Mistake # 5 Not Eating Enough Calories

Failing to ingest the necessary calories to build muscle is one of the biggest mistakes that beginners and intermediates make.

Let me put this plain and simple, if you don't ingest enough calories you're not going to build the kind of muscle mass you're looking for. It doesn't matter what kind of routine you're following, if you don't nail the nutritional aspect of your program down, you're not going to grow.

Pounding your body with high intense, compound oriented exercises takes a tremendous amount of energy. To fuel the kind of workouts needed to build muscle, it will be necessary to take in a lot of calories.

Just how many calories are needed?

This depends on a variety of factors including age, gender, metabolism, activity levels etc., but generally, I suggest staring at 20 calories per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds you should be taking in roughly 3,000 calories each and every day. If you break this down into six meals per day, each meal will consist of 500 calories. This is a good starting point.

What about protein, carbohydrates and fat?

Let's take a quick look at each.


Carbohydrates are needed to fuel those big workouts. This macro nutrient is an absolute necessity to any muscle building program. You need to be ingesting a lot of quality, complex carbohydrates to get the results you're looking for.

The primary role of carbohydrates is to provide fuel for the body. Remember, carbohydrates doesn't build muscle, it fuels it and is absolutely necessary to any muscle building nutritional program.

Your total daily caloric intake should be comprised of 50% to 60% of carbohydrates.


Protein is needed to repair and build muscle tissue. Whereas carbohydrates fuel the body for those big workouts, protein is what re-builds the muscle after it's been broken down by working out. Protein should never be used as a fuel source when it comes to building muscle, that job is strictly reserved for carbohydrates.

Your total caloric intake should be comprised of 25% to 35% protein.


Fat is an absolute necessity when it comes to building muscle mass. Despite what most dieting companies will tell you, fat is not your enemy. Fat is necessary to facilitate the relationship between the body and other macronutrients such as protein and carbohydrates. For example, certain vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K are all fat soluble. Fat is needed for the metabolism of these very important vitamins.

Your total caloric intake should be comprised of 15% to 20% of fats.


•  Ingest roughly 20 calories per pound of body weight. Remember to monitor your weight, fat levels and appearance and adjust accordingly

•  Divide your daily caloric requirements into roughly 6 meals per day

•  Each meal should be roughly 2 to 3 hours apart. Never go 5 hours without having a meal

For more information on putting together a complete muscle building nutritional program, see this page here.

See our calorie calculator here.

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As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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