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Strength training and 1700 calories a day!

helenpayne92helenpayne92 Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
I started properly strength training about a year ago after eating at 1200 calories a day with no exercise and realising I wanted to be strong, fit and healthy.
I was progressing well up until the UK went into lockdown in March this year and the gyms closed.
The day the gym reopened I was back at it. My OH is a personal trainer and has given me a plan to follow consisting of working out 6 days per week on a workout split of push, pull, legs, repeat and a day off on Sunday. I have upped my calories slowly to 1700 per day, I’m eating 1lb of protein per pound of bodyweight, I get 8 hours sleep per night, I have gradually lowered my carb intake to around 100g per day, I have added cardio to the beginning and end of my strength workouts (5 mins running before and slowly adding more after as I get fitter but currently on about 10 mins), I have recently started taking a CLA supplement, added more healthy fats, I drink a ton of water and eat a very clean diet with no processed foods, I eat all my veggies.

I have seen some amazing strength gains since July and feel so amazing working out. I also feel so much healthier since adding more calories and giving my body what it needs.

My question is, how long will it take for me to start seeing fat loss? I can see the muscle definition in my arms and back especially, but my clothes are not fitting any differently and I look the same in progress photos. The scale is not moving and hasn’t done for 2 months (which I was not expecting it to). Does all of the above sound like in doing everything right?

For reference I am 5’4 and weigh 149lbs. My last boditrax scan said I had a BF% of 26.9. I am unfortunately an endomorph!!!

I understand these things take time and I’m loving the process and enjoying getting stronger and hitting my PBs. Just wondered why it seems to take me longer than everyone else! Thanks

Replies

  • GregInORLGregInORL Member Posts: 206 Member Member Posts: 206 Member
    It's super slow. It sounds like you've got a really good plan. (assuming you meant 1g of protein per pound as opposed to pound of protein per pound of body weight) If you're getting stronger and maintaining weight you're on the right path.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,071 Member Member Posts: 18,071 Member
    Is low carb for a purposeful reason?

    Carbs is actually used for building muscle too.

    If it's because the 1g/lb bodyweight of protein is using up too many calories - that could be slightly overkill and could gain some there by lowering protein.

    Strength gains come first from using what you got to the fullest, and improving form - those 2 things can keep you progressing in strength for awhile before the body actually reaches the point of needing to build more muscle to support you progressing.
    But sounds like good program though.

    And good idea measuring with pics and clothes to keep it real.
  • helenpayne92helenpayne92 Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    Thanks all for the tips. In relation to the lower carbs, I just wanted to try and mix it up a bit as noticed that even setting my Marcos with higher carbs, say 150g a day, I was still going over and since cutting them down I don’t feel as many hunger spikes as I used to. Completely understand the importance of carbs though and the ones I do eat are from whole foods.

    The protein is keeping me nice and full but I will think about lowering my intake slightly and see if that helps.

    I am eating in a deficit. My TDEE has come out at 2100, and that sounds like a very high and scary number to me which is why I’m at 1700! I feel satisfied and that I have enough energy to fuel my workouts at that level. Does it seem too low?
  • helenpayne92helenpayne92 Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    GregInORL wrote: »
    It's super slow. It sounds like you've got a really good plan. (assuming you meant 1g of protein per pound as opposed to pound of protein per pound of body weight) If you're getting stronger and maintaining weight you're on the right path.

    Yep 1g of protein per pound of body weight!
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 16,809 Member Member, Premium Posts: 16,809 Member
    Thanks all for the tips. In relation to the lower carbs, I just wanted to try and mix it up a bit as noticed that even setting my Marcos with higher carbs, say 150g a day, I was still going over and since cutting them down I don’t feel as many hunger spikes as I used to. Completely understand the importance of carbs though and the ones I do eat are from whole foods.

    The protein is keeping me nice and full but I will think about lowering my intake slightly and see if that helps.

    I am eating in a deficit. My TDEE has come out at 2100, and that sounds like a very high and scary number to me which is why I’m at 1700! I feel satisfied and that I have enough energy to fuel my workouts at that level. Does it seem too low?

    Sijomial is right: TDEE isn't something you calculate - it's only something we estimate. The calculators will be close for most people, a bit off (high or low) for a few, and quite far off for a very rare few. That's the nature of statistical estimates.

    As far as 2100 being scary high: If you're not losing fat "fast enough" at 1700, perhaps you're a bit on the lower side of that bell curve, unfortunately. If you think you'd still get the performance you need, you could try 1600 for a month, and see how that goes (might be practically an invisible difference, but since you're feeling good, getting good exercise performance and not hugely overweight/overfat, why be more radical?) OTOH, illustrating that 2100 isn't crazy high, there's Sijomial's "average woman" observation at 2000, and my personal experience of maintaining at around 2000-2100 *before* exercise (at 5'5", 127 pounds this morning, age 64, body fat percent probably low/mid 20s - estunate based on 5 years of careful calorie counting - I'm on the "substantially higher calorie needs than normal" part of the bell curve for my age, but these things happen, sometimes).

    Careful logging is your best guide to your personal calorie needs, not some calculator even fitness tracker. (My good brand/model tracker gives me much lower estimates than reality, too.)

    If the lifting routine is new, and progressive, you may still have some water retention masking fat loss on the scale, even after 2 months. I've been losing slowly for a few months, to drop a few vanity pounds in maintenance. There have been periods where even my weight-trending app thought I was *gaining* weight for several weeks at the same calorie level, but the long-term picture shows me I'm losing about a pound a month, as per plan. Slow fat loss is super deceptive, on the scale!

    (FWIW, I'm eating minimum 50g fat, 100g protein, and the rest carbs (usually 250g+) to balance calories at 1850 before exercise, for the slow loss - usually eating 300ish exercise calories on top of that. I don't think I'm totally devoid of muscle with the 100g+ protein goal, and I don't seem to have lost strength or exercise performance over recent years.)

    It sounds like you're on a really excellent, health-promoting track. If it were me, I'd probably hang in there for another couple of months, then make a tiny cut in intake if still not losing, or - if good life balance permits - add a bit more cardiovascular exercise or daily life activity to bump burn up a tiny bit. I definitely wouldn't do anything radical, while doing as well as you are. Patience is hard, but also useful.

    Best wishes!
  • helenpayne92helenpayne92 Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    It sounds like you're on a really excellent, health-promoting track. If it were me, I'd probably hang in there for another couple of months, then make a tiny cut in intake if still not losing, or - if good life balance permits - add a bit more cardiovascular exercise or daily life activity to bump burn up a tiny bit. I definitely wouldn't do anything radical, while doing as well as you are. Patience is hard, but also useful.

    Thank you that’s great to hear. I will follow your advice! I was just worried I was making some horrible mistake which was going to hinder my progress. I’m gradually increasing my time on the treadmill every day to get that extra burn. I shall drop the calories a tiny bit if I’m not seeing changes in 8 weeks or so.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply it’s much appreciated!

  • helenpayne92helenpayne92 Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    sijomial wrote: »

    Surprising that 2,100 would strike you as a scary number of calories as 2,000 is often given as rough maintenance calories for an average woman - and an average woman definitely doesn't exercise as much as you do!

    I know! I would give anything to be able to eat that amount of calories! I think because I spent such a long time depriving myself on a tiny 1200, anything over that still seems like a huge amount of food.
    Also having used to be nearly 190lbs, I do think I have this ingrained fear of gaining back weight!

  • brown6267brown6267 Member Posts: 410 Member Member Posts: 410 Member
    09/23 steps 15186
  • brown6267brown6267 Member Posts: 410 Member Member Posts: 410 Member
    Ignore the steps; entered in the wrong forum!!
  • J72FITJ72FIT Member Posts: 5,619 Member Member Posts: 5,619 Member
    At your height and activity level I see you at a range of...

    1625 - 1950 cals to cut.
    1950 - 2275 cals to maintain.

    Something to consider. Are your goals gaining strength or cutting down. Doing both at the same time is a challenge. Typically you can cut down and maintain strength but not necessarily get stronger and cut down.
    You may have to prioritize one over the over.

    Myself personally am trying to get stronger while in maintenance/small surplus...
    edited September 24
  • helenpayne92helenpayne92 Member Posts: 6 Member Member Posts: 6 Member
    J72FIT wrote: »
    At your height and activity level I see you at a range of...

    1625 - 1950 cals to cut.
    1950 - 2275 cals to maintain.

    Something to consider. Are your goals gaining strength or cutting down. Doing both at the same time is a challenge. Typically you can cut down and maintain strength but not necessarily get stronger and cut down.
    You may have to prioritize one over the over.

    Myself personally am trying to get stronger while in maintenance/small surplus...

    Thanks. I’d say my priority at the moment is to cut down (which given the figures you state above I definitely should be doing!) and pick up strength later. Would like to be able to enter into a bulk/cut cycle one day but would assume as I’m fairly new to the process, what I’m doing now should work to cut off some fat (eventually!) maybe in time for next summer.....

  • J72FITJ72FIT Member Posts: 5,619 Member Member Posts: 5,619 Member
    J72FIT wrote: »
    At your height and activity level I see you at a range of...

    1625 - 1950 cals to cut.
    1950 - 2275 cals to maintain.

    Something to consider. Are your goals gaining strength or cutting down. Doing both at the same time is a challenge. Typically you can cut down and maintain strength but not necessarily get stronger and cut down.
    You may have to prioritize one over the over.

    Myself personally am trying to get stronger while in maintenance/small surplus...

    Thanks. I’d say my priority at the moment is to cut down (which given the figures you state above I definitely should be doing!) and pick up strength later. Would like to be able to enter into a bulk/cut cycle one day but would assume as I’m fairly new to the process, what I’m doing now should work to cut off some fat (eventually!) maybe in time for next summer.....

    Patience & Consistency!
  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 17,130 Member Member Posts: 17,130 Member
    J72FIT wrote: »
    At your height and activity level I see you at a range of...

    1625 - 1950 cals to cut.
    1950 - 2275 cals to maintain.

    Something to consider. Are your goals gaining strength or cutting down. Doing both at the same time is a challenge. Typically you can cut down and maintain strength but not necessarily get stronger and cut down.
    You may have to prioritize one over the over.

    Myself personally am trying to get stronger while in maintenance/small surplus...

    Thanks. I’d say my priority at the moment is to cut down (which given the figures you state above I definitely should be doing!) and pick up strength later. Would like to be able to enter into a bulk/cut cycle one day but would assume as I’m fairly new to the process, what I’m doing now should work to cut off some fat (eventually!) maybe in time for next summer.....

    When your numbers seem perverse there's really two options:
    1/ Review your logging accuracy (a public diary helps enormously as mistakes are very common including but not limited to using bad database entries).
    2/ Just use consistency, adjust based on your weight trend and don't worry if your numbers seem unusual. I was out by about 200cals/day and simply adjusted my goal manually to get my results on point (slightly lazy food logging and some over-stated exercise burns).

    As a relatively new lifter you really shouldn't have problems gaining strength if you keep your rate of loss slow.
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