T Nation

Trouble Getting Enough Calories

I’ve been trying to bulk up for two months now, I feel that I am working hard enough, and recovering well, but I just can’t seem to eat enough. I think its mostly because I’m not very big and not used to having to eat a lot. I try to eat as much as possible but still struggle to get significantly more than 2000 calories on a good day.

Any tips (other than eating a bunch of hamburgers or steaks)?

Here’s how I learned (note: learned) to eat a lot:

  1. Think of it as part of your training first and foremost.

  2. Approach it like you do weightlifting. Let’s say you want to eat 4k cals/day. Spend a day where you eat normally and track how many cals it ends up being. Let’s say it’s 2300. Then make a goal for the next few days along the lines of, say, 2600. Do that for a few days consistently. Then 2900, etc, until you get to your goal intake.

One area where people screw up is in consistently eating a lot. So, someone might house 4k cals on day one, but then basically fast all day on day 2 because not hungry. When eating for mass, the signaling device should be calorie count and physiological changes over time, not whether you’re hungry.

Also, just dispositionally, listening to the Iron Radio podcast gave me a lot of good perspective on overeating. I really think that the key is to think of it as part of your training. And it won’t always be fun. This is sort of a “thing I can’t prove, but that I believe,” but I don’t think someone really eating for mass is going to find it all that enjoyable all the time. i.e., people on here who say "I love eating [blahblahblah] calories per day are usually undereating or not eating enough to really be putting on size.

liquid calories, put some things in a blender, mix it and drink it up. much easier to get calories in liquid form than food form if you have trouble.

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
I’ve been trying to bulk up for two months now, I feel that I am working hard enough, and recovering well, but I just can’t seem to eat enough. I think its mostly because I’m not very big and not used to having to eat a lot. I try to eat as much as possible but still struggle to get significantly more than 2000 calories on a good day.

Any tips (other than eating a bunch of hamburgers or steaks)?[/quote]

Im confused about what’s wrong with the burgers and steak.

I am having trouble eating enough calories o gain also. It is way harder to pull off when you only have time usually to eat solid meals 3 times a day. Depending on your stage of development, maybe you shouldn’t be avoiding the hamburger.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
I’ve been trying to bulk up for two months now, I feel that I am working hard enough, and recovering well, but I just can’t seem to eat enough. I think its mostly because I’m not very big and not used to having to eat a lot. I try to eat as much as possible but still struggle to get significantly more than 2000 calories on a good day.

Any tips (other than eating a bunch of hamburgers or steaks)?[/quote]

Im confused about what’s wrong with the burgers and steak.

.[/quote]

x2, nothing wrong with eating both of those daily :wink:

God…I dunno wtf is wrong with you kids. I struggle to keep my meals UNDER 2000 calories. My meals…not my day…

How the fuck are you not starving at 2000kcal a day?

I typically eat about 2200-2400 cals on a normal day, I get full quick. In fact eating more than 4oz of steak or a burger (unless wrapped in a bun, cheese and bacon lol) is hard for me to do when there are other things on the plate.

[quote]facko wrote:
God…I dunno wtf is wrong with you kids. I struggle to keep my meals UNDER 2000 calories. My meals…not my day…

How the fuck are you not starving at 2000kcal a day?[/quote]

Im dieting at the moment and i eat between 2000-2500 calories a day.

When i starting weighing and measuring shit out i almost had a heart attack at how little food 2000 cals actually is.

If you struggle to eat more than 2000 cals a day, check the mirror. Are you a 12 yr old girl?

Im a peskatarian, hence no burgers, steaks,etc, I’m going to keep that liquid tip in mind. What I’ve been doing so far is basically eating to the point where I think I’m going to throw up, because of how my work is I can only eat a solid 3-4 meals a day, but I do try to snack a lot.

As I said on a good day I get maybe around 2000, I’m not a 12 year old girl, I’m a 23 year old man who for most of hi life weighed under 130 and didn’t each very much.

I like the idea of thinking about it like training and trying to gradually increase the calorie intake

When it comes to consistently eating, does it make sense to cycle calories the same way you would with carbs (in my current routine I have 1 day of fasted cardio, and one light recovery day)?

Maybe its your training, When I was following the starting strength program I was eating 4000 cals a day and I was still hungry.

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
Im a peskatarian, hence no burgers, steaks,etc, I’m going to keep that liquid tip in mind. What I’ve been doing so far is basically eating to the point where I think I’m going to throw up, because of how my work is I can only eat a solid 3-4 meals a day, but I do try to snack a lot.

As I said on a good day I get maybe around 2000, I’m not a 12 year old girl, I’m a 23 year old man who for most of hi life weighed under 130 and didn’t each very much.

I like the idea of thinking about it like training and trying to gradually increase the calorie intake

When it comes to consistently eating, does it make sense to cycle calories the same way you would with carbs (in my current routine I have 1 day of fasted cardio, and one light recovery day)?[/quote]

Dude, you are choosing to only eat fish and poultry. You have spent most of your life weighing less than most adult women. Personally, I don;t understand why people like you waste the time to type on boards like this when it is clear your goals aren’t really that extreme and you really don’t plan on going all out to reach them.

Would you mind explaining why you only eat fish and poultry…and also why you want to be big…and what you consider your goal to actually be.

what’s a peskatarian? are people ok to eat? if so, there’s a substitute

peskatarian basically means I only eat fish, fruits, vegetables, etc, no chicken no pork no beef

a prescreiption for 2 testicles should sort you out

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
peskatarian basically means I only eat fish, fruits, vegetables, etc, no chicken no pork no beef[/quote]

Good for you. WHY? Further, why would someone choosing to eat like that be surprised that it is harder to gain muscle because of it?

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
peskatarian basically means I only eat fish, fruits, vegetables, etc, no chicken no pork no beef[/quote]

Good for you. WHY? Further, why would someone choosing to eat like that be surprised that it is harder to gain muscle because of it?[/quote]

There are many reasons why, and I get enough protein, carbs, vitamins in my day from shakes and other sources, just can’t seem to get enough calories. I’ve put on some decent size so far actually, I just feel that my progress is being limited by how much I am currently eating.

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
Im a peskatarian, hence no burgers, steaks,etc, I’m going to keep that liquid tip in mind. What I’ve been doing so far is basically eating to the point where I think I’m going to throw up, because of how my work is I can only eat a solid 3-4 meals a day, but I do try to snack a lot.

As I said on a good day I get maybe around 2000, I’m not a 12 year old girl, I’m a 23 year old man who for most of hi life weighed under 130 and didn’t each very much.

I like the idea of thinking about it like training and trying to gradually increase the calorie intake

When it comes to consistently eating, does it make sense to cycle calories the same way you would with carbs (in my current routine I have 1 day of fasted cardio, and one light recovery day)?[/quote]

I don’t eat all that much hamburger or steak. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat meat, dude. Hit up tinned salmon, tinned mackerel, etc. Fatty fish. Mix in some whey. That’s what I do atm (mostly because ground beef is really expensive where I live vis-a-vis the tinned salmon and such). That got me from 140lbs to 200lbs, though I’m still seeing what it’s going to take to break into heavier weights.

No calorie cycling at this point for you. You need to learn to consistently eat that much. Remember, think of it as part of your training, and progressively overload your digestive system. Your stomach will adapt. Consistently eating that much means that you eat 4k cals (or however many) every day regardless of whether you’re hungry or not. If you’re really hitting the cals hard, you won’t be eating when hungry. You’ll be eating when you know you need to eat to hit your calorie goals for the day. The whole point of eating to gain is that you are eating more calories than you burn each day. And this is just imo, but avoid the voodoo you sometimes see where they talk about gaining muscle and losing fat. It happens sometimes, perhaps, but just focus on getting stronger and gaining weight for a while.

All due respect to facko, he has trouble keeping his meals under 2k cals because he’s constantly dieting.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
peskatarian basically means I only eat fish, fruits, vegetables, etc, no chicken no pork no beef[/quote]

Good for you. WHY? Further, why would someone choosing to eat like that be surprised that it is harder to gain muscle because of it?[/quote]

Not eating chicken wont be holding him back, as a pescatarian he can still eat fish and provided he eats enough of it as a substitute for when we would eat beef/chicken etc that is not going to be causing the issue. He still has access to animal proteins on that eating style. Dude just needs to man up and eat more. Trying carb only snacks between meals to stimulate hunger was a suggestion by one of the more prominent authors on the site. The insulin spike and subsequent blood sugar drop should leave you craving the food you clearly need.

[quote]The3Commandments wrote:

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
Im a peskatarian, hence no burgers, steaks,etc, I’m going to keep that liquid tip in mind. What I’ve been doing so far is basically eating to the point where I think I’m going to throw up, because of how my work is I can only eat a solid 3-4 meals a day, but I do try to snack a lot.

As I said on a good day I get maybe around 2000, I’m not a 12 year old girl, I’m a 23 year old man who for most of hi life weighed under 130 and didn’t each very much.

I like the idea of thinking about it like training and trying to gradually increase the calorie intake

When it comes to consistently eating, does it make sense to cycle calories the same way you would with carbs (in my current routine I have 1 day of fasted cardio, and one light recovery day)?[/quote]

I don’t eat all that much hamburger or steak. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat meat, dude. Hit up tinned salmon, tinned mackerel, etc. Fatty fish. Mix in some whey. That’s what I do atm (mostly because ground beef is really expensive where I live vis-a-vis the tinned salmon and such). That got me from 140lbs to 200lbs, though I’m still seeing what it’s going to take to break into heavier weights.

No calorie cycling at this point for you. You need to learn to consistently eat that much. Remember, think of it as part of your training, and progressively overload your digestive system. Your stomach will adapt. Consistently eating that much means that you eat 4k cals (or however many) every day regardless of whether you’re hungry or not. If you’re really hitting the cals hard, you won’t be eating when hungry. You’ll be eating when you know you need to eat to hit your calorie goals for the day. The whole point of eating to gain is that you are eating more calories than you burn each day. And this is just imo, but avoid the voodoo you sometimes see where they talk about gaining muscle and losing fat. It happens sometimes, perhaps, but just focus on getting stronger and gaining weight for a while.

All due respect to facko, he has trouble keeping his meals under 2k cals because he’s constantly dieting. [/quote]

Thanks for the reassurance, that’s how I’m getting my protein too, mostly salmon and whey. What do you think a calorie target should be? I’ve been trying to hit 3000 a day