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How Many Calories Do Bodybuilders Burn

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How Many Calories Do Bodybuilders Burn


How Many Calories Do Bodybuilders Burn: In the world of fitness and physique enhancement, bodybuilders stand as paragons of strength, discipline, and physical excellence. These individuals sculpt their bodies through rigorous training routines, precision nutrition, and unwavering dedication. Bodybuilders burn a considerable number of calories throughout the day due to their unique combination of factors such as high muscle mass, intense resistance training, cardiovascular exercise, and efficient metabolism. 

The calorie expenditure of bodybuilders delves deep into the intricate relationship between muscle, metabolism, and energy expenditure. It uncovers the science behind their remarkable ability to incinerate calories and provides valuable insights for those seeking to optimize their own fitness journeys. While it’s challenging to provide an exact number of calories burned by bodybuilders, it’s safe to say that their daily calorie expenditure is typically higher than that of sedentary individuals.

The world of bodybuilding, dissecting the factors that contribute to their elevated calorie burn. From muscle mass to workout intensity, dietary choices to rest and recovery, we will uncover the hidden mechanisms that enable bodybuilders to achieve their remarkable feats of energy expenditure. Understanding the factors that affect calorie burn is crucial for bodybuilders to tailor their training and nutrition plans to achieve their specific goals, whether it’s building muscle, losing fat, or maintaining their impressive physiques. 

How Many Calories Do Bodybuilders Burn

Do bodybuilders burn a lot of calories?

Bodybuilders work out a lot. They burn many more calories than the average person. They also calculate calorie intake precisely and cycle between phases of eating more and eating less.

Yes, bodybuilders do indeed burn a significant amount of calories, especially when compared to individuals with less muscle mass. There are several reasons why bodybuilders tend to have higher calorie expenditures:

Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it requires energy (calories) to maintain itself. Bodybuilders typically have significantly more muscle mass than the average person, and this extra muscle tissue demands more calories for both maintenance and repair.

Strength Training: Bodybuilders engage in intense resistance training workouts, which can elevate their calorie burn significantly, not only during the workout but also in the hours following it. High-intensity weightlifting sessions can lead to a phenomenon known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), where the body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate to recover and repair muscle tissue.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): Muscle tissue contributes to an individual’s basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories the body needs to maintain basic functions at rest. Since bodybuilders have more muscle, their BMR is typically higher than that of someone with less muscle.

Diet: Many bodybuilders follow specific diets designed to support muscle growth and maintenance. These diets often involve higher protein intake, which can have a thermogenic effect, meaning it requires more energy to digest and metabolize protein compared to fats and carbohydrates.

Cardiovascular Training: While strength training is a core component of bodybuilding, many bodybuilders also incorporate cardiovascular exercise into their routines to manage body fat levels. Cardio workouts, such as running or cycling, can further increase calorie expenditure.

Post-Workout Nutrition: Bodybuilders often consume post-workout meals or supplements that include protein and carbohydrates. This aids in muscle recovery and can contribute to an increased overall calorie burn.

How much calories should a bodybuilder burn?

I still recommend a moderate caloric deficit for most bodybuilders, around 500 kcals. That’s a good starting point to keep losing body fat at a steady pace while having enough energy left for high-intensity workouts. It ensures you lose more or less only fat while maintaining your muscle mass.

If a bodybuilder is in a maintenance phase, where the goal is to preserve existing muscle mass and strength, they should aim to consume enough calories to match their total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This means they should burn roughly the same number of calories they consume to maintain their current weight.

Bulking Phase: During a bulking phase, bodybuilders typically consume a calorie surplus to support muscle growth. This surplus can vary, but a common recommendation is to aim for a surplus of 250 to 500 calories per day above their TDEE. This provides the extra energy needed to facilitate muscle protein synthesis and overall muscle growth.

Cutting Phase: When bodybuilders are preparing for a competition or aiming to reduce body fat levels, they enter a cutting phase. During this phase, they create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than they burn. A moderate deficit of around 300 to 500 calories per day is often recommended, as it allows for gradual fat loss while preserving muscle mass.

Monitoring Progress: Regardless of the phase, it’s crucial for bodybuilders to monitor their progress closely. Regular assessments of body composition (such as body fat percentage and muscle mass) and performance in the gym can help determine whether calorie intake needs to be adjusted.

Protein Intake: Protein intake is a critical consideration for bodybuilders, as it plays a central role in muscle repair and growth. Typically, bodybuilders aim for a protein intake of around 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, depending on their goals and individual needs.

Carbohydrates and Fats: The remaining calories can be allocated to carbohydrates and fats based on personal preferences and how the body responds. Carbohydrates are essential for energy, particularly during intense workouts, while dietary fats are important for overall health and hormone regulation.

How many calories does a bodybuilder eat per day?

In the off-season, energy intake is usually substantially higher compared to the dieting phase with dietary intakes among male bodybuilders being reported at an average intake of ~3800 kcal/day during the off-season and ~2400 kcal/day during the dieting phase.

During a bulking phase, when the goal is to gain muscle mass, bodybuilders often aim to consume a calorie surplus. This surplus can range from 250 to 500 calories or more above their total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). For example, if a bodybuilder’s estimated TDEE is 2,500 calories per day, they might consume around 2,750 to 3,000 calories per day during a bulking phase.

Cutting Phase: In a cutting phase, bodybuilders aim to reduce body fat while preserving muscle mass. This is typically achieved by creating a calorie deficit. A common recommendation is to consume 300 to 500 calories per day fewer than their TDEE. Using the same TDEE of 2,500 calories as an example, a bodybuilder might consume around 2,000 to 2,200 calories per day during a cutting phase.

Maintenance Phase: During a maintenance phase, where the goal is to maintain current muscle mass and body weight, bodybuilders aim to consume roughly the same number of calories as their TDEE. Using the TDEE of 2,500 calories again, they would aim for a daily calorie intake of around 2,500 calories.

Protein Intake: Regardless of the phase, bodybuilders typically prioritize protein intake to support muscle repair and growth. Protein needs can vary, but a common range is 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

Carbohydrates and Fats: The remaining calories can be allocated to carbohydrates and fats based on individual preferences and how the body responds. Carbohydrates are essential for energy, especially during intense workouts, while dietary fats are important for overall health and hormone regulation.

Do bodybuilders eat more calories than they burn?

In general, the term bulking refers to a controlled phase of being in a calculated calorie surplus and combining it with sufficient resistance training to boost muscle and strength gains. A calorie surplus involves consuming more calories than you burn, which can lead to weight gain in the form of muscle or fat.

In a bulking phase, bodybuilders aim to gain muscle mass. To facilitate muscle growth, they consume more calories than their total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which means they eat more calories than they burn on a daily basis. This calorie surplus provides the extra energy and nutrients needed for muscle protein synthesis and overall muscle development.

For example, if a bodybuilder’s TDEE is estimated at 2,500 calories per day, they might consume 2,750 to 3,000 calories or more per day during a bulking phase.

Cutting Phase: On the other hand, during a cutting phase, bodybuilders typically consume fewer calories than they burn, creating a calorie deficit. The aim here is to reduce body fat while retaining as much muscle as possible. This calorie deficit encourages the body to utilize stored fat for energy, resulting in fat loss.

Using the same TDEE example of 2,500 calories, they might consume 2,000 to 2,200 calories or fewer per day during a cutting phase.

Maintenance Phase: During a maintenance phase, bodybuilders aim to match their calorie intake with their TDEE. This means they eat roughly the same number of calories they burn to maintain their current body weight and muscle mass.

The key to successful bodybuilding nutrition is the strategic manipulation of calorie intake based on the specific goals of each phase. While bulking phases involve a calorie surplus to promote muscle growth, they are typically followed by cutting phases to reduce body fat and reveal the underlying muscle definition.

Do bigger people burn calories faster?

Muscle mass is the main factor in basal metabolic rate. Basal metabolic rate also depends on: Body size and composition. People who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body requires to maintain basic functions, such as breathing, maintaining body temperature, and organ function, while at rest. Bigger individuals typically have a larger body mass, which means they have more cells and tissues that require energy to function. As a result, their BMR is higher, and they naturally burn more calories at rest than smaller individuals.

Muscle Mass: Muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories even at rest. Bigger individuals, especially those with a higher percentage of muscle mass, require more calories to maintain and support their muscle tissue. Muscle tissue has a higher metabolic rate compared to fat tissue, which is relatively inert in terms of calorie expenditure.

Activity Level: Bigger individuals often have more body weight to support, which can require more energy during physical activities, including walking, climbing stairs, and other daily tasks. The impact of body size on calorie burn during physical activity is not always straightforward. Factors like fitness level, exercise intensity, and duration also play a significant role.

Genetics: Genetics can influence an individual’s metabolic rate to some extent. Some people naturally have a faster metabolism, regardless of their body size, while others have a slower metabolism.

Hormonal Factors: Hormones, such as thyroid hormones and sex hormones, can influence metabolism and vary among individuals. These hormonal differences can impact calorie burn, but they are not solely determined by body size.

A potentially burn calories faster at rest, this does not necessarily mean they will lose weight more quickly or easily. The overall balance of calorie intake and expenditure, including dietary choices and physical activity levels, remains the primary factor in determining weight management and body composition.

How do bodybuilders stay so lean?

Preparation for bodybuilding competition involves drastic reductions in body fat while maintaining muscle mass. This is typically achieved through a decreased caloric intake, intense strength training, and increased cardiovascular exercise.

Bodybuilders carefully control their calorie intake based on their goals. During a cutting phase (when the goal is fat loss), they create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than they burn. This deficit encourages the body to use stored fat for energy. During a bulking phase (when the goal is muscle gain), they consume a calorie surplus to support muscle growth.

Macronutrient Balance: Bodybuilders focus on their macronutrient ratios. Protein intake is prioritized to support muscle maintenance and growth. Carbohydrates provide energy for workouts and are timed around training sessions. Dietary fats are controlled to manage overall calorie intake.

Meal Timing: Meal timing and frequency are important. Some bodybuilders use strategies like intermittent fasting or nutrient timing to optimize fat loss and muscle preservation. Others eat multiple small meals throughout the day to maintain energy levels and control hunger.

Protein Intake: Protein is a cornerstone of bodybuilding nutrition. It supports muscle repair and growth while promoting feelings of fullness. Protein sources often include lean meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, and plant-based options like tofu and legumes.

Strength Training: Intense resistance training is a core component of bodybuilding. It helps build and maintain muscle mass, which in turn boosts metabolism and helps with fat loss. Compound exercises, such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, are commonly included in bodybuilding routines.

Cardiovascular Exercise: Many bodybuilders incorporate cardiovascular workouts to help create a calorie deficit during cutting phases. Cardio can aid in burning extra calories and improving overall cardiovascular health.

Supplements: Some bodybuilders use supplements like protein powders, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), and thermogenic supplements to support their nutrition and training goals. However, supplements are typically not a replacement for a well-balanced diet.

Hydration: Proper hydration is crucial for overall health and can help control appetite. Drinking water before meals may also help with portion control.

Rest and Recovery: Sufficient sleep and adequate recovery time are essential for hormonal balance and muscle repair. Inadequate sleep can lead to increased hunger and cravings, making it harder to stay lean.

Monitoring Progress: Bodybuilders often track their progress closely by measuring body fat percentage, body weight, and other metrics. This helps them make necessary adjustments to their nutrition and training plans.

Consistency: Staying lean requires consistent adherence to a well-structured plan. Bodybuilders understand that results take time and dedication.

Do bodybuilders eat fast or slow?

The take-home message from these studies is that eating your meals slowly can help you build more muscle mass and keep bodyfat at bay. So slow down, enjoy your meal, and chew each bite thoroughly to start the digestion process and keep insulin levels low.

Some bodybuilders prefer to consume their meals quickly, while others may prefer a slower pace. Meal timing strategies can vary, such as intermittent fasting, which may involve fewer, larger meals during a shorter eating window, or smaller, more frequent meals spread throughout the day.

Satiety and Digestion: Eating speed can influence feelings of fullness and digestion. Eating slowly and mindfully may help some individuals better recognize when they are satisfied and prevent overeating. On the other hand, eating quickly might be more suitable for those who need to consume a high volume of food in a limited time frame, such as during bulking phases.

Nutrient Timing: Nutrient timing is another consideration. Some bodybuilders may prefer to eat quickly before a workout to provide immediate energy, while others may opt for a slower, more leisurely meal after a workout to aid recovery.

Personal Preferences: Eating speed is a matter of personal preference and comfort. Some people naturally eat faster or slower, and bodybuilders often adjust their eating pace to align with their preferences.

Hunger Levels: Hunger levels can also impact eating speed. If a bodybuilder is very hungry, they may eat more quickly to satisfy their appetite, while they may take their time when they are less hungry.

How much protein a day for bodybuilding?

Based on previous research, authors indicated that eating 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which equates to 0.7 grams of protein per pound, should be enough to build strength when combined with resistance training.

1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram (0.54 to 0.77 grams per pound): This is a moderate protein intake suitable for individuals in a maintenance phase or those primarily focused on general fitness and strength training. It provides adequate protein for muscle maintenance and repair.

1.8 to 2.2 grams per kilogram (0.82 to 1.0 grams per pound): This higher protein intake range is often recommended for bodybuilders in a bulking phase or those aiming to maximize muscle growth and recovery. It provides additional protein to support the demands of intense training and muscle protein synthesis.

Protein needs can vary, and factors such as age, gender, metabolism, and training intensity should be considered when determining the ideal protein intake. 

Protein intake should be distributed evenly throughout the day to optimize muscle protein synthesis and recovery. Some bodybuilders may also adjust their protein intake based on personal preferences and how their bodies respond to different levels of protein.

Sources of protein for bodybuilders can include lean meats (chicken, turkey, lean beef), fish, eggs, dairy products, tofu, legumes, and protein supplements like whey protein or plant-based protein powders. It’s also essential to consume a well-rounded diet that includes carbohydrates and dietary fats to provide energy for workouts and overall health.

How Many Calories Do Bodybuilders Burn


A multifaceted one that delves into the intricate world of muscle and metabolism. As we’ve explored, bodybuilders possess the remarkable ability to burn a substantial number of calories, owing to their increased muscle mass, rigorous training routines, and precise nutrition strategies. Their journey to achieving and maintaining their enviable physiques underscores the profound interplay between muscle, metabolism, and energy expenditure.

Whether in pursuit of muscle growth, fat loss, or the fine balance of maintaining their hard-earned gains, bodybuilders understand the importance of tailoring their calorie intake to specific phases of their training cycles. Through bulking and cutting phases, careful macronutrient manipulation, and the strategic timing of meals, they harness the power of nutrition to sculpt their bodies into works of art.

Yet, beyond the numbers and equations, bodybuilding is a testament to discipline, dedication, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. It serves as a reminder that the human body is a remarkable machine capable of adaptation and transformation. The type and composition of a bodybuilder’s diet also influence calorie expenditure. 

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1 comment

abrir uma conta na binance March 18, 2024 - 11:02 pm

Your point of view caught my eye and was very interesting. Thanks. I have a question for you.


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