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# Thread: 1 pound of muscle = how many calories?

1. ## 1 pound of muscle = how many calories?

You have to consume approximately 3,500 calories above and beyond your body's maintenance levels, to gain a pound of fat.

Does the same figure hold true for gaining a pound of muscle?

Jim

2. 3,500 extra calories doesn't necessarily = 1lb of fat OR muscle. It can be 1/2 each, or 1/4 muscle and 3/4 fat, it all depends on if you are providing the body with the stimulus to build muscle with those extra calories, using them rather than storing them.

3. ## OK, but

Originally Posted by Fidelitas626
3,500 extra calories doesn't necessarily = 1lb of fat OR muscle. It can be 1/2 each, or 1/4 muscle and 3/4 fat, it all depends on if you are providing the body with the stimulus to build muscle with those extra calories, using them rather than storing them.
OK: I understand that it would take the extra calories, PLUS the muscle-building stimulus, to create the muscle tissue. But my question remains: would it be 3,500 extra calories, plus the necessary stimulus, to make a pound of muscle? Or would it be fewer than 3,500? Or - given the fact that muscle tissue is denser - more than 3,500?

Jim

4. It's like 600 according to Tom Venuto. Remember muscle mis 3/4's water, and 4Cals per dry mass compared to 9

5. Originally Posted by Capnwilliam
OK: I understand that it would take the extra calories, PLUS the muscle-building stimulus, to create the muscle tissue. But my question remains: would it be 3,500 extra calories, plus the necessary stimulus, to make a pound of muscle? Or would it be fewer than 3,500? Or - given the fact that muscle tissue is denser - more than 3,500?

Jim
Let's see... if muscle tissue is primarily protein, and protein has less energy per gram than fat, then I would think it'd be less than 3,500.

6. I remember hearing it was 1600, but I'm not sure.

7. Around 1700 cals to gain 1 pound of muscle I believe. But not all cals are created equal

8. Originally Posted by baarat
I remember hearing it was 1600, but I'm not sure.
That would make sense considering protein slightly less than half the calories of fat per gram.

But I would think that 1 lb of fat would be greater than 3500 calories unless the fat in the body has a different energy content. 9 calories/gram * 454 gram (approximately 1 lb) = 4,086

9. ## Ok...

OK, good info, and this is starting to make more sense.

I'd forgotten about 1 gram of protein being 4 calories, and 1 gram of fat being 9.

So, assuming that 3,500 extra calories would be needed to produce 1 pound of fat: 1,600 extras to produce one pound of muscle sounds about right.

Now: I've also heard that about 5 pounds of added muscle mass is a good, realistic gain for most folks in a single year.

1,600 X 5 = 8,000 extra calories one would have to consume within a YEAR. to put on those added 5 pounds of muscle mass.

8,000 per year = approximately 150 extra calories per WEEK!

All of which tells me one of two things: 1) either I'm somehow way off on my calculations or conceptions, or 2) the bodybuilding world is operating under a serious self-delusion about "bulking up".

150 "more" calories per week, over and above those required for bodily maintenance (including, admittedly, the increased caloric consumption that weight training itself imposes on the body, and the increased strain on the body's recuperation), equals a need for about 20 - 25 more calories per day.

If you want to say "but all of those 20 - 25 calories must be in the form of protein": OK, so what are we talking about? An extra mouthful of steak or chicken?

Where's the need for protein powder milk shakes, gorging yourself with food, etc. ?

Jim

10. A lot of people use bulking as an excuse to eat more and eat dirty. You are right, you should only need about 150 - 200 cals extra to gain muscle. The trick is adjusting that number for your body and circumstances. If you are a newbie, out of practice, experienced, workout 3x a week, workout 6x a week, etc the requirements can change. Start with 150-200 a day for a month then judge the results and adjust accordingly. But you have to give it at least a month to give your body time to adjust. What you need may be more, but probably not less.

11. 8lbs a year seems like a really low number to gain in a year unless you are getting really near your genetic peak. I put on 8lbs in the past month alone. Some was fat but the majority was muscle.

12. Interesting question and ideas, but i think the real answer is none of us know.

13. ## This is probably the answe

Originally Posted by Dan0_123
8lbs a year seems like a really low number to gain in a year unless you are getting really near your genetic peak. I put on 8lbs in the past month alone. Some was fat but the majority was muscle.
You are probably correct here, Dano: I was taking this from an Article I'd read about someone who WAS already top-flight.

We mere mortals can probably do better than they can

Jim

14. Originally Posted by willldabeast
Interesting question and ideas, but i think the real answer is none of us know.
x2 It most likely is individual specific. Certainly less that 1lb of fat though, likely between 1000 and 2000kcal.

Muscle also has a much higher % of water than fat.

And just like you can't gain pure fat, you are not likely to gain pure muscle either.

15. this is bull****, there's no way you can put a figure on it. If you want to know many calories are in a lb of muscle then just think about meat that you eat... its the same ****. So about 600-800cals/lb? That's what Sim882 was thinking of.

Now that's nothing like how much energy it actually takes to BUILD 1lb of muscle, which in turn is nothing like how much you need to EAT to build 1lb of muscle!

How much to build it? Well in theory it could be estimated since the energy costs of all the steps in gene expression for more muscle are known, so you could make some kind of guess IF only anabolism was occuring. But in reality, whenever you're building muscle you're catabolising it as well, so unless you somehow know the ratio of the two processes' rates then you can't work that **** out anyway.

And then, how much to eat to gain it? There's a thousand factors that go into that.

So yea, its not a question that can be answered, I'm afraid.

btw its the same with fat. 1lb of fat contains 3500 calories but that doesn't mean it takes that much to add 1lb of fat, and in turn it doesn't mean that eating 3500 calories in addition to an amount on which your weight doesn't change, will gain you 1lb of fat.

16. Rock, of course, there's many variables that effect weight gain/loss. I believe this exercise would be considered hypothetical, and not etched in stone. Just saying.

17. Originally Posted by rock_ten
btw its the same with fat. 1lb of fat contains 3500 calories but that doesn't mean it takes that much to add 1lb of fat, and in turn it doesn't mean that eating 3500 calories in addition to an amount on which your weight doesn't change, will gain you 1lb of fat.
This is actually a good point. Even sedentary individuals over-feeding with gain 20-30% of the weight as muscle (I don't have a link, but it was in a study). Of course they will also lose it when dieting if they don't exercise.

18. Originally Posted by Jules Verne
This is actually a good point. Even sedentary individuals over-feeding with gain 20-30% of the weight as muscle (I don't have a link, but it was in a study). Of course they will also lose it when dieting if they don't exercise.
I was looking for this study as well...Anyone have it?

19. Originally Posted by Sleepstream
That would make sense considering protein slightly less than half the calories of fat per gram.

But I would think that 1 lb of fat would be greater than 3500 calories unless the fat in the body has a different energy content. 9 calories/gram * 454 gram (approximately 1 lb) = 4,086
i forget the science behind it, but it is 3500 even though 4000 makes more sense mathematically. it might have to do with some getting used up as it is being stored, but thats just my assumption.
as for building muscle, it might be 1700 raw calories from protein and such to make up the muscle, but you have to take into account any energy put into making it. takes 500 cals extra of fat to make a pound fat, so probably 1900-2000 to make a pound of muscle, assuming 1700 is correct. regardless, i think you can only put on 1-2 pounds of muscle a week realistically.

20. bodyfat is not pure lipid, that's why it isn't 4,086 calories per lb. Fat cells contain other **** too - water and protein mostly, I guess.

21. Originally Posted by MSR9889
i forget the science behind it, but it is 3500 even though 4000 makes more sense mathematically. it might have to do with some getting used up as it is being stored, but thats just my assumption.
as for building muscle, it might be 1700 raw calories from protein and such to make up the muscle, but you have to take into account any energy put into making it. takes 500 cals extra of fat to make a pound fat, so probably 1900-2000 to make a pound of muscle, assuming 1700 is correct. regardless, i think you can only put on 1-2 pounds of muscle a week realistically.
3500 Calories burned may burn off a pound of fat, but 3500 extra Calories above maintenance consumed would not be a pound of fat, even for a sedentary individual.

I'm thinking that due to imperfect energy efficiency, 3500 Calories is what the body manages to get from one pound of fat. I would then think that for a person to manage to gain a pound of pure fat 5000+ calories would need to be consumed. Again, that is due to lack imperfect efficiency and conversions.

22. Originally Posted by rock_ten
bodyfat is not pure lipid, that's why it isn't 4,086 calories per lb. Fat cells contain other **** too - water and protein mostly, I guess.
In the case that I'm trying to respond is dry mass. 1 lb of fat or muscle as pure fat or muscle. It really is too difficult to determine the requirements for any of these things.

23. Originally Posted by rock_ten
this is bull****, there's no way you can put a figure on it. If you want to know many calories are in a lb of muscle then just think about meat that you eat... its the same ****. So about 600-800cals/lb? That's what Sim882 was thinking of.

Now that's nothing like how much energy it actually takes to BUILD 1lb of muscle, which in turn is nothing like how much you need to EAT to build 1lb of muscle!

How much to build it? Well in theory it could be estimated since the energy costs of all the steps in gene expression for more muscle are known, so you could make some kind of guess IF only anabolism was occuring. But in reality, whenever you're building muscle you're catabolising it as well, so unless you somehow know the ratio of the two processes' rates then you can't work that **** out anyway.

And then, how much to eat to gain it? There's a thousand factors that go into that.

So yea, its not a question that can be answered, I'm afraid.

btw its the same with fat. 1lb of fat contains 3500 calories but that doesn't mean it takes that much to add 1lb of fat, and in turn it doesn't mean that eating 3500 calories in addition to an amount on which your weight doesn't change, will gain you 1lb of fat.
Could you not potentially figure it out in the opposite manor by figuring out how much muscle gets used up during a famine situation.

How many calories does you body receive when cannibalizing 1lb of muscle tissue?

24. 1 pound of body fat is 3500 cals, because 2/9's of it is water or something like that.

I pound of muscle is 600 or something quite, because 3/4 is water.

Hence, why a pound of meat is about 600 or less (http://www.nutritiondata.com/facts-C...-01c21EP.html).

I agree whether it actually takes more energy to build the tissue, because of other factors (is it metabolically expensive to create muscle?) is a different issue.

However, one person referred to catabolism as a reason why we would need to consume more catbolism - not sure about this, as maintenance calories is defined as enough to offset catabolism

25. Originally Posted by Dan0_123
Could you not potentially figure it out in the opposite manor by figuring out how much muscle gets used up during a famine situation.

How many calories does you body receive when cannibalizing 1lb of muscle tissue?
Well, a maximum of ~6-800 calories are found in 1lb of muscle, but what amount of that leads to ATP production will vary. Just like when you eat 1lb of meat, it doesn't at all mean that it will all be "burnt" for energy. Same for in a famine, when you break down 1lb of muscle, not all of it will lead to energy production, and that will depend on what's actually going on at the time and what your hormonal condition is.

26. Originally Posted by Sim882
However, one person referred to catabolism as a reason why we would need to consume more catbolism - not sure about this, as maintenance calories is defined as enough to offset catabolism
you might be referring to me?

Originally Posted by rock_ten
How much to build it? Well in theory it could be estimated since the energy costs of all the steps in gene expression for more muscle are known, so you could make some kind of guess IF only anabolism was occuring. But in reality, whenever you're building muscle you're catabolising it as well, so unless you somehow know the ratio of the two processes' rates then you can't work that **** out anyway.
In which case, remember that whether you're eating 1000 or 10,000 cals per day, castrated or juiced out of your mind, muscle is being built up and broken down at any one time, to different extents. So for example maybe in one day a total of 100g of new muscle protein is built, but 90g is degraded... (completely made up numbers, btw). So you spent energy on building up 100g of protein but only got 10g left to show for it. Because of this, it isn't possible to just consider the ATP (and similar) costs of each step in producing Xg of muscle components, because that won't tell us about how much energy you really need to expend to make a net gain in muscle mass.

( 3500 / 9 ) x 4 = 1555.5

29. Originally Posted by Puddle_Pirate

( 3500 / 9 ) x 4 = 1555.5
but how many calories in a bump that strong?

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