Can You Build Muscle On Maintenance Calories?

So, Can You Build Muscle on Maintenance Calories?

Can you build muscle on maintenance calories?


As long as you are training with intensity, intaking enough protein, and getting adequate rest, building muscle at caloric maintenance is possible.

However, room for error diminishes. Additionally, it may not be an optimal way to build muscle. Keep reading to learn if this strategy is right for you.

Can You Build Muscle On Maintenance Calories
Can You Build Muscle On Maintenance Calories?

How Is Muscle Built?

Exercise-induced muscle damage stimulates muscle growth (hypertrophy), achieved via high-intensity resistance training.

Weight training with high intensity creates micro tears in the muscle fibers. These tears are then repaired by the body with nutrients and are built back slightly stronger/bigger.

Because nutrients are undeniably necessary for this process, diet and proper nutrition are critical for muscle building.

Among other nutrients, protein is essential for building muscle since it is what the body uses to repair damaged fibers.

Experts estimate that at least 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily is necessary to build muscle.

What Is Caloric Maintenance?

Caloric maintenance is the number of calories you must eat daily to neither gain nor lose weight.

Due to its nature, caloric maintenance is an estimation of varying accuracy.

Methods of deriving caloric maintenance include online calculators, blood work, and more. These methods are imperfect and require trial and error because of the multiple factors that affect energy (calories are a unit of energy).

Caloric maintenance is a helpful estimation for those looking to gain or lose weight.

Can You Build Muscle On Caloric Maintenance?

So, now that we know what caloric maintenance is, can you build muscle on one?

Technically, yes, you can build muscle on caloric maintenance. As long as you meet the nutritional requirements for building protein (sufficient protein and rest), training with intensity on caloric maintenance should theoretically lead to muscle growth.

There are smaller margins of error for muscle growth when on a caloric deficit. Someone building muscle must be more intentional and strict with their diet compared with someone who is bulking.

Attempting muscle growth on caloric maintenance could make sense for someone who wants to get stronger and lower their body fat percentage. Just keep in mind that intentional macronutrient intake is critical.

Someone looking to build muscle but is not necessarily looking to cut down their body fat percentage would benefit from a slight to moderate caloric surplus for optimal muscle growth.

Can You Build Muscle On Caloric Maintenance: FAQs

Sarcoplasmic vs Myofibrillar Hypertrophy

Hypertrophy is a term that describes exercise-induced muscle growth. However, there is more than one type of hypertrophy.

Learn about them here.

Do Pull-Ups Work The Rear Delts?


Since rear delts play a significant role in pulling movements, they will work hard during pull-ups.

To learn more about this, click here.

Does Elliptical Build Muscle?


Since the elliptical does not put enough stress on the muscles to generate microtears, it is not capable of aiding muscle growth.

Learn more about this here.

What Is The Hardest Muscle To Grow?

As I stated previously, from personal experience as a trainer, I have found that many people (especially beginners) struggle with the lats.

However, this is a subjective claim and everyone is different. It is likely that the muscle that is most difficult for you to grow is not the lats, but instead, one that is more difficult.

Learn more about this question here.

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