How much do I need to eat to build muscle Calorie surplus explained

We wanted to cover the key elements of a calorie surplus. 

Before we start, it’s worth noting that a calorie surplus is not essential to gain muscle, it can simply speed the process up. It’s also important to remember that even the most experienced dieters will see an increase in body fat when they have been in a calorie surplus for a period of time.

  1. What is a calorie surplus? – A surplus is when you consume more calories than your maintenance calories, resulting in weight gain. The usual goal in a surplus is to make sure that weight gain is mostly muscle tissue and not fat tissue.
  2. Remember – Your maintenance calories are BMR + activity level (NEAT & exercise)
  3. Okay, so how many additional calories do I need to start getting jacked? It’s widely accepted that ~350 additional Kcal per day is enough to initiate weight gain. 
  4. Remember – There are many ways you can skin a cat…You could split this out day by day (advised), or you could look at it over a week, having some days that are much higher in calories than others. The most important thing is consistency over a prolonged period so finding a system that works for you is key for sustainability. 
  5. How can I measure this? There are tonnes of tracking apps if that’s the way you want to go. We recommend Chronometer as we’ve found it to be very accurate and comprehensive. Also – Checkout our step by step article on tracking food intake for some more help
  6. Last bit of babbling from us – Diet is just one element of the process. If building muscle is your goal, your training and recovery need to be on point too. 


Try Holos free for 30 days

Sign up now


Be a part of something bigger

Join our team