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How much should I eat a day?


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I am new to working out, I am only 17 years old and I am rather small, 5'4, 118lb. How many calories should I eat a day to workout and gain weight? And also, I seem to have a hard time eating enough. I used to think I ate alot, but turns out most of the foods I was eating were low in calories. I am not sure if I am eating enough. Can anyone suggest any healthy high calorie foods to eat. Thanks.

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Quality if more important than quantity. You really don't need to eat very much if your food is nutrient dense. In the summer I eat a raw diet rarely over over 2000calories and burn 3-4000 calories a day training(so the science says) but I manage to stay at 200lbs even though I'm trying to lose weight. Also if you feel fine and aren't interested in getting larger and your weight is staying the same then your probably fine. If you wanna gain real weight I suggest working your way up to eating as much as you can stomach and work out really hard...thats how I got so big...as for high calorie foods eat a lot of nuts, rice, bread, potatoes, good oils...these aren't the healthiest things in mass but they'll help you grow.

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Luckily for me I don't need calorie dense foods so much because I can down pounds of beans at a time if need be . But if you are having trouble cramming enough calories in your face, Potter's suggestions are great. If you love fruit and must eat a fair amount of it, though, bananas are supposed to be one of the better bulking fruits. Also avocados are one of the healthiest sources of fat and for many it is easy to eat a lot of them.

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I was in the same boat when I started training again in November. I had worked out a lot in years prior and had never made significant gains. Like you, I thought I was eating plenty. My trainer put me on the body fat analysis scale dealie, and it turned out I was getting way too few calories if I wanted to put on muscle. I went from eating 1200-1500 calories a day to eating about 2500-3000 calories a day, spread out over 5-6 meals. I know some people don't need to track calories to put on weight, but that method never worked for me. I made a free account on www.fitday.com and started tracking my calories. I've been very happy with the results so far, going from about 150 pounds in November to around 180 pounds now.

 

Other things that make a difference are getting enough water (96oz. - 1 gallon a day), getting plenty of rest, and either getting a trainer or doing research on places like this forum to make sure your time at the gym is being spent wisely.

 

If you look through the health and nutrition section on this site, you'll find a lot of great advice about good foods for bulking. Good luck and have fun!

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DM,

 

Taking your height and weight and considering you working out 3x a week as a guess. You should be eating roughly 2025 calories for Maintenance.

 

Now to gain weight you need to eat above maintenance by lets say 300 calories. Depending on how hard you want to train and exceeding the bodies energy demands.

 

Everyone is different; this is by no means a perfect way for you to go about things... just an estimate taking in account your stats.

 

Another way is by adding up everything you eat everyday for a week or two. Then come up with an average of calories a day from your tracking. Now eat over that average by about 300 calories a day.

 

These two ways are good for starting off on the road trip to gaining weight. Remember always eat a good nutritional diet; you can't build off of junk!!! And you don't want to gain health problems!!!

 

Hope this helps...

 

Steve

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