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Size, Muscle, Paleo, CrossFit, Carbs and Me.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 06, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Howdy Folks,

Okay, but seriously. I'm 6'1" 22 year-old male who just started CrossFit a month ago. I was relatively lean upon starting, probably between 13-11%, I don't really know. I used the Tanita machine at my schools gym and it said 13.5, but those are pretty prone to error. With proper lighting I could see some abs, but also tons of rib-cage action. My parents and everyone else thought I was emaciated. This was mostly due to the fact that I was VLC and ate about 1200-1700 calories a day. I really do not know why I did this to my body. I started CrossFit weighing about 170.

The first week and half of CrossFit training, I was still VLC, but eating loads of protein and fat. I never really counted calories, but some days I would probably top 4000. My box does a lot of O-lifts, in addition to WODs. My coach told me that I was too skinny and I needed to put on muscle and get stronger. Ok, fair enough. So, I asked him what to do and he said add in some starch. I go to the grocery store and buy a lot of sweet potatoes and Name root and try to eatthem around my workouts. I try not consume more than 200g of carbohydrate per day.

Anyways, a month later, on February 27th, I weighed 191 pounds. I can't see my ribs and I'm not quite as lean as I was before, but I'm really not complaining because I'm quite a bit bigger. I'm a lot stronger as well. However, the Tanita scale at my gym reads closer to 18% when I put it on regular and (given that I train 6 days a week) when I put it on athlete, it is between 12-13%. So what the hell? I really hate that machine and this stuff kinda messes with my head and I guess I'm just looking for some pointers on what to do next. One indicator is that my pants are a little tighter. My coach has not given me clear instructions about where to go and I love this site, so I figured I could ask my question and figure out what's up.

Has anyone lost a bit of their leanness from reintroducing carbohydrates? If I want to lean out what should I cut first, sweet potatoes or calories? I kind of think it might be time to try to get lean. At the same time, I do not want my performance to suck in the gym. Any tips from anyone about any of these concerns would be helpful.

Also, I'm late for class and wrote this in a hurry, so please forgive me for any typos or grammar error.

Thanks, Nick

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Okay, yeah IF is not for anyone. So if it was not working for you it could be doing more harm, so I agree, stay away from that. I hear ya with overly being obsessed when monitoring and logging your food. I hate it, but after doing it for awhile you start to get a feel, and you can not be so anal. Seems like you are already at that point, which is good. The point still stands that if you are gaining weight you have to be in caloric excess. You could also be stressed which would also increase fat gain. How is your sleep?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 02, 2013
at 03:32 AM

for what it's worth, it looks like user nikkib has disappeared in to the ether...has not logged in since April last year

367e468dfd971f5478708f1f03869a7f

(0)

on March 09, 2012
at 01:00 AM

Don't know what to tell you. They were definitely there. I wasn't the only one who saw them

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 07, 2012
at 03:21 PM

The Tanita machines use electricity to estimate BF%. Changes in water-weight (as noted here) will effect these estimates gravely. Measure, don't weigh -- fat calipers also just estimate, but I find them to be more accurate ... and in line with what my eyes see, but I can't admit to myself. ;-)

A03f0d03067a43c61786481d91e5d3a0

(1078)

on March 07, 2012
at 09:32 AM

A better way of measuring changes in body fat is to use your eyes. If you see flab, you are flab. Also, 170 lbs at 6'1" doesn't sound emaciated - you'd have a BMI of 22.5 which is in the upper range of "normal", so it sounds like something's weighing you wrong. I don't think you could see ribs at that weight either.

367e468dfd971f5478708f1f03869a7f

(0)

on March 07, 2012
at 03:54 AM

Thanks, I should have clarified that I do regularly use Cronometer, but I felt like I was overly obsessing over numbers and I've been doing it so long, I do have a good idea of how to estimate my food. I've checked out Leangains and I'm not sure if it really applicable for CrossFit. Maybe it is and I'm mistaken, but I was using the 16-hour fast protocol when I was eating low calorie and was constantly stressed. I should've added all of this to my original post.

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5 Answers

3
Fd627132a760e414f2afbf378c8afd9b

(260)

on March 07, 2012
at 06:21 AM

If you go from VLC to ~200 carbs a day, you're going to carry water weight. That alone can account for the body fat % disparity. Don't let a little water weight mess with your head. You can go back to VLC and lose that water weight in less than 3 days.

Putting on mass doing VLC, is also an option. If you want to research it, do a search on Cyclical Ketogenic and Targeted Ketogenic Diets (CKD and TKD). Basically, in CKD you gorge on carbs every 3-5 days and on TKD you eat your carbs around workouts (which is kind of what you're already doing). CKD worked great for me, but everybody is different and I'd recommend you try different things to see what approach works best for you.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on March 07, 2012
at 03:21 PM

The Tanita machines use electricity to estimate BF%. Changes in water-weight (as noted here) will effect these estimates gravely. Measure, don't weigh -- fat calipers also just estimate, but I find them to be more accurate ... and in line with what my eyes see, but I can't admit to myself. ;-)

2
2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on March 06, 2012
at 11:03 PM

Sounds like you might finally be overconsuming which is probably helping you gain some muscle and makig some gains, however with those gains come fat. It's very hard to just gain muscle and not any fat. If you are worried, I would really start logging and monitoring your food intake to really see where you are at. You can take a look at leangains.com for protocols on trying to add gains with as little fat as possible. You could carb cycling, and add the extra starch only around your workouts. Rest days go back to lower carb.

Personally I would keep the starch to help fuel your Crossfit workouts and help replenish your glycogen, but maybe cut down on the fat/protein a bit. This is all depending on your food log of course. It's very hard to estimate your calories when you haven't logged them before.

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Okay, yeah IF is not for anyone. So if it was not working for you it could be doing more harm, so I agree, stay away from that. I hear ya with overly being obsessed when monitoring and logging your food. I hate it, but after doing it for awhile you start to get a feel, and you can not be so anal. Seems like you are already at that point, which is good. The point still stands that if you are gaining weight you have to be in caloric excess. You could also be stressed which would also increase fat gain. How is your sleep?

367e468dfd971f5478708f1f03869a7f

(0)

on March 07, 2012
at 03:54 AM

Thanks, I should have clarified that I do regularly use Cronometer, but I felt like I was overly obsessing over numbers and I've been doing it so long, I do have a good idea of how to estimate my food. I've checked out Leangains and I'm not sure if it really applicable for CrossFit. Maybe it is and I'm mistaken, but I was using the 16-hour fast protocol when I was eating low calorie and was constantly stressed. I should've added all of this to my original post.

2
Ee70ee808f748374744404a00e1c22ed

(1163)

on March 06, 2012
at 10:18 PM

I would stop listening to the machine, for a start. As for leaning out, I would try reducing calories overall. How you do this is up to you; I prefer using 24-hour fasts, while eating my normal caloric load the rest of the time. I find I drop body fat easily with two fasts a week, and maintain easily with one. Your results may vary. Above all, be patient, and see what works for you- in the big scheme of things, taking a few months (or more than a few months, even) to figure out how to best achieve your goals is a drop in the bucket.

0
222fde7450ab8edaf44bcec8cce3c304

on August 06, 2013
at 04:34 PM

These simple tricks have worked for me.

  1. For every calorie of carbohydrate you introduce into your daily diet, reduce your fat intake by one calorie. For example, if you are going to start adding a sweet potato to your post workout routine, you might consider eliminating that tbsp of butter you've been adding to your cooked veggies throughout the day.

  2. Introduce your carbohydrates slowly. For example, add one sweet potato post workout on each day you do crossfit. Stick with this for two weeks. Then make adjustments based on how your results compare to your goals.

0
Bfd70bb38267fcc2d762063d691fa226

(723)

on February 02, 2013
at 02:36 AM

First of all, I think that machine is ridiculous. Don't let it mess with your head. It could be way off. I would go by measurements with a tape measure, how your clothes fit, and how you look in the mirror. Concerning your "fat gain," I would also consider your salt intake. I notice on days that I consume saltier foods like bacon, I look a little "puffy" from water weight. This can hide muscle definition and easily be confused with fat. How I look each day really depends on how much water I have retained based on what I have eaten the day before.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on February 02, 2013
at 03:32 AM

for what it's worth, it looks like user nikkib has disappeared in to the ether...has not logged in since April last year

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