Posted by: ritmatt | July 30, 2007

Determining Intake Quantities

I’ve been able to determine the calories necessary to gain additional weight using a formula from Ian King’s The Book of Muscle.

Step Result
185 lbs (my weight) x 11 = Basic Caloric Need (assumes zero exercise) Basic Caloric Need = 2035
2035 x 40% (my estimated activity level) = Metabolic Rate (adjust for exercise) Metabolic Rate = 814
2035 (Basic Caloric Need) + 814 (Metabolic Rate) = Maintenance Calories Target Calories for Maintenance = 2849
Add 500 calories per day to add 1 lb per week. I want 30 lbs in 30 days, or 7 lbs per week. 500 calories x 7 = 3500 additional calories needed per day to meet goal. Total Target Caloric Intake for Project:Me = 6349


So there you have it.  During the experiment, I’ll need to consume an amazing 6349 calories every day to have any hope of gaining the muscle mass I’m after.  This is in line with Tim Ferris’ estimated intake of 5000 – 8000 calories daily.  Without this additional fuel, my body will have not have the necessary “material” to build the muscle.

I haven’t yet determined the correct mix of protein, carbs, and fat, but I’m getting close.  Body builders and people who aren’t vegetarians always seem pretty concerned about protein, but there’s some protein in just about everything.  I’m actually worried about getting too much!  Intake recommendations are all over the board, but I plan to shoot for about 1.25 grams per target pound of body weight.  That’s a lot, but I want to err on the side of more than enough. Assuming I still weigh 185 lbs when I start the experiment, that means my target weight will be 215 lbs.  215 lbs x 1.25 grams per pound = 269 grams needed daily.

If I assume that each gram of protein contains four calories (see the 4-4-9 Method of Calculating Calorie Ratios), that means approximately 1076 of my daily 6349 calories should come from protein.  In other words, 17% of my daily intake should be in the form of protein.

In addition, I’ve found several sources that claim that the U.S. RDA for fat intake is no more than 30%.  If I make my maximum 30%, that means that I’ll automatically have 53% available for carbs.  So, for now, I’m leaning towards a target of 17% of my caloric intake from protein, 53% from carbohydrates, and 30% from fat.

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  1. “…but there’s some protein in just about everything.”

    Not all proteins are created equal. Proteins from vegetables are incomplete in one amino acid or another. You actually have to combine 2 or more vegetable protein sources to make complete protein. Proteins from animals sources are complete proteins having all the amino acids. But you probably knew all that.

    Good luck taking in 6K Kc!

  2. [...] difficult to keep the ratios for fat, carbs, and protein where I wanted them.  As mentioned in a previous post, I was shooting for 30% / 53% / 17% for fat / carbs / protein.  My average over 5 days was 28% / [...]

  3. [...] I also ended up with a pretty significant deficiency in calories today, at just under 2000. My daily goal to maintain my weight is 2853, according to The Daily Plate or 2849, according to a calculation I performed last year. [...]

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