Alright folks, this is my first time asking a question so go easy on me! I am also on my phone which has a ridiculous brain for spell-checking, so forgive any bizarre typos.
Ok, so I know similar topics have been hashed and rehashed, but I have read so many opinions on it that I was hoping to get some advice specifically tailored to my body/goals/lifestyles.
First off I am 24 yr old female. I have been strict paleo (+small amounts of dairy) for about 8 months now, and I am very happy with how I feel and function. For most of this time, I have been low-carbing, usually around 15-20g total a day, mostly from green veggies and sometimes a small amount of berries + a tablespoon of coconut butter. I keep my calories around 1200, my macros around 75% fat (~100g), 15-20% protein (~50g), 5-10% carbs. (Before some of you get up in arms about how I am starving myself, I am not. I am only 5'3 and currently weigh 116 lbs; this is only a very tiny caloric deficit for me, and does leave me satiated.)
So anyway, over the last several months of eating this way, I have lost about 20 lbs and have finally gotten to a size/weight that I am happy with, but my body comp leaves something to be desired. My exercise while I have been LC has been a lot of walking + body weight exercises and light kettlebell workouts. I did burn away most of my excess fat stores, but now I am looking to bit a more into toning up and getting stronger. I have no reason left to care about the number on the scale, just want to look better naked, better in clothes, be all around healthier, etc.
So, up to this point I have been fastin in the mornings, doing my little workout/walking fasted at around 11am, and eating about 2 hrs post workout, as I have read that both training fasted and fasting post-working are optimal for fat-burning/weight loss. I then eat another meal at around 6pm, and didn't eat again until 2-ish the next day.
This plan has worked fantastically for me up to this point, but now that my fat stores are limited and I am trying to ramp up the workouts (45 min of kettlebells + body weight 3x week, + sprints once a week and still tons of walking) I am finding that something has just gotta give, as I don't have the strength or energy to get through my longer KB workouts. I have busted my ass to lose the weight I have lost (most of it was stubborn baby weight + SAD weight I have carried around since puberty) and I am not looking to bulk up or go up in clothes sizes. I just want to increase my stamina and strength, lose a bit more fat, tone up.
So after that novel, my question is: how to rework my eating schedule to give me energy for tougher workouts while still maximizing fat loss and leaning out? Should I start eating breakfast a few hours before working out, and if so, should I add in a few carbs or focus on fat and protein? (a breakfast of coffee, coconut oil and cream is not enough to get me through a solid workout by the way.) Would I be best served by eating something starchy the evening before, and then training fasted?
My plan has worked great this far and I am nervous to mess with it too much, it just no longer seems to jive with my goals.
By the way, I can't adjust my workout time as I am a single mom to a 1 yr old and her nap time is my only consistent opportunity.
Thanks in advice for reading all of this and for the advice.
asked byBrenna (531)
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on April 12, 2012
at 01:21 AM
Congratulations on your weight loss. Now, onto the point; the reason you have lost weight is not because you are paleo, but because you have created a consistent caloric deficit. YOu can lose weight eating twinkies so long as you maintain that deficit. However, the reason your body composition is not ideal is because of your macronutrient ratios (adding in heavy resistance training would be great for your physique and metabolic health as well). Your fat intake is extremely high, your protein is too low. I would suggest increasing protein, dropping some the fat, and exchanging it for some carbs. You will need some carbs for high intensity exercise. Protein helps preserve lean body mass, so it is especially important to keep protein high when you are in a caloric deficit so that your body will rid itself of fat, and preserve as muscle as it can under the circumstances.
It is important to strike a good balance between fats and carbs. If you eat too much dietary fat, your body will have scant opportunity to burn its own fat. However, if dietary fat is too low, then your body may perceive a "famine" is coming and will try to hold onto any fat you have. This is why it is very important to eat a balance of macronutrients when eating in a caloric defict. You want enough fats for health function, but not too much as to prevent fat loss. You will want enough carbs to fuel your workouts, but not too much so as to store them. Targeting your carb intake to before and/or after workouts works very well. Finally, you want enough protein so as to coax your body into shedding fat and not muscle.
I hope this helps. the specific macro ratios taht you follow to get the best results will probably involve some trial and error. This can be scary sometimes, but it is worth it in the end when you know where your body performs best.
Good luck and I wish you the best with your fitness goals.
on April 12, 2012
at 01:43 AM
long question, simple answer. heavy squats.
on April 11, 2012
at 07:51 PM
If you want more energy for workouts, you need to eat more food. If you no longer care about losing further weight, you should be eating more overall calories. I would start by just doing exactly what you're currently doing AND eating some breakfast. Instead of a lot of complicated scheduling around naptime workouts and whatnot, just make up a crustless paleo quiche on the weekends, or have some leftover roast or BBQed beef sliced up and eat that when you wake up, with your coffee.
on April 11, 2012
at 07:30 PM
Try shorter workouts (eg 30 mins) with more intensity and heavier weights.
on April 11, 2012
at 07:14 PM
I would suggest trying out yoga for whole body fitness. I'm 23, 5'8", hovering around 150lbs on average, and have been athletic but not super fit. No matter how many miles I ran and how many isolated exercises (abs, squats, pushups) I did I never really felt like I was getting stronger just stressing my body out. Now with only a month or two of yoga under my belt (and not much else) I've noticed significant gains in strength - especially in my upper body a part of me I never really exercised because of lack of interest in weights. All of a sudden I can run 3+ miles without fatigue, do handstands, pike headstands, cartwheels; I have a strong core and the gains in flexibility are amazing. The best part is that working out is now a joy and every time I try something new I feel amazing. I'm looking forward to see how my practice has affected my ability to go rock climbing since I have always wanted to try but didn't feel safe trusting my life to the strength of my arms.
The best way to get into yoga is to find a good studio that works for you. I try hot yoga personally because I want to be super bendy. I feel amazing! One problem is that I've gained so much muscle that the scale hasn't budged in weeks, but it's worth it to have a toned body and be able to do all the things I love.
Here's my yoga inspiration of the day: http://bit.ly/w0m9MD
on April 11, 2012
at 04:06 PM
Hi MissBrenna! Your schedule and goals seem so similar to mine. I'm 25 and do a lot of the same things you are doing. I'll tell you what worked for me... go on the Whole30! I have been paleo for ~1.5 years and still had that last little bit of tummy flab. As soon as I gave up dairy, sugar, and alcohol COMPLETELY, I lost 5 lbs (3% body fat) in 9 days. And i'm only 1/3 the way through my Whole30! It's amazing what just a "little bit" of dairy and alcohol will do.
I would make the focus on your eating. The workouts won't help much in losing that last little bit... what's the saying? Abs are made in the kitchen?
Good luck to you!
on April 11, 2012
at 08:26 PM
I would agree with JJ.. if you want to "tone," that means you either want to a) lean out more so that the muscle you have is visible or b) build new muscle/strength. If you want to build new muscle you will have to ramp up calories. Generally, after a hard workout of something like squats or deadlifts it would be advantageous to eat a fair amount of carbs.. if you're strict paleo I have no idea what that would be, but I know some strict folks opt for sweet potatoes. Don't be afraid to eat those carbs... they will build muscle and aid in recovery!
So, once you get into the cycle of working out fasted or while supplementing BCAAs (which won't break the fast, but will deliver essential aminos) the next workout will be fueled by the carbs you ate after your prior workout. So it might suck for a while while adapting, but it will get easier.
Instead of kettle bells maybe move into heavy lifting 2/3 times per week with basic movements like squat and deadlift. Also, maintain the fasted cardio.