Am I Sedentary or Lightly Active?

Hi all, I've just been confused with my activity level to determine how many calories I should take in each day. I'm 18, female, 5'5" and weigh 105lbs. I am trying to gain 0.5lbs per week, mainly muscle and some fat for sports (lacrosse and soccer).

With a Sedentary Lifestyle, MFP says I should take in 1,810 calories each day, but with a Lightly Active lifestyle it says 2,010 calories each day- that's quite the difference!

I generally sit most of the day, whether it be at my computer or my desk, and I only walk around within my house to cook, walk the dog, or straighten up a bit. Some days I go on outings and walk around more during the day, and I am working as a teacher's summer aid for three hours a day, which entails a lot of standing. I am also on and off as an intern with a pastry chef, which involves being on my feet for a few hours at a time, BUT my internship is need-based, so I do not work every day. I am a high school student and walk to class, etc, but I am LAZY during the summer months and weekends. I am basically sedentary aside from sports practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I workout with Insanity, Insanity The Asylum, Insanity The Asylum Vol. 2, and running on some non-practice days roughly for 1-2 hours, BUT I do NOT have a set schedule and I tend to skip days. I typically workout 2-3 days a week, and have practice 2 days a week. Outside of that, I don't move much except for my little jobs or school.

So, I am wondering, would I be considered Sedentary or Lightly Active? I don't like logging my exercise/workouts because it's not always accurate.

Thanks!

Replies

  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,706 Member
    edited July 2015
    [deleted after realizing the OP was trying to gain weight]
  • atypicalsmith
    atypicalsmith Posts: 2,742 Member
    5'5" and only 105 pounds? I'm glad you are trying to gain weight. I would set it to sedentary.
  • Christine_72
    Christine_72 Posts: 16,056 Member
    I agree. Set it at sedentary. You can reassess down the track, if you need too.
  • Kalikel
    Kalikel Posts: 9,626 Member
    edited July 2015
    I'd stop counting and just eat as much as I could if I were you. But if you must count, use sedentary.
  • Merkavar
    Merkavar Posts: 3,061 Member
    They really need a sticky/pin topic for this if there isn't one.

    My guess is sedentary.

    Go with sedentary and give it a go for a few weeks and see how your weight gain is. I'm guessing you want slow weight gain so play it safe with sedentary.

    Also something like a fit bit could help, with mfp set to allow negative adjustments it doesn't matter which setting you pick.
  • ckassik26
    ckassik26 Posts: 1 Member
    I'm kind of split here... Being a high school athlete just a few years ago, I would say just to eat as you feel, and see how your weight pans out. However, seeing that you are trying to gain weight, I assume you are possibly having a issue of eating enough to put on weight, so this would definitely be a good tool to help you put on "healthy" weight.

    Considering your sporadic schedule, I would say just start at Sedentary, and then you could even adjust up to "lightly active" or "active" for your heavy activity days. Especially since you're basically gonna want to eat back your exercise calories.
  • BWBTrish
    BWBTrish Posts: 2,817 Member
    to be fair..when i see your weight..i would do lightly active and see that i eat as much as possible to gain some.
    Squeeze in the morning straight away some peanut butter and avocados in my breakfast and other calorie dense food.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 10,865 Member
    Your ultimate goals have nothing to do with the definition of sedentary vs lightly active vs active.

    Sedentary is a person who engages in approximately 35 minutes of activity or takes about 3500 to 5000 steps a day.

    An active person would engage in more than 90 minutes of activity / 10000 steps a day.

    In between would be lightly active....

    By activity in this context I am talking moving around, not sitting or reclining.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 10,865 Member
    I re-read your OP and it sure sounds like you are trying to bulk. It also sounds like you do NOT plan to track your exercise separately and eat it back on top of your base caloric target.

    As such all of the advice you received about putting yourself in an artificially lower activity bracket is, politely, and simply, just wrong. (To the defence of everyone who responded, you posted in the weight loss, not weight gain section!)

    Your activity level is, clearly above lightly active. In fact, it not even JUST active. For MFP you are VERY ACTIVE.

    I don't know about everyone else, but when you tell me that on 2-3 days a week you do 1-2 hours of Insanity workouts plus on 2 days a week you engage in sports practice, I personally have a hard time entering this in a calculator as LESS than a cumulative 5-6 hours of strenuous exercise in a week.

    In fact, coupled with standing at work, I am having a real hard time not bumping you up another notch to "7-21 hours of strenuous exercise a week".

    I can tell you from personal knowledge that 5-6 hours of strenuous exercise on the Scooby TDEE calculator corresponds to MFP's VERY ACTIVE setting.

    Since your TDEE is probably ABOVE that, and since you can't go any higher than that, that is the setting you should pick on MFP, unless you intend to separately track and eat back your exercise calories.

    So, using the lower setting of 5-6 hours a week, your TDEE based on Scooby's Accurate Calorie Calculator comes to 2171. For a clean bulk you are supposed to eat at 2421.

    This is based on a person who sits around most of the day EXCEPT for their 5-6 hours a week of strenuous exercise.

    In reality it sounds like you could easily fit the next level up, which would actually push your TDEE to 2391 and your bulking target to 2641.

    Anyway you cut it (pun intended), I don't see how you can convince yourself that you are truly pursuing your goal without aiming to eat AT LEAST 2400 to 2500 Cal.

    I am sure the weight gain and exercise forums may have better specific ideas for you in terms of Macros. Still I don't see how you would not want to eat at least 0.8g of protein per lb of body weight, and an absolute minimum of 0.35g of fat per lb of bodyweight. I would suspect that your fat grams may need to be substantially higher than this on a bulk.

    Exercise wise I am a little bit out of my depth, but everything you do seems to fall in the "cardio" category.

    Cardio is great for losing weight because it increases your caloric burn.

    Not sure how that fits into your goals, or if there would be any benefits to you trying to engage in a weight lifting program to build strength.

    You might be better off asking the fitness and exercise crowd about that...
  • qtchick1
    qtchick1 Posts: 19 Member
    Sorry for hijacking the post. But what would you call a life style that involves standing whole day and ironing the cloths almost 6-9 hrs per day with about 3-6 km average walking.
  • scr183
    scr183 Posts: 49 Member
    OP - you could just track your current intake for a couple of weeks, if you're not sure how much you're currently consuming (and all this assumes you're currently maintaining your weight, as it sounds like you are), and then once you have a daily average sorted from that, work up to adding 250 calories a day, then see how you go. You may well need to tweak from there, but my guess is that should get you pretty close to where you want to be.
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    1) <5000 steps.d (sedentary);
    2) 5000-7499 steps.d (low active);
    3) 7500-9999 steps.d (somewhat active);
    4) > or =10,000-12,499 steps.d (active); and
    5) > or =12,500 steps.d (highly active)
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14715035

    Regardless of jobs that are sometimes and workouts that are not consistent except practice and the fact you are trying to gain weight (bulk) you are probably lightly active. Jobs when done are a couple hours not 8-9.

    Insanity is exercise so that does not figure into it as it is exercise and MFP is based on NEAT which is non exercise activity. Ditto with the sports activity.

    If you are trying to gain some weight log those activities and eat all the calories it gives you.

    @PAV8888 activity level in MFP is based on non exercise please remember that for the next time.
  • brightsideofpink
    brightsideofpink Posts: 1,018 Member
    I recommend finding a cheap pedometer- nothing fancy, you can find one in the $5 range. Wear it for a week to get a gauge of your activity without sports. Use the guidelines posted above and that is your setting. Also enter in your activity from the sports and eat those calories back. Give it a few weeks and you'll see how its working out and you can adjust. Also, there is a gaining weight section of the forums here that can help you with more details on appropriate foods to eat. Good luck.
  • TheGibbler11
    TheGibbler11 Posts: 2 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    I re-read your OP and it sure sounds like you are trying to bulk. It also sounds like you do NOT plan to track your exercise separately and eat it back on top of your base caloric target.

    As such all of the advice you received about putting yourself in an artificially lower activity bracket is, politely, and simply, just wrong. (To the defence of everyone who responded, you posted in the weight loss, not weight gain section!)

    Your activity level is, clearly above lightly active. In fact, it not even JUST active. For MFP you are VERY ACTIVE.

    I don't know about everyone else, but when you tell me that on 2-3 days a week you do 1-2 hours of Insanity workouts plus on 2 days a week you engage in sports practice, I personally have a hard time entering this in a calculator as LESS than a cumulative 5-6 hours of strenuous exercise in a week.

    In fact, coupled with standing at work, I am having a real hard time not bumping you up another notch to "7-21 hours of strenuous exercise a week".

    I can tell you from personal knowledge that 5-6 hours of strenuous exercise on the Scooby TDEE calculator corresponds to MFP's VERY ACTIVE setting.

    Since your TDEE is probably ABOVE that, and since you can't go any higher than that, that is the setting you should pick on MFP, unless you intend to separately track and eat back your exercise calories.

    So, using the lower setting of 5-6 hours a week, your TDEE based on Scooby's Accurate Calorie Calculator comes to 2171. For a clean bulk you are supposed to eat at 2421.

    This is based on a person who sits around most of the day EXCEPT for their 5-6 hours a week of strenuous exercise.

    In reality it sounds like you could easily fit the next level up, which would actually push your TDEE to 2391 and your bulking target to 2641.

    Anyway you cut it (pun intended), I don't see how you can convince yourself that you are truly pursuing your goal without aiming to eat AT LEAST 2400 to 2500 Cal.

    I am sure the weight gain and exercise forums may have better specific ideas for you in terms of Macros. Still I don't see how you would not want to eat at least 0.8g of protein per lb of body weight, and an absolute minimum of 0.35g of fat per lb of bodyweight. I would suspect that your fat grams may need to be substantially higher than this on a bulk.

    Exercise wise I am a little bit out of my depth, but everything you do seems to fall in the "cardio" category.

    Cardio is great for losing weight because it increases your caloric burn.

    Not sure how that fits into your goals, or if there would be any benefits to you trying to engage in a weight lifting program to build strength.

    You might be better off asking the fitness and exercise crowd about that...

    Thank you very much! I was a little doubtful of the Sedentary activity level, even though I do find myself sitting a majority of the time haha (lazy athlete syndrome if that's even possible). I appreciate all the extra info and helpful tips!
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 10,865 Member
    edited July 2015
    SezxyStef wrote: »
    1) <5000 steps.d (sedentary);
    2) 5000-7499 steps.d (low active);
    3) 7500-9999 steps.d (somewhat active);
    4) > or =10,000-12,499 steps.d (active); and
    5) > or =12,500 steps.d (highly active)
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14715035

    Regardless of jobs that are sometimes and workouts that are not consistent except practice and the fact you are trying to gain weight (bulk) you are probably lightly active. Jobs when done are a couple hours not 8-9.

    Insanity is exercise so that does not figure into it as it is exercise and MFP is based on NEAT which is non exercise activity. Ditto with the sports activity.

    If you are trying to gain some weight log those activities and eat all the calories it gives you.

    @PAV8888 activity level in MFP is based on non exercise please remember that for the next time.

    But, @SezxyStef I do remember it! The OP stated she was not planning on tracking and eating back her exercise calories.

    NEAT+ Exercise = TDEE.

    If you artificially set exercise = 0, NEAT = TDEE and you achieve the same result.

    Implicitly MFP condones this alternative use in the manner in which they handle "tracker" adjustments (Fitbit, Jawbone, iPhone, Pacer, etc, adjustments) which are purely TDEE adjustments, yet they are entered as exercise adjustments.

    re: reading my own post where I said the initial advice received was wrong, I see where @SezxyStef may be wondering whether I've gone off my rocker (not difficult!)

    I meant to say that the initial advice was wrong because it was suggesting a sedentary setting and not also explicitly stating: PLUS eat all your exercise calories back PLUS re-evaluate based on your weight change over a period of time. i.e. it was geared towards people trying to lose weight by giving suggestions that were designed to keep them under their calories when the OP's goal was the opposite.
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    SezxyStef wrote: »
    1) <5000 steps.d (sedentary);
    2) 5000-7499 steps.d (low active);
    3) 7500-9999 steps.d (somewhat active);
    4) > or =10,000-12,499 steps.d (active); and
    5) > or =12,500 steps.d (highly active)
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14715035

    Regardless of jobs that are sometimes and workouts that are not consistent except practice and the fact you are trying to gain weight (bulk) you are probably lightly active. Jobs when done are a couple hours not 8-9.

    Insanity is exercise so that does not figure into it as it is exercise and MFP is based on NEAT which is non exercise activity. Ditto with the sports activity.

    If you are trying to gain some weight log those activities and eat all the calories it gives you.

    @PAV8888 activity level in MFP is based on non exercise please remember that for the next time.

    But, @SezxyStef I do remember it! The OP stated she was not planning on tracking and eating back her exercise calories.

    NEAT+ Exercise = TDEE.

    If you artificially set exercise = 0, NEAT = TDEE and you achieve the same result.

    Implicitly MFP condones this alternative use in the manner in which they handle "tracker" adjustments (Fitbit, Jawbone, iPhone, Pacer, etc, adjustments) which are purely TDEE adjustments, yet they are entered as exercise adjustments.

    I am aware of TDEE mine is about 2300-2400...

    But the OP said she doesn't like logging her exercise as it's not accurate...but neither will the TDEE based on an activity level because MFP assumes you are doing NEAT and that you are logging exercise with the activity level set.

    If the OP wants TDEE then go to a site and get an approximation of it and custom set the calorie goal.

  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 10,865 Member
    SezxyStef wrote: »
    If the OP wants TDEE then go to a site and get an approximation of it and custom set the calorie goal.

    We're in agreement on this.

    What I tried to tell the OP is that:
    Scooby's desk job TDEE is approximately equal AS A VALUE to MFP's sendentary setting
    Scooby's 5-6 hours per week of strenuous exercise is approximately equal AS A VALUE to MFP's very active setting

    Which, now that I think about it, is unnecessarily complicated.

    Because in reality you can just ignore the MFP label, and just enter a custom goal which is equal to your calculated TDEE.

    However, I've always done it this more complicated way and did not even think that I was making it un-necessarily complicated :smiley:

    Ah: now I remember why I made it so complicated :smile:

    By choosing one of the built in MFP settings I get the automatic MFP prompt and adjustment with weight loss.

    If I used manual TDEE I believe that I would not get the warning, and would have to remember to adjust the calories myself as my weight changes :blush:
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    For TDEE I wouldn't use a site anyway...use your own data.

    Total calories consumed+(weight lostx3500)/#days...or since OP is trying to gain

    Total calories consumed-(weight gainedx3500)/#days...much more accurate that way.
  • fannyfrost
    fannyfrost Posts: 756 Member
    Personally, I would set it to sedentary and go for at least the calorie goal or more. Don't get crazy about it. You are trying to gain, so the point would be to at least meet the minimum.

    NOTE: I would do mostly strength training to help you gain the muscle. My daughter is 5'4" and went all the way down to 101lbs. She was freaking out, changed her eating a bit and did a few tweaks, including soda for a while went up to 120 (her perfect weight) and is just fine. She also got used to eating more and gets very hungry now :)