Want to Add Muscle? You Need to Eat Enough Food!
I moderate two private fitness forums: “Fat Loss Revealed” and “Bodybuilding Revealed.” These names are pretty self-explanatory…the first forum is dedicated to fat loss, while the second is concerned with building muscle.
Not surprisingly, the majority of the members on the “Bodybuilding Revealed” forum are male. Nonetheless, we have female members too – which is a great thing, in my view…I wish there were more. However, one thing that I find odd – and kinda scary, to be honest – is the number of female members who are shocked when they learn they need to eat more than 1500 – 1600 calories/day to add muscle. I’ve fielded queries from women who’ve used the “Calorie Planner” on the site, who are dumbfounded by numbers as low as 1900 – 2000 calories. They’re afraid they’re going to get fat on that – I kid you not.
These posts make me wanna bang my head on my keyboard. From my perspective, those numbers are barely enough to maintain my lean weight, let alone add to it. To add mass, I’ve gone on gaining cycles where I had to eat up to 3000 calories/day!!! And I’m not particularly young, large, or active outside of my workouts, either. But that was what I needed to eat, in order to a) fuel my workouts; b) facilitate my in-between workout recovery; and c) have enough left over for the creation of new muscle tissue.
Now the actual number of calories it takes to gain muscle will naturally vary between individuals, but my experience highlights a crucial fact: you can’t make something out of nothing. It takes more than just moving weights around to build muscle. Weight lifting provides the stimulus for muscle growth: but it’s your food intake that will determine how well your body responds. All the “building materials” – including sufficient energy (i.e., calories) have to be there, or it’s a no-go.
Fat loss is a critical part of any program designed to get you “lean and mean” – but you can’t live in perpetual fat loss mode, and expect to develop a hard body.