T Nation

The Importance of Eating Enough


when I started training about 3 years ago (on rippetoe), I ate >3500 kcals a day. Within the year I had gained 27kgs (59.5lbs), while also getting a lot stronger. But gradually I started eating less, not enough time and no motivation to count the kcals everyday. But I did get stronger, not as fast as the first year but still getting stronger.

Now I just stalled on my 10th week of intermediate madcow, but I did made huge gains strenght-wise (~10% on all three lifts). Now I was pondering if I had to eat more when starting again with madcow, and calculcated for the first time in over a year what I eat everyday => just over 1700kcals!

Now I’m totally confused, I’m 1.96m (6.5"), weigh 95kg (209lbs), 31 year old male. I should be eating >3000kcals to get stronger, but somehow I managed to get stronger on 1700kcals ánd maintain my weight.

Any idea how this is possible?? I train 3x a week, day job in IT so not a lot of movement :wink:

who cares how many calories you eat. just know that if you are not gaining weight that “more food” is needed.

My goal is not to gain weight but to get stronger, if I can get stronger without eating more I’d prefer that. So, actually, I can rephrase my first question as: is it possible to get stronger without gaining weight? The madcow guide seems to contradict this, however I do seem to get stronger while maintaining weight.

While you could indeed say “who cares? you are progressing”, I would like to know out of curiosity, if other people have the experienced the same.

Yes, you can absolutely get stronger without gaining weight…go take a look at powerlifters that compete in the lower weight classes…

Seems to me, the closer you are to intermediate/advanced lifting status, the more neurally efficient you are. I’m sure you’re nowhere near there

Well then since you rephrased your question.

Strength can be gained by various means. Not all are dependant on eating over maintainence. These would include becoming more efficient at recruiting the necessary muscles/practising the movement/neural efficiency. Finding weak spots and training these into new strengths. Decreasing rom (powerlifting vs bodybuilder type bench press)

Strength gains via increased muscle size and fuel (ATP,Glycogen etc) would be more calorie dependant. But even the fuel side could be taken care of with supplements and workout nutrition without needing to gain weight.

Okay, thanks for the thoughts