How many calories does a bodybuilder need for muscle nutrition?
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How many calories does a bodybuilder need for muscle nutrition?

The easiest way to determine how many calories you need is to weigh yourself at least three times a week and record what you eat using a calorie tracker app.

If your weight stays the same, the daily number of calories you consume is maintenance calories; you are not losing or gaining weight but maintaining it.

During the weight gain diet phase, it is recommended to increase your calorie intake by 15%. For example, if your maintenance calories are 3,000 per day, you should consume 3,450 calories (3,000 x 0.15 = 450) during the weight or bulking phase.

When you go from the bulking phase to the definition phase, you reduce maintenance calories by 15%, which means you would consume 2,550 calories per day instead of 3,450.
Ronnie Coleman in volume Ronnie Coleman in the definition
Champion Ronnie Coleman in his volume (left) and muscle definition (right) phases.

As you gain weight in the bulking phase or lose weight in the definition phase, you will need to adjust your calorie intake at least once a month to account for these changes in your weight.

Increase your calories as you gain weight in the gaining phase, and decrease calories as you lose weight in the definition phase for continuous progression.

It is recommended not to lose or gain more than 0.5-1% of body weight per week during either phase. This ensures that you don’t lose too much muscle during the cutting phase or that you don’t gain too much body fat during the weight gain phase.
The distribution of macronutrients in the diet and bodybuilding nutrition
distribution of macronutrients
Correct distribution of macronutrients is essential in muscle nutrition.

Once you’ve established the number of calories you need, you can determine your macronutrient ratio, which is the ratio of your protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake.

Although your caloric needs change between bulking and cutting, the ratio of macronutrients does not.

Protein and carbohydrates contain four calories per gram, and fat contains 9.

We recommend that you get the following:

  • 30-35% of your calories from protein
  • 55-60% of your calories come from carbohydrates
  • 15-20% of your calories come from fat

Here is an example of the ratio for the volume and cut phase:

Phase/diet to gain volume

Calories 3,450

Protein (grams) 259-302

Carbohydrates (grams) 474-518

Fat (grams) 58-77

Phase/diet for definition or fat loss

Calories 2,550

Protein (grams) 191-223

Carbohydrates (grams) 351-383

Fat (grams) 43-57

These are general guidelines, so it is best to consult with a registered dietitian to determine your individual needs based on your goals. This will ensure that your diet is nutritionally adequate.
It is generally customary to limit 25% body fat as the limit for a bulking stage. Higher figures can be given in some instances, but great care should be taken to avoid excessively lengthening the subsequent definition phase.

A bulking phase is achieved mainly through a hypercaloric diet. That is a nutritional guideline that healthily helps you gain weight. A phase of the caloric surplus will contribute more calories to the body than we actually “spend.” It is essential to follow a healthy hypocaloric diet to avoid the excessive accumulation of fat I mentioned earlier.

Generating a caloric surplus based on saturated fat and processed foods is straightforward, do it healthily, and with foods rich in micronutrients, I assure you that it is not so much.

What is muscle definition?

The muscle definition phase would be the exact opposite of a volume phase. I would come to be because it is not precisely the opposite.

If we seek to gain muscle in a volume phase, we do not seek to lose it in a definition phase. We seek in the definition to “highlight” as much as possible the muscles of our body.

A definition phase is achieved through a hypocaloric diet in which we restrict food intake to generate a deficit and, therefore, weight loss.

Previously commented that one of the main problems of the bulking phases is the excessive increase in body fat. Well, in the definition phase, the main danger is in “losing muscle.”

Fortunately, losing muscle is not as easy as gaining it. Catabolize (lose muscle) is much more complicated than it seems, and the definition would have to be very aggressive or prolonged to get to this point.

The definition phase could be defined in a certain way as the “can It’s ready” for the competition or for those who do not seek a competitive end in the final phase of the bikini operation.

All definition phases must be progressive and moderate to avoid falling into a dreaded metabolic grave and ultimately the excessive slowdown of metabolism.
gym volume phase
The definition phase would be the final set-up
Volume phase vs definition phase

The first thing you should be clear about is that each phase has its benefits and its drawbacks.

A bulking phase implies that specific muscles look “clogged,” that you may lose the wonderful six-pack and that your body will be less “pretty.”

On the contrary, you can eat more calmly and enjoy food since a definition phase is a much more restrictive diet.

Do not take it like that in a volume phase, “you gain weight,” and you “lose weight” in a definition. Even if the scale is limited to assessing your body by body weight, realize that you are building and travelling a much longer path.

If you want to progress and enjoy good health, it is impossible to be in a permanent definition or volume.
Volume and definition in beginners

If you are a beginner or have been in fitness and bodybuilding for a short time, you should first evaluate your current physical condition before starting.

There is no precise planning for newcomers. If you are significantly overweight and your body fat is high, your efforts should be aimed at losing weight and losing fat.

When you reach an improved physical condition, you can begin to consider entering a phase of volume or definition.

If you have average body weight and body fat at acceptable levels, it will fundamentally depend on how long you have been training.

If you are “thin” but have not acquired a certain level of muscle mass or technique in basic exercises, you must dedicate some time to these aspects.