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Starting to focus on lifting, how much food do I need?


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I hope I'm putting this in the right forum. I'm 3lbs from my goal weight so my focus has shifted from weight loss to a desire to build muscle. Today I started Strong Lifts 5x5, and even with 45-65lb lifts it was challenging. I haven't made time to lift at all in a couple of months and I'm sure I've lost a bit of muscle. So I've been eating 2000 calories/day and losing .5-1lb per week. I want to keep up with the program and get stronger so I know I'll need to eat more. Would eating at maintenance be enough for me starting out or should I aim for a slight caloric excess? (250-300 calories)  

 

I'm very active right now, walking 1 hour every day on my lunch break, kickboxing 8-10 hours per week (I LOVE it), I teach yoga 2 hours per week, and now I'll be lifting three times a week (free weights, squats, bench press, barbell rows, overhead lift, and deadlift) and attempting to go up 5lb every time I lift. I'm 27 years old, female, 5foot4, 138lbs. My goals are to be strong and get better at fighting. I'm pretty weak starting out, I can barely do one "girl" pushup, and I cannot do pull ups.

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People may disagree, but as you are just starting out, I would suggest staying at your 2000 calories for a bit. Listen to your body, if you start to notice your energy fading, or feeling like you don't have the strength to progress in your lifts then try adjusting your macros before adding cals. Maybe add some healthy carbs on days you lift to give you energy, and some protein before bed and on off days to help in building muscle. When I started out on the 5x5 I thought I needed to up the cals to grow, and I did, I grew around the middle. I cut my calories back to near maintenance and continued to get stronger and not gain weight. I have now increased my calories to about 250 over maintenance on workout days only, and I am still gaining strength and keeping good energy. In my opinion "EAT BIG LIFT BIG" only works well once you actually start really lifting big. Everyone is different though, and depending on your metabolism and macros (for me, protein is for building muscle and I try and get a little more of it before bed and on off days when my body is rebuilding and healing, healthy carbs are for energy and brain function so I up those a little on workout days, and fat is only ever fat - healthy fats are good for you, tasty, and keep you from feeling hungry so fast, but I try to avoid excess fat at all cost) you will just need to spend the time testing what works for you. 

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Toot toot!

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Eat to your goals. If you want to get smaller then eat at a deficit. If you want to grow then eat at a surplus. I don't really ever advocate eating to maintain unless you just need an emotional break from a very long diet and then it's at most for a week. If you eat to maintain then you are either leaving gains on the platform or prolonging any goals involving getting leaner. I cut for a good part of three months going into my last contest and hit PRs both in the gym and at the contest. Being in a deficit doesn't mean you don't get stronger, especially if you are a novice trainee. Most gains early on are neurological, learning how to properly contract the muscle that you already have. Any appreciable size gains don't come for a while when you need to adapt by growing instead of becoming more efficient. This counts doubly so for female trainees who will put on a fraction of the lean mass that a man would in the best of circumstances.

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My training log

Spoiler

 

2016

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (USS), April 16th Contest report

2015

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (NAS), April 18th Contest report

Eighth Annual Vis Vires Outdoor Strongman Competition (Unsanctioned), August 1st Contest report

 

"What's the difference between an injury that you train around and an injury that you train through?"

"A trip to the hospital"

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Well my goal is to ideally stay the same weight but get stronger, and lower my body fat percentage. If that means I have to gain and lose again that's fine, If it means I have to lose more so I have room to gain that's fine. If that means I have to eat maintenance and grow strength slowly that's fine. I just wanna know what's effective.

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If you want to get leaner then cut until you don't want to any more. After that come up so a slight surplus, gain until you don't like what you're seeing in the mirror and then do it all over again. The big take home message is that diet and training have a pretty shaky link until you are starting to pile some real weight on the bar. Also, adding lean mass to improve body composition really doesn't work until you are already fairly lean. Getting bigger with a decent layer of fat still covering everything just makes you look bigger, not jacked.

 

With all that said, this all applies to the "usual" definition of aesthetic, meaning quite lean. If being really fucking strong is more important to you than keeping to an ideal aesthetic, then get as big as you can stand and then suffer through peeling some of it away when you can't stand it any more. If strength is really your ultimate goal then your training template is going to have more bearing on it than your diet ever will. I despise Stronglifts and Starting Strength as beginner templates.

My training log

Spoiler

 

2016

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (USS), April 16th Contest report

2015

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (NAS), April 18th Contest report

Eighth Annual Vis Vires Outdoor Strongman Competition (Unsanctioned), August 1st Contest report

 

"What's the difference between an injury that you train around and an injury that you train through?"

"A trip to the hospital"

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If you want to get leaner then cut until you don't want to any more. After that come up so a slight surplus, gain until you don't like what you're seeing in the mirror and then do it all over again. The big take home message is that diet and training have a pretty shaky link until you are starting to pile some real weight on the bar. Also, adding lean mass to improve body composition really doesn't work until you are already fairly lean. Getting bigger with a decent layer of fat still covering everything just makes you look bigger, not jacked.

 

This.

 

A caloric surplus is really only useful if in the absence of it you would fail to get stronger or would only do so at a snails pace; if the body can adapt to the stimulus by firing existing muscles better, it has no need to grow bigger muscles and won't really, even if your diet is telling it to; it'll instead save up them calories for a rainy day (read, you'll get fat).

 

Bulking and cutting around the same weight works (I mean bulking and cutting, not trying to maintain the same weight); however for most people starting out doing so, they are much better cutting a good bit further, it can take a few years to make a huge difference, and you're probably better off trying to gain when leaner; its more efficient (you gain less fat) .  

 

 

currently maintaning

battle log challenges: 16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1
follow me: myfitnesspal
don't panic!

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How many days do you have to train?

My training log

Spoiler

 

2016

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (USS), April 16th Contest report

2015

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (NAS), April 18th Contest report

Eighth Annual Vis Vires Outdoor Strongman Competition (Unsanctioned), August 1st Contest report

 

"What's the difference between an injury that you train around and an injury that you train through?"

"A trip to the hospital"

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I kickbox in the evenings for two hours on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I teach yoga for one hour on Wednesdays and Saturdays, I walk for an hour every weekday on my lunch break. I've been fitting in lifting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the morning before I go to work (stronglifts only takes me about 30 minutes) but if needed I could probably lift on Sundays too.

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Greyskull LP makes a lot more sense to me as a beginner program than either SL or SS. It has higher volume and a better assortment of movements than either of the two default beginner templates.

My training log

Spoiler

 

2016

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (USS), April 16th Contest report

2015

Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (NAS), April 18th Contest report

Eighth Annual Vis Vires Outdoor Strongman Competition (Unsanctioned), August 1st Contest report

 

"What's the difference between an injury that you train around and an injury that you train through?"

"A trip to the hospital"

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