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Adding calories to increase exercise & muscle

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Posts: 290
1/6/13 12:15 P

Thank you so much, Bob240, MPlane37 and Knelkins!

I know I am unusual in trying this, but I really think it's the right thing for me right now. I have a meal plan done, and I am planning to eat 5 times per day. 600 cals between 6a and noon, 600 cals between noon and 6pm, and 1000 between 6pm and 10pm. I'm planning my cardio in the morning, and my strength training in the evening.

I will definitely look at the resources you recommended. And I am glad to hear about the bulking/cutting cycle, I'm sure I will do that. I am not trying to get really ripped, but I do build muscle easily for a woman. I have big shoulders and ribcage and muscular calves when I am working out.

The other part of the situation is that I run 2 businesses and have a family and a home and church responsibilities. I have to get through all of this and still be able to work out (and hopefully be pleasant!).

I will let you know how it goes! Thanks again!

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1/6/13 6:47 A

I echo Mplane37's post. I have been on a bulking plan for four weeks, and it wasn't until I began eating at a caloric surplus that I was able to lift significantly heavier. In four weeks, I've gained over a pound of lean body mass, but I've also gained almost a pound of fat. I have been eating around 200 calories per day more than maintenance, and that has seemed to work well for me. I have decided that I'm happy with my gains at the moment, so I am planning to eat at a caloric deficit for a few weeks to lose the extra fat I gained while bulking. This bulking and cutting cycling is a method many people use to expedite and optimize their body composition.

To achieve any significant muscle gain, you absolutely must follow a heavy weightlifting plan. The suggestions others have offered are great; I would also suggest The New Rules of Lifting for Women. It's the exact same program any man serious about lifting would follow, but it takes the time to explain why women should lift like men and debunks many of the myths circulating around out there that cause women to avoid serious weightlifting.

I would also suggest eating at the very least 20% of your calories as protein and eating at least five times per day, with each meal containing a significant amount of protein. I also had good results eating quickly-digesting protein (i.e. whey) in my meals just before and after lifting and eating slowly-digesting protein (i.e. casein) in a meal just before bedtime.

Oh, and I am a woman as well, so it can certainly be done; it simply takes longer, and you must accept that you won't make the kinds of gains a man will. However, even small gains will make a significant difference on a woman's frame. Good luck!

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1/6/13 6:23 A

Let me contribute my 2 cents... I have started lifting weights at a caloric deficiency, doing the "5x5" Bob mentioned below. Every week my strength increased, and I felt great. Until I hit a ceiling in about 8 weeks. I hated the idea of gaining fat, so increasing my caloric intake was out of question. But then I wanted to gain strength, even muscle too, but all I can allow was calories at maintenance. I spent 2 months lifting as heavy as I can. It was a huge frustration. I could not break the ceiling in any of the lifts.

There it was, the brutal truth... If there is no caloric surplus, no strength gain. Then I went into caloric surplus, about half of the week, of 300-500kCals, right after my hardest lifting session... The rest of the week, maintenance. Spent 2 more months with that, and I have been breaking all kinds of ceiling! (well, getting fatter too). Right now, I am practically the strongest I have ever been in my entire life.

However, by the end of spring, I will have to go into a "cutting" phase to get rid of the fat that happens as a side effect of building muscle and strength.

Hope this helps (by the way, I am a man, and therefore have the testosterone advantage).

Edited by: MPLANE37 at: 1/6/2013 (06:23)

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1/6/13 3:46 A

It's interesting that you are one of the few here who are trying to "tone up" correctly.

Now the difficult part. It is incrediblly difficult to build muscle. With a good plan for diet and lifting you will end up building about 0.25 pounds a month! This is barely measurable.

In simple terms you need to eat about 200 calories more than maintenance and always eat 0.8 g to 1g of protein for every pound of body weight every day. It is hard to eat this much protein which is why protein shakes came to be.

You then need a serious lifting programme

Search "5x5" , or "stronglifts" or "body for life." or "starting strength"

Follow these programmes for 12 weeks. They nearly all exclude cardio. (bfl includes it but is imo too intense)

After 12 weeks you might ( and I mean only might) see some difference

Good luck

Edited by: BOB240 at: 1/6/2013 (03:47)

Posts: 290
1/5/13 11:06 P

Thank you, Dragonchilde! I don't have my strength training program set up yet. I have been walking on my treadmill for 30 min per day 5 days per week (at 2.7 mph so not enough). I want to get to jogging for that time before I added strength training.

My problem is this: I started yo you dieting 5 years ago. Any time I wanted to lose weight, I just reduced my calories, and the weight came off. I lost muscle, and now it is so bad that I have almost no muscle tone at all. I have vowed never to do that again, and I am going to build my muscle back up. If I gain fat too, so be it.

Since my muscle tone is so bad, I am worn out easily. Eating 1200-1600 calories doesn't give me enough energy to work out. So the cycle continues. So I am upping my calories and exercising harder.

I am disappointed that 6 weeks will not be enough time. I have noticed a difference even with the last 8 weeks that I've been exercising. I will stick with it longer. I am afraid of gaining weight but I am almost 40 now and I can't expect to yo yo diet and keep losing muscle and be healthy.

So that is why I am trying this maintenance/exercise system. Any more thoughts?

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1/5/13 9:14 P

Unfortunately, losing fat and gaining muscle are conflicting goals. You can't do both at the same time. To lose fat, you must eat at a calorie deficit. You will also lose muscle, at the same time. You can strength train to offset this loss, and preserve existing muscle mass, but you won't gain muscle.

To gain muscle, you must eat at a calorie surplus, and you will of course gain fat at the same time. This is an unavoidable side effect, because your body cannot be isolated in this way. Muscle building takes time... longer than a few weeks. 6 weeks is barely enough time to adjust to a new program; you may not see substantial effects from a new exercise program in as much as 6-8 weeks! Body builders often have to yoyo their diets to achieve the chiseled effects they're looking for.

2200 calories is around maintenance for most people;

What's your current strength training program?

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 1/5/2013 (21:15)

Posts: 290
1/5/13 9:05 P

Hello All,

I'm not trying to lose weight currently, but I would like to increase my muscle tone and decrease body fat. I'm shooting for increasing my intensity in exercising (5 days per week, 30 min per day) and also getting 10k steps per day. I want to add 3 days per week of strength training too.

I decided to increase my calories to 2200 per day, and am going to see how I feel and how well I can exercise. I'm 5'4 and 140 lbs.

I'm planning to try it for about 6 weeks before I decide if it's good. I know I'll gain initially, I'm ok with that, as long as my muscle tone gets better.

Has anyone else done this? Any advice?


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