How to eat like a lifter?

imtrinat Posts: 153 Member
I need your help! I've been slowly retraining my brain away from the 1200 calorie/cardio mentality and I've switched from 75/25 cardio/lifting to about 50/50. My problem is that I have NO idea how to eat like a lifter. What are your recommendations? How often do you eat, what do your meals look like? Open diaries I can look at for ideas? I get that my body is unique and I need to come up with a plan that works for me but any tips will be greatly appreciated! :)

A few things: I do not care so much about losing weight but I definitely do not want to gain. I follow Jamie Eason's LiveFit as a guide and I'm going to mix in some NROLFW when I get it in the mail. Lifting about 3 days per week and doing 30 min - 1 hr cardio about 4 days. Scooby workshop has me at 1457 BMR, 2259 TDEE. 148 lbs, 5'2, 27 years old. 3-5 hours per week of moderate exercise, gain muscle/lose fat. Currently eating 1900-2000 cal/day and average 100 grams protein.

Thanks, everyone!


  • gutsnglory9
    gutsnglory9 Posts: 16
    I'm wondering the same thing.
  • jstout365
    jstout365 Posts: 1,686 Member
    My diary is open. I log most days (I usually will skip one weekend day a week). I eat between 1800-2000/day. I lift 3x/week and do cardio/suplemental work 3x/week on non-lifting days. I take Sunday as my rest day.

    That being said, I don't think there is much difference between eating for endurance cardio and lifting. Can you change around macros to provide greater benefit for one or the other? Sure, but if you are eating a balanced diet rich in veggies, fruits, healthy fats, and complete protein sources, you are at least on the right track to getting the most out of your workouts if you are not looking to get into the competitive or elite lifting realms.

    ETA: I took a major logging break in April so that whole month will be blank.
  • imtrinat
    imtrinat Posts: 153 Member
    Thanks, friend! :) Anybody else? C'mon, guy and gals. You all love to talk about lifting around here.
  • Sheila_Ann
    Sheila_Ann Posts: 365 Member
    Curious myself! Bumping :)
  • LaurenAOK
    LaurenAOK Posts: 2,475 Member
    My diary is open. I'm not lifting currently (lost my access to a gym) but I'm still eating the same way as when I was lifting. I eat 5-6 times a day, mostly healthy home-cooked meals but I definitely indulge in treats sometimes. Some days are better than others. I'm netting around 1450 calories a day to lose half a pound a week.
  • Danny_Boy13
    Danny_Boy13 Posts: 2,094 Member
    The only thing I would advise is to up the protein intake to at least .75g/lb body weight is what I see a lot of females doing and most guys looking to build will do a min of 1g/lb body weight.
  • LaurenAOK
    LaurenAOK Posts: 2,475 Member
    Forgot to add: make sure you're getting enough protein, about 1g per lb of lean body mass. For me that means at least 100g a day.
  • ash8184
    ash8184 Posts: 701 Member
    Bumping - great question!
  • ironanimal
    ironanimal Posts: 5,922 Member
    Open diary here. I average 2500 calories a day (cycling at the moment as a personal experiment), aim for 200g every day but my low calorie day.
  • vorgas
    vorgas Posts: 741 Member
    For true lifter diet, you need to exceed TDEE.

    I have protein within the first 15 minutes of being awake. I have protein before I go lift. I have protein after I lift. I have protein for lunch. I have protein for dinner. I have protein snacks (not kidding, you Kay's Naturals makes chips with protein).

    Lots of different opinions on the amount needed, of course. Generally between .75 and 1.5 g per lb of muscle mass. As long as I'm somewhere in that range I don't mind.

    Split the rest between fats and carbs. Sometimes more of one than other. Sometimes the other way.

    I'm never at a calorie deficit. That means if I'm going to do a 700 calorie workout, I've had at least 700 calories plus whatever my RMR usage is up until that point.
  • jlapey
    jlapey Posts: 1,850 Member
    Good question! I've been doing StrongLifts for a couple months now. I haven't been logging my food but I having been gaining or losing weight, at least not scale-wise. I haven't seen much change in the way of measurements either although I do see changes in my shape and general "hardness" of my muscles. Not sure if I should change my eating habits or not. I still have fat to lose but do I eat more or eat less?

    ETA: You should also try posting your question to this group:
  • ElizabethKalmbach
    ElizabethKalmbach Posts: 1,416 Member
    NROL will have pretty good explanations for you, but basically you want to keep your protein levels up and your carb and fat levels even and healthy. 40/30/30 (protein/fat/carb) is what the book and quite a few trainers recommend. I personally don't do well at that ratio, but I have other *issues* that shouldn't affect you.

    I just recommend switching your ratios slowly, if you decide to make any drastic changes. Your stomach will need time to get used to the new plan.
  • katy_trail
    katy_trail Posts: 1,992 Member
    that is ALOT OF CARDIO. if your focus is the lifting it's better to minimize it to 1-2 hours a week. less if it's HiiT.
    too much and your muscles are not recovering like they should.
    remember you tear the muscle during the workout, it gets rebuilt during rest.

    there is no specific way to eat. space out your protein through the day.
    meal timing doesn't matter. just meet your macros.
  • KatLifter
    KatLifter Posts: 1,314 Member
    I eat when I'm hungry. I try to keep with natural or "clean" foods that are high in protein. I eat mainly complex carbs like sweet potato, brown rice, lentils, beans, oats, and quinoa. Lots of healthy fats like coconut, avocado, nuts and nut butters. Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, eggs/egg whites, fish, Greek yogurt and whey protein powder. Also, lots of veggies and fruit when I want it. I always have snacks on hand like Quest bars, apples, and almonds.

    I'm trying my best to keep it sane, not rule out any foods just because, or make too strict of a schedule I can't stick to. Think that's about it for me. :smile:

    ETA: I have my Macros set to 40% protein, 30% carbs and fat, 2,000 calories a day. Sometimes I eat more and sometimes less.
  • Dragonwolf
    Dragonwolf Posts: 5,600 Member
    I have protein within the first 15 minutes of being awake. I have protein before I go lift. I have protein after I lift. I have protein for lunch. I have protein for dinner. I have protein snacks (not kidding, you Kay's Naturals makes chips with protein).

    I smoke two joints in the morning, I smoke two joints at night...I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints, and then I smoke two more... :smokin:

    Oh wait, different thing? Dammit...
  • laughingdani
    laughingdani Posts: 2,276 Member
    I eat a lot of protein. I think you could stand to up the protein a bit.

    Honestly, as long as you are hitting your macros, then you're good to go.
    I would suggest moving them around a bit.

    I hope you're hitting your calorie goal as well. You need fuel.
  • crystalflame
    crystalflame Posts: 1,049 Member
    Sorry, diary's friends only, but here's what I do:

    5'5", 122lbs, 22% BF (95lbs LBM)

    Goal: 18% BF

    1500-1800 net cals, 100 g protein, 45 g fat, balance carbs

    Proteins: Lean proteins like chicken, shrimp, and turkey, dairy like milk and yogurt, supplemented with whey protein powder
    Fats: usually nuts, avocado, olive oil, with a bit of saturated fat from cheese or fatty meats when I want them
    Carbs: veggie, fruit, and whole grain heavy, tagalong carbs from dairy
    Treats: IIFYM

    High-cal days are usually the days after lifting. I'm always ravenous when my muscles are recovering. Makes me feel better during cardio workouts too.
  • markymarrkk
    markymarrkk Posts: 495 Member
    I think you are soooo on the right track. I mean personally I'd suggest less cardio, unless one of your goals is to increase cardiovascular/endurance capability.

    I lift 3 days a week MWF, 5-10 rep range. Autoregulated variation of Stronglifts, my foundation is the major barbell moves, I do HIIT cardio 2 days a week, swimming, running, elliptical and I add isolated weight training on these days, such as Bi's, Tri's, Shoulders. Once a week I do steady state long cardio in the form of a bike ride or a hike ( I don't log my weekend stuff).

    I eat Net 1500 cals (I'm trying to lose fat) ... so I actually eat about 1800-2000 calories a day.
  • BeachIron
    BeachIron Posts: 6,490 Member
    Eat enough calories to cover your TDEE, get about 0.7 to 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass (the best I can tell 0.7 per pound of LBM is a safe minimum for maintenance), get enough fats, and finish the rest out with carbs. I personally try to get equal amounts of each macronutrient as I enjoy protein and fat, but that's likely serious overkill.

    I eat 2 to 3 times a day when cutting or maintaining, and 3 to 4 times a day when bulking. Don't worry about meal timing, just do what works for you.
  • waldo56
    waldo56 Posts: 1,861 Member
    When in doubt, eat more meat.....