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Am I Doing It Right: Daily Calories and Protein


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As part of my current 6 Week Challenge I'm tracking my percentage of paleo foods on a daily basis, and on top of that, the number of calories and protein I also consume. I'm three days into tacking all of this, but most of what I eat is pretty regular, especially Monday through Friday, so I don't expect a lot of variation from day to day and not certainly on a weekly basis. That being said, I am concerned with my total caloric intake (and protein too). I'm currently 6'3" at 217 lbs. According to a variety of calorie calculators, I should be at about 3100 calories a day, with moderate exercise (I was being conservative). Right now my goal is to work out 5 days a week, 3 strength and 2 cardio, so that calorie figure should factor in the calories lost due to exercise. For protein, I figure I should be at 1 gram per pound of bodyweight, but damn 217 grams of protein a day sounds like a lot!

 

My main goal right now is not weight loss, though body fat loss would be desired. I want to focus more on building muscle mass particularly in the upper body. My question is, for starters, do I need to be at that 3100 +/- calorie intake? From what I've read on this site some people have been at 3500-4000 cals a day while strength training. Am I risking depleting lean muscle by being at a 800 +/- calorie deficit every day? Second, 217 grams of protein sounds like a ridiculous amount of protein to take in every day. But- am I doing a disservice to myself by not coming close to that number?

 

Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. I've included my log for yesterday as an example.

 

Thanks!

Daily Food Log 6_3 - 7_15 - 6_4.pdf

Ras'taban

Level 3 Half-Orc Ranger

STR 9 | DEX 2 | STA 5 | CON 4 | WIS 7 | CHA 2

 

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

j.r.r. tolkien

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This is a Waldo question, and I'm sure he'll be by shortly, but...

 

If your main goal is to build muscle mass, eating at an 800 cal/day deficit will be a problem. Your body needs a caloric surplus to actually add significant amounts of muscle. Strength training, cardio and a deficit (with high protein) are the recipe for fat loss (though you'll still be able to make some strength gains at a moderate deficit), not for adding muscle.

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Missed the greek yogurt (~100 cal, 16g protein per serving)

 

Are you just adding tracking to an already established diet?  If so, what is happening?

 

If you can't see your abs, chances are muscle loss won't be much of an issue unless you have a crazy big calorie deficit as long as you have that protein number up.  Heck I can see my abs and I'm cutting @ a 700 cal/day defict, and not overly concerned about muscle loss.  Bigger guys can cut a lot faster than common wisdom says just fine.

 

Once past the very beginning stages of strength training, muscle gain will only happen in a calorie surplus, either purposeful, or the haphazard occasional surplus that happens from eating to maintain.  The smaller the surplus, the less fat gain there is.

 

It really helps to pick a goal; gain muscle OR lose fat, and focus on that until its time to switch.

 

All the estimates for how much you should be eating to prompt particular changes are just that, estimates.  Adjust things to how your body reacts. 

 

Over time it'll get easier and easier to hit that protein number, even without shakes.

currently maintaning

battle log challenges: 16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
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According to a variety of calorie calculators, I should be at about 3100 calories a day, with moderate exercise (I was being conservative). Right now my goal is to work out 5 days a week, 3 strength and 2 cardio, so that calorie figure should factor in the calories lost due to exercise.

Try to be accurate, not conservative.  Unless you're really sedentary the rest of the week, 3100 cals per day for someone of your size and weight seems too low to build muscle, given that you're working out 5 times per week.

What you do, and what you don't do, matters.

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Missed the greek yogurt (~100 cal, 16g protein per serving)

 

Are you just adding tracking to an already established diet?  If so, what is happening?

 

If you can't see your abs, chances are muscle loss won't be much of an issue unless you have a crazy big calorie deficit as long as you have that protein number up.  Heck I can see my abs and I'm cutting @ a 700 cal/day defict, and not overly concerned about muscle loss.  Bigger guys can cut a lot faster than common wisdom says just fine.

 

Oh, the yogurt. Good looking out. :peaceful:

 

Yes, this has pretty much been my diet for the better part of the past year, but this is the first time I've made a serious effort to track it. I kept this same diet while i did the Insanity program, and I went from 232 lbs. to my current 217.

 

And, no, I can't see my abs. I'm sure the day that happens, monkeys will fly out of my butt :highly_amused:

 

But I see what you're saying, though. What I'll try to do is close the gap and take measurements weekly or every other week and see where I'm at and adjust accordingly.

 

Thank you!

Ras'taban

Level 3 Half-Orc Ranger

STR 9 | DEX 2 | STA 5 | CON 4 | WIS 7 | CHA 2

 

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

j.r.r. tolkien

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Try to be accurate, not conservative.  Unless you're really sedentary the rest of the week, 3100 cals per day for someone of your size and weight seems too low to build muscle, given that you're working out 5 times per week.

Okay, five times per week is accurate and the other two days aren't really spent sitting on my ass all day, so as I mentioned in my other reply, I'll increase both calories and protein and see where that leads me.

 

Thanks!

Ras'taban

Level 3 Half-Orc Ranger

STR 9 | DEX 2 | STA 5 | CON 4 | WIS 7 | CHA 2

 

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

j.r.r. tolkien

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