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Hi there, I'd like to introduce myself to the board. I found the board a little while ago and have lurked for a while getting some ideas before deciding to sign up last night. I'm a 21 year old male, 5'11" and 165-70lbs.

A little background. About six months ago I weighed about 205lbs (I only looked about 185 or so). I was not happy with that weight and I decided that I wanted to replace a lot of the fat with muscle. So I started running on a treatmill almost everyday for about 25 minutes and ended up losing a large amount of weight. As well, I started eating a lot healthier. I cut out all junk food, fast food and lowered carbohydrate intake as well. Eventually my weight fell to 175lbs and I was happy. 175-180 was what I wanted to stay at, but I wanted it to be mostly muscle. However, it continued to go down to where it is now (165-170). I still have some fat on my frame, but not nearly as much as I used to.

So today I'm a little lighter than I would like to be. I still have a fairly large build, but I still have some fat on my frame. Regarding exercise, I started lifting weights a couple weeks ago. I go about three times a week for a little over an hour each time doing a full-body workout. That allows me to give my muscles about a day to regenerate and heal. On opposite days I try and do a little bit of cardio. Usually about 20 minutes of fairly vigourous work on the treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical machine.

I'm slowly starting to become more defined around my body and for the first time that I can remember I can feel part of a six pack underneath the fat. That leads me to the diet part of my newfound lifestyle. I think I may not be eating nearly enough calories. I've tried cutting down carbohydrates and usually bring in around roughly 110-120 grams a day. Usually fruits, whole grain bread and vegetables. It's the protein that I seem to be lacking, though. I don't think I get enough even though I'll eat stuff like 1/4 cup cottage cheese, 3-4 egg whites almost every morning to start off with, while having something like fish, steak, seafood, etc later on in the day. I still seem to lack in the amount of protein I should get, though.

Not only that, but again, it comes back down to the number of calories I take in every day. Over at fitday.com, it says that, because I live an active lifestyle and work out daily, I should be intaking roughly 2500 calories a day because my body is supposedly burning about 3000. While it seems like when I eat, the meal is pretty large, calculating it doesn't seem to add up. For example, yesterday I had:

- 2/3 cup of quaker harvest crunch cereal
- 1/4 cup of cottage cheese
- a whole grain bun
- 3 cups of vegetables (carrots, peas and string beans, mushrooms, onions)
- 2 pieces of haddock
- half a cantalope
- a small steak
- 3/4 a cup of beef barley soup

With all that, it seemed like I still didn't eat nearly enough calories. Under 2000 from the looks of it.

So, that's my dilemma. I'm wondering what I can do to improve what I'm currently doing. A couple things that come to mind are:

- When should I liftweights and should I just do cardio on the same day as weightlifting so my entire body gets a rest on the days between? Or stick with what I'm doing?

- When is the best time I should eat protein and/or carbohydrates (ie. morning, dinner, before/after exercising)?

- If I want to add more protein into my diet, yet want to limit the amount of fat I take in (mainly saturated) should I eat more ham and fish (I can't eat chicken or turkey because I get sick) and less beef? Should I get a protein supplement/shake and are they safe? Which kind is the best to get?

- Based on what I eat on average (above), am I missing any types of foods that give me certain vitamins/etc that are needed? As well, what other healthy types of foods would be good that could get me to my proper calorie intake?

[This message has been edited by IWD (edited 08-12-2003).]
Have you tried any protein supplements?

A few years ago I started an exercise regiment that was pretty extreme.

6 days a week
weightlifting every day (different muscle groups)
running 4 miles a day

my diet consisted of lots of pasta, lean meat, veggies. I avoided alcohol, and drank a protein shake (Joe Weider) after every workout.

I lost 20 pounds and became pretty ripped. I'm a girl who weighs around 125-130 pounds, and I could do 40 pull ups, leg press over 500 pounds and bench close to 200 pounds.

But here is the problem. Since I quit eating red meat, my strength has dropped off and even some muscle tone. Red meat is bad for the digestive track, contains hormones and antibiotics, and causes cancer, especailly in men.

A low carb diet is only needed if you are 20+ pounds overweight. Don't worry about it, since you are actually quite light for your size. The fish is good.

Japanese food is healthy. Sushi, teryaki, gyoza, etc. All good low-fat stuff, high in nutrients. Tuna steaks are good. Tr veggie burgers and Quorn -good for you, with lots of protein.

It sounds like you are doing too much cardio/high rep exercises and not enough strength/mass building exercises. Here is a tip. If you find yourself maxing out on the bench, or if you want to get stronger, try squats. But use the machine, otherwise you can screw your back up. Also, increase the weight and lower the reps on your other exercises. You want to feel so much burn that you can barely move your arm the next day.
[quote]Originally posted by IWD:
[b]- When should I liftweights and should I just do cardio on the same day as weightlifting so my entire body gets a rest on the days between? Or stick with what I'm doing?[/b]

What you're doing looks good. But one option would be to design a split routine working each muscle group only once or twice a week, but you dedicate more time per session. At this point, I'd say get the diet situation corrected first and then start looking at tweaking the routine.

[b]- When is the best time I should eat protein and/or carbohydrates (ie. morning, dinner, before/after exercising)?[/b]

Complex carbs are best in the morning and before working out if you are trying to lose fat primarily. If you're loking more toward gaining muscle, spacing out portions throughout your ~6 meals of the day. Just avoid them right before bed. Simple carbs should only be eaten right after resistance training with protein when your muscles are depleted of glycogen. The insulin spike works to your agvantage here because they'll suck it up like a sponge and it will aid in recovery (this would be a good place to get in some extra calories and protein).

Protein is good to get in all day long. If possible, try to get some in at every meal.


[b]- If I want to add more protein into my diet, yet want to limit the amount of fat I take in (mainly saturated) should I eat more ham and fish (I can't eat chicken or turkey because I get sick) and less beef? Should I get a protein supplement/shake and are they safe? Which kind is the best to get?[/b]

Ham is generally not particularly lean, but some is okay. Lean beef is actually a great source of protein and iron and other aminos. Just make sure it's the super lean kind.

Protein supplements are really invaluable to those of us who have trouble getting in enough protein from real food. There is nothing dangerous about it as long as you don't use it for your primary source of sustenance. Whey is just protein taken from milk. You can add it to oatmeal or cottage cheese or milk or soy milk or water... especially useful in the post workout shake. I use Optimum whey because it is inexpensive (~25 bucks for 5lb tub), but if you want an actual shake mix, you will probably be spending a bit more. Myoplex lite tastes pretty good, but is about 30 bucks for 20 packets.

[b]- Based on what I eat on average (above), am I missing any types of foods that give me certain vitamins/etc that are needed? As well, what other healthy types of foods would be good that could get me to my proper calorie intake?[/b]

I'd recommend getting in more green veggies and beans maybe. Broccoli, green beans, spinach, black or white beans, collard greens, edamame etc. You also need to get in some healthy fats. If you like fish, salmon or mackerel are excellent. Flax oil, olive oil or natural peanut butter added to a protein shake (NOT the post workout shake) is also a great way to add some calories and some good fats into the diet. Nuts are also a good snack with healthy fats, protein and fiber.

With a few small additions of protein and good fats I think you'll be right on the money, diet wise. Give it a couple months to see how gains come along. Good luck, man!


[/quote]



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Keep your body lean, your blood clean and your mind sharp. -Rollins
Thanks for the tips, everyone.

I just have a couple more questions.

- Regarding protein, since I can't eat things like chicken or turkey, and eating red meat every day is bad for you. Fish seems to be the best meat left regarding protein, how often should I eat it? Is once a day too much?

- What are your opinions on tofu?

For my diet, I'm still noticing I don't eat very much. In fact, I think my breakfast comprising of a fruit, cereal and some cottage cheese is the only proper size meal I'm getting with consistancy. Basically, I only get two proper sized meals a deal. I'm kind of afraid of too much red meat since the only other meat I can eat is fish and I think that plays a large role in why I don't seem to get enough calories. Carbs are the only thing around that are readily available everywhere and I'm kind of nervous about eating them these days. If I don't get enough calories, but I still lift weights will my body take the energy from my muscles still?

- For weightlifting, I want to get slightly bigger, but not huge. I'd rather be toned. Actually, the size I'd be aiming for would be something like, I don't know, Sean William Scott (Stiffler from American Pie, for those who don't know who he is). Fairly big and toned, but not huge. Once I get to that ideal size and I want to start toning. Will I stick to one workout regiment from that point on or will I always have to shock my body in order to keep it cut? Should I drop cardio and let the muscle I gain burn the fat?

- How should I go about getting to this size?

- How many exercises for each muscle group should I perform in order to build them up?

- What are the best types of food to eat late in the day (like 6-8)?

- How much should I eat after a workout?

- I realize everyone's bodily needs are different, but what would be a good sample of a proper healthy diet for one day that could give me relatively everything that I would need (calories, protein/carbs, etc). What I had in my previous post looks ok, but I won't always have access to all of that stuff. Basically, what I've gathered so far is this:

[b]Morning:[/b] Complex Carbs/Protein
[b]After Workout Snack:[/b] Simple Carbs and sugars/Protein
[b]Lunch:[/b] ?
[b]Dinner:[/b] ?
[b]Evening Snack:[/b] ?

I'm sorry to ask all these questions, but I'm scared that I've gone from one eating extreme to the other and the last thing I want to do is affect my health when the very thing I'm trying to do is improve it. As well, I don't want to be doing all the weightlifting if it won't give me any benefits.

[This message has been edited by IWD (edited 08-12-2003).]

[This message has been edited by IWD (edited 08-12-2003).]
[quote]Originally posted by IWD:
[b]- Regarding protein, since I can't eat things like chicken or turkey, and eating red meat every day is bad for you. Fish seems to be the best meat left regarding protein, how often should I eat it? Is once a day too much? [/b]

In theory once a day should be fine, but I have had a bit of a scare with this whole mercury thing. But I think once a day is not going to be a big problem. I was eating 2-5 cans a day for a couple years, so that was more like chronic exposure. Farm raised trout and a few other kinds of fish are the safest, but the trace amounts in most fish are probably not going to affect you.

[b]- What are your opinions on tofu?[/b]

I like tofu. It's pretty versatile. There are arguments that it isnt a complete protein, but there are vegetarian body builders and it is possible to get all the aminos etc. by other means.

[b]Carbs are the only thing around that are readily available everywhere and I'm kind of nervous about eating them these days. If I don't get enough calories, but I still lift weights will my body take the energy from my muscles still?[/b]

Realistically, if you're eating 5-6 meals a day, you shouldnt really be having a "proper sized meal" at all. Smaller meals keep the nutriens and protein coming through the day, but the point is to get enough overall calories. If you don't eat enough, your body will cannibalize your muscle. You will not gain mass. That's simply how it works.

[b]- For weightlifting, I want to get slightly bigger, but not huge. I'd rather be toned. Actually, the size I'd be aiming for would be something like, I don't know, Sean William Scott (Stiffler from American Pie, for those who don't know who he is). Fairly big and toned, but not huge. Once I get to that ideal size and I want to start toning. Will I stick to one workout regiment from that point on or will I always have to shock my body in order to keep it cut? Should I drop cardio and let the muscle I gain burn the fat?[/b]

If you're not eating enough, I'd back off on some of the cardio, but getting enough protein is still going to be crucial to maintaining the muscle you have. Getting huge takes a lot of work unless you have extraordinary genes, so I wouldn't really concern myself with that. After you get to where you want to be, it's just maintenance. If you see loss in strength, eat more. If you see gain in fat, eat less. cardio can be increased or decreased in conjunction to optimize your results.

[b]- How should I go about getting to this size?[/b]

Eat more. seriously. You clearly don't like this answer, but that's what you need to do. Eat like a horse, train like a beast and sleep like a baby. If you gain to much fat, cut back.

[b]- How many exercises for each muscle group should I perform in order to build them up?[/b]

Depends on the muscle group and the weight you're using and the exercise you're doing. There is no canned formula. You should be going heavy enough that 10 reps is difficult (I try to aim for 6-8 reps to failure) and on a split, 2 to 4 exercises each should be plenty, depending on the muscle group. If you're doing full body workouts each time, you only have time for 1 or 2.

[b]- What are the best types of food to eat late in the day (like 6-8)?[/b]

Keep it limited to protein if you can help it. That will help prevent storage as fat as your metabolism drops with lessened activity and eventually sleep.

[b]- How much should I eat after a workout?[/b]

Till you're not hungry? I have a protein shake immediately after lifting (~250 calories, protein and dextrose) and then a meal an hour or two later. The shake should be about 60/40 ratio of carbs/protein.

[b]- I realize everyone's bodily needs are different, but what would be a good sample of a proper healthy diet for one day that could give me relatively everything that I would need (calories, protein/carbs, etc). [/b]

Try this (adjust portions to fit your calorie needs)

Breakfast: oatmeal + whey
(also good right before lifting for sustained energy)

Snack: edamame (blanched soy beans) or rice and vlack beans w/ salsa.

Post workout shake: whey + sugar (I sometimes use whey and water and bring sweettarts)

Lunch: fish, spinach salad, sweet potato

Snack: hard boiled eggs

Dinner: beef, broccoli or other veg

Snack: jerkey?

It's really hard to give a sample menu without knowing what you eat, what you like, your schedule, whether or not you like to cook... theres a lot of variabes that could easily create the failure of even the best sample diet. You'd do a lot better deciding what foods you like and coming up with a good portion/calorie ratio that fits your needs. You might consider getting a personal trainer, also. You're looking for some pretty specific answers to very individualized issues. Hope that helps some.

[/quote]

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Keep your body lean, your blood clean and your mind sharp. -Rollins

[This message has been edited by Naxis (edited 08-13-2003).]





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