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View Full Version : Diet advice needed for a beginner; Am I doing something wrong?



Tsuki No Neko
05-31-2006, 10:55 PM
I'm still really new to cutting, and I feel like I need some help.


I've been working hard and dieting for the past three weeks, and while I had some fast results (about 6 pounds and a couple inches in a week) but then everything came to a screeching halt. I gained back two pounds, but otherwise everything is staying the same.

Basic info about me: 19 years old, 5'9", 178 lbs.


I started my diet at 1890 calories a day, but when the progress stopped, I cut back to 1600-1700 a day. I'm having one protein shake a day, as well as trying to eat lots of protein in other ways too, but sometimes finding it hard to get as much as I want. I suppose I should be eating 178 grams of protein a day and this is hard. What are easy ways of getting more protein?

I'm also doing weight lifting and cardio five days a week. Weight lifting for 45 minutes to an hour, and then cardio for 20.

I know you can't rush these things, but I'm starting to feel discouraged. I'm wondering if perhaps I'm doing something wrong. Any help is greatly appreciated.

UrbanSmooth
05-31-2006, 11:37 PM
Egg whites are low in calories, but high in high-quality protein.

Built
05-31-2006, 11:39 PM
What's your lifting split look like (reps, sets) and how much fat are you eating? What were your calories/macros like before you started your cut? And roughly what bodyfat are you at right now?

Tsuki No Neko
06-01-2006, 01:36 PM
What's your lifting split look like (reps, sets) and how much fat are you eating? What were your calories/macros like before you started your cut? And roughly what bodyfat are you at right now?


Right now I try to hit at least one or two machines for all the major muscles (that I can handle anyway, I've got back problems and a bad elbow, so that eliminates some machines), and I'll do three sets of 15-20 reps on each, 15 for upper body and 20 for lower. I chose a weight that is challenging, but easy enough that I don't fall over in exhaustion after the third set.

According to Fitday, I'm averaging about 50 grams of fat a day.


I honestly can't elaborate on the details of my eating habits before the cut, because I didn't really keep track, but I can say I ate a considerable amount, probably anywhere between 2000-3500 calories a day, depending on the day. I ate a lot. -_-;; I KNOW I consumed a lot of carbs because I was a pasta fiend. My diet before the cut probably consisted mostly of pasta, rice, red meat and starchy vegetables. And of course dessert.


I'm not entirely sure on my body fat, because I've only used those vague calculators that base it entirely on height and weight. According to those I believe it is 26%, but I don't know how accurate that is. How do you go about getting an accurate reading on that?

ihaveapigyo
06-01-2006, 06:35 PM
I'll do three sets of 15-20 reps on each, 15 for upper body and 20 for lower.
Doing 15-20 reps is great if you're trying to increase muscular endurance, but I would say that if you want to make more progress on cutting, you should lift heavier weights, and do something like 3 sets with 10 reps max.


I KNOW I consumed a lot of carbs because I was a pasta fiend. My diet before the cut probably consisted mostly of pasta, rice, red meat and starchy vegetables. And of course dessert.
stick with the pasta, brown rice, and starchy veggies because they are complex carbohydrates, cuz they make you feel more full and they are the good kind. limit your red meat consumption, and try grilled chicken and fish instead. just remember to eat more meals throughout the day, but smaller portions. i eat 5-6 meals a day.

Built
06-01-2006, 06:52 PM
Doing 15-20 reps is great if you're trying to increase muscular endurance, but I would say that if you want to make more progress on cutting, you should lift heavier weights, and do something like 3 sets with 10 reps max.

Couldn't agree more. I'd even go lower - 6-8 reps at the most. Stay away from machines.

Tsuki No Neko, try increasing your fats to at least 70g.



stick with the pasta, brown rice, and starchy veggies because they are complex carbohydrates, cuz they make you feel more full and they are the good kind. limit your red meat consumption, and try grilled chicken and fish instead. just remember to eat more meals throughout the day, but smaller portions. i eat 5-6 meals a day.

Why avoid the red meat? And why would more frequent feedings of smaller meals matter?

Tsuki No Neko
06-02-2006, 12:48 AM
Couldn't agree more. I'd even go lower - 6-8 reps at the most. Stay away from machines.

Tsuki No Neko, try increasing your fats to at least 70g.



Why avoid the red meat? And why would more frequent feedings of smaller meals matter?


So, basically, more weight and less reps. But why stay away from machines? What other options are there?


I love fish, but a lot of times red meat is more easily accessable, cheaper, and easier to prepare. I really don't like chicken very much, because I was raised not eating red meat as a child, and therefore the only other major option was chicken. I ate chicken non-stop for 16 years, and it rather bores me now.


I know more frequent, smaller meals is supposed to help metabolism, but I can never seem to successfully eat more than 4, 5 meals tops a day, because some days I spend 9 hours in class. It's hard to eat a meal in a 10 minute break. :(

Built
06-02-2006, 01:12 AM
Fish is great.

More frequent meals - no biggie there. It's not important - the big deal is hunger control. Some folks find it easier to diet on more frequent "snacks", some prefer fewer, but larger "meals".

Free weights are better than machines where you have the choice, and yes, shorter, but heavy, workouts.

Tsuki No Neko
06-02-2006, 05:29 PM
Well, I started the new work-out. It's different feeling, but I think it feels good. I don't feel as much burn in my muscles as I did before, it that normal? Also, what about cardio after weight lifting? Good or bad?

Also, what's your opinion on avocado? Also, protein shake recommendations would be appreciated.

Built
06-02-2006, 05:32 PM
Burn isn't necessary - that's just lactic acid.

Cardio after, or not at all.

Avocados are excellent! I eat half of an avocado every day.

What are your current macros? (cals, grams protein, carb, fat)

Tsuki No Neko
06-02-2006, 11:17 PM
Burn isn't necessary - that's just lactic acid.

Cardio after, or not at all.

Avocados are excellent! I eat half of an avocado every day.

What are your current macros? (cals, grams protein, carb, fat)


Oh, I'm so glad to hear that, I LOVE avocados. I'd eat an avocado smoothie if I could get my hands on one. I thought they were good, but reassurance is a good thing.


As far as current macros go, according to Fitday's averages, they are:

Cals: 1452
Fat: 51
Carbs: 147
Protein: 101


Honestly though, I'm not sure how accurate that is. Some days I don't add the last few things I eat, because I don't have access to a computer or something.

I picked a day that was more complete, and it looks like this:


Cals: 1696
Fat: 70
Carbs: 118
Protein: 145

Built
06-02-2006, 11:22 PM
Oh dear!

Too low!

Try for at least 150g protein and at least 75g of fat, at least.

I'm 140 lbs on a cut, and my average cals were 2000 a day this last month (and I dropped 7 lbs this month on these cals).

Yours SHOULD be a LOT higher than mine!

sCaRz*Of*PaiN
06-02-2006, 11:30 PM
But she's new and you are experienced...

Built
06-02-2006, 11:36 PM
Okay - MY turn to get it wrong. I didn't know OP was female.

Tsuki, what is your approximate bodyfat? Do you know? If not, do you have an idea of your goal weight?

Tsuki No Neko
06-03-2006, 08:18 AM
Okay - MY turn to get it wrong. I didn't know OP was female.

Tsuki, what is your approximate bodyfat? Do you know? If not, do you have an idea of your goal weight?


Ha ha, I was worried about that. XD I kept thinking, "Does she know I'm a girl . . .?" but hadn't gotten any indication otherwise, so I kept going. Yes, I'm a 19 year old female. :)


According to those height to weight calculators, I'm 26% body fat, but I don't know if those are right. As far as ideal weight, 150 would be nice. I used to weight 130, but that was 6 years ago. :P So 150 seems realistic.

Built
06-03-2006, 01:49 PM
130 lbs at 5'9", you'd be a stick!

140-150 sounds do-able. Let's say for the sake of argument for the time being that you have about 125 lbs of lean mass on you. That would put you at about 16-18% bodyfat at 150 lbs, which is a nice, lean state to get to, but not uber-ripped.

Outside of calorie concerns, the rest of what I've suggested remains - it's the same for males and females. Lift heavy and short, manipulate your diet and your calories, use cardio sparingly and strategically.

That being said, you're not close enough to your goal weight to panic too much about catabolizing lean mass.

If you would like to try cutting the same way I am, use Baby Got Back and carb cycle.

I use the BGB split, but drop reps as my cut progresses so I can keep the iron on the bar. I'm one month into my cut if you want to follow my gym log.

*****************

Based on your LBM, and average calories of 1750 per day, for a four-day lifting schedule you could try this:

LBM = 125 lbs.
Average calories: 1750 per day;
4 lifting/HIIT days per week.

Average daily macros:
147g of protein,
74g of fat, and
125g of carbohydrate,
1,750 calories in total.

(4) Lifting/HIIT days:
153g of protein,
68g of fat, and
153g of carbohydrate,
1,840 calories in total.

(3) Rest/SS Cardio days:
138g of protein,
81g of fat, and
87g of carbohydrate,
1,630 calories in total.

Nothing particularly magical about carb cycling, other than it's really comfortable for a LOT of us to follow. You get more calories on lifting days, and less on off days, with less carb and a little more fat, so hunger may be somewhat blunted.

Feel free to fiddle with the levels of the macros if you want - it's just a suggested starting point. I've set the lifting day up so it's isocaloric from protein, carb and fat for no other reason than it's easy to do and may feel quite natural. The off-day you should have carb room for fruits and veggies - just no starches or additional sugars.

Could this work for you?

Tsuki No Neko
06-03-2006, 09:11 PM
I think so. It seems fairly reasonable, and I think if I get a good protein powder, that I can meet the protein needs. I am wondering, what are some good sources of healthy fats? Also, how important is it that I reach that number of calories? Is it worse to be under than over, or over than under?

I've been working out five days a week, but is four better? Also, what does HIIT stand for?


Thank you so much for all your help! It really is greatly greatly appreciated. I really feel lost with this stuff sometimes, and having someone point you in the direction is great. :) I just hope I see some progress soon!

Built
06-03-2006, 09:13 PM
Four may be better - less chance of overtraining. You want your workouts short and heavy - the object is NOT to "train off fat" but rather to "train ON muscle-retention". Use diet for the caloric deficit, and possibly a small amount of steady state (ss) cardio for some dietary flexibility. HIIT = high intensity interval training.

Follow my gym log - I'll be starting HIIT sometime in the next month, and you can see how I do it.

And you're most welcome! There IS a lot to wade through out there.

:)

Built
06-03-2006, 09:15 PM
Oh - one more thing:

Read the sticky "what a bodybuilder eats" (http://www.wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?t=46565) - lots of choices there for protein and fat. You shouldn't need any protein powder on the levels of calories you're eating. I don't use protein powder when I'm cutting - I'd rather chew my food - but that's me.

Tsuki No Neko
06-03-2006, 09:21 PM
Really? I've been having a hard time getting enough protein even eating meat and fish that is high in protein. I figured that something like a protein shake or powder would help, but I'm open to other suggestions. :) I generally like things with protein, they are yummy!

Also, where can I find your gym log? I am interested in following it.

Built
06-03-2006, 09:43 PM
You like cottage cheese? That's another easy source of protein. So are eggs/egg whites.

Where the cut begins ... (http://www.wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?p=1366959#post1366959)

Tsuki No Neko
06-03-2006, 09:47 PM
No on the cottage cheese. ^_^;; But eggs are good. How do you recommend preparing egg whites?


(Is just FILLED with questions)

Built
06-03-2006, 09:56 PM
I hardboil eggs, and toss some (but not all) of the yolks. Breakfast is usually half a dozen hardboiled egg whites, one yolk, a pat of butter, and lots of salt.

What is it about cottage cheese you don't like?

Tsuki No Neko
06-04-2006, 12:34 PM
Well, the sight of it kind of reminds me of curdled milk and makes me feel sick. :x But the texture and taste does nothing for me as well. ^_^;;


But it looks like I should buy a LOT of eggs and toss 'em in a pot of boiling water!

Built
06-04-2006, 08:41 PM
I eat a lot of eggs. Fast, easy, cheap.

Tsuki No Neko
06-05-2006, 11:46 AM
Well, I am going to stick with your plan, because so far, it works with my life, and I'm seeing results. I lost two pounds over the past few days, and half an inch from my waist. :) Something is working. I just hope this isn't a fluke, and that progress remains constant and steady. While losing a bunch of weight in one week is encouraging, none losing a thing for three kind of sucks. :P

Thank you!


Edit: Well, amusingly enough, my first attempt at boiling eggs was a major bust. XD I dropped all the eggs too hard into the pot, and they all cracked. I now have the visual equivalent of egg drop soup now. Next time!

Tsuki No Neko
06-17-2006, 10:57 AM
Well, I hate to dreg up an old topic now, but I'm worrying again. Progress pretty much immediately stopped; again.

I'm just fluctuating between two pounds, going up and down, never really losing any real rate. And now, I'm doing things right, so I don't understand it. I'm doing the WBB1 workout, and following Built's caloric and macro guide that she made for me, taking suppliments, and generally trying to be healthy.


It's very frustrating. I was hoping that in two months I'd see some progress, but so far it's been exceptionally minimal.

Built
06-17-2006, 02:12 PM
Okay, it's only been a few weeks since you started this.

If you're stalled, you're at maintenance. Try dropping your calories by 100.

How are the workouts?

Tsuki No Neko
06-17-2006, 02:34 PM
The workouts are tough, but fulfilling. I feel like I'm working out my muscles a lot more than before and it feels good. Even if my legs stay sore for days after I work them. ^_^;; (They're sore right now!)

I'm following the WBB1 workout pretty closely. It's helpful to have and I actually printed it out and carry it around with me at the gym; until it becomes habitual.

Built
06-17-2006, 03:06 PM
Good.

What kind of cardio are you doing - any?

Tsuki No Neko
06-17-2006, 03:32 PM
Right now I'm doing my cardio on an elliptical at the gym. I am looking forward to starting bike riding soon though; the new apartment I'm moving into has bikes I can rent for free.

I generally go for 20 minutes on the cardio. Should I be doing more?

Built
06-17-2006, 03:35 PM
How often, and when?

Tsuki No Neko
06-17-2006, 03:50 PM
Right now, four days a week, on the same days that I work out, since I'm already at the gym. I haven't been doing it on off days because I was exceptionally busy up until now (finishing a semester), but now I could if I wanted to, I just wasn't sure how important it was to do cardio on off days.

Built
06-17-2006, 04:00 PM
If you have time, you could add in half-hour brisk walks on your off days, and if you're up for it, tuck into one (or at most, two) of your post workout cardio sessions 6-8 minutes of HIIT.

Drop the cals by 100 as well. Let's get this moving.

Tsuki No Neko
06-17-2006, 09:38 PM
I agree. o_o I am ready to get this moving as well.


What do you suggest for the HIIT though?

Built
06-17-2006, 10:55 PM
Alright, well, here's how I do it:

Warmup for about 3-5 minutes fast incline walking or equivalent
Stretch out quads and calves
alternate sprint and walk intervals - 30 seconds of each. Try to do this for 6-8 minutes. Sprints are flat-out, fast as you can.
Finish with fast incline walking for 8-12 minutes. Total session: 20 minutes.

Tsuki No Neko
06-18-2006, 04:24 PM
Excellent! I can do that. I just needed a good example. ^_^