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big_sky
03-13-2006, 03:12 PM
First off hello. I've been lurking for about 3 months but decided to post a little about my situation. I have lifted on and off since college (never more than 1 or 2 years consistently) but recently decided to get back into shape after noticing how fat I was. My wife and I started in December. I'm 6'1" and currently weigh 202 lbs. To date I've lost 21 lbs and my BF has gone from 26% to 19.5%. I lift at lunch Monday (chest), Tuesday (bicep/back), Thursday (shoulder/tri), Friday (legs) and do cardio 4/5X at nights.

I have a clean diet with one cheat meal a week (for my wife's sanity). My question is how many calories a day should I be eating? I have a spreadsheet listing everything I eat and usually get 2,100 - 2,200 calories a day split 35/45/20 protein/carb/fat. However, based on my activity level my BMR comes out to 3,400. Should I start increasing my calories and keep the same ratio?

PeteB
03-13-2006, 04:02 PM
Since you seem to be doing fine on that diet, I don't think I would increase the calorie intake until you get down to about 15% body fat, assuming that is the primary goal.

Calorie calculators are approximate, and sometimes only take total weight into account, not lean body mass.

Aside from that, it really depends on what the goals are. I have noticed that my maintenance calorie intake is a bit lower than what I calculate based on my activity level, taking lifting and cardio into account. However, to gain a significant amount of muscle per week, most males have to add about 600-1000 calories to their base intake.

dbx
03-13-2006, 04:04 PM
I have a clean diet with one cheat meal a week (for my wife's sanity). My question is how many calories a day should I be eating? I have a spreadsheet listing everything I eat and usually get 2,100 - 2,200 calories a day split 35/45/20 protein/carb/fat. However, based on my activity level my BMR comes out to 3,400. Should I start increasing my calories and keep the same ratio?

It sounds to me like you're not taking in enough calories. I'll let someone like Dbflgirl nail it, but I'd ballpark it at around 2400 calories per day. Of course, I didn't quite understand what your goal is so if you're trying to "bulk" you're probably very low on intake, but if you're trying to cut more body fat, 2400 is probably close. Don't worry so much about %, but 20% fat probably isn't enough. Again, perhaps you could clarify what your goal is.

big_sky
03-13-2006, 04:11 PM
Thanks for the info so far. My goals are to get to 220 at 15% BF.

PeteB
03-13-2006, 04:51 PM
Thanks for the info so far. My goals are to get to 220 at 15% BF.If that is the case, and you are ~ 200 and 20% BF, you will have to add about 27 lbs of lean body mass, and drop close to 10 lbs of fat.

That is actually more difficult than most people think. Some studies done in the 1970's estimated that only 15-20% of the average male body weight (not overweight) is muscle mass that responds to training. Assuming you are at the top of that range, 40 lbs of muscle has to grow to almost 70 lbs to reach that goal.

ChocoChick
03-13-2006, 04:59 PM
I know it is tempting to keep your calories really low, especially since you have had success with this method. But the longer you undereat, the more you will train your body to get by on less and less, which will ultimately result in slowing your metabolism.

Based on Katch-McArdle, (BMR = 370 + (21.6 X lean mass in kg) ), your BMR is 370+(21.6*73.91) = 1966. Your BMR is the number of calories you'd need if you did nothing but sleep all day. So you need to apply an activity factor, which look like this:

If you are Sedentary - little or no exercise = BMR X 1.2
If you are Lightly Active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) = BMR X 1.375
If you are Moderately Active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) = BMR X 1.55
If you are Very Active = BMR X 1.725 (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/week) = BMR X 1.725
If you are Extra Active (the Energizer Bunny) = BMR X 1.9

I think that these activity factors skew toward the high side, so let's conservatively give you a factor of 1.5, which results in a TDEE of 2949. That's what you'd need to eat to maintain your current weight.

Granted, this is just a calculation and you are an individual, etc., etc., but this nonetheless gives you a rough idea for a starting point.

I'm not really clear on your goals... you say you are currently 202 pounds and 19.5% bf and you want to get to 220 pounds and 15% bf. I don't see a staight line between where you are and where you want to be... that is, I don't see a way for you gain 18 pounds and lose bodyfat at the same time. You are talking about losing 6 pounds of fat while gaining over 25 pounds of muscle. To pursue this goal, you are going to need several cutting and bulking cycles and close attention to your diet along the way.

That said...

If your immediate desire is to lose weight, I'd suggest eating ~15%-20% less than your TDEE, or 2359-2506 calories per day (dbx had a good call here). This will allow you to lose fat without sacrificing too much muscle on the way.

Conversely, if you want to gain mass, then eat about 20% over maintenance and pay close attention to nutrient timing so that you gain muscle without also gaining a bunch of fat (it's impossible not to gain some).

Good luck!

big_sky
03-13-2006, 06:04 PM
dbflgirl: How would you suggest I continue on toward my goal. Keep losing then bulk and repeat. Or start the process in reverse with a bulk then cut etc. from where I am today?

I believe I can maintain my diet indefinitely since the wife is also along for the ride.

ChocoChick
03-14-2006, 04:26 AM
dbflgirl: How would you suggest I continue on toward my goal. Keep losing then bulk and repeat. Or start the process in reverse with a bulk then cut etc. from where I am today?


Personally, I would do neither for a bit. As a newbie, you are in the enviable but short-lived position of being able to both lose fat and gain muscle at the sme time (sometimes referred to as recomposition). So I'd milk this situation for as long as you can. Eat at maintenance level (or just slightly above -- say 10% over) and monitor your bodyfat. You should see further reductions in bodyfat without a gain in weight (or a negligble gain). If/when this doesn't happen, you'll have to make a decision about whether to bulk or cut.

big_sky
03-14-2006, 07:42 AM
Cool. Thanks again for the info.