I'm a novice when it comes to working out. I want to build muscle, but also work on my stamina. So, I'm not doing exclusively strength training, but trying to stick to a well rounded combination of strength, cardio, and martial arts aside of going to gym. Overall, for a beginner, my routine is fairly intense and I expected that after a year I would see more muscle growth. I'm concerned that improper diet hinders my progress, since I'm likely to not eat enough to cover energy wasted. The fact that instead of gaining weight I'm losing it, further strengthens that assumption. Therefore, I'm looking for advice: how do I pick nutrition goals to accompany my gym routine?

I'm confused if I should simply aim for a particular calorie count, or rather discrete amounts of protein, fats, carbs, starch, etc.

I'm also not sure how to estimate the goal based on the amount of physical activity, physical characteristics, lifestyle, etc.

Finally, when it comes to calories, must I exceed energy wasted during the workout to grow muscles or simply cover it?

  • 2
    What's your main exercise goal? Building muscle, general fitness, losing fat, something else? That will already give you different calorie goals. Re point 2: carbs, fats and protein all have calories.
    – Luciano
    Apr 6, 2023 at 15:58
  • Also (And I realize this is an old question bumped by the bot), you don't mention your height and current weight, or what your starting weight is. Are you gaining strength?
    – JohnP
    Feb 23 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


Firstly you want to look at your macros. Your protein needs to be roughly 2g per kg of bodyweight, And your carbs needs to be about 2.5 to 3 times that. To figure out your overall calorie requirements use any simple online calculator and then add about then add about 300 to 400 onto your maintenance calories.

This is all just an estimate you need to try it out as you go along and increase it when necessary an increase it won't necessary. If you're losing weight increase your calories. If your strength isn't increasing and your recovery is taking too long you need to increase your protein.

  • 2g/kg is going to be much more than sufficient for most people. The conventional research-based recommendation was 1.6-2.2 g/kg, but newer research is indicating that going as low as 1.3 g/kg probably won’t compromise on gains compared to 1.6 g/kg to a significant degree, though the higher intakes are still recommended when cutting, especially when getting particularly lean.
    – Thomas Markov
    Oct 25, 2023 at 16:51
  • @ThomasMarkov - fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/792/… - See Nathan's excellent answer.
    – JohnP
    Oct 25, 2023 at 20:33

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