General Nutrition Question??

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 04, 2007 10:01 PM GMT
    Hey! I'm new to this site, but figured I would jump right in...

    I'm 26, 5'8", and weigh 155 lbs. I typically do cardio about 3 times a week, but would really like to get rid of some body fat. The last time I tested at about 19%. Most of it is in my stomach/waist and upper body. I used to figure skate, so my legs and lower half are pretty muscular.

    I've tried getting into strength training and muscle toning in the past, but usually get derailed because I can't quite get a handle on what kind of nutrition I should be getting. On average I probably consume around 1200 calories per day, maybe a little less.

    In the past, I would up my calorie intake, and after about 2 weeks of combing weight training and cardio, I would still be super hungry and usually end up getting sick (with a cold). It seriously happens like clockwork. As a result I have hard time keeping my diet under control and gain weight. So, I stop training with weights, and switch back to cardio to burn off the extra lbs.

    I know that 1200 calories isn't enough when you're lifting and exercising, but my body tends to go into freak out mode and I just pile on weight if I eat more than that. Whether I'm working out or not. Maybe my body has become accustomed to getting so few calories, so it doesn't know what to do when I up the amount?

    What I would love to find out is if there is a goal range of calories I should be shooting for, with my height, weight, and my body's tendency to freak out when I start getting serious with working out?

    To further explain, here is an example of how I would eat while I'm lifting:

    Breakfast - weight control oatmeal and orange juice
    Snack - apple/or protein bar
    Lunch - tuna salad sandwich, carrots
    Snack - cottage cheese/or fruit of some type
    Dinner - baked boneless/skinless chicken, mixed veggies, sweet potato
    Snack - low fat protein shake

    When I don't lift I cut out the protein shake/bar.

    I drink gatorade here and there, and only drink zero calorie sodas. I drink water pretty much all day long. At least 80 oz a day.

    Any suggestions, resources, or help would be greatly appreciated icon_smile.gif


    - Iceman

    PS: I conveniently left out that I do eat out occasionally and will get dessert from time to time, but who doesn't! icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 05, 2007 2:54 PM GMT
    What kind of cardio are you doing?

    Are you on a weight training plan or just going about it off the cuff?

    What is in your tuna salad?

    It looks okay... but seems vague to me right now.

    As a dancer i can certainly identify with the whole strong lower body thing..

    PS ure a good looking guy.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 05, 2007 3:37 PM GMT
    Without quantities and more specifics on the shakes I can't be sure - but it looks carb-heavy to me.

    Also, at 1200 kcal/day you're depressing your metabolic rate. I think you're vastly under-eating.

    You would be well advised to increase cardio to 30+ minutes per day at least 6 days/week, but it shouldn't be overly intense.

    At 19% and 155#, your lean mass is only 126# - however, you need only drop 12# to get down to 12% body fat - which would look far trimmer, and feel a lot better. That's about a 43,000 kcalorie burn. At a moderate (1/2% per week) rate of loss, it will take you 18 weeks to get there - not very long at all, when you think about how many years it took to get where you are.

    If I were to make a general estimate, I'd put your starting daily calories at about 2200 - with 50% coming from complex carbs (starches), 10% from healthy fats, and 40% from lean proteins.

    - Joey
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 05, 2007 3:37 PM GMT

    Wow, lol, I didn't actually expect anyone to respond! I thought I went a little overboard...

    For cardio I walk/run and use the elliptical. Typically around or over 35 minutes. On the walk/run days I try and do intervals.

    When I train with weights I usually do a full body workout plan I got from my bf (who got his from his personal trainer).

    The tuna salad is just a little low fat mayo and pickles. I also use low calorie bread.

    As you read, I'm just frustrated with lifting (even though I know it's really important) because I can't get a clear idea on what kind of nutrition I should be getting. Any suggestions or advice would be great!

    Thanks for the compliment, I would def like to look more like you though! icon_smile.gif

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 05, 2007 3:50 PM GMT
    Thanks BigJoey. That helps, and from looking at you, I can see that you know what you're talking about. Somehow 2200 just seems like so much, but I guess coming from 1200, it is! I might try and up my caloric intake, my tendency is to start ballooning up everytime I do it, but maybe this time will be different with the extra cardio.

    I will also try and match the percentages closer to what you've put, at this point I'm willing to try anything.

    Thanks again!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 05, 2007 4:08 PM GMT
    Joey's advice is DEAD ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My lifting suggestion is to go to and look up West Side for Skinny Bastards.

    I can actually attach the workout to you in an e mail if you want... that would require your e mail address.

    As far as MY body... LOL well you have to do some crazy crazy sh*t! Mixing dance, martial arts, yoga, lifting, swimming, cardio... it's NUTS when i'm in the gym, and i'm there for like... 2 hours!!!!!!!!!!!

    PS i need to update my pics... there has been some bodily changes, and ink additions recently. NOW i need a photographer LOL
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Dec 05, 2007 4:53 PM GMT
    I'll second the notion that 1200 calories a day is unreasonably low. If at your currently body fat percentage you suddenly gain large amounts of weight when you go above that, there are really three options I can think of:

    1) You're making a mistake in your math.

    2) You have some rare metabolic disorder

    3) You are virtually completely paralyzed and communicating to us by twitching your eyes.

    The one thing you said which does make some sense of this is "Maybe my body has become accustomed to getting so few calories, so it doesn't know what to do when I up the amount?" That is entirely possible. People who encounter long-term starvation conditions do indeed end up with drastically lower metabolisms, as their bodies suck every calorie they can out of the small amount of food they get. It is, however, very rare for someone in such a state to maintain 19% body fat.

    Assuming your math is correct (try a site like for calorie tracking in your foods), you really need to increase your daily calorie intake, or else there are probably going to be significant long-term consequences. This might cause you to gain a couple of pounds as your metabolism adjusts to having enough food around that your body doesn't need to be as miserly about every potential source of energy, but it will help in the long run. Focus more on your energy levels and whether your clothes fit than your weight, per se.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 05, 2007 7:26 PM GMT
    Thanks MSUBioNerd, that was the swift shot in the arm that I probably needed.

    I've already signed up with fitday, thanks for that.

    My math might be off a little, but the only factor I didn't include (except at the end) is that I do occasionally eat out and eat ice cream every now and then.

    I'm completely new to this, but in conjunction with what you said, I feel like it's possible that my body is sucking up every calorie it gets, so when I eat out a few times over the weekend, or have ice cream, it doesn't know how to handle so much sugar and fat. Hence the higher fat percentage.

    You're also right about focusing on my energy level. lol, I know it won't surprise you to know that I do feel run down more often than not.

    Thanks for being so helpful, I'm def going to up my calories using Joey's percentages, starting today! icon_biggrin.gif

    PS: If I could type by twitching my eyes, I'd find a better outlet for my talent and cash in! icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Dec 06, 2007 4:14 PM GMT
    (thanks guys, for the endorsements - )

    Ice, one other point - and I'm taking into account that you're in NC, which does not have a reputation for being medically progressive.... (my ex- is from there, as are a number of my clients - I'm from Memphis)

    It would be good to have a hormone/metabolic panel done at your next physical. Check out T1, LH, FSH, Free & total Testosterone, Estradiol, IGF1 & IGF2. The panel won't be cheap, even with insurance - but if you have a depressed thyroid or a testosterone/estradiol imbalance, it could be contributing to your relatively low lean muscle mass and high fat mass.

    And lay off the ice cream, will ya? I know the Southern Diet, and there are lots of nasties in your basic dinner out....or home with Mom for the holidays.