Calories for Days on, Days Off?

Greetings and good day to all,
I have a relatively simple question to be asked-- it may be for more of clarification purposes than actual new knowledge. I’ll get to it-- I weight train approximately every other day at the time being, doing a push/pull routine. My question is how many calories should I be consuming on training/non training days?

I know this is one of those “just look online and search” questions, and I can assure you I have… I have just found that personal experiences have provided better advice than calculators pumping out the same things over and over.

I’m 5’11, 185-- probably looking to cut down to 175. I do have a decent level of musclar development, but went from 260 lbs to 180 in about 6 months so I have thick, hanging skin =/.

One last little quick one-- days that I play basketball, should I 1)not train 2) eat more??? Any advice is greatly appreciated and I’ll understand if you give the “go look it up” response. Have a good one ladies n gents.

You’re not going to want to hear this:

If you’re not already weighing yourself and tracking your calorie intake daily, start. Use all the online calculators as a STARTING POINT and then adjust based on your own body. I have no idea if you’re doing an intense workout or taking your time; straight sets or supersets; High or low volume. I can tell you from personal experience that I’m hungrier the next day after my sunday workout that starts with squats than my Wednesday workout that starts with deadlifts. Not sure why.

I work a desk job, but if I spend more time on my feet in the lab, I need more to eat that day. I usually consume around 2700 calories a day but up to 3200 on a heavier workout day. I’m not trying to lose weight though.

How many days a week do you play basketball? I’d probably use that as an off day “cardio” activity and not train legs (eg squats) too soon before (so you won’t fall on your face on the court). I don’t play basketball though so I can’t give you very good advice on that.


I try to limit my basketball play to about 2 to 3 sessions a week, usually lasting between 1.5 and 2 hours each of those 2 or 3 times. I truly appreciate your time to reply to my question-- a little response goes a long way for myself. Recently I’ve been a little “lost” if you will with my training and nutritional regiment. When I really had the motivation and/or drive to truly change, I was counting calories and protein religiously and attempting to limit my carb intake.

Since then (about 6 months ago) I’ve learned more about the science of macro nutrients-- interestingly enough my outlook has seemingly turned less “human”, if you will. To return to the point, I have recently been working out the big, complex movements heavily every other day-- upper/lower split as of late. E.g. Monday 4-5 sets of 4-6 of Bench and wide grip pull-ups. Wednesday 4-5 sets of 3-5 Squats.

I’ve been attaching my efforts to a “more is less” strength training approach. I used to train like a maniac to failure on everything and recently have read/heard some things about doing more weight (not compromising form of course) and less repetitions with greater rest periods for weight training.

I suppose my real response to your post would be a question of this-- If I eat 2700 calories a day on weight lifting days (from clean, healthy sources of course), how long would you say it might take for my body to tell me something solely based on the numbers (daily/weekly weigh-ins)? I’ve heard 2 weeks, I’ve heard 1 month… of course ultimately I must (re)learn how to listen to my own body but what would you suggest as a general rule of thumb?

Again, your input and personal experience is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

That depends. If you think your workouts and schedule are going to be relatively the same, week to week, for a while, you could try a baseline test. Eat to maintain and if you can hold your weight constant for 1-2 weeks, I’d say that’s maintenance. From there, try cutting a bit (~500 cals/day) if you want to lose. You’ll probably find you’re eating more on days of higher activity and less on days of less activity.

You really should read through the articles here on nutrition and training some more. You’re going to have to look at this as an experiment. The only way to get in touch with how your body reacts is by trying things. No book, article or person is going to find it out for you.

CT has some good articles like this one:
Strength Training, Bodybuilding & Online Supplement Store - T NATION.

Nutrition articles: