View Full Version : thoughts about mass

05-14-2005, 06:08 AM
this has been nagging me for the last little while. Sorry if it has been discussed previously.
Ok so everyone knows that 3500 cals = 1 pound, right? But to me, that only makes sense for fat.
For muscle, it is much different. Muscle is roughly 25% protein, and about 75% water. So for 1 lb of muscle (454 grams), only about 113 grams are protein, the rest is water. So, by this logic, one pound of muscle contrains about 450 calories. Seems small, but i think logically it makes sense.
Am I doing something wrong in my calculations?

And just to explain where the 3500 cals for 1 lb fat comes from...
Fat is about 85% triglycerides, 15% water. So if you have one pound of fat (454 grams), that gives you about 386 grams of triglycerides. 9 cals/gram = about 3400-3500 cals.

Anyway, about the protein cals, has anyone read anything about this? Am I making a mistake?

05-14-2005, 06:15 AM
Oh, I forgot to mention why I'm curious. If this is true (450 cals/ lb muscle), then it would seem that you dont need that many extra calories to put on muscle during a bulk. To put on a pound of muscle over something like two weeks, you would need an excess of about 450 cals over that time period. Of course, the body isn't 100% efficient. Just assuming the thermic digestive process of protein alone would add 30% to the amount. So 450 cals * 1.3 = roughly 600 cals. Add any other bodily inefficiencies and I would assume MAYBE another 30%, so 600 * 1.3 = 780 cals.

So now you know why this whole issue has been bugging me. If my calculations are right, then you actually dont need that many extra cals to put on muscle. In order to put on one pound of muscle, you would only need something like 600-800 extra cals, and since it takes a lot of time to put on one pound (at least a week or two), then you dont need to eat that many cals extra per day.

But in real life, you can never put on muscle by eating like 50 extra cals/day.

So now you know why I'm baffled.
Any comments?

Isaac Wilkins
05-14-2005, 07:00 AM
A pound of muscle will only provide you with about 2500 kcals of energy, where as a pound of fat will provide about 3500.

Muscle mass is very expensive metabolically to build. This costs a fair amount of calories.

However, you generally would not need 3500 calories or more to add a pound of muscle. The body doesn't work that efficiently, however. Overfeeding is a very inexact science. Did you walk up more stairs today than yesterday? More calories. Is it a little hotter or colder today? More/less calories. When bulking you're better off keeping it slow and using body composition to determine the rate that you're gaining muscle/fat.

05-14-2005, 08:33 AM
Yep. Add to that the fact that you can only get so accurate with your calorie counting. If you really think about it, even if you weigh out your food to exact portions, there's still going to be an overall margin of error you can't account for.

Trying to worry about it to that level of obsessive detail is a bit much, IMO.