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Calories To Build Muscle Calculator

This is probably one of the most useful posts ever here at MuscleHack.

While most sites will tell you how to work out how many calories you need to build muscle, or how much protein you’ll need, the Hack goes one step further and gives you a free calculator that will do all the complicated math for you!

You can work it out here with the web version and/or download the free program and install it on your computer (PCs only).

All you need to know is your current weight and body fat percentage. If you don’t know your body fat percentage, it’ll work that out for you too!

The calculator works on the MuscleHack philosophy that only 200-300 calories above maintenance are all that are requirement to build maximum muscle. There’s a good reason why everyone on “bulking” diets get fat: they’re eating too damn much!

If you want more on why exactly 500 surplus calories is too much, read this post, “Want 12lbs of Muscle this Year?

MuscleHack is unapologetically about adding muscle, dropping fat and looking good. I don’t see the point of getting bigger and stronger only to walk around looking like someone who eats breakfast, lunch, and dinner at McDonalds.

Anyway, on to the calculator…

Note: The calculator defaults to “moderate work” for the activity factor. I recommend the vast majority of you keep it at this level.

It looks like this…

Download Calorie & Protein Calculator – Click Here (it also has a body fat calculator tab if you don’t know your percentage)

Here’s the web version for mac users (make sure you hit the calculate button at the bottom after you enter your stats. If you don’t know your body fat percentage, use the calculator in the sidebar of this site)

Again, MuscleHack is all about lean gains. However, this calculator is not intended for use by those wishing to drop body fat. Neither is the MANS diet, the GLAD diet, or even THT training. If you are really serious about leaning out once and for all, do yourself a big favor and grab Total Six Pack Abs.

Train With Intensity!


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Mark McManus
Mark McManus
Mark is now available for 1-on-1 consultations to help you take your results to the next level. Click here for more details.
Mark McManus is a trainer & author from Ireland. His work has been featured in major publications all over the world. He is the creator of the free growth-promoting workout Targeted Hypertrophy Training' (THT) and author of the NEW fat-torching system Total Six Pack Abs.
He has also created the BREAKTHROUGH arm and chest maximizer programs The Arms Blast' and 'Chest Blast' workouts.
And if you're a fan of delicious high-protein recipes to fuel your muscle growth, check out his cook book 'Buff Baking' here.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • JaSoN January 30, 2012, 7:49 am

    Thanks Mark. This is good stuff. Hope you had an Awsome Christmas!!

  • Mark January 30, 2012, 9:34 am

    Cheers Mark. This should prove very helpful.
    Damn shame you lost so much of your work, I hope you managed to recover at least some of it!
    A very happy new year to you.

  • Neal January 30, 2012, 12:32 pm

    Thanks Mark! Sorry to hear bout’ the hard drive incident. How bout’ non-training days? Would you recommend eating maintenance or still 200-300 above as the calculator says consume…. on training days. Thanks!

  • David January 30, 2012, 6:00 pm

    Mark very resourceful site informative Quality Tips keep up good work


  • Ikram January 30, 2012, 9:41 pm

    Thanks mark, it says eat this bulking amount on training days, so if your on the 3 days HIT routine does that mean you eat maintenance amount on the 4 rest days?

  • sean January 30, 2012, 10:36 pm

    Hey Mark.

    In a previous article (I tried looking for it) you stated that you have switched your mind from doing the originally suggested 200 – 300 calories over maintenance to doing 100 – 200 calories above maintenance.

    Now you are going back to doing 200 – 300 calories over maintenance?

    Just would like to know why.


  • Mike Huber January 31, 2012, 12:52 am

    Thanks Mark!! Hope everything is coming along well for you!!

  • Mike Huber January 31, 2012, 1:00 am

    Was Great To See A MuscleHack e-mail Again!!

  • tina January 31, 2012, 2:35 am

    This looks great but i think a female needs a different calculator. i would definitely get fat on that many calories.

  • ajik January 31, 2012, 10:46 am

    oh please get this into the app too please! really thanks for your site and efforts Mark! still can’t get enough calories on MANS. If my carb intake is limited to 30 grams, and my protein is around 150 grams, the rest of the calories shall be fat indeed? or can I exceed my protein requirement? I use the myfitnesspal app for calorie tracking by the way, though I can’t set it to support my low-carb MANS diet reqts, it’s great anyway. As seasons change I get the flu, dang! just hate it when I can’t get pumping when I’m having colds and fever. >:( Enjoy y’all! :)

  • Mark McManus January 31, 2012, 2:09 pm

    @Jason. Actually had a terrible one, buddy. But it’s all good now :)
    @Neal @Ikram. On non-training days obviously you will need less Calories because there is no energy being burned from a workout. To be on the safe side, you could shave 100 Cals off. On a 5-day split I simply let my hunger dictate my eating amounts and times at the weekend.
    @Sean. I’d like to see that myself to see the context but I was probably referring to myself. I can put fat on my gut real easy if I’m not careful, so even 300 Cals is too big for me. Like the Calculator says, use this to get your starting numbers and adjust if necessary.
    @Mike. Yes mate, thanks for asking. Much better after my recent disaster. Sorry it’s been so long. Good to know the fans never leave :)
    @tina. I disagree with that. This is based on weight and body fat %. That’s all that matters. On average women are lighter, but have a higher BF% so this calc takes all of that into account. Women that would put on fat from this calculation are probably in that scenario due to eating very low cals for a very long time.
    @ajik. Yes, MANS is high fat. There is room for some excess protein however as it will convert to glucose and be stored as muscle glycogen. So allow yourself some wiggle room.

  • tina February 1, 2012, 12:18 am

    I am in that category. i didn’t know that could happen, but nonetheless, that many calories will turn to fat on me. For years i have eaten too few calories, not by choice, but i’m working on eating healthier now. Hopefully someday i will be able to use this calculator. Thanks for making it available, and good luck with all your hard work.