Why – High Calorie Meal Plans Are Natural Bodybuilding Nutrition Bs

You see them all around the Internet – ‘high calorie meal plans’ purported as essential for going from skinny runt to ‘muscular he-man’ with the easy application of a one-workout-per-week bodybuilding training routine. “Experts” tell you to pump heavy iron, eat each three hours, and soak up 3,000 to 5,000 energy per day and, voila, those large quantities of excess calories will miraculously be converted to slabs of powerful and comely muscle. This simple-minded prescription is one I personally adhered to twenty years ago. The result? I ended up with more physique fat than muscle and an eating addiction extra intense than what it had been previous to my having official approbation by the “high monks of bodybuilding” for being a downright pig.

Do you’ll want to “eat a lot” with a purpose to build muscle? Are ‘high calorie meal plans’ a necessary part of natural bodybuilding nutrition? Or is there a low threshold to the legislation of diminishing return on this context: Too much food ingestion requires processing energy by the body; energy traded from the reserves vital to bear the muscle building recuperation process itself? If the latter is the case, then body fat accumulation might be the lesser of detriments from excess calorie consumption; the larger being a hindrance to the very muscle building progress that the under-developed pure bodybuilder is seeking.

My Bad Experience with ‘High Calorie Meal Plans’

In the late eighties and early nineties, very high calorie meal plans were the fashion in bodybuilding. As excessive as 10,000 calories-per-day consumption had been being inspired in sure bodybuilding circles. This simple-mindedly ridiculous eating protocol was the gas behind the marketing machine that promoted “weight gainer powders” that finally reached the excesses of packing round 1,400 energy in a single serving. Smack-center on the receiving finish of those marketing messages was… uh… well… “yours truly.” I was more than happy to hear that my gluttonous habits have been justified by the earnest and worthwhile endeavor of building muscle and strength. Consequently, many of these high-calorie, sugar-packed “meal supplements” sat on a shelf in my pantry proper next to the high-calorie foods that competed with them for house in my stomach.

Of course, I hit the weights like a madman. I did “compound exercises” (squats, bench presses, dead-lifts, T-bar rows) as a result of these movements were imagined to make me big. Well, actually, it was the combination of these so-called “testosterone releasing exercises” and all of the high-calorie healthy protein and carbohydrate foods I was consuming that had been promised to make me “big.”

Did the ‘high calorie meal plans’ put weight on me? You wager they did. But it wasn’t the form of weight that was typically related to bodybuilding. I managed to ultimately brandish a 38-inch waistline and a tipping of the size that exceeded 230 pounds. As if the meals addiction I’d already had wasn’t bad enough, now I had one that included 1,000 calorie bodybuilding smoothies and a lethargy-inducing, incessant meals coma problem; not good.

An Example of Why ‘High Calorie Meal Plans’ do not make sense for Natural Bodybuilding Nutrition

I’ll always remember an reply to a query I heard at a bodybuilding seminar again in 1990. The two-hour presentation had attendees asking private questions of a Mr. Olympia competitor who had placed as high as second in that biggest of bodybuilding contests:

“How much muscle can you gain in a year?” asked one of the audience members.

Keep in thoughts – this was asked of a genetically gifted athlete who admitted to all of us that he was on common cycles of anabolic steroids and growth hormone drugs.

“When I was in my teens, I might gain as much as ten kilos of muscle per year.” He answered. “Now that I’m twenty-seven, I’m lucky if I add on two pounds of muscle per year.”

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So with his genetics and pharmaceutical enhancement, he gained ten pounds of ‘solid weight’ (muscle) in a year. This was his fastest rate of muscle growth. When we divide these ten kilos of muscle per 12 months by 365 days, we get practically .03 pound of muscle per day. Ask yourself: How many additional calories does it take to activate tissue recuperation for gaining .03 pound of muscle each day?

We know the formula for gaining physique fat. With 3,500 energy being current in each pound of fat, a mere 500 calories above upkeep is required each day to gain a pound of physique fat in a week. That’s a acquire of .14 pound of fat every day. If we assume we want as many calories to achieve muscle as we have to gain body fat (big assumption), we can subtract .03 from .14 to get .11 and then multiply .11 by 500. This gives us 55, which we will subtract from 500 to get 445.

If we need as many calories every year to achieve ten pounds of muscle as we do to realize ten kilos of fats – we’d need approximately 445 daily extra calories (above maintenance) to make it happen.

Wow… roughly four-hundred fifty calories every day? That’s about half a serving of dessert at the ‘Cheesecake Factory.’ More nutritionally speaking, it is a small can of tuna, a half cup of oatmeal, a banana, and an apple; not exactly a ‘high calorie meal plan’ if you’re currently sustaining your weight on a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet.


Energy is required of the body to digest and course of the mega calories from a “high calorie meal plan.” This is commonly wasted energy that could have in any other case been utilized to truly build some muscle. When we consume food that quantities to 3,000, 4,000, and 5,000 calorie per day “meal plans”, the easy fact that muscle tissue grows at a slower tempo than these calories may be utilized for his or her contribution to its growth makes the meal plans prescriptions for fats gain.

Twenty 5 years of natural bodybuilding has shown me this: Utilizing an efficient muscle building schedule/routine is greater in significance for progress in “solid weight gain” (muscle) than is following a supposedly tailor-made plan of pure bodybuilding nutrition. After all, in case your muscle breakdown/recuperation timing ratio shouldn’t be optimal, all these well-timed bodybuilding meals will contribute little to that .03 pound-worth of recuperation needed each day. In other words: the calories could end up on your waistline whereas your strong flesh remains underdeveloped.

That’s from a guy who’s speaking from experience.
Scott Abbett is the writer of HardBody Success: 28 Principles to Create Your Ultimate Body and Shape Your Mind for Incredible Success. To see his personal transformation, visit>

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