Friday, February 18, 2011

The Details & My Food Pyramid(s)

I've had more than a few folks contact me here or on Facebook asking about the specifics of how I'm approaching Leangains.

My personal goal is to lose a signifcant amount of bodyfat while also adding compact muscle and strength - I was skinny fat when I began in January and wondering why all of my jeans were getting too tight.

The holidays and my poor eating habits had caught up with me, and I had gained more than a few extra pounds despite killing myself with HIIT at the gym 4-5x's a week. I worked out like a crazy person and could not get fit. Well, turns out, you can't exercise your way out of a bad diet.

When I first stumbled on
Martin's blog in early January, I was tipping the scales at about 128 lbs and had a significant belly as well as a lot of padding all around. I think I may have been close to 30% bodyfat and it made me sick.

Call it genetics if you want - my parents are both thick in the middle - but, after reading Leangains, I was determined that having a thick middle was not going to be my destiny and that it is, in fact, in my power to change it.

I'm not sure what my lean weight should be, to be honest. At my thinnest, my senior year in high school, I was 105 lbs, but not muscular at all. With that in mind, I don't know what my goal lean weight is, but I do know what it looks like (see picture in the right margin of me in 5 months).

To lose fat, I try to stay under 1,300 kcals on non-training days and slightly over on days I do train. On all days I try to eat 1.2g protein per lb of bodyweigt (approx. 142 g or 568 calories each day/or 45% of my total kcals).

That leaves me about 730 calories left to split between fat and carbs.

Training Days
On training days, I eat more carbs - approx. 400 calories/or nearly 100g a day. This represents about 30% of 1,300 kcals. That only leaves about 330 kcals for fat, or 36g (remember, 1 g fat = 9 kcals while 1g carb or protein = 4 kcals.)

I try to eat my largest meal after my workout. If I train in the morning, I sip 10g BCAAs on the way to the gym; 10g an hour after training and another 10 g an hour after that. Then, at 1 p.m. I'll have a huge protein-packed lunch and some berries. Dinner will be a very healthy portion of protein, a ton of veggies and some carbs depending on my lunch portion. Before 9 pm, I make fluff or have a casein shake with one scoop plus skim milk.

Rest Days
On non-training days I reverse the ratio and eat 45% kcals in protein, 20% or less in carbs and the rest in fat.

And, though I should eat my largest meal at lunch, during the work week I save this larger meal for dinner with the family or dinner and drinks with friends and will just eat a light lunch of mostly protein and fat. As always, I'll have a casein shake, cottage cheese or fluff before 9 pm.

I should also note that I am a veggie freak - broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, carrots, corn, green beans, snap beans, celery, onions, mushrooms, cucumbers, red and green cabbage, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce of all varieties. You name it and I will most likely eat it.

As for my fats, I use bacon grease or olive oil in most of my cooking. I love avocadoes and cheese (sparingly) as well as the crispy skin of a roasted chicken and fatty cuts of beef as well as salmon.

Protein is the norm - chicken, fish, beef or pork and occasionally lunch meats, but they're so salty I have a hard time eating much of them.

Carbs include pinto or black beans, chickpeas, yams, berries/fruit, brown rice, whole wheat couscous, whole wheat pasta, whole grain tortillas and taco shells, etc. And, yes, I skip the breadbasket.

So, there you have it. I'm not being personally guided by anyone in my quest to get lean. I'm just reading all that I can, cutting out most unnecessary carbs and sugars and lifting heavy.

**As a sidenote - I did 9 wide-grip pullups my first set the other day and benched 95 x5 - Two more personal records and indicators that now it's time to add weight again.**


Tyson said...

Where did you come up with your macro-nutrient ratio's from? I have been trying to figure out that information for some time now with not much success.

Jenn said...

The macros aren't set in stone, just what seems to be working. I'm getting stronger (more muscle) while losing weight (albeit slowly) and I have a ton of energy.

The 1.2g/lb of bodyweight is fairly common and I just guessed with the fat/carb ratio. It's something I will probably play with as I go along. If I stall on my weight loss, I'll cut more carbs and add more fat and protein. If I lose too much energy/strength, I'll up the carbs a bit. I don't think there's an exact science to it as my body is changing so fast it's hard to tell what it needs.

Katie D. said...

Hey Jenn,
I'm so glad to have gotten wind of your site through I'm really interested in the lean gains approach, but I have yet to really dial it in. There isn't a lot of women out there using IF, so I'm really interested to read about your experiences with it. I too am 5'2'' and always fluctuating between 120-130. I would love to stay at 120, so I'm excited to keep up with your blog and constantly see your progress! It will help me to stay on track! Do you measure out your food? Or do you just keep your protein intake high and eat to satiety on fats and carbs? Sometimes weighing my food can get overly neurotic for me. But maybe if I measure them and eat my food in the 8 hour window it won't be so bad, thoughts? Thanks for the blog!

Jenn said...

@katie- I measure when I can, but it's not always practical. It is helpful if ypu can though, measuring meat in particular does give you an idea of how much you can eat. That way, when you can't measure, you have a ballpark for the size of a cut of meat or fish or chicken.

Calories are critical though, so you have to keep track until it becomes second nature.

jennieB. said...

I'm loving your blog. I'm a female trying to figure out this leangains stuff. I'm curious how you figured your calories? I'm 5'9" so I'm wondering if 1300 is too low on non-workout days. What do you think?