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I'm 14 (think it's important for this question) and I love gym (safe way, no crazy weights). I read a lot about it and I pass through various articles saying that if you want to increase gains you need to eat like 5000 calories. First of all, I wonder if that is just to bulk as fast as you can then to cut, or is it to consistently build muscle without gaining a lot of fat?

I know I'm growing, meaning that I need more food and protein (2700 calories without working out; I always work out different muscles every day). And I looked up on the Internet and it seems like a lifting session takes about 400 calories, and adding that I have a crazy thing for doing random push-ups:

Do I need to eat around 3500 - 4000 to grow muscle and still continue growing in size (height)?

I don't have problem with proteins because it is easy to eat around 80 grams of protein a day, although I don't know how I am going to keep it natural when growing up. As for macro nutrients, which I understand are fat, carbohydrates and protein, I take them specially in a bread called "semas", 8 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein and about 350 calories (totally recommended if they sell them out of Mexico (lol)).

I know I won't grow crazy muscle, but it is good to see how definition, strength and size go up.

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    How are you calculating to get 2700 calories a day before working out? – JohnP Sep 21 '15 at 16:35
  • @JohnP It isn't a day before working out, it is if that day I don't work out, cause I wouldn't need the other 400 calories that I use for lifting. – Antonio Aguilar Sep 22 '15 at 0:03
  • That doesn't answer the question. How do you figure you need 2700 calories on non lifting days? – JohnP Sep 22 '15 at 2:25
  • @JohnP Made an average of every site I visited, and also multiplied my weight (50kg) times 50 to 55 calories, which game me different ranges of calories needed, ones going about 2700 and others about 2800, decided to let it on 2700. – Antonio Aguilar Sep 27 '15 at 17:25
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Beware of any blanket recommendations you read for anything fitness or nutrition related!

The recommendation may be correct... for a certain population. It doesn't mean it's correct for you personally.

Your best bet is to:

  • Get and stay active
  • Focus on slow and steady improvements
  • Learn patience with the process

Below are some very general nutritional guidelines that work for a large number of people:

  • 0.8g of protein per pound total body weight. 1g / pound is easier to remember and it won't hurt you at all.
  • 20-30% of your calories from fats. Fat has roughly 9 calories per gram.
  • All the rest from carbs.
  • Try to stay between 8-15% total body fat

Based on studies, the most protein a person can make use of naturally is about 0.83 grams of protein per pound. Anything more simply goes unused for building muscle. The carbs are very important for fueling an active life style.

Slow and Steady

When trying to increase your body mass, or decrease your body fat, a measured pace will always beat out "quick gains".

  • When trying to get bigger: increase 200-300 calories per day, and attempt to keep it to 1 lbs more per month
  • When trying to get smaller: decrease 400-500 calories per day, and attempt to keep it to 1 lbs less per week

Just keep in mind that you are still growing, and the years 15-17 are when most boys grow the fastest. You'll probably grow faster than the increase pace I recommended. Don't freak out, just try to keep yourself in a healthy body fat range and enjoy process.

Just jumping into 5,000 calories a day will likely make you fat. The people who need that kind of food worked up to that level over years of training.

Crazy Weights

I do recommend doing some training in the weight room. Again, I recommend slow and steady improvements. That said, don't let a number on the bar scare you. At one of my power lifting competitions, a 14 year old boy deadlifted over 315 lbs.

Check your resources

I invite you to verify my recommendations with other resources. I've found Juggernaut Training Systems and Strengtheory to be very good resources by people I respect. Much of what I am recommending I summarized from several articles from both of those sites.

  • This is an excellent answer, I would also add that the people who are taking this amount of food are either huge (6'4"+), constantly active (think people with jobs that require them to be on their feet all the time) and/or on a substantial amount of anabolics, which improves one's body's p-ratio in favor of muscle hypertrophy (rather than fat storage). – Jérémie Clos Sep 18 '15 at 22:25
  • As Jeremie said, this was answer gave me a pump, I do lift, but when I sad crazy weights I said as to pushing myself to far, like it's good to add another plate or 5 kilos, to the exercise as you progress, but if I'm curling 15k, I won't jump to 25, maybe I'll jump to 20 just to try it and see how much effort I need to lift it – Antonio Aguilar Sep 21 '15 at 3:23
  • That's good to hear. You're starting with the right mindset, which is a rarity. – Berin Loritsch Sep 21 '15 at 13:17
  • @BerinLoritsch Sadly my dad doesn't understand I'm not a retard when talking about lifting weights so as soon as I am able to lift 50 pounds on each machine/exercise I do(my dad won't let me lfit more) I will move into calisthenics. – Antonio Aguilar Sep 30 '15 at 3:06
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In my personal opinion, 5000 seems very high unless you plan on competing at 18.

If you consume only 80 grams of protein per day, that's roughly 320kcal, leaving 4680 calories from fats and carbohydrates. That also seems like a skewed ratio.

I'm almost certain that doing this will make you fat. Strong, but fat. And since you want definition, this is not the way to go.

At 14, you don't even need to worry too much about this. You will grow naturally for another half decade at least, and if you keep working out, and just eat right (not over the top), you'll be lean as hell without even doing anything else.

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No, 5000 calories a day is almost as bad as eating 500 calories a day. At your age, you should be eating a little more calories than an average adult if you are exceptionally active but it should be a maximum of 3200 calories, not 5000. 5000 calories may also get you strong, but it will get you fat at the same time, as Alec stated. If you are cutting lots of calories, you will not grow tall. If you are eating about 2500-3000 calories a day, it will benefit you with muscle growth, and you will still grow taller, too, assuming your diet is clean. If you must know, I would say that 5000 calories a day leans closer to "bulking and cutting," than "building size." If people are eating that much and are muscular and shredded, they probably have a career lifting weights or spend all their free time in the gym, one or the other.

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