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How to Calculate Calorie Surplus

How to calculate calorie surplus

If you're a warrior on a mission to increase muscle mass, learning how to calculate calorie surplus can help you enter your bulk phase.

For some warriors, gaining weight and starting a bulk phase can be just as difficult as losing weight. If you're a warrior on a mission to increase muscle mass, entering a "clean" bulking phase is imperative to maintain caloric surplus while incorporating strength training for muscle growth. In addition to your maintenance calories, these additional surplus calories will provide the energy needed for muscle growth and repair. Continue to read on to learn how to calculate calorie surplus.

Step 1: Track current weight and height

Write down your most recent weight and height in pounds (lbs.) and inches.

Step 2: Calculate your estimated basal metabolic rate (BMR) using the Mifflin-St. Jeor Formula.

Basal Metabolic Rate is the rate of energy expended while at rest; in other words, it’s the amount of calories burned to maintain vital functions such as breathing, blood flow, digestion etc.

Men BMR = 10 x weight kg + 6.25 x height cm – 4.92 x age yrs. + 5

Women BMR= 10 x weight kg + 6.25 x height cm – 4.92 x age yrs. - 161

Step 3: Calculate Total Daily Energy Expenditure

Total daily Expenditure determines how many calories your body burns in the day; keep in mind it does not state how many calories you need to lose weight. To calculate your TDEE, multiply your BMR by your activity multiplier from one of the formulas below:

  • TDEE Sedentary – BMR x 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job)

  • TDEE Light Activity – BMR x 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk)

  • TDEE Moderately Active – BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk)

  • TDEE Very Active – BMR x 1.725 (difficult exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk)

  • TDEE Extremely Active – BMR x 1.9 (advance daily exercise/sports & physical job or 2x day training 6-7 days/wk

Total Daily Energy Expenditure (Maintenance Calories) = BMR x Activity Factor

Step 4: Adjust calorie intake for weight gain

Once you know your maintenance calories, we can calculate the calorie intake level needed for weight gain. Remember, 1lb. of body weight is about 3,500 calories and the goal is to aim for 1-2 lbs. of weight gain per week:

500 calorie surplus per day = 3,500 calorie surplus per week


Moderately active, 35 year old, male warrior who stands at 5'5 (60 in.) at 150lbs.

Step 1: Calculate BMR:

Men BMR = (10 x 66.96 kg) + (6.25 x 134.4 cm) – (4.92 x 35 yrs.) + 5

Men BMR = 669.6 kg + 840 cm + 172.2 + 5

Men BMR = 1,686.8

Men BMR = 1,686.8 calories. This is the amount of calories burned and your body requirements to maintain vital functions.

Step 2: Calculate TDEE:

TDEE Moderately Active = 1,686.8 x 1.55

TDEE = 2,614 total daily calories burned throughout the day with exercise (maintenance calories)

Step 3: Calculate Surplus Calories:

Calorie Surplus = 2,614 maintenance calories + 500 calories

Calorie Surplus = 3,114 calories should be consumed per day to achieve a weight gain of 1lb. of weight per week.


Disclaimer: All information presented and written within this article are intended for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you should choose to follow or participate in any workout, program or practice, you do so voluntarily and do not hold Initial Mile and it's founder responsible for any cause of injury or death. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.


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