How many calories do you need to gain or lose weight?

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does it get trickery to calculate when you are trying to lose fat yet gain muscle?

There are only a few situations where this can happen appreciably. Google "Lyle McDonald and lose fat while gain muscle" and he goes into the science behind it, but otherwise, no..."appreciably" (Google "Lyle McDonald and recomp). To build, you must have extra calories to use as building blocks. To lose, you must be in a caloric deficit, so thus there are no building blocks to utilize to "build" except your own energy stores (fat) and again, this does not happen except for those specific situations as Lyle outlines. This is not to say that you cannot get stronger as you will provide the same muscle stimulus that you would trying to build muscle as you will trying to keep muscle in a deficit. But in a deficit, outside of those scenarios outlined by Lyle, in a deficit, your net gain and net loss should be about the same, thus why it's typically more advantageous to go on cut and bulk cycles.

Also, those calculators are estimates only. You can use those as starting points and run those numbers for a few weeks to see what your body does. If your goal is to lose and you are not losing, then drop calories by about 100 and run another couple of weeks, re-access by adding or dropping in small increments and running a few weeks at a time to get things dialed in. Weight-loss should be no more than .5-1% of bodyweight loss average weekly to maximize muscle retention. Weight gain should be around .5-1 lbs a week max to avoid adding more fat than needed.


as we know it takes 3500 cals to lose a lb of fat and I forget the exact # but its like 120 cals ABOVE maintenance to gain new muscle.
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