My name is Sean and I am pretty new to weight-lifting. I've been trying to get healthier for the past few months, and for the past month or so I have been trying to get more experience with resistance training to gain muscle.

Recently I have become really discouraged and unsure of whether or not the changes I'm making to help make more muscle are succeeding or not.

This is some information about my body:

  • Weight: 201Ibs
  • Height: 5'9"
  • Body Fat Percentage: 29%

I have made changes to my daily routines mainly exercise a few times a week. I started out running after being inspired by my boss who is a running enthusiast. I think I lost around 18Ibs from eating at a deficit and exercising like that. Right now I am regularly visiting a gym and I pay for a personal trainer that I meet with 5 times a month to do weight-lifting.

That's going great. I like my trainer and it feels good to exercise my muscles, but what is difficult for me is figuring out the changes I need to make for my diet. I have a high body fat percentage and so I'm trying my best to minimize fat gain while I try to build muscle, but there is so much confusing information surrounding what, when, and how much I should be eating.

These are the things I have done to modify my diet:

  • Try to eat 200g of protein everyday.
  • Try to eat only "clean" sources of carbohydrates.
  • Try to eat according to macros (35% Protein, 45% Carbs, 20% Fat right now.)
  • Eat at a surplus.

That last one is the most difficult for me. When I use calculators online I come to the conclusion that I need to try to eat 2,900 calories a day. For me that sounds kind of high and makes me worried about gaining too much fat as I gain muscle. Is a number like this close to what it needs to be for me? Right now I am eating around 2,400 calories because at my gym my BMR was 1791 calories.

I am searching for help from this community to try and give me an idea of what is expected so that I can better understand how to succeed. I am a web developer so when I thought of where to post this was the first website that came to mind.

My plan right now is to keep doing what I am doing what I am doing for a few months and measure the results. For my long-term I'd like to gain muscle and then lose fat after that.I'm just worried I could be making a few mistakes that I could try to prevent.

I'd really be grateful for any tips.

Thank you for any help and please ask me questions if I wasn't clear.

1 Answer 1


congratulations on the weight loss.

A 500 calorie surplus is good to aim for. this is taking into account that it is hard to measure exactly how many calories you are burning each day. If you want to be a bit more careful about gaining extra fat you can aim for a 300 calorie surplus, make sure to count your calories correctly.

  • 200g of protein everyday is quite much, it's not a bad habbit, but you'd be fine with 150g of proteins a day too.
  • Eating clean does not matter when looking purely at weight loss or weight gain, only calories do. Eating clean is a good habbit to have for your overall health though.
  • It is inevitable to gain some fat when building muscle.
  • 2900 calories a day as maintenance calories sounds normal, you are working out 5 to 6 times a week then, correct?

If you are working out 5-6 times it is normal to eat 3200-3400 calories a day to gain muscle. It is a classic mistake to underestimate how much you have to eat to gain muscle. Make sure to count your calories! Eating more than that will make you fat quickly.

If you're 29% bodyfat, cutting is probably going to help you more to feel better than bulking, but don't stop bulking now because I said this. Stick to your current plan for +/-3 months so you can feel a clear difference in strength in your body, because switching too much back and forth is not efficient. I think you have the right idea to measure how this goes for a couple of months, seems like you take this serious. Good luck mate!

  • 1
    In addition to the answer of Pablo I'd like to mention that high protein intakes will (most certainly) make you feel full quicker and thus is a good option when trying to cut.
    – Suimon
    Aug 30, 2018 at 8:28
  • @Pablo Thanks so much for the reply. 2,900 calories would be for bulking. Not maintenance. Take a look at this TDEE calculator I use. These are my results. What are your thoughts? Aug 30, 2018 at 15:59
  • Looks good. If you lift 4 times a week Id say your activity is moderate though. Goodluck ! :)
    – Pablo
    Aug 30, 2018 at 16:20

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