Doctor's Orders: Count Calories
In my Shortcut to Size diet, I don't talk too much about calories. But that does NOT mean that they're not important. However, based on the amount of each macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fat) that I suggest you eat every day, you will consume the proper amount of calories to grow.
Every gram of carbs has approximately four calories, every gram of protein has four calories, and every gram of fat has about nine calories. This calorie differential explains why bodybuilders, even those who are not on a low-fat diet, need to pay attention to calories-per-macronutrient.
To gain muscle, you must consume more calories than you burn each day. Otherwise your body will not expend calories on muscle growth. Shoot for at least 20 calories per pound of bodyweight on days you work out.
When you work out, you burn a good 400-1000 extra calories depending on the workout type, intensity, duration, and your personal body weight. Thus, regardless of whether your goal is to gain muscle or lose fat, you should be eating more on workout days and much less on rest days to prevent fat gain.
Even though you are maximizing muscle growth on the Shortcut to Size program, on rest days your total calorie consumption drops down to about 17 per pound of body weight. After all, you want to gain muscle and minimize fat.
Remember that every rest day should be an active rest day. Rest days are for recovery; they're not an excuse to be lazy. Get out and hit 15-30 minutes of HIIT cardio today, or perform 30-60 minutes of your favorite activity: hiking, biking, walking, playing a sport, etc.