Eating to gain muscle

So I am a female, I'm 5'7, 20 years, and weight about 112 as of now. I feel like I could use some weight gain and have been working hard to try to gain muscle. I have toned up a lot but still want to gain in order to reach 120-125. I exercising daily and do a 4 day muscle building split. The problem is that after counting calories to lose weight I ended up losing to much. And after finally losing the fat from my thighs I'm at a point where I'm afraid to eat enough for muscle gain for fear of gaining fat. Just hoping some of you might be able to help me feel better or let me know what works for you... I'm tired of worrying so much about food. But I'm at about 2400 cal now with little or no gain. I know my training is spot on but I'm afraid it's all for nothing if I don't eat enough. I think wanting to gain is a healthy decision yet my mind won't let me stop worrying so that I can. Would love to hear some of your nutrition plans and how you go about supplying your exercise.

Replies

  • bump
  • taso42
    taso42 Posts: 8,981 Member
    Rules of thumb...
    Shoot for something like 10% or 250 cals above TDEE
    Around 1g protein per lb of LBM to feed your muscles
    Around .35g fat per lb of BW

    Silver lining - you've already been successful in losing weight, so if you need to cut some fat in the future, you should be confident you could do it, no problem :)
  • funforsports
    funforsports Posts: 2,656 Member
    Sometimes eating to gain can be harder than eating to lose. I know it is for me. I am currently eating to gain now at 4,000 calories daily. If you keep your protein intake at or above 1.0xbw then you will do fine in building muscle. Take note that you will probably build a bit of fat to go with the muscle but the smaller your calorie intake is over maintenance then the smaller amount of fat you will gain with along with your muscle. It sounds like you want to do a lean gain which would be eating over maintenance by 250-500 calories. Congrats on the weight loss that you already obtained. Now you can worry about gaining strength and muscle.
  • ^^^This!

    Are you doing cardio or just lifting? I didn't quite understand when you said you exercise and do a 4-day split.
  • HeidiMightyRawr
    HeidiMightyRawr Posts: 3,345 Member
    When you eat to gain muscle, you will gain some fat too. It's inevitable. The good thing is, if you're training hard, eating right, and not gaining too quickly, a decent amount should be muscle. Fat gain always looks better when it's alongside muscle gain IMO.

    Also, at the weight / height you are, I wouldn't even worry about a little extra fat :)

    For me, I'm trying to gain at the moment also. As much of that muscle as I can. I eat around 500ish calories above my maintenance (although I would maybe stick to around 300 over if you want minimal fat gain) Lifting heavy in the gym, muscle gains are coming along nicely. Plus, as Taso said, if you gain too much fat for your liking, you can always lose that later (while maintaining the muscle you built) but I don't think that should be an issue really given your current weight.
  • I do a 4 day upper/lower split and then usually a 20 minute HIIT 6-7 days on various machines
  • Chief_Rocka
    Chief_Rocka Posts: 4,711 Member
    I do a 4 day upper/lower split and then usually a 20 minute HIIT 6-7 days on various machines

    There's your problem. That needs to be cut way back, if not out completely.
  • I do a 4 day upper/lower split and then usually a 20 minute HIIT 6-7 days on various machines

    There's your problem. That needs to be cut way back, if not out completely.

    Yeah I've been figuring that out. So if I cut back cardio, do you think 2400 and for days per week of lifting should work?
  • DanaDark
    DanaDark Posts: 2,186 Member
    The extra cardio is not needed during periods of wanting to gain weight, especially muscle. Only keep it if it is conductive towards a specific thing in your life that requires that training, such as if you are a runner or involved in sports that require running, or it is part of your job (police, military, etc).

    Otherwise, the cardio is likely to be slowing your potential for muscle gains.

    Be sure to be lifting HEAVY and get plenty of protein!
  • taso42
    taso42 Posts: 8,981 Member
    I do a 4 day upper/lower split and then usually a 20 minute HIIT 6-7 days on various machines

    There's your problem. That needs to be cut way back, if not out completely.

    Yeah I've been figuring that out. So if I cut back cardio, do you think 2400 and for days per week of lifting should work?

    Sounds about right, figuring your TDEE is somewhere in the vicinity of 2100-2340
  • beduffbrickie
    beduffbrickie Posts: 646 Member
    When you eat to gain muscle, you will gain some fat too. It's inevitable. The good thing is, if you're training hard, eating right, and not gaining too quickly, a decent amount should be muscle. Fat gain always looks better when it's alongside muscle gain IMO.

    Also, at the weight / height you are, I wouldn't even worry about a little extra fat :)

    For me, I'm trying to gain at the moment also. As much of that muscle as I can. I eat around 500ish calories above my maintenance (although I would maybe stick to around 300 over if you want minimal fat gain) Lifting heavy in the gym, muscle gains are coming along nicely. Plus, as Taso said, if you gain too much fat for your liking, you can always lose that later (while maintaining the muscle you built) but I don't think that should be an issue really given your current weight.



    spot this!
  • Chief_Rocka
    Chief_Rocka Posts: 4,711 Member
    I do a 4 day upper/lower split and then usually a 20 minute HIIT 6-7 days on various machines

    There's your problem. That needs to be cut way back, if not out completely.

    Yeah I've been figuring that out. So if I cut back cardio, do you think 2400 and for days per week of lifting should work?

    Sounds like a good starting point. Keep in mind that numbers are just numbers. Your diet will often have to be adjusted based on progress.