THE BEST LEAN BULKING MACROS FOR BUILDING MUSCLE
There are many smaller details that go into planning out a complete muscle building diet, but your overall daily macronutrient intake is at the very foundation of the entire process.
Everything else stems from that, and quite frankly, this one basic factor alone will be responsible for 80-90% of your results from a dietary perspective.
The question is, what are the best lean bulking macros that will maximize muscle growth while minimizing fat gains?
Two things to keep in mind before we get to that…
Number one, any time you try to add a significant amount of muscle to your frame, you will always end up gaining some body fat in the process.
This is a totally natural result of remaining in a calorie surplus over time, and there is no way for you to divert 100% of that surplus to pure muscle growth. Some fat will always be gained, and the goal is to simply minimize it.
Number two, there is no such thing as one absolute “best” set of lean bulking macros that will produce optimal results in every single person. Everyone will respond a bit differently to varying levels of protein, fat and carbohydrate intake based on a multitude of different factors.
What we can do, though, is establish a solid, reliable starting point that will work extremely well for virtually all average natural trainees looking to gain muscle size and strength in an effective and efficient way…
There is nothing “magical” about this particular breakdown, but this is what I’d recommend you go with…
First off, you need to determine your total daily calorie intake.
Your body’s total net energy balance will determine whether you lose weight, maintain your weight or gain weight, and we need this number in order to translate it into concrete gram amounts of protein, fats and carbs.
In order to create a 350 calorie surplus (this amount is high enough to maximize muscle growth and low enough to prevent excessive fat gain) use this equation…
First calculate your basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories you burn at rest…
Men: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) + 5
Women: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) – 161
Take that number and multiply it by your activity level…
Sedentary = 1.2 (little to no exercise)
Lightly Active = 1.375 (light exercise: 1-3 days a week)
Moderately Active = 1.55 (moderate exercise: 3-5 days a week)
Very Active = 1.725 (intense exercise: 6-7 days a week)
Extremely Active = 1.9 (intense daily exercise and strenuous physical job)
You now have your daily caloric maintenance level, which is the number of calories you’d need to consume to maintain your current weight.
Now take that number and simply add 350 to it.
You now have your daily caloric intake for lean muscle growth.
Secondly, we break that total calorie intake down into specific gram amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrates…
While your total daily calories will determine overall weight gain/loss, your macronutrient breakdown will determine what type of weight is gained or lost, whether it be muscle or fat.
Here’s a highly effective macronutrient breakdown to optimize body composition…
Protein intake will be based on your body weight. Anywhere from 0.8-1 gram per pound of body weight daily will be a good figure for most people. The number can vary from person to person depending on lean body mass and other factors, but anywhere in this range will work well in most cases.
The currently accepted figure based on a meta-analysis of the available data on protein intake in athletes suggests that 0.82 grams per pound of body weight daily is all that is needed.
I like to go slightly higher just to be safe (it’s not going to hurt you), and usually stick with a simple clean figure of 1 gram per pound of body weight daily. So, if you weigh 160 pounds you’ll want to consume 160 grams of protein per day.
This will provide you with enough to maximize protein synthesis and optimize recovery in between workouts without consuming any unnecessary excess.
Fat intake will be calculated as a percentage of your total calories. Consuming sufficient fat each day is very important when it comes to optimizing testosterone levels, mood and overall health, and 25% of total calories is a good figure to shoot for.
Fats contain 9 calories per gram, so you’ll simply multiply your total calorie intake by 0.25 and then divide by 9 to get the total daily grams of fat.
Carbohydrates will make up whatever amount of your total calories is now left over. To get this number, just add together the total protein calories (protein contains 4 calories per gram) and the total fat calories (you already have this from the previous step) and then subtract it from your total daily calorie intake. This will give you the total number of calories that will be derived from carbohydrates.
Simply divide this number by 4 (since carbohydrate contain 4 calories per gram) to get the total daily grams of carbs you’ll need.
That’s all there is to it.
You now have your total daily grams of protein, fats and carbohydrates in place.
Hitting these macros each day is by far the most important thing you need to do as part of your muscle building diet, and will contribute to the vast majority of your success. (Other factors such as food selection, water intake, laying out meals in a way that maximizes performance/consistency will make up the other portion)
This set of lean bulking macros is obviously not going to be “perfect”, but it is a very solid, highly reliable starting point for average natural trainees looking to optimize body composition by adding muscle with minimal fat.
Using these macros you should expect to gain around half a pound of total body weight per week. If your weight gain has stalled for more than a 2 week period, increase your total calories by 150 and then re-calculate your macros.
Remember, gaining quality muscle size is a gradual process, and if you’re gaining more than this, you’re most likely putting on an excessive amount of fat. The specific figure will be slightly higher or lower from person to person and varies based on experience level, genetics and many other smaller factors.
It may not sound like a lot, but it adds up quite fast and represents a quality weight gain of about 26 pounds over the course of a year, which certainly is not bad at all. This of course assumes that you are a relative beginner, as muscle gain continually slows down the more experienced you are.
If you found these tips helpful, make sure to get your personalized training, nutrition and supplement plans using my free interactive video presentation below…