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Need some help in determining next steps for fitness

kpark0818kpark0818 Posts: 19Member Member Posts: 19Member Member
Hi there!

I'm currently struggling with some weight gain (probably some muscle,some fat) following training for a marathon. I actually started gaining last summer/fall when I was told by a dietician to eat more carbs, and since then (and during and following training) I've been sitting around 123-125 pounds. I can't fit into any of my shorts I wore last year, only 2 skirts, and only jeans I've bought in the last few months. My legs feel pretty solidly muscular, but obviously, something is going on with my body composition and I'm not happy with being too bulky in the butt/thigh area.

For reference, I didn't track during marathon training and actually hovered closer to 122-123 then. I didn't snack a bunch but I certainly had some ice cream and indulgent meals here and there. And I'm 5'2, so bulk really shows up on me. Really it is only my legs I have a concern about, so I'm wondering if I just have a bit of fat to shed on top of new muscles.
My current routine is: Leg/core strength, Run 30, Run 30-40, Run 30(speed intervals) + arm strength, rest, Run 50-50, rest

I was considering doing a big calorie cut and moving forward with my current routine of running/strength, but I don't feel like I'm getting enough food under 1600 calories. I have hypoglycemia that reacts pretty strongly to not getting enough food. I lifted yesterday for example, and ate around 1500. I felt terrible and weak this morning.

I'm wondering if I should instead ease up on the calorie counting and just focus on eating cleaner overall and accept that my body has changed a bit? I know I need to cut alcohol out a bit more and possibly clean up some of my tea/coffee habits, but I'm wondering if that would be enough of a shift to slim down my legs, or if I should accept them as they are?
edited July 12

Replies

  • concordanciaconcordancia Posts: 4,964Member Member Posts: 4,964Member Member
    How tall are you?

    It sounds like you should embrace your new, stronger body!
  • kpark0818kpark0818 Posts: 19Member Member Posts: 19Member Member
    How tall are you?

    It sounds like you should embrace your new, stronger body!

    Ooh thanks. I just added that. I'm 5'2. And thank you! Nothing else looks bigger really, so I think it may just be a recomp with a bit of fat to shed.
  • kpark0818kpark0818 Posts: 19Member Member Posts: 19Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    There's a substantial range of options between "accept current weight" (assuming you truly still have some body fat you could healthfully lose) and "doing a big calorie cut and moving forward with current routine".

    For example, if you set yourself up on MFP with accurate entries, target a 0.5lb/week loss rate, and eat back all of realistically-estimated exercise calories, would that give you more than 1500 calories?

    It may be within the range of normal to feel a little bit depleted in the first week or two of a new calorie deficit (adaptation period), but it shouldn't be major or persistent.

    However, if you're happy with your body currently (other than needing some new clothes), you're at a normal/healthy BMI, so there's no urgent need to lose weight to some arbitrary number on the scale.

    Eating in an overall nutritious, balanced way is important for health and performance, but things like "eating clean" (which most people disagree about how to define!) and avoiding tea/coffee are pretty irrelevant to health, performance, or body composition.

    MFP has me eating well under 1500 to even lose .5 a week (1290 actually). If I ate back exercise calories, I think it would put me over 1500 though, occasionally. Depends on the activity. 1290 still seems a little low on days I don't exercise, since I usually feel depleted on day 2, especially after heavy Monday lifting with legs.

    I am not happy with how big my legs look, no. I'd rather have a bit more muscle definition. I'm struggling to get back into a good lower-mileage running routine because of travel and sickness post marathon, but I haven't worried too much about it because I put my body through hell training the months prior. I will be back on a half-marathon training plan in a month, so this is a good time to build some more muscle ahead of that training.

    I think I just answered my own question lol. I think I need to increase protein and still make the small cuts I want to make as far as snacks and things go. I will still use MFP as a guide, but I don't think cutting to 1290 a day is correct for my current fitness level. If anything, think I need to be eating a bit more, just differently.
  • kpark0818kpark0818 Posts: 19Member Member Posts: 19Member Member
    I think I also need to switch up my routine a bit before I go into HM marathon training just for the mental break. I've struggling with not wanting to run a ton right now and wanting to keep up my fitness.
  • emmamcgarityemmamcgarity Posts: 1,003Member Member Posts: 1,003Member Member
    I am 5’1” and 139 lbs. So I still have a bit more to lose to reach a healthy BMI but am not too far off from your stats. MFP has me at 1200 due to a sedentary job but I track my activity using my connected Fitbit. With intentional walking and training runs for a 10k the exercise calories it gives me on training days can often be around 700+ per day. If I didn’t eat back exercise calories my performance would suffer. I’ve never trained for a half marathon but considering the distance is farther I can only guess that your training would be more intense than mine. I am sometimes hungrier the day after a heavy training day instead of the day of. I take the weekly view of my calories and often have my numbers “turn red” in non exercise days. As far as your comment regarding alcohol, I have enough room in my calorie bank for moderate consumption accurately tracked. I generally fit in 1-2 drinks per week. More than that makes it harder for me to meet my personal nutritional goals.
  • kpark0818kpark0818 Posts: 19Member Member Posts: 19Member Member
    I am 5’1” and 139 lbs. So I still have a bit more to lose to reach a healthy BMI but am not too far off from your stats. MFP has me at 1200 due to a sedentary job but I track my activity using my connected Fitbit. With intentional walking and training runs for a 10k the exercise calories it gives me on training days can often be around 700+ per day. If I didn’t eat back exercise calories my performance would suffer. I’ve never trained for a half marathon but considering the distance is farther I can only guess that your training would be more intense than mine. I am sometimes hungrier the day after a heavy training day instead of the day of. I take the weekly view of my calories and often have my numbers “turn red” in non exercise days. As far as your comment regarding alcohol, I have enough room in my calorie bank for moderate consumption accurately tracked. I generally fit in 1-2 drinks per week. More than that makes it harder for me to meet my personal nutritional goals.

    I'll try that and see what happens. Yesterday it gave me around 1600 after a 3 mile interval run. I'll see what happens today after my 50 minute run. I'm not training for a HM yet, but I run 4x a week plus lift 2x. Lifting and eating back calories is dificult without any kind of heart rate monitor, so I've always just assumed on that front a couple hundred extra, and then I tend to be really hungry post-lift days.

    Weekly calories is something I've tracked before, so that might be something to do again. As far as alcohol goes, I was a glass of wine a night person with more drinks if we went out, and I trimmed that back during marathon training and plan to trim even more back.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 11,108Member Member Posts: 11,108Member Member
    kpark0818 wrote: »
    I am 5’1” and 139 lbs. So I still have a bit more to lose to reach a healthy BMI but am not too far off from your stats. MFP has me at 1200 due to a sedentary job but I track my activity using my connected Fitbit. With intentional walking and training runs for a 10k the exercise calories it gives me on training days can often be around 700+ per day. If I didn’t eat back exercise calories my performance would suffer. I’ve never trained for a half marathon but considering the distance is farther I can only guess that your training would be more intense than mine. I am sometimes hungrier the day after a heavy training day instead of the day of. I take the weekly view of my calories and often have my numbers “turn red” in non exercise days. As far as your comment regarding alcohol, I have enough room in my calorie bank for moderate consumption accurately tracked. I generally fit in 1-2 drinks per week. More than that makes it harder for me to meet my personal nutritional goals.

    I'll try that and see what happens. Yesterday it gave me around 1600 after a 3 mile interval run. I'll see what happens today after my 50 minute run. I'm not training for a HM yet, but I run 4x a week plus lift 2x. Lifting and eating back calories is dificult without any kind of heart rate monitor, so I've always just assumed on that front a couple hundred extra, and then I tend to be really hungry post-lift days.

    Weekly calories is something I've tracked before, so that might be something to do again. As far as alcohol goes, I was a glass of wine a night person with more drinks if we went out, and I trimmed that back during marathon training and plan to trim even more back.

    Weight training, if conventional reps/sets, is one of the cases where the MFP METS-based estimate could be a good choice. A heart rate monitor is likely to overestimate strength training calories, because heart rate increases with strain/pressure, unrelated to calorie-burning work.
  • kpark0818kpark0818 Posts: 19Member Member Posts: 19Member Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    kpark0818 wrote: »
    I am 5’1” and 139 lbs. So I still have a bit more to lose to reach a healthy BMI but am not too far off from your stats. MFP has me at 1200 due to a sedentary job but I track my activity using my connected Fitbit. With intentional walking and training runs for a 10k the exercise calories it gives me on training days can often be around 700+ per day. If I didn’t eat back exercise calories my performance would suffer. I’ve never trained for a half marathon but considering the distance is farther I can only guess that your training would be more intense than mine. I am sometimes hungrier the day after a heavy training day instead of the day of. I take the weekly view of my calories and often have my numbers “turn red” in non exercise days. As far as your comment regarding alcohol, I have enough room in my calorie bank for moderate consumption accurately tracked. I generally fit in 1-2 drinks per week. More than that makes it harder for me to meet my personal nutritional goals.

    I'll try that and see what happens. Yesterday it gave me around 1600 after a 3 mile interval run. I'll see what happens today after my 50 minute run. I'm not training for a HM yet, but I run 4x a week plus lift 2x. Lifting and eating back calories is dificult without any kind of heart rate monitor, so I've always just assumed on that front a couple hundred extra, and then I tend to be really hungry post-lift days.

    Weekly calories is something I've tracked before, so that might be something to do again. As far as alcohol goes, I was a glass of wine a night person with more drinks if we went out, and I trimmed that back during marathon training and plan to trim even more back.

    Weight training, if conventional reps/sets, is one of the cases where the MFP METS-based estimate could be a good choice. A heart rate monitor is likely to overestimate strength training calories, because heart rate increases with strain/pressure, unrelated to calorie-burning work.

    Gotcha gotcha. yeah there is no way I can eat 1290 calories and nothing more when I lift. Maybe I just track in general and stick to around 1600 while increasing my lifting and see how things shake out. I think when it comes down to it, I'm freaked out by the number on the scale. I'm not sure if I should be in maintenance or a small cut, and that is why I was here in the first place. I wasn't really tracking while I was training for the full marathon, but I wasn't eating crap the whole time either lol. But, I know people tend to gain weight during marathon training for one reason or another. I gain during half training too usually, and cut in between. I imagine if I change nothing, I'd drop a few pounds this summer until I started my HM training up again (I lift more during non race training times).
    edited July 15
  • CahgetsfitCahgetsfit Posts: 1,571Member Member Posts: 1,571Member Member
    have you tried to calculate your tdee instead of the MFP confusing maths? just use a site such as tdeecalculator.net and work out your maintenance. Then subtract however many calories you want. Enter "1 calorie burnt" in MFP when you log exercise.

    it gives me way more calories than MFP ever did and I don't need to muck around trying to make my food "fit" into my day because every day is a different calorie goal.

    TDEE makes life so much simpler.
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