Bulking Diet Calculator: How To Calculate How Many Calories You Need to Eat Each Day

Jerome Bierman
May 11, 2016 · 3 min read

There’s no perfect way of calculating how many calories you need to eat every day to gain weight. There’s just too many variables. The amount of calories you need will depend on:

  • Your weight
  • Your height
  • Your metabolism
  • What you do every day
  • The intensity of your workouts

…and every other intricacy that make you and your life unique.

But there are methods we can use to guess how many calories we need to maintain our weight and, from there, we can add some calories on for the gaining to begin.

Method #1: Cunningham Equation

This is the most accurate method. It’s an equation with a bunch of variables that will give you the most scientific answer that perfectionists will love.

I’m too lazy to figure out some of the variables - I don’t even know my body fat percentage at the moment — but if you don’t mind the extra effort, then use this tool to do the math for you.

There’s no need to be scribbling down equations on gridded paper. Leave that for school (or hell, if you happen to end up there on day).

Method #2: Basal Metabolic Rate

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) relates to how many calories you burn at rest. These are the calories you’re losing every day simply by existing.

The folks at Bodybuilding.com have a calculator to figure out your BMR and, since you want to gain muscle and mass, this is what they suggest:

Pretty standard advice, of course, but I will say one thing: don’t be afraid of eating too many calories. It’s easier to scale down than scale up.

Method #3: Basic Multiplication

If all these previous methods require too much math for your liking, try this much simpler equation that’ll give you a rough idea of calorie consumption:

Your Body Weight in Pounds x 20

When I first started lifting weighs, I weighed just 130lbs. Based on this equation, that means I had to eat 2600 calories per day to gain weight (which turned out to be a good starting point). It’s far from a perfect science but:

  • It’s better than nothing
  • You can adjust your intake based on results

Most people don’t do any math, so feel free to pat yourself on the back for doing the bare minimum that will still have big results in the future.

But of course…

All the math in the world means nothing until you have experience. Your main goal should be to eat more food. You can’t sit back and worry too much about a perfectly precise amount of calories to eat each day.

Jerome Bierman

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