4

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Eating for recomp? Confused! Help!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 04, 2012 at 3:45 AM

Ok so I am really confused. I am happy with my weight, but I want to lose a few inches/build a little more muscle. To build muscle don't I have to eat above maintanance? But won't that pack on fat along with muscle?

According to a fancy online calculator, my BMR is 1360 and total daily energy expended is ~2109 cal. I usually work out every other day. I do resistance training, HIIT (tabatas), and walk. I eat more carbs on training days and more fat on rest days. I am 5'3, female, steady at 115.

So basically I just want to know- if I want to tone up and build muscle but keep burning fat, how much energy do I need to consume??? I am happy with my weight and general size, but I really want to improve body comp. I train hard (and rest easy) but I haven't been building muscle nearly as well as I feel like I should be and it's getting frustrating- I am realizing I think it's because I haven't been eating enough. I've been eating around 1200 cal for several months and my body just isn't changing much. Help!

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 05, 2012
at 06:42 PM

...and of course ten seconds after I hit post I found the calculator! http://www.1percentedge.com/ifcalc/

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 05, 2012
at 06:41 PM

There is a calculator somewhere for leangains where you put in your height and weight and goals and it tells you precise grams of everything. It was super useful but I can't find it (don't you hate when the internet eats your bookmarks?); all I can dig up is this: http://rippedbody.jp/2011/10/23/how-to-calculate-leangains-macros/ which might be helpful.

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 05, 2012
at 06:38 PM

Haha yeah high carb is hard to do on Paleo. And high-calorie is, too, without all the processed artificial crap. I eat slightly higher carb than that on workout days (usually a sweet potato plus some rice - fruit juice is another thing I forgot that might be useful for you because it's easy to drink a lot without feeling like it's a lot, and it's pretty high-carb). But maybe that amount of carbs works for you: the only way to find out is to try and see. (self-experimentation is so much fun!).

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 05, 2012
at 03:41 AM

Oh, and I always do a 6-8 hr feeding window, no problem there. I even managed 8 hours fine with the extra calories.

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 05, 2012
at 03:39 AM

I did keep my PWO meal low-fat, with a sweet potato mashed with 1/2 banana, and a can of tuna with 1/4 avocado mixed in. Then waited a couple hours for my next fattier meal. I just have no idea how to eat 1800 cal without including a lot of fat. Unless I eat my body weight in sweet potatoes. I could do tarro or rutabaga but I don't have any currently. I'll see how I feel tomorrow. I hope I don't bloat up with water weight. Thanks again for the solid advice!! I really appreciate it.

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 05, 2012
at 03:36 AM

Thanks so much, Maria. I did a strong lifts 5x5 workout today and has energy to burn after so I threw in some HIIT and ate 1800 cal today. I felt like I was just eating and eating and eating, compared to 1200! Usually I eat higher carb/lower day on workout days, but with such a huge increase in calories, I still had a net increase in fats from usual because I can only eat do much sweet potato/ a little fruit (no rice or white potatoes for me) - so I had about 95 g carbs, 95 g protein, and had to fill the rest in with fat which ended up being around 115 g or so. Is that a bad combo?

B9a579a02921868db5098bfa99f8221c

(748)

on May 04, 2012
at 10:10 PM

no idea. But you really want to eat around you maintenence level unless you want to lose weight, or burn out. If your aim for 2109 + 20% on workout days and 2109- 20% on rest days you will problably be on the right track. Adjust up of down depending how you feel/go. Also definately read through the leangains.com site too

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 04, 2012
at 04:04 PM

(also, if you're doing leangains, he advises a 10-hour feeding window for women, but I have no problems with the 8-hour window, as long as I eat enough during it. If you're having problems with feeling unpleasantly full, 10 hours might give you enough time to get some more food in though.)

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 04, 2012
at 04:03 PM

Training days, I eat my meat and veg with carbs: lean cuts of meat, sweet potatoes, squash, rice (I tolerate rice well; YMMV here). On rest days, I naturally eat a little less, since I'm less hungry without a workout. It's probably not the most perfectly optimal Leangains eating program ever, but it keeps me sane; if I tried to count grams of fat/carbs or keep a calorie log I'd become a nervous orthorexic wreck in about a week.

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 04, 2012
at 04:00 PM

You're welcome! I think 1500/1800 is probably a good start - it's hard to get used to eating that much food if you've been doing 1200 for a while. It's like a whole extra meal! I don't count macros or calories obsessively, since it triggers my own eating disorder issues, but this is how I do it: I base all my meals around meat and veggies on both days. Rest days, I eat my meat and veg with fat (fatty cuts of meat, food cooked in butter or curried in coconut milk, avocados and nuts for snacks). (continued in second comment)

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 04, 2012
at 02:52 PM

Thanks for your insight Maria, it's really helpful to hear from someone around the same size as me. It's especially helpful to hear tht you are eating that many calories. No wonder my breasts have sunken in a bit. I will try out something like 1500/1800 to start, I don't want to shock my body too quickly when it's not used to eating that much. I really appreciate your advice, a lot. Where do you keep your fat vs. carbs on boh rest and training days??

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 04, 2012
at 06:20 AM

Thanks! I really thought I had a good idea of how much I should be eating to stay lean/get leaner (I have worked pretty hard to get in the shape I am from where I was a year ago) but I guess I was just used to unintentionally starving myself. I hope I haven't damaged my metabolism too badly. I really appreciate te advice.

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 04, 2012
at 06:16 AM

Hey that is exactly what I was looking for, thank you thank you thank you. Bases on my figures in my post, would you say something in the ballpark of 1800 on training days and 1200 on rest days?

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on May 04, 2012
at 03:56 AM

good tags. plus one!

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3 Answers

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2
B9a579a02921868db5098bfa99f8221c

on May 04, 2012
at 05:50 AM

You can have it both ways. Eat enough to grow muscle and eat less to loose fat.

It is all about eating more the days you train, and eating at a deficit on the days you rest. Averaged ove the whole week you are eating at maitenence.

There are some good articles on how best to do this at leangains.com.

But i have found the eastiest way to do this is to have an easy to make meal that i add in, or leave out depending on trainng.

Whatever you decide, bodyrecomp will happen steadily in the background as long as your food is good, and you train smart.

Have fun

B9a579a02921868db5098bfa99f8221c

(748)

on May 04, 2012
at 10:10 PM

no idea. But you really want to eat around you maintenence level unless you want to lose weight, or burn out. If your aim for 2109 + 20% on workout days and 2109- 20% on rest days you will problably be on the right track. Adjust up of down depending how you feel/go. Also definately read through the leangains.com site too

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 04, 2012
at 06:16 AM

Hey that is exactly what I was looking for, thank you thank you thank you. Bases on my figures in my post, would you say something in the ballpark of 1800 on training days and 1200 on rest days?

1
Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 04, 2012
at 12:12 PM

I second the leangains suggestion. I have a very similar height/weight and it's working great for me. I was 5'4" and 108 when I started a few months ago and I'm 5'4" and 117 right now - and all that gain was muscle. My stomach is still flat but my biceps and thigh muscles are noticeably bigger. It's slower weight gain than what you'll get with the usual bulking strategy of "EAT EVERYTHING IN SIGHT" but it really does work for avoiding fat gain.

1200 worries me though because it just doesn't sound like enough. I did that for several months - and when I went home for a weekend my mother freaked out because I looked like a skeleton. A constantly exhausted, constantly cold skeleton verging on becoming hypermetabolic. Maybe your body is different, but please be careful. Right now I eat ~1700 on rest days and ~2,000 on training days, and I should probably eat more. As long as you're eating good foods and not crap, it won't make you automatically start gaining a bunch of fat.

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 04, 2012
at 04:03 PM

Training days, I eat my meat and veg with carbs: lean cuts of meat, sweet potatoes, squash, rice (I tolerate rice well; YMMV here). On rest days, I naturally eat a little less, since I'm less hungry without a workout. It's probably not the most perfectly optimal Leangains eating program ever, but it keeps me sane; if I tried to count grams of fat/carbs or keep a calorie log I'd become a nervous orthorexic wreck in about a week.

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 04, 2012
at 04:04 PM

(also, if you're doing leangains, he advises a 10-hour feeding window for women, but I have no problems with the 8-hour window, as long as I eat enough during it. If you're having problems with feeling unpleasantly full, 10 hours might give you enough time to get some more food in though.)

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 05, 2012
at 06:38 PM

Haha yeah high carb is hard to do on Paleo. And high-calorie is, too, without all the processed artificial crap. I eat slightly higher carb than that on workout days (usually a sweet potato plus some rice - fruit juice is another thing I forgot that might be useful for you because it's easy to drink a lot without feeling like it's a lot, and it's pretty high-carb). But maybe that amount of carbs works for you: the only way to find out is to try and see. (self-experimentation is so much fun!).

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 04, 2012
at 02:52 PM

Thanks for your insight Maria, it's really helpful to hear from someone around the same size as me. It's especially helpful to hear tht you are eating that many calories. No wonder my breasts have sunken in a bit. I will try out something like 1500/1800 to start, I don't want to shock my body too quickly when it's not used to eating that much. I really appreciate your advice, a lot. Where do you keep your fat vs. carbs on boh rest and training days??

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 05, 2012
at 06:41 PM

There is a calculator somewhere for leangains where you put in your height and weight and goals and it tells you precise grams of everything. It was super useful but I can't find it (don't you hate when the internet eats your bookmarks?); all I can dig up is this: http://rippedbody.jp/2011/10/23/how-to-calculate-leangains-macros/ which might be helpful.

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 04, 2012
at 04:00 PM

You're welcome! I think 1500/1800 is probably a good start - it's hard to get used to eating that much food if you've been doing 1200 for a while. It's like a whole extra meal! I don't count macros or calories obsessively, since it triggers my own eating disorder issues, but this is how I do it: I base all my meals around meat and veggies on both days. Rest days, I eat my meat and veg with fat (fatty cuts of meat, food cooked in butter or curried in coconut milk, avocados and nuts for snacks). (continued in second comment)

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 05, 2012
at 03:41 AM

Oh, and I always do a 6-8 hr feeding window, no problem there. I even managed 8 hours fine with the extra calories.

Fd7b128cf714044a86d8bd822c7a8992

(4292)

on May 05, 2012
at 06:42 PM

...and of course ten seconds after I hit post I found the calculator! http://www.1percentedge.com/ifcalc/

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 05, 2012
at 03:36 AM

Thanks so much, Maria. I did a strong lifts 5x5 workout today and has energy to burn after so I threw in some HIIT and ate 1800 cal today. I felt like I was just eating and eating and eating, compared to 1200! Usually I eat higher carb/lower day on workout days, but with such a huge increase in calories, I still had a net increase in fats from usual because I can only eat do much sweet potato/ a little fruit (no rice or white potatoes for me) - so I had about 95 g carbs, 95 g protein, and had to fill the rest in with fat which ended up being around 115 g or so. Is that a bad combo?

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 05, 2012
at 03:39 AM

I did keep my PWO meal low-fat, with a sweet potato mashed with 1/2 banana, and a can of tuna with 1/4 avocado mixed in. Then waited a couple hours for my next fattier meal. I just have no idea how to eat 1800 cal without including a lot of fat. Unless I eat my body weight in sweet potatoes. I could do tarro or rutabaga but I don't have any currently. I'll see how I feel tomorrow. I hope I don't bloat up with water weight. Thanks again for the solid advice!! I really appreciate it.

1
4d8ad2f7c42197b98b6b5443a57a7fe2

on May 04, 2012
at 05:47 AM

If you are eating 1200 calories and have BMR of 1360 with that much activity, no you won't be building muscles. Try eating 2500~ calories with much protein and strenght training. You are pretty much starving yourself atm. Yes you will get some fat with the muscle, but you can cut that later.

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 04, 2012
at 06:20 AM

Thanks! I really thought I had a good idea of how much I should be eating to stay lean/get leaner (I have worked pretty hard to get in the shape I am from where I was a year ago) but I guess I was just used to unintentionally starving myself. I hope I haven't damaged my metabolism too badly. I really appreciate te advice.

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