How many calories should I eat to gain 5 pounds of lean body mass?

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
To gain weight, whether lean or fat mass, you must take in more calories than you burn. 1 pound equals 3,500 calories. To gain 5 pounds you must take in 17,500 calories more than you burn. Sounds easy enough, but how can you guarantee these extra calories will go to build muscle and not be stored as fat? Well, you can’t really. But, if you put the correct amount of stress on the body, it will maximize the amount of muscle you gain and minimize the amount of fat you gain. First, it is important to make sure the extra calories you are consuming are nutrient dense calories, such as protein and carbohydrates, as opposed to energy dense, such as fat. Although your body does need fat for many important functions, it is also easier for your body to store fat. It is recommended to take in 1.6-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day and 50%-70% of your total calories should be made up of good carbohydrates, such as whole oats and grains. Fat should make up 10%-30% of your total calorie intake. To help stimulate muscle growth, your exercise program should consist of higher volumes of training, such as 3 to 5 sets of 6 to 12 repetitions, and intensities of 75%-85% of your 1 repetition maximum.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.