If you want to gain muscle, then you need to do much more than lift weights and go to the gym. To achieve success, then you also need to be in a calorie surplus.
Contrastingly, if you have weight loss goals, then being in a calorie surplus is going to make these goals much, much harder.
So, what exactly is a calorie surplus? And how does it affect both of these goals, gaining muscle and losing weight?
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about a calorie surplus and more. So, if this is of interest to you, then read on!
What Is A Calorie Surplus?
A calorie surplus is a term used to describe a state in which an individual eats more calories than they are burning.
For example, if you eat 2000 calories per day and burn 1500, then you have created a surplus of 500 calories per day.
When you are in a calorie surplus, then your body will either use the extra energy to store fat or burn muscle.
So, if you are trying to lose or maintain weight, then you need to be in a calorie deficit or eat the recommended calories per day. On average, an adult needs around 2000 kcals per day.
Calorie Surplus: How To Gain Weight?
If you want to gain weight, then you need to be in a calorie surplus. This means that you need to be eating more calories than you are burning.
So, the first thing you need to do in your steps to gaining weight is to work out how many calories you burn every day. A calorie calculator can help you with this.
Calorie calculators will estimate your daily calorie needs based on your age, sex, phyiscal activity level, and size.
For example, if you burn 2500 calories in a day, you will need to eat over 2500 calories in a day to be in a calorie surplus.
Calorie Surplus: How To Gain Muscle?
All you need to do to gain weight is be in a calorie surplus. However, to gain muscle, you need to do much more.
In order to gain muscle, you will need to combine being in a calorie surplus with strength training.
When undertaking strength training, you are overloading your muscles with work and the body will use this extra energy, the calorie surplus, to help you gain muscle.
While doing a workout, minuscule tears are created in the muscle tissue. The body will consider these tears to be injuries and will repair them while you are resting.
While they are being repaired, the fiber of the muscles becomes stronger and bigger, which will result in muscle gain.
This is an intensive recovery process in terms of energy. So, if you are not giving your body enough calories during this stage and entering a calorie surplus, then you will not get stronger or gain the necessary weight.
The larger your calorie surplus is, the faster you will gain weight. However, many people make the mistake of eating too much food, which will lead to excessive gains in fat instead.
Of course, it is normal to gain fat while you are gaining muscle.
But in order to avoid excessive fat gain while you are trying to gain muscle instead, then you need to eat a calorie surplus in moderation, and stick to about 500 calories more than what is burned by your body each day.
It is also a good idea to keep track of your calorie intake, as well as your body fat percentage and weight if you want to gain muscle.
This way, if you find you are gaining fat too quickly, then you will be able to check your tracker and take note of what needs to be changed with ease, whether it is increasing your levels of physical activity or reducing your calories, etc.
What Are Some Healthy Ways To Create A Calorie Surplus?
It is important to note that having a goal of gaining weight does not mean you should be able to eat whatever you want.
You need to make sure you have a balanced diet that still, of course, contains all of the foods you enjoy, but is still healthy.
When it comes to gaining weight, then you need to make smart food choices.
For example, it is a good idea to eat foods that are high in complex carbs, unsaturated fats, and lean proteins. More specific examples of good foods to eat include:
- Low-fat dairy products
- Brown rice
- Wholewheat pasta
- Wholewheat bread
- Vegetable oils, such as extra virgin olive oil
And, while there are foods that you should increase in your diet, there are also foods that you should eat less, such as foods (and drinks!) in high, simple carbs, like:
- White bread
- Potato chips
- Foods high in saturated fats
- Foods high in sugar
What Is Body Fat?
The body will store fat as a response to a calorie surplus in excess.
So, as previously mentioned, if you are trying to gain muscle but you gain fat instead, then this is a clear sign that you are eating too much.
Muscle growth has its limits, and you will only gain around ten to fifteen pounds per year.
Therefore, eating more food is not an easy way to increase the speed of your muscle growth, and the extra energy inside your body will be put towards fat instead of muscle.
A calorie surplus is a term for when an individual eats more calories in a day than they burn. Calorie deficits are useful for gaining weight and muscle.
However, you still need to eat a balanced diet while on a calorie deficit in order to be healthy.
Additionally, if you are trying to gain muscle, then you will also need to have a strength training routine and stick to a surplus of 500 calories a day, or you risk your body using the extra energy as fat instead of muscle.