How Much to Eat to Gain Weight (Metabolic Rate & Calorie Count)

How to gain weight? Eat more calories than you burn! But how many calories? 2000? 3000? 5000??

In this article, I will share with you how to calculate your metabolism rate and deduce the calories you will need to gain weight.


Calculating Your Metabolic Rate


1. Basal metabolism rate (BMR)

This is the number of calories your body would burn in a day if you never got out of bed.

It can be calculated using the Harris-Benedict equation (1):

For guys/men:
66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.76 x age in years)

Mine when I was still a skinny guy: 66 + (6.23 x 121.25) + (12.7 x 68.9) – (6.76 x 19) = 66 + 755.3875 + 875.03 – 128.44 = 1567.9775

This means I will lose 1567.9775 calories a day even if I don’t do anything physical.

*If your stats are in KG/M, just type “(your weight)KG to lbs” into Google and similarly for your height to calculate your stats in lbs and inches.


How Many Calories You Require



2. Now factor in your physical activity level

  • Little exercise : multiply calories by 1.2
  • Light activity: multiply calories by 1.3
  • Moderate exercise (2 to 3 exercise sessions/wk): multiply calories by 1.4
  • Moderately active (3 to 4 exercise sessions/wk): multiple calories by 1.5
  • Very active (4 to 5 exercise sessions/wk): multiply calories by 1.6
  • Extremely active (6 to 7 exercise sessions/wk): multiply calories by 1.8
  • Very heavy workout (twice per day, extra heavy workouts): multiply calories by 1.9

I gym and play sports 4 times or more a week, so I should be considered very active.

1567.9775 (BMR) x 1.6 = 2508.764 calories -> the total number of calories my body burns daily.

-> If I consume 2508.764 calories a day, I will not gain weight and my body fat percentage will stay constant.

Here’s a calculator you can use:


So How Much to Eat to Gain Weight?


1. Gradually increase your intake

2.2lbs (or 1KG) of muscle tissue can burn between 70 and 100 calories a day compared to 4 to 6 calories for 2.2lbs of fat tissues.

This means that to gain weight, you need to eat more than your caloric expenditure and gradually increase it as your muscles grow.

There are 2 ways:

  • Eat the same amount of calories on both workout and non-workout days. (For convenience)
  • Consume your calories in a cycle, a lot more on workout days, and a lot less on non-workout days. (Afraid that excess fat will be converted into fats)


2. 0.8 – 1.2g of protein per pound of body weight

Remember to drink LOADS of water.

You need the water to transport the nutrients around plus water brings a lot of health benefits to your body.


3. Macronutrients percentage

55% carbs, 25% protein and 20% fat for weight gain and maintenance.

For cutting, it will be 40% carbs, 35% protein and 25% fat.

The calories of each macro-nutrients are:

  • Carbohydrates: 1g = 4 calories
  • Protein: 1g = 4 calories
  • Fats: 1g = 9 calories

I must stress that the macronutrient ratio is just a yardstick to play with and a starting point, you don’t have to stick rigidly to it.

Even the Harris-Benedict formula which I mentioned earlier is only about 90% accurate around 60% of the time (2).

Essentially, they are not hard and fast rules.

However, you can use these 4 steps to nail down a macronutrient ratio that works for you

  1. Calculate your calorie needs as per above
  2. Calculate your protein intake first (0.8g – 1.2g/lbs of bodyweight)
  3. Calculate your fat intake (about 20%)
  4. Calculate your carbs intake (fill the rest of calories with carbs; or 1 – 3g/lbs of bodyweight)

Most importantly, adjust according to how your body reacts.




(1) Lehman, S. (2014, March 7). What’s the Harris-Benedict Formula? Retrieved from About Health:

(2) Douglas, C. C., Lawrence, J. C., Bush, N. C., Oster, R. A., Gower, B. A., & Darnell, B. E. (2007). Nutr Res. Ability of the Harris Benedict formula to predict energy requirements differs with weight history and ethnicity, 194-199.



Articles in This Section (Ectomorph Nutrition):

Join My Free Inner Circle

Get advanced, proven tips to gain muscle & weight fast! Join 3,500 other members

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

I will never give away, trade or sell your email. You can unsubscribe any time.


  1. Damien

    Good entry, thank you. Do you have a Youtube account?

    • Wayne

      Hey! Thanks! Yea I have a youtube account here:!

      I will be updating this with several gym workout videos which will show the correct posture and form of gym exercises.

      It will be up soon. I promise! Take a look when it does! Form is really very important but is ignored by too many.

  2. Raymond


    After reading your Nutrition email, and doing my own calculations on how much I should be eating per meal, I have 2 questions:

    1. When figuring out how many grams of carbs I need to have per meal, do i go by the weight of the carb itself or the “accepted” nutritional value of the carb? For example, my daily intake of carbs should be 271g of carbs. If I divide that up 6 times that gives me 46g of carbs for each meal. If I eat 46g of broccoli, i won’t be getting my true caloric intake of carbs for that meal. Therefore should I only consider weighing starchy carbs and suppliment leafy carbs into the meal?

    2. When it comes to measuring how many grams of protein/carbs/fats we need to intake each meal, should we use the “suggested” nutritional values or should we use the actual weight? Example, Will 35g of turkey be the same as 35g of beef and 35g of fish?

    Thanks in advance!

  3. Chris Noga

    Excellent stuff Wayne. How do you insure against belly fat while trying to gain weight or even get rid belly fat while trying to gain weight as well?

    • Wayne

      Good question there Chris, you will definitely gain some fats in your bid to gain weight, but to keep it at a minimum, reduce fat and carb intake when you realise you are gaining too much fat too fast. and incoporate cardio/circuit training while maintaining weight training.

  4. Kyle

    Hey Wayne, according to the equation and then multiplying that by 1,4 I’m burning 2340 calories when doing a routine 3x a week. So how much more should I be eating, is there a minimum amount I should start out at?


    • Wayne

      Hi Kyle, you can eat 250-500 calories above your maintenance levels. But always keep in your mind your most important goals: maximize muscle gains and minimize fat gains. If you realize that you are getting fatter rather than more muscular, cut down on your intake, vice versa.

  5. Ali

    You suddenly stop sending emails, whys that ?

  6. madguy

    2. 1 – 1.5g protein per pound? are you fucking serious, thats so much bullshit i cant even think about it.

    • iliander

      it’s 1 – 1.5 gr lol… the “2.” is something else lol

  7. A. Lee

    Hey there! I have much gratitude for finding this article! I have a question- what formula for percentages of consumption would I use as an overweight Ectomorph? I have never been overweight before, but I formed some bad habits and a kid and abdominal surgery later has me needing some help. Here’s where I get super frustrated- I have a sensory disorder and it causes me to be a picky eater. I’m pretty much vegan, though, so, not too bad, but I have a very busy life as I am a mother to three small children and I don’t have much time. However, I matter and I MUST be healthy again. My determination is plenty to see it all through, I’m just in a rut at the moment. Please and thank you <3


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.