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Confused, Higher Fat, or Higher Carb....

Answered on January 20, 2014
Created January 15, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Hello everybody! I am a 16 year old female athlete. I have read the Paleo for athletes, but am unsure if I require that amount of carbs. My typical workout day is biking to school and back (8 miles total), weightlifting for around 30 minutes, then I usually (sadly I am out of this now, due to ankle injury) run around 5-7 miles a day. Normally closer to the lower end. I eat around 2300-2400 calories a day, I am only 5'3 (if that matters) and generally eat a ratio of around 25-30% fat- 25-30% carbs- 40-50% protein. Basically, I just want to become a faster runner (I have been stuck at an 18:57 5k for 3 months now) and to maybe gain some lean muscle mass. I am currently around 92-93 lbs, but my parents think I need to gain a little weight to hit puberty and hopefully jumpstart my growth. I on the other hand, would like to keep my abs though. So to simplify my question... Should I eat the way I am, go higher fat, or higher carb to get faster and leaner? I have tried one day of high fat, but my stomach did not agree at all. I am not sure if that may take time though.

One more quick question off topic... Does anybody else get nausea and digestive problems on paleo? For as long as I can remember, I get bouts of issues here and there (for the past three days I have had an extreme one with acid reflux and everything).

Sorry for the extremely long post. I have been wanting to know this answer for a long time now.

Thank You!

16a2e42f33be90af9ce7f1e0fa2f20b5

on January 17, 2014
at 11:01 PM

If you do not mind me asking, what is your reasoning? I am just curious. It seems that everyone has a different perspective.

16a2e42f33be90af9ce7f1e0fa2f20b5

on January 17, 2014
at 08:42 PM

You do have a good point there... Well, I do not want a HUGE amount of muscle. To tell you the truth, some of these figure and bodybuilder models just creep me out. I am just looking to get a cut, defined look, but at the same time I would like to excel in my sport. I am hoping to get good enough to get a college scholarship on running. I do two speed sessions a week, one speed-endurance (tempo, longer intervals) and one pure speed (short intervals). I have come to the realization that I am more endurance then speed though. My fastest 400m is a 1:20.

16a2e42f33be90af9ce7f1e0fa2f20b5

on January 17, 2014
at 08:39 PM

My fat intake is not abnormally low though. I do eat on average 25-30% of my daily calories. It is lower then the average paleo person, but that is the recommended amount by the RDA (I think that is what it is called. lol Also, I do not quite believe in their ratios, 60% calories from basically all grains is not smart to me) and most kids hit puberty fine. I assumed that I am just a late bloomer. My parents thought it was due to my activity level, but I am not really be excessively active.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on January 17, 2014
at 02:42 PM

By the way, skipping meals at your age will stunt your growth, IGF-1 signaling (which is responsible for tissue growth during teenage years, including bone growth) decreases during periods of fasting, due to increases in insulin like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBP) which inactivate free IGF-1. In short, fasting will promote catabolism and decrease anabolism of all tissues; great for longevity, but not so good for increasing mass (lean or otherwise) which is your intent.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on January 17, 2014
at 02:34 PM

92g of protein is not low, that's perfectly normal. The RDA for protein is actually 50 grams. I understand that you are a growing teenager, but there are negative consequences to eating that much protein. I eat about 60 grams per day on average, while on a low carb diet, it is not too little protein. Unless you think 10 eggs worth of protein is too little (each egg has 6g). If you want lean muscle you also need fat since it is required to build cellular components (like cell membranes) and carbohydrates to promote anabolism and growth via insulin signaling.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on January 17, 2014
at 02:47 AM

"I'm concerned that you are 16 and haven't had menarche yet"...good point. that would be unusual if that is the case. i must admit i kinda read the 'hit puberty' comment as a reference to teenage muscle growth, rather than literally, i have made the assumption/presumption that 'everyone' has hit puberty by 16.

16a2e42f33be90af9ce7f1e0fa2f20b5

on January 17, 2014
at 02:25 AM

That is about my average amount. Lately it has been lower being the fact that I have had no appetite, so I have been skipping lunches and snacks. Other then that, I eat a lot of meat, eggs and I have at most two scoops of protein powder a day (I understand it is not natural, that is why I limit it, but I LOVE my protein shakes I make :D). I assumed that the 1g per pound rule would not really apply to kids like me, since 92g of protein would be sort of low and impossible for me not to get higher. I do not want to put on just "mass", I more want "lean muscle". Not that my age will let me.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on January 17, 2014
at 01:44 AM

I agree with Matt 11, that much excess protein isn't doing much for you besides putting stress on your kidneys. Get your calories elsewhere. If you're trying to gain mass go for sweet potatoes and bananas, they'll do the trick. Calm down with the protein though, that much protein is not healthy.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 17, 2014
at 12:52 AM

That's broscience. You need a small excess of protein and calorie excess to put on mass. Maybe 25-50 grams protein, 100-200 calories per day extra.

16a2e42f33be90af9ce7f1e0fa2f20b5

on January 17, 2014
at 12:22 AM

I thought that protein was the best macronutrient to help put on lean mass though. I am not questioning you both or anything, since I did ask the question, but do you not think that 50-60% fat is a little excess. I also tend to find it hard to reach the percentage without feeling lethargic. My only other thinking with protein is its thermic effect. If I reduce my protein, would I have to reduce my calories as well? I am not obsessed with food or anything, but I do love to eat. The more the better for me :). At the same time though, I do not want to eat excess and gain unnecessary fat.

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8 Answers

0
9819f58fdfdd481fa5d3b5f83b5f65a6

on January 20, 2014
at 04:37 PM

Ketogenic diets actually help with endurance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqwvcrA7oe8

0
Medium avatar

(1536)

on January 18, 2014
at 02:08 AM

I'm a runner. I've had success implementing the following fueling strategy: 60% carbs on interval/tempo run days, 40-50% on easy run days/long run days (lower carbs on long run days make you more fuel efficient), 30% carbs on rest days. Maintain protein at 1g per lb of body mass.

0
B023a84cf6f4dd3e2469df99ab626346

on January 17, 2014
at 10:56 PM

Keep your fat at 25%....eat around 50% carbs, 25% protein, 25% fats... Dont go higher than 30% fat

16a2e42f33be90af9ce7f1e0fa2f20b5

on January 17, 2014
at 11:01 PM

If you do not mind me asking, what is your reasoning? I am just curious. It seems that everyone has a different perspective.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on January 17, 2014
at 01:28 PM

The problem I see is that you want two diametric things; lean mass and endurance athleticism. Your average runner does not have a ton of lean mass. What mass they do have is lean, but it's not excessive, they don't have "muscles". Cutting the (daily) long runs might help with your lean mass goals, but your distance running will suffer.

Want to get faster? Run faster (i.e. sprint).

16a2e42f33be90af9ce7f1e0fa2f20b5

on January 17, 2014
at 08:42 PM

You do have a good point there... Well, I do not want a HUGE amount of muscle. To tell you the truth, some of these figure and bodybuilder models just creep me out. I am just looking to get a cut, defined look, but at the same time I would like to excel in my sport. I am hoping to get good enough to get a college scholarship on running. I do two speed sessions a week, one speed-endurance (tempo, longer intervals) and one pure speed (short intervals). I have come to the realization that I am more endurance then speed though. My fastest 400m is a 1:20.

0
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on January 17, 2014
at 02:24 AM

I'm concerned that you are 16 and haven't had menarche yet. It's not your weight My daughter weighs a bit less than you but she's very petite, her menses began at age 14. 16 is very delayed and your future reproductive and hormonal health is at stake. I hope you've seen a doctor about this.

Sex hormones depend on fat intake. I'd like to see that protein come down and fat ratio go up. Truly, it's not just reproductive health as these hormones have a delicate interplay with your cardiovascular system. This needs attention. I'm not a fan of allowing young girl's athleticism override normal development.

16a2e42f33be90af9ce7f1e0fa2f20b5

on January 17, 2014
at 08:39 PM

My fat intake is not abnormally low though. I do eat on average 25-30% of my daily calories. It is lower then the average paleo person, but that is the recommended amount by the RDA (I think that is what it is called. lol Also, I do not quite believe in their ratios, 60% calories from basically all grains is not smart to me) and most kids hit puberty fine. I assumed that I am just a late bloomer. My parents thought it was due to my activity level, but I am not really be excessively active.

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on January 17, 2014
at 02:47 AM

"I'm concerned that you are 16 and haven't had menarche yet"...good point. that would be unusual if that is the case. i must admit i kinda read the 'hit puberty' comment as a reference to teenage muscle growth, rather than literally, i have made the assumption/presumption that 'everyone' has hit puberty by 16.

0
Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on January 17, 2014
at 01:37 AM

You eat 1200 calories from protein!? Thats 300 grams of protein! And you are a 92 pound female?? WTF, that is insane. There are 250 pound male bodybuilders who eat less protein than you, if they follow the 1g per pound rule. You sure you are not overestimating the protein content of your food?That amount of protein sounds excessive by any standard.

16a2e42f33be90af9ce7f1e0fa2f20b5

on January 17, 2014
at 02:25 AM

That is about my average amount. Lately it has been lower being the fact that I have had no appetite, so I have been skipping lunches and snacks. Other then that, I eat a lot of meat, eggs and I have at most two scoops of protein powder a day (I understand it is not natural, that is why I limit it, but I LOVE my protein shakes I make :D). I assumed that the 1g per pound rule would not really apply to kids like me, since 92g of protein would be sort of low and impossible for me not to get higher. I do not want to put on just "mass", I more want "lean muscle". Not that my age will let me.

0
543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on January 15, 2014
at 01:09 AM

my view only...

agreed with Desmond, your protein intake is too high. try dropping to 15-20% of energy intake.

your carb % looks fine for your circumstances, may be room for some slight movement upwards & flexibility, ie. 25-40%.

which leaves fat, which you will need to increase to replace the protein reduction. so fat will end up being around 50 to 60%.

congratulations on your calorie intake (no need to change), a breath of fresh air Not to see something like 1200 cals listed for a 16 yr old female.

16a2e42f33be90af9ce7f1e0fa2f20b5

on January 17, 2014
at 12:22 AM

I thought that protein was the best macronutrient to help put on lean mass though. I am not questioning you both or anything, since I did ask the question, but do you not think that 50-60% fat is a little excess. I also tend to find it hard to reach the percentage without feeling lethargic. My only other thinking with protein is its thermic effect. If I reduce my protein, would I have to reduce my calories as well? I am not obsessed with food or anything, but I do love to eat. The more the better for me :). At the same time though, I do not want to eat excess and gain unnecessary fat.

0
86c97b2779feab3c330f5e1c5fea7e25

(2312)

on January 15, 2014
at 12:03 AM

I would bring the protein way down (I do about 30% which many feel is too high) and up both carbs and fat. If you aren't already, throw some sweet potatoes with butter into the mix...great way to get both carbs and fat, and both delicious and extremely healthy.

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