That’s going to depend on your situation – your age, how much you weigh now, how much you want to weigh, and how fast your metabolism is. For some, just 2,500 calories and strength training will be enough to build muscle.
For others, you might need to eat 4,000+ calories in order to put on weight. The only way to find out is to track your normal calorie intake for a few days, and then start adding on 500 extra calories per day for a week or two and see if you notice any changes.
Want a rough idea of how many calories you should be eating?
Head right here for our calorie requirement calculator.
Bottom line: If you don’t see any change, then you need to eat more.
- Yes, it will feel excessive.
- Yes, you will feel full all the time.
- Yes, it’s a pain in the ass and expensive.
But if you really want to be bigger, then you are going to need to really dedicate yourself in the kitchen.
Unless you’re a genetic mutant, it’s incredibly tough to build muscle and strength without overloading your system with calories and nutrients.
Just keep eating.
Won’t all of this eating make me fat? I don’t want to get bulky
I get this question all the time in emails, usually from guys who are 6 feet tall and 130 pounds.
Don’t worry, if you can’t gain weight now, putting on extra weight is going to be great for you.
Yes, you will put on SOME fat along with the muscle you’re building if you’re running a calorie surplus.
This is why picking the right amount of calories per day is important:
- If you can build muscle at 3,000 calories, but you’re eating 4,000 calories, you’ll put on a pound or two of fat per week along with your muscle.
- However, if you need to eat 4,000 calories to build muscle and you’re only eating 3,000, you won’t see any changes.
Everybody is different, so you need to experiment and find out what works best for you.
Once you get to your desired weight (actually, aim for about 10-15 pounds heavier than your goal weight), you can scale back the calories, add in some extra sprints to the end of your workout, and keep lifting heavy – the muscle will remain, the fat will disappear, and you’ll be left with the body you want.