andrew_plamondon is being extremely helpful by organizing all of this information. continue to check back as he will be adding more and more info when he gets time / gets the information. we should all be happy he has done this much. this is a fucking vault of info. -Maine ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The same questions come back over and over again so I wanted to make an EDU about it. Feel free to add a comment or PM me if there are mistakes or stuff to add. I might add links to some resources or to my sources, just ask for it and I'll look it up and add it. If there are terms you don't understand, use Google and Wikipedia, this crazy website for geeks (http://web.indstate.edu/thcme/mwking/) THEN ask questions. A huge influence on your progress will be your nutrition. Training is usually the one thing people talk about but nutrition is almost always overlooked. People know how many miles per gallon their car does, but now how much cals they have to eat to maintain their weight. Some people can get amazing results in spite of what they’re doing (eating, training, etc). We shouldn’t try to do what they do. Genetics doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it, it means that you’ll have to work harder to get it. Part of being what you want to be is doing stuff you don’t really want to do. Maintenance cals, gaining, losing weight For those who wanted a definite answer, I think that it’s useless to try to determine this with a formula. Then, how much to eat will depend on your goals. A good starting point is to eat 15*bodyweight (in lbs) cals, wait for 2 weeks and reassess. If you want to lose or gain weight it hasn't changed, lower this amount by 500 cals every 2 weeks until you lose/gain 1-2 lbs per week. If it's going too fast, adjust by adding or substracting 250 cals. Whatever you do, gaining weight is about eating more calories than you expend (cals in *> cals out) and losing weight is expending more calories than what you eat (cals in < cals out). The thing is that what we expend (cals out) varies greatly from one person to another and will be influenced by a lot of factors (activity level, genetic differences, metabolism, fidgeting and so on). The trick is to find at what point you gain or lose weight, it will vary from one to another so you'll have to try some stuff and see for yourself. Sorry for the small picture. Go there if you want to learn more about energy balance (cals in vs cals out) and how you can play with it : http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....le=05-077-diet à Here are some troubleshooters by Dr Lonnie Lowery If you want to gain weight, it’s a bit trickier. If you’re a skinny beginner, you can probably gain a couple of lbs every month. If you’re a skinny fat beginner though, I don’t think you should use the scale. You could be gaining muscle mass and losing fat while staying at the same weight. Use the mirror, take measurements, take pictures to assess progress. Whatever your goals are, adjust your intake to your daily activity level. That means you can take more cals on training days and less cals on off days. It can easily be done by adding a pre/peri/post-workout meal (which will be discussed later). Bulking/Cutting As a former fat bastard gifted with a slow (efficient) metabolism, I'm not really into the bulking/cutting phases. For those who want to gain slowly, eating 10% over maintenance during training days (that's including calories burned during your activities) and 10% under maintenance during off-days can lead to pretty clean gains in the long term. Aiming at 2-4 lbs per month (the higher part is for those new at this) is a good goal. It might seem slow to some people, but over a year, we're looking at 24-48 lbs if you gain all the time, which is pretty good. For those who want to gain faster (those who can afford it the most are the skinny guys that always have been skinny, have a really fast metabolism and can go for a long time without eating, it will be a lot easier for them to lose the excess fat), you could aim at 1-2 lbs per week. You could eat the same amount of food everyday if you want, but I would just take out the PWO drink/meal on days off. Whatever you do, the excess calories should come from the "energy-providing" macronutrients (fats and carbs, the only usable sources of energy by the body). Protein can stay the same or higher if you want to, but the excess protein will be turned to energy (inefficiently) and it will be a costy source of energy. This process is called gluconeogenesis and only 60% of the energy found in your excess protein will be converted to glucose because of the thermic effect of food. It can be an advantage when dieting though. You could replace some cals from carbs by protein and if you replace 50g of carbs with 50g of protein, your body will only have the energy equivalent of 30 g of carbs (60% of it). As far as cutting goes, you just have to lower the carbs a little at first, then fats, until you lose 1-2 lbs per week (that's if you're not overly fat, people over 25-30% of bodyfat can lose way faster). Something by Christian Thibaudeau on the subject. Keep in mind the calculations were for him (he was 220-230 lbs at the time) and it's just an example. Quote: Well I first established the basic amount of calories I needed to grow optimally. I did this by calculating my BMR, then daily caloric expenditure. When I started my preparation I established that my BMR (basal metabolic rate) was 2092kcals and my daily caloric expenditure (BMR x activity level factor of 1.6 ... see my Dr.Jekyll for more details) was 3343kcals/day. When I work with my clients I establish their caloric intake this way: 1) Average muscle growth with no (or minimal) fat gain = Energy expenditure x 105-110% 2) Significant muscle growth with a small fat gain = Energy expenditure x 115-120% 3) Maximum growth with a significant gain in fat = Energy expenditure x 125-130% Taking myself as an example these goals would put my caloric intake are: 1) 3514 to 3680kcals (the lower amount would be for non-training days and the higher amount for training days) 2) 3849 to 4020kcals 3) 4183 to 4350kcals Since I was very lean when I started this diet and that I had some muscle to regain I decided to go right between option 2 and 3 at the start. So I did set my caloric intake at 4250kcals, but to avoid gaining too much fat too fast, I decreased my calories on "off" days slightly (3750 instead of 3800-4000). From there I would gradually increase my caloric intake each month to accomodate the added muscle tissue. Each month I would establish if I could (or not) increase caloric intake (was I still in good condition). If I found that my body fat was still in acceptable range I would increase my calories. If I found that fat was gained too fast, I would not increase calories. On the second week of november I noticed that I was gaining fat at an unacceptable rate (for me) and wasn't gaining more size or strength compared to the previous caloric intake, so I decided to start my gradual descent. At my "new" bodyweight I know (from the same calculations) that my BMR is now around 2200kcals and my daily energy expenditure is around 3600kcals/day. So as long as I do not go below 3600kcals/day I can maintain and even increase my level of muscularity and that I will need to go below that to lose fat. I carry something like 28-30lbs of fat. To get down to competition shape I will need to lose around 22-24lbs. Normally this would take around 12-14 weeks to do so without losing mass. But I decided to play it safe an alocate 16 weeks for my fat loss phase, hence the four months where I'll be on a relative caloric deficit (as opposed to an absolute caloric deficit...). A relative caloric deficit means eating less calories than you use per day. So consuming less than your daily energy expenditure. An absolute deficit means eating less calories than your body's basic needs each day. That means eating less than your BMR each day (this option is catabolic and will lead to muscle loss).