Okay, so I currently weigh 122 lbs, and I'm 5'7". But I'm sort of... Skinny fat. I do have muscle, but it's not really visible anywhere except on my calves. I have heard Robb Wolf talk about the importance of calories in versus calories out, despite how most paleo foods are thermogenic. So I'm just wondering, approx. how many calories should I be consuming at sixteen years old to effectively burn fat, while also building muscle? And how much of my diet should be made up by protein?
If you don't think I should count calories, explain why :)
Don't count calories. Reason? Your young, active, and have never been overweight (from what I understand). You should be focusing on the quality of your foods first and foremost. Make sure you eat enough protein (about 1g/lb of lean mass, so up to or around 120 grams/day), and let the rest fall into place. Eat when your hungry and stop when your satisfied. Counting calories is a technique some are "forced" to utilize, but you shouldn't have to.
Good for you for getting an early start (earlier than most on the PH site, at least) on actively managing the foods you choose to eat. However, at 16 years old, I wouldn't worry so much about "calories in versus calories out" and risk becoming overly focused on the issue or even developing an eating disorder. Eat the foods prescribed in your Paleo challenge and eat to satiety and you will be fine. Be active. Walk. Lift a few weights, if you like. Team sports are great at your age if you have interest. Be young, enjoy it, and do the right thing most of the time with respect to your diet.
Being a petite woman who used to be skinny fat and has leaned out and built muscle (started at 25%bf===> 13% at one point ---> recently crept up to around 16-18%), I can say that it takes A LOT of weight training to maintain the upper body muscle tone that I want. I never understand why some women are so afraid of weight training because they are afraid of 'bulking up' really easily. I find that the moment I deviate from 3-4x biceps/shoulder training sessions per week of lifting HEAVY compard to the other women in the gym, my muscles start to get noticeably smaller! I can't say for lower body because while i go for tightness, I don't desire much definitition in my legs.