How many calories can I eat a day for body recomp and strength?

Answered on July 07, 2016
Created November 19, 2014 at 1:44 AM

Hi guys! 

Im an 18 year old female powerlifter, about 5'5". I dont weigh myself because of a past with eating disorders but Id guess Im 130-135lbs. 

I eat VERY healthfully. No processed food, everything is cooked at home. Animal products are always organic. I'm dairy sensative so I only eat it maybe 1x a week, same with sugar (1x or less).

I lift heavy 4-5x/week, and do conditioning work/HIIT 2-3x. 

How many calories can I eat per day and not gain fat? I want to get stronger, and of course lose fat and gain muscle. I get SO many different answers on this. The whole IIFYM crowd tells me I need only 1500kcal, other sources say I need 2000 or more because im so active or young. 

I LOVE food. Seriously. I would prefer to eat at least 2000kcal a day, because I have a HUGE appetite. 

Heres what I ate today as a sample.

Meal 1)


TBSP pure almond butter

2 cups almond milk


2 eggs

Hummus and celery


TONS of leftover pot roast (I'd say 1-1.5lbs)

TONS of steamed carrots


Small bowl of pure pinto beans


Small baked oatmeal, made with:

.5ish cup oats/oatflour

TBSP cocoa powder


almond milk


  • 7163e886634e71777acad417e676a614

    asked by

  • Views
  • Last Activity
    1200D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

3 Answers


on July 07, 2016
at 07:41 AM

You are taking your good nutritional foods and it is good. I usually suggest 10-20% over maintenance calories for mass gains.  


on November 24, 2014
at 04:46 PM

You might find this interesting, Lauren Fisher is a 20 y.o. junior weightlifter and Crossfit competitor.  The video goes into some detail about her diet.  Her coach basically says the challenge is to get her to eat enough, and to make at least most of the calories "clean". But she has to eat a lot of food. As you can see she looks great and doesn't have much fat on her and performs at a high level.


I am no expert but 1500 calories per day doesn't sound like nearly enough for you given your workload.  But I would talk to your coaches and consider talking to a nutritionist if you aren't already.


on November 19, 2014
at 01:39 PM

Well, since you're clearly not doing low-carb, the only way for you to stay slim is obviously to count your calories and not overeat. But from what it sounds like you really like to eat and it shows in your food diary. You're slim now, because you're 18, honestly it was the same for me, it was almost impossible for me to gain weight in my teens as well. However, if you keep eating that way (or more) into your 20's then you will get fat, specially during college, ever heard of the "freshman 15"? 

I'm not saying to become an anorexic and obsess about every calorie you eat, all I'm saying is that when you stop being a teenager and start getting older, it's a lot easier to get fat. 

Answer Question

Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!