New user: DIY or 1.4 standard for bodybuilding / muscle gain?


I’m a beginner bodybuilder, male, 34yo, 71kg/157lbs, 165cm/5’5", ~21% body fat, and want to gain ~10lbs of lean muscle over the next 3 to 6 months. @waynenilsen’s thread is impressive, almost too good to be true. That is also the only tracked result I’ve seen among these threads on Soylent and bodybuilding:

The first thread is from 2013, and I wonder about Soylet 1.4 vs. DIY. I’d be a first-time Soylent user too.

The second thread could use an update from @christianbundy.

The third thread is the most interesting. @theresa, have you heard from anyone?

What I’ve had moderate success with before Soylent was Occam’s Protocol by Tim Ferriss. The problem there was that it was hard to get the amounts of carbs and calories I should have; this is what I hope Soylent can help with.

TL;DR - First timer. Should I buy Soylent 1.4 or go the DIY route (which recipe?) The nutrition profile calculator recommends a 50%-25%-25% Carbohydrate - Protein - Fat ratio, with 2714 calories per day and I want to gain muscle fast on a program like Starting Strength, StrongLifts 5x5 or ICF.


I am a personal trainer certified through ACSM, a martial arts instructor and I do have a bachelors degree in movement and exercise science.

Whew, that being said, I am not a certified nutritionist, I only studied sports nutrition. Bodybuilding is a pretty broad term these days. Technically anyone who lifts weights to gain muscle could be classified as a bodybuilder. It ranges from basic health increase, sport performance, pure aesthetics and bodybuilding competitions.

The basics for all of it is the same, its only when you start to become an advanced lifter that things start to really get specific. As long as you have a good strength training program, and follow standard progressive resistance, safety, etc you will be fine.

As for nutrition, it boils down to a few factors. kcals in vs. kcals out, and an adequate amount of protein. So, what you need to know, is if 1.4’s macros fit within your range. Lets do some math.

157 lbs is 71kg, you want to keep your protein intake 1-2x your weight in kg. Anymore than 2x and its converted into sugars and fats, any less, and your can’t build enough muscle. So your protein range is 71-142grams of protein a day. 1.4 has 84g of protein per day. Now, if you add in a standard 25g afterwork shake your sitting at 104g, which is just fine.

Now, that is a very simplified breakdown, to get more specific we could use your bodyfat % to figure out your lean mass and bone mass, etc. Eventually you want to decrease/increase your protein to match a desired weight level within a range limit as well.

The second thing you need to calculate is daily expenditure. 1.4 has about 2000 kcals. Your specific daily expenditure can be learned with online calculators. The formula takes into account gender, weight, height, activity level to give you a basic idea of how much you need to eat. For basic bodybuilding, and to lower bodyfat % with increase muscle you want a “slight” calorie deficit with adequate protein. Depending on if your doing cardio (and how much)(and you prolly should) and how much your lifting, will increase your daily kcal expenditure. At your weight and age, depending on how much your exercise that can go all the way up to 2800-3000 calories a day.

The calories from a protein shake (post workout) plus 1.4 would be around 2150, maybe 2200. If your slightly to moderately active you will burn on average 2200-2400 kcals a day. So if you go 100% 1.4, you would prolly be right on the money.


I’ve seen conflicting answers regarding how much protein is sufficient. Is the 1-2x figure base on lb or kg? Can you provide a source?


Kg. There are hundreds of sources. Its not something that just came out in research, its part of the guidelines/rda’s, its in every nutrition textbook about exercise.
EDIT: I just googled: Daily athlete protein intake and got a bunch of random sources.


Bodybuilding and increasing sport performance isn’t rocket science, its pretty standard stuff. What gets confusing is separating the real science from the broscience.

EDIT: I’ve done non scientific, personal experiments with myself for years. All diets have pros and cons. I was able to increase my lean muscle mass and lower bodyfat on a vegan diet. I did that for two years. Currently I’m on a keto diet for about 6 months, and I’m able to maintain a 7.5 body% and I actually been able to increase all my maxes in the gym by about 30%.


I am biased toward doing DIY for bodybuilding. With DIY you can tailor your food to your specific needs and hit virtually any calorie count or macronutrient ratio you want and it can be cheaper per day than Soylent + extras. I have a recipe that I made for myself specifically for building muscle. It’s hard to say whether or not it’s made a difference. If only I could see into a parallel universe where Soylent didn’t exist.

Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation.

Macronutrient considerations for the sport of bodybuilding.

Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training

Keep in mind these articles talk about grams of protein per kg per day. To convert to g/pound/day divide the numbers by 2.2.


In summary, the composition of diets for body builders should be 55-60% carbohydrate, 25-30% protein and 15-20% of fat

That’s good news. I’m going to try 55/25/20 for my workout recipe.


I myself follow a DIY keto recipe and agree with Horsfield. DIY you can really tailor your recipe. I do think that official soylent 1.4 would still work as a starter or base, and I don’t see anything really wrong with it for novice bodybuilding, but DIY would better long term.

@syke Some, i repeat some newer studies have shown that a high fat, low carb diet, once adapted can function just as good.

What some people get confused about is performance in the gym, vs raw bodyfat % and lean mass numbers and how it makes you look. A higher carb diet is much better for actual performance, and endurance sports, but if you just trying to look a certain way, you can achieve those “model body” results with other less healthy/optimal diets.


@dandv thanks for the cudos, as far as it being too good to be true, I can definitely say that the bodyfat percentage chart is definitely incorrect. I might just say that bioimpedance is largely an invalid technique for measuring body fat. I gained quite a bit of muscle and fat as well as an enormous amount of strength. Next time I decide to change my body with soylent, I will be sure to record skinfold measurements at the abdomen and thigh as well as waist, chest, sholder and thigh circumferences and progress pictures from relaxed front, side and rear positions.

Updating my thread a bit, I decided to maintain for a while around 230 then gain for a while longer which got me up to almost 240 and a 495lb squat. After that squat, I decided to start a cut and started a bunch of cardio and a fast decrease in calories in a large deficit. I have been floating around 220 for a while now maintaining. One thing is very clear, and that is that a controlled diet can help to find your TDEE, and control weight in either direction.

Edit: To address the lead of this thread, I agree with @horsfield. I also find it no less convenient because you have to mix ingredients either way including possibly creatine, l-glutamine, BCAAs etc.
My most recent DIY recipe for maintenance around 220 may be found here.


Yea, Somedays I do feel too lazy, but after years of supplements in general you get really use to mixing crazy things in shaker bottles anyway. =)

DIY soylent really isn’t that bad once you get use to it. Do you have experience with mixing protein powders, creatine, BCAA, pre workouts, etc?

You could always try a premade soylent mix and see if you even like a liquid diet, and gradually work your way up to full blown DIY.


wow @waynenilsen !!! thats a pretty beefy recipe!!! :laughing:

To be honest, I haven’t read your threads, or your specifics, but I’m going to assume your on the advanced end of weight training. =)

I agree, a controlled diet is pretty key, and soylent in general is controlled.


With that much protein, you’re getting a good deal of cholesterol. Are you keeping an eye on that?

So that puts your macros at roughly 45c/40p/15f. Happy with those ratios?


Does whey protein still have as much cholesterol as standard meat would per gram? The biggest concern I would have, is that all unused protein is just turned into glycogen and stored as fat eventually anyway and all the extra stress on the kidneys to process it.


Kidney stress from protien is only a problem if you have a preexisting problem with your kidneys.

Whey protein typically doesn’t have cholesterol. I didn’t really dig into his recipe to see where it was coming from.


I’ve also read that too much protein may lead to bone mineral loss through urine excretion…

(BTW, not saying your recipe is wrong)


Low-cholesterol proteins are typically unflavored, so I’m guessing the cholesterol is from the additives that comes along with the nice vanilla flavoring. For regular serving size it’s not a lot of cholesterol, but this recipe has a lot of protein!


@waynenilsen I’m surprised you put creatine in the soylent. Doesn’t Creatine become ineffective when dissolved in water for long periods?

I consume mine in a seperate shake, or pill form


Do you have any reference for that? I have not heard that but would not be surprised either way. Sometimes these chemicals can be somewhat finicky but usually to temperature not dissolution.


After I wrote that, I started digging. =)

So much broscience out there, but the PH of water appears to be able to degrade creatine into creatinine after long periods of times. I’m still trying to find the original study, I’ve only found web articles so far.

I’m going to keep digging.

EDIT: So I can’t find any original study, but there are two sides. One says it breaks down fast, the other says it breaks down slow. Either way it breaks down, but some sources claims max breakdown was between 20-50% after several hours depending on the temp. of the water. Warmer the quicker…


Yet another high protein myth. A high protein diet actually strengthens bones in the long run.