View Full Version : Have a few questions, can some one help?

09-19-2004, 02:40 AM
Just a few questions I have if some one can help me out, this is my first post on a forum, so if these questions have already been anwsered can some one point me in the right direction, please!

1.) I am 22 years old, 165lbs, and 5"9". How much should I eat to gain musscle mass?

2.) what should be properly in my diet in order to gain musscle mass?

if some one can help me with these two question, I would greatly appreciate it. Thx.

09-19-2004, 03:17 AM
Welcome to the forum!

To answer your questions breifly:

1) You need to eat above your maintenance calories to gain mass
2) You should eat healthy foods

Your "maintenance calories" basically means the amount you need to eat to stay the same weight. If you've been 165lbs for a while, then you're eating maintenance calories right now. The best thing to do would be to keep a strict "food diary" for a week or two, in which you record everything you eat and drink as exactly as you can while eating normally. You can then use a website like www.fitday.com or www.nutritiondata.com to figure out how many calories you're eating. This will be your maintenance calories.

As I mentioned, it's important to eat normally during this period and to do your normal amount of exercise, and to record your food as accurately as possible.

Once you have this number, the best thing to do is to add 300-500 calories and eat that for a few weeks. If you put on weight, you're eating the right amount; if not, add another 300-500 and see what that does.

If you can't be bothered with this, you can estimate your maintenance calories using the simple forumla bodyweight in kilos x 24 x Activity Modifier.

So for you, that's 75 x 24 x AM = 1800 x AM.

Activity Modifier depends on how active you are day to day. If you're very active all day it would be 1.5; if you do a desk job and no exercise it would be 1.1 Most people are somewhere in between, at 1.2 or 1.3. If you were average (on your feet quite a bit and take regular exercise) it would be 1.3, so using that as an example, the formula gives 1800 x 1.3 = 2340 calories.

You would use this number as your maintenance calories, and add to it as above. However, this is just a crude estimate, and using a food diary is preferable by far.

To go into more detail on point 2, your ideal diet would be made up of whole foods such as plenty of fruit and veg, lean meat and fish, nuts, seeds, healthful oils, whole grains etc. However, in terms of gaining mass, here are your priorities:

1) Eat enough calories (as worked out above)
2) Eat enough protein - in your case, aim for 140-165g of protein every day. Where you get this from isn't important (could be meat, fish, cheese, nuts, protein supplements). Note that supplements are no better than real food in this case
3) Get your EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids). You can get this from oily fish or fish oil supplements, flax oil, hemp oil, and some nuts and seeds.

Once you're eating enough protein, and getting your EFA's, the remaining calories can come from anywhere - carbs, fat, or protein. I'm sure you know that you should eat natural, unprocessed foods, get plenty of fruit and veg etc. etc. from a health point of view. This is certainly important for your health, and is something you shoud think seriously about, but from a weight-gain point of view it doesn't make much difference.

My main advice would be not to fall into the trap of thinking you can only eat chicken, tuna, egg whites and milk to gain, as some people seem to think. Eat foods you like; try to cut down on processed foods and eat more natural stuff, but there's nothing wrong with actually enjoying your diet! I like burgers and chocolate as much as anyone else (more than most!) but I manage to resist them (well, most of the time) and still enjoy eating healthily because I choose food I like, and eat a good variety of stuff.

Don't feel you have to become a food fascist, never eating anything that's unhealthy. But at the same time, try to make as much of your diet healthy and unprocessed as you can stand. It's far better to have a diet that's 85% perfect, but that you'll stick to for years, than one that's 100% perfect but last a month.

I'm sure you'll have more questions, and by all means post them and I'm sure you'll get lots of help.

Good luck!

09-19-2004, 07:31 PM
Thanks. If im 165ibs and my bmi is 24, how would I go about cutting body fat, My goal is to get down to about 8%?

09-20-2004, 04:59 AM
Cutting fat is achieved by a similar process in the opposite direction. Instead of eating above maintenance calories, you eat a little below maintenance.

Bear in mind that it's difficult for the body to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. It can happen to an extent, particularly in beginners, but it's best not to bank on it. So what I'd suggest is that you spend a period of time (at least a couple of months, probably 3 or 4) following one goal, then switch and spend a couple of months following the other. In your case you're not "fat" at the moment, so I'd probably suggest you try to gain weight for a few months, then switch and lose some fat for a while.

When you move to losing fat, you should continue to train with weights. You will likely find you can't improve the weight you can lift while you're trimming down, but the weights will help prevent you losing muscle. You can do cardio too if you like, but it's not actually necessary for fat loss (it may help though).

Food wise, you'd simply reduce your calories to below maintenance - maybe start off at 500 below maintenance (which would give you a pound per week fat loss, give or take). See how that goes and adjust from there. Absolutely do not drop the calories too low; a slow fat loss is preferable to a rapid fat-and-muscle loss.

If you're going from muscle-gain (a few hundred cals above maintenance) to fat-loss (a few hundred below), that's going to be quite a big change. It may be best to have an intermediate week where you eat at maintenance, before dropping the cals down to fat-loss levels. This will make the transition easier on the body, and it won't be such a shock to your stomach.

When you remove calories, you should keep the guidelines above in mind. Still eat enough protein; still get your EFA's; then make up the rest of the calories from carbs, fat and protein in pretty much any combination. You do not have to stop eating fat, and you do not have to stop eating carbs; you simply have to make sure your caloric intake is right.

Getting to 8% can be tough for many people, but it can be done - it will take dedication and commitment, but it's not complicated. Keep training with weights, eat a little less than you need, and you'll lose fat.

Finally, one thing I forgot to mention above. When you put on muscle, your maintenance caloric need goes up (it costs calories to keep your new muscle alive). Just bear this in mind; after a month or two or gaining you may find your gains are slowing down. Don't instantly think your weights program has stopped working; it may just be that you need to add a couple hundred more calories to account for your new muscle. Obviously if this happens, you'd use your new maintenance caloric value when you switch to fat loss.