. This kcal surplus will give your body the best anabolic environment needed to build new muscle when combined with a good weight-training program. During this phase you must accept that not all of the weight you gain will be pure muscle, some body-fat will be gained as you’re eating in a surplus each day, but when done correctly (follow the 5 steps below) you will limit that body-fat gain. 

Step 1: How many Kcals do I need?

The first step in setting up your bulking diet involves working out how many calories you need to consume in order to gain weight. I always suggest to a client that you should be aiming to gain 1-1.5lbs per week. If you’re gaining weight quicker than this, there is a fair chance you are simply gaining body fat.

Below is the calculation I recommend you use to work out your daily calorie intake as a starting point: 

Total Bodyweight in Pounds (lbs.) x 16-18 

TIP: If you feel that you gain body-fat easily and want to start conservatively on your bulk, start at x16. If you’re a hard gainer and always struggle to gain weight, I would recommend starting at x18 straight away.

e.g. If Dan weights 75kg (165lbs)
165lbs x 16 = 2,640 kcals (conservative)
165lbs x 18 = 2,970 kcals (hard gainer)

Step 2: How much protein do I need?

The next step is working out your daily protein requirement, because without adequate protein in your diet you will struggle to build muscle.

I recommend as a good starting point to consume 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.

Referring back to Dan in the example above, he weighed 165lbs so I would recommend 165g of protein per day. Once you know your protein goal for the day, you can then split it up over 5 or 6 meals per day.

e.g. 165g of protein / 6 meals = 27.5g of protein per meal 

Step 3: How much fat do I need?

Dietary fat is essential in the diet and is probably the most misunderstood food group with so many myths surrounding it. Your fat intake needs to be correct in order to support the function of hormones, mainly testosterone. Dietary fat also plays a role in keeping your hair, skin and nails healthy.

There is some important information to remember below:

1g of fat = 9 kcals
1g of protein = 4 kcals
1g of carbohydrate = 4 kcals

I recommend for my clients to aim for 25% of your of your total daily kcals to consume from healthy fat sources.

Using the example of Dan:
2970 kcals / 25% = 743 kcals

You then need to divide 743 kcals/9 (as there are 9 kcals per g) = 83g of fat per day

Similarly to protein, this consumption can then be spread across your daily meals.

Step 4: Here come the Carbs!

Carbs... everyone loves carbs and they are the main source of fuel used during weight training. Therefore, without the correct amount of carbs you are going to fall short in the process of building muscle. 

In summary, Dan knows he needs to consume:

  • 2970 kcals per day
  • 165g of protein
  • 83g of fat

The next step is to fill the remaining kcals with carbs. So:

165g of protein x 4 = 660 kcals
83g of fat x 9 = 747 kcals

660 + 747 = 1,407 kcals

2,970 kcals – 1,407 kcals = 1,563 kcals left to consume from carbs

1,563 kcals / 4 (as there are 4 kcals per g) = 390g of carbs per day.

So Dan’s starting point for his Bulking diet is:

Protein: 165g
Carbs: 390g
Fat: 83g
Total kcals: 2,970 kcals

5. Monitoring progress

This is the starting point for the diet and I suggest to all my clients to have a weekly weigh in so you can keep track of your progress.

If you have not gained 1-1.5lbs then you need to increase your kcals. Protein doesn’t need to increase; the extra kcals would need to come from carbohydrates and fat.

I suggest increasing kcals by 200-250 kcal max per week.

e.g. If Dan didn’t gain weight in week 1, he could add the following to his diet:

13g of fat = 117 kcals – e.g. x1 tbsp. of Coconut Oil
30g of carbs = 120 kcals – e.g. 50g of Oats

Just remember patience is the key, don’t try and add a stone of bodyweight in a month... Rome wasn’t built in day! 

I hope all of the information has helped you and you have a few more tools to help you set a nutrition plan up for yourself.

If anyone would like a more personalised and bespoke nutrition plan please email me and I would be happy to help you.