What is Caloric Surplus & Caloric Deficit?

Caloric surplus refers to a phase where one consumes more calories than the amount of calories burned during the bulking phase or muscle building phase. It is done in order to gain lean muscle mass which is achieved when combined a good training regime.

Suppose If you eat 2500 calories every day as your maintenance calories i.e. the amount of calories required to maintain your body weight. Now in order to gain weight/lean muscle mass. Then you need to add additional 500 calories to your diet, which results in 3000 calories. This 3000 calorie diet is your caloric surplus diet. Now, You need to consume this diet and follow a good disciplined training regime in order to gain the desired results otherwise your body will store the extra calories as Fat.

What to eat in a Caloric surplus diet?

While consuming the caloric surplus diet, You should make smart food choices, To avoid gaining unnecessary fat on your body.

Eat Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, sweet potatoes or yam, oats, whole wheat pasta. Lean proteins such as chicken breast, lean turkey breast, seafood, low-fat dairy products, steak(without fat), etc. For fats, you can have walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, olive oil(we recommend extra virgin olive oil), natural peanut butter, Natural Almond Butter.

Stay away from products with high sugar, saturated/trans-fats, products with hydrogenated oils, fast foods.

Note: These days there is a trend known as “Dirty bulking” which includes consumption of fast foods to compensate for your daily caloric requirement. We would recommend that you should go for it only if you are a very skinny person with a high metabolic rate because if you have low/moderate metabolic rate then you might end up gaining more fat.

We would recommend the standard caloric surplus plan because it works for everyone.

Reasons for gaining Unnecessary fat while consuming Caloric surplus diet:

Gaining some fat along with some muscles while caloric surplus diet is very common. The Only reason, you would gain unnecessary fat while following the caloric surplus diet is when you are following a poor exercise because your body is not burning the right amount of calories and hence, It stores the excess energy/calories as fat in your body.

How to gain lean muscle mass

Now, during the caloric surplus phase when you tear your muscle tissue during your workout, then the body directs the excess energy to repair/build your muscle tissues during the rest time. Once, the muscle tissues are repaired, then they are even stronger. Hence,  This process leads to the gaining of lean muscle mass during this phase.

Remember: Always increase your caloric intake very slowly i.e. at a moderate level and then combine this very a good strength training program to achieve optimal results.

What is Caloric Deficit?

Caloric Deficit refers to the state where you are burning more calories than the amount of calories you consume. For example, If your maintenance calories are 3000, then you can create a deficit of 500 calories. Now, you would consume 2500 calories every day.

This process forces your body to use the body fat as energy in order to compensate for 500 calorie deficit.

How to Create a deficit?

Now, there are two methods to create a caloric deficit in your diet such as:

    • Increase the intensity of your workouts to burn more calories.


  • Eating less(reducing a significant amount of caloric intake in your diet).

Any of these above-mentioned methods can be followed because both of them follow the same traditional/standard method to eat less or burn more calories than your maintenance calories.

Note: The deficit should be done at moderate because in case of a high deficit the body can also burn your hard earned muscles to compensate for the deficit in caloric intake.

What to eat in a Caloric deficit diet?

The caloric deficit diet requires you to eat less calories than your maintenance calories. In this diet, you should remove food options with a low nutritional value such as potato chips, junk/fast foods, soda etc. You should include food options with a high nutritional value such as whole wheat products, brown rice, fruits, vegetables, etc.


Both the caloric deficit & caloric surplus requires keeping track of all the food items being consumed during the process. It also requires the appropriate training program to support your fitness goals. Though there are endless shortcuts(weight loss pills, anabolics,etc.) available for the same which might let you achieve the same goals at a relatively less amount of time. But, these results are short term results.

We at bethatalpha.com, do not recommend you to go for any shortcuts as these shortcuts come certain side effects. On the other hand, you can gain or lose weight by following the traditional approach of caloric deficit and caloric surplus.

We hope this content was helpful to you. In case of any queries please let us know in the comments section down below.


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