Fri. Dec 9th, 2022

How do you use your diet to build muscle? This is week three, February 23, 2020, of my muscle gain journey. I had a great week and met all of my expectations. Also, I placed a focus on my diet to build muscle.

Because muscle gains are not magic but science, use an online calculator to find the numbers that cause you to build muscle or burn body fat. The first number of locking in on is your resting metabolic rate. Because we base it upon your body, it changes over time as your body changes. 

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 How to use your diet calories to build muscle

I used my age, gender, weight, height, and an online calculator to find my resting metabolic rate. Next, I used an activity calculator to determine the calories I burned from my workout. The calories from my workout and my resting metabolic rate calories were my total calorie expenditure. I feel I need to explain what resting metabolic rate calories are. Most people get this one wrong. Resting metabolic rate calories are any calories your body requires functioning with normal breathing and heartbeat.

If you work on a job and are not breathing heavily and do not elevate your heartbeat, your body is at rest and not at work. Some people whose workout is not a workout and their workout calories are resting metabolic rate calories. For your body to be at work requires two things: elevated breathing and heartbeat, which eventually leads to sweat. It is that simple. Finally, I used a diary calculator to track my diet, protein, carbohydrate, and fat calories.

How to use an online diet calculator to build your diet 

I always work back to my diet calories. I start with my resting metabolic rate (1829 calories) and then add my workout calories (298 calories) to get my total expenditure calories (2178 calories). Even though my workout lasts about an hour, I always deduct rest time between sets when calculating my workout calories. The total expenditure calories have to be recalculated regularly with changes to your weight, age, and time in the gym.

A big mistake many people make is they don’t change their calorie needs as their weight and age change. The weight is the biggest issue because it can change in a matter of weeks. Now that I know my numbers, I build my diet around my protein needs. I shoot for 1.5 grams of protein, times my body weight. I also attempt to hold my carbohydrates under 100 grams.

My fitness pal is a great online coach if you use it proactively. It crunches all the numbers for you and gives you a pie chart so you can see how to put your calories together. If you scroll across the pie chart on my fitness pal, it gives you the percentages for each macro group. The diet I am following turns out to be the keto diet, but that is not intentional. I based the diet on my goals, which are to build muscle while managing body fat.

Demographics: Age 52, Height 5-5, Weight 180 lbs

Tuesday’s Workout:

Lift and Weight                        Sets and Reps
Deadlift 375                              8,6,4
Bench Press 285                     8,6,3  
Barbell, Squat 320.               8,6,4
Incline Bench 235                     8,5,3
Shoulder Press 165                   8,6,4
Machine Row 240                    7,5,4

Thursday’s Workout:

Lift and Weight                        Sets and Reps
Pushups                                  75, 30, 25  
Hanging Leg Raise                   40, 20, 20  
Dips                                         25, 10,8  
Pull Up                                      10,8,4
Bicep Curl   70                        10,10,7
Leg Raise 260   10,10,7
Hamstring Curl 130   10,8,4

Saturday’s Workout:

Lift and Weight                        Sets and Reps
Deadlift 420                              6
Bench Press 300                       6
Barbell Squat 340                     6
Shoulder Press 195                   5
Machine Row  255.                   6

In conclusion, you can use your diet to build muscle.

During The deadlift and squat, I could increase my lift by five pounds. I increased my reps on the bench press by one, and now I am ready to move to the next left. I increased my reps in the shoulder press by one, but I will remain at this rep level until I meet the benchmark of six reps.

My goal is to escalate the weight lifted each week to get stronger and bigger. For example, during my weigh-in on Sunday, I weighed 182.3 pounds. In three weeks, I have added 2.3 pounds of body weight. Once I complete this bulk phase in nine more weeks, then I will begin a cutting stage.

You can use your diet to build muscle, and the first sign of bigger muscles is bigger lifts. This is because your diet and workouts work together to create an environment to build muscle. However, your diet is more important because your diet is an anabolic process, and muscles only grow in an anabolic environment. 

    By Terry Clark

    Terry Clark is a math professor, certified fitness trainer, bodybuilding coach, nutrition specialist, writer, and fitness enthusiast. Terry loves working out, playing with numbers, solving problems, writing, and teaching.