Many Beginner’s start with the belief that all it takes to build muscle is to work out, and so they begin to lift weights and work out all the time. This is all well and good and I believe that it is even beneficial to building good habits where habits may have not been before but it will not maximize results. AT FIRST a beginner may see rapid results in the first few months of training like this, but with each pound of muscle gained the next will come slower and slower until they plateau and results seem to stop. At this point many come to the conclusion that they just need to work harder and so start spending twice as long in the gym hoping to shatter this plateau, and again nothing really changes much. Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” So don’t be insane, educate yourself on the working of your body and use this to maximize your gains! And that is my goal here, to help those with less experience learn more about how to really build muscle fast. And to do that you must understand…
Macros are short for macronutrients and understanding what they are and how your body reacts to them will greatly improve how fast you see quality gains! So lets begin…
Everyday your body burns a certain number of calories just for existing, this is called your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). To give you a clear image of what I mean, imagine you just laid in bed all day and didn’t move an inch! Your body would still burn “x” amount of calories just for the work that it took your organs to keep you alive, and this is your BMR. But I hope you don’t just stay in bed all day and are an average functioning human being and if so you burn more than your BMR because you move and do more work than just stay still. Any movement you make, is work and will burn calories correlated to the strain needed to perform the movement. And so you must take the amount of average calories you burn in a day through your normal activities and then add them to your BMR. This will give you your TDEE, or Total Daily Energy Expenditure, simply put, the total amount of calories you burn in a day.
- BMR = Basal Metabolic Rate (calories burned for existing)
- TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure (BMR + calories burned during daily activity)
Now that you understand the basics of how your body burns calories we can get to the fun stuff, what it takes to build muscle! In order to build muscle you need to take in more calories than your TDEE, meaning you need to be in a caloric surplus. This knowledge can also be applied in reverse, to lose weight take in less than your TDEE (ie. caloric deficit), to maintain weight just match it.
Before going any further let me warn you, there is math involved!
First you need to know that there are several different methods to calculating your BMR and TDEE (I have tried them all) but generally one is accepted as the most accurate of them all and that is the one I am going to teach you. I will post the others later for those curious about seeing for themselves.