View Full Version : "cutting" question....

07-14-2004, 08:01 AM
I was reading the sticky "what a bodybuilder eats" and based on the calc's at the end of the post, subtracting 500 I should eat 1000 cals a day. (I'm a 5'1" female). From what I read, some guru says don't ever go below 1200....but why? Couldnt going below 1200 possibly be ok for the short women of the world and by me staying over 1200 is that why I don't see any dramatic results??? Some will say just to eat at least 1200 but workout more. I'm working out 4-5 days a week as it is, more emphasis on weights b/c I have a bum knee, but do try to do HIIT on the bike 2-3 days a week. I feel like there should be a revision of these formulas for petite women lol.

Thanks for any comments.


07-14-2004, 11:31 AM
well, I am still learning about nutrition, here is my take on your question.

The reason your guru said not to go below 1200 is everyone has a Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) of calorie needs for the body to perform basic functions. BMR = Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories used by the body when it is at rest. BMR accounts for most of a person's calorie use. A person's basal metabolic rate is based on body functions such as respiration, digestion, heartbeat, and brain function. One's age, sex, body weight, and level of physical activity impact the basal metabolic rate. Basal metabolic rate increases with the amount of muscle tissue a person has, and it reduces with age.

The more Lean Body Mass (LBM) a person has the higher the BMR.

The formulas are generic and just provide a starting point. I would think that even if a person is petite, I would not advise going below 1200. I do not know of any studies on the effects of going below 1200 per se', but maybe someone else can chime in with that.

Here is a link to calculating BMR http://www.hussman.org/fitness/bmrcalc.htm

If your currenlty losing weight this might help:

To lose 1 pound of fat you need to burn 3500 calories. That is, over a period of time, you have to consume 3,500 calories less than your body needs. There are several ways you can create that deficit.

here is a quick list of stuff and the calories burned doing them:

Sleeping 55
Eating 85
Sewing 85
Knitting 85
Sitting 85
Standing 100
Driving 110
Office Work 140
Housework, moderate 160+
Golf, with trolley 180
Golf, without trolley 240
Gardening, planting 250
Dancing, ballroom 260
Walking, 3mph 280
Table Tennis 290
Gardening, hoeing etc. 350
Tennis 350+
Water Aerobics 400
Skating/blading 420+
Dancing, aerobic 420+
Aerobics 450+
Bicycling, moderate 450+
Jogging, 5mph 500
Gardening, digging 500
Swimming, active 500+

Cross country ski machine

Hiking 500+
Step Aerobics 550+
Rowing 550+
Power Walking 600+
Cycling, studio 650
Skipping with rope 700+
Running 700+

so if you are petite I would just increase the amount of calories BURNED during the day rather than reduce the amount of calories consumed.

also, if you are eating 1200 calories you can play with the percentages of the total calorie intake, eating more proteins and fats than carbs. By eating less carbs and exercising you should burn fat while keeping calories high enough for your BMR to maintain a healthy body and mind.

07-16-2004, 06:56 AM
i agree. great post alke!!

07-16-2004, 07:03 AM
I believe Lyle McDonald mentions no one should go below 1200 calories in the Ultimate Diet 2.0 when determining calorie levels for the low calorie/carb part of the diet (where calories are set to 50% of maintenance). As far as I recall his reasoning is simply hunger management. He says that the rest of the deficit should be achieved through cardio.

07-16-2004, 08:52 PM
Yeah I've heard it from Lyle as well as other sources. What if for someone like me who can't achieve the rest of the deficit thru cardio b/c of a chronic knee injury? I'm wondering if eating less than 1200 would truly put my body in that "starvation mode" and start eating away muscle if I did a higher percentage of strength training?? (Of course my strength training is more upper body since my doc has said no leg presses, squats, leg extensions, leg curls, lunges...or for cardio no step, incline treadmill work or running....sigh)

07-16-2004, 08:55 PM
he only suggests noone go below 1200 because of hunger issues.

07-16-2004, 10:34 PM
I'm wondering if hunger can be more related to food volume rather than calories. If I ate alot of high volume, but low cal food, one would think I wouldn't get hungry b/c my stomach would be "full". Who knows.

07-17-2004, 05:02 AM
So I guess if you can handle it, there is nothing wrong with going below 1200 cals per se.

07-17-2004, 08:02 AM
i'm going to post something from Tom Venuto's book and i don't mean this to be a fitness guru battle and certainly hope i don't confuse you further. i read this and i think what's written here is quite reasonable and true because i've experienced them in the past -

7 reasons why you should stay away from very low calorie diets
1) very low calorie diets slow down your metabolic rate
2) very low calorie diets make you lose muscle
3) very low calorie diets increase activity of fat-storing enzymes and decrease the activity of fat burning enzymes
4) very low calorie diets decrease output of thyroid hormone
5) VLC dieting increases the chance of rebound weight gain
6) VLC diets increase appetite and cravings
7) VLC diets decrease your energy and work capacity

07-17-2004, 12:51 PM
Thanks dissipate, no it doesn't really confuse anything. I merely just got started thinking about the definition of "low" cal. Just with so many males on this board, who by sheer proportionality, can consume alot more calories than a petite female such as myself. So, I was just curious as to what "low" means to someone like me. Is 1000 too low? Or something more like 800 sufficiently too low and thus putting me in danger of the 7 points you listed above.

Thanks for the info!

Based on an article on this website, my BMR is ~1295, my AMR is ~1700 assuming no workouts and ~1800 using an activity level equivalent to 3-4 workouts a week which is about accurate for me.

07-17-2004, 02:23 PM
I think Tom should be saying very high calorie deficit diets rather than very low calorie diets.

07-17-2004, 03:35 PM
The answer to the question is it depends. If you weigh less than 100 pounds then you may require less than 1200 calories to cut. For a more constructive answer your weight and fitness level (maybe bf%) would be usefull.