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View Full Version : "Counting Calories" - How precise do you get?



PacoJoe
03-17-2005, 12:55 AM
At the moment, I'm not engaged in any special diet/ weightlifting program, but was considering doing the research and starting one sometime in the near future.

As I said, I haven't taken a legitimate, fully educated attempt at this yet, and therefore aren't fully aware of my limits and capabilities, but from the outside looking in, I think I would be able to handle a serious weightlifting program. A calory-counting diet, on the other hand, I'm not so sure of. It seems to me something like that could drive me absolutely insane.

I can fully understand something like that for a bodybuilder, but for a college student like me who'd be happy to gain a mere 10 pounds over the course of a year or so?

It looks like it involves so much effort and is so time-consuming - finding out the exact amounts of each nutrient in each item of food you consume, keeping a schedule of what to eat and when, and in exactly what amounts, using a food scale to measure out exactly what you need, making sure you get around to each meal at the right time, making sure you vary your sources of each nutrient, learning to cook all those new things............

Does it really need to be that precise in all cases? What if something unexpected comes up and I'm forced to eat McDonald's on a certain day? I can hardly count on adhering to such a strict program at all times even if I do put everything I have into it.

Doesn't the nutritional content of a certain item of food vary a lot in real life anyway? For example, can one really expect an apple to have even approximately the same amount of fiber and carbohydrates as the one he ate yesterday? It seems the number of calories you actually consume could be so far off what you plan to consume no matter what. Would it be more practical to count the number of SERVINGS of each type of food instead?

Or is it best to try to plan down to the last calory in all cases, since that way you minimize your margin of error?

I was planning to buy a few books to do the bulk of my research, such as Beyond Brawn or something, but I'm afraid a lot of them would be more geared toward serious bodybuilder types and present diet guidelines I couldn't possibly hope to adhere to to a good enough extent. I'm afraid they might also be geared more toward different body types - i.e., not for rail-thin hardgainers like me.

I'm mainly wondering if I can approach the diet aspect in a somewhat flexible way, since my goal is basically simply to start putting on mass and continue to put on mass over whatever time period it takes, or if this is more of a do-it-exactly-right-or don't-even-bother type situation.

A bodybuilder I'm not, and I'm not looking to reach any goal by a certain deadline; i just want to put on weight.

Sorry for the long post, and any help is appreciated.

IZich
03-17-2005, 01:05 AM
well dude, you definitely do have to watch your diet if you want to put on 10 lbs. thats a LOT of muscle to put on.
Watching what you eat isnt that bad at all. Check out fitday.com; its one of the best websites out there that will help you count your cals. You also dont have to buy any books or anything like that: your greatest resource is us here at this forum.
Anyway, spend an hour or two lookin around on this forum especially looking at different ways to bulk up (which means put on mass muscle). Dont be afraid to ask questions - as long as you have an attitude of learning and genuine interest, everyone here will be very happy to answer any question that you have after searching.
KEYWORD: after searching. There are TONS of resources on this forum that people have previously mentioned - it is your option to look into them.

Geeper
03-17-2005, 03:40 AM
Before people start telling you to use the search function...... use Fitday.com to track you calories, and read the sticky "what a bodybuilder eats". If after 2 weeks you don't gain at all add 500 calories to your diet. Fitday is a god send.

If you're not serious about this I don't know if this is really the right place to ask this question, I mean some of us break our diets down to plus or minus 100 cals.

And I'm sorry but no one is EVER "forced" to eat at MacDonalds, there is always options and choices. Many of the people on here work, go to school, have family, hit the gym, go out with friends, have other hobbies and still nail their diet 99% of the time. Any one can do it if you make the decision that it is important.

spencerjrus
03-17-2005, 10:06 AM
I'm also a college student and was in a similar boat to you for awhile. Trying to maintain dedication to a strict diet while balancing school and a social life can be incredibly difficult. That being said, it is worth every bit of hard work you put into it, and the more disciplined you are the more results you will see. If you're really only looking to gain 10 lbs of lean mass and you have a year to do it in I don't see any reason why you couldnt simply make sure to eat clean and eat alot of food, but not count calories and still see some results, though obviously nothing like you would see with a strict routine.

IZich
03-17-2005, 11:07 AM
I'm also a college student and was in a similar boat to you for awhile. Trying to maintain dedication to a strict diet while balancing school and a social life can be incredibly difficult. That being said, it is worth every bit of hard work you put into it, and the more disciplined you are the more results you will see. If you're really only looking to gain 10 lbs of lean mass and you have a year to do it in I don't see any reason why you couldnt simply make sure to eat clean and eat alot of food, but not count calories and still see some results, though obviously nothing like you would see with a strict routine.

I couldnt agree more. There, your answer is found, close this thread.

Max-Mex
03-17-2005, 11:21 AM
At the moment, I'm not engaged in any special diet/ weightlifting program, but was considering doing the research and starting one sometime in the n.....blah blah blah


Counting calories is really not as bad as it looks. You can get most of your information online and there are quite a few programs and online websites that will help you track everything. For the average person, being exact is just a waste of time. Being relatively close is fine.

In all honesty, if you have to eat at McD's, I find that it's easier to get the required data because it's so easily avaiable. I find it harder when I have to go to a restaurants where each meal is made. For example, I love Indian food, but I hate eating there because I can never figure out how to track it. I usually avoid it because it's hard to figure out the proper nutrional information for each dish.

thajeepster
03-17-2005, 11:25 AM
yeah, counting isnt so bad, i can usually add it up in my head per meal nowadays, ive actually memorized the nutritional data for most of the foods i eat during the day.