I have been 5'2" and weighed near 115 pounds since 1970, as a freshman in high school. I ran 1/2 marathons in my twenties and thirties, swam on a masters swim team at age 40 - 45, and lifted weights for about ten years, ages 45 - 55. I added yoga at age 40, and pilates at age 45. I did step aerobics from about 1980 - 2000.
Through all that, my weight was within 5 pounds of my original 115. I eat small bits all day long about every 2-3 hours- even when traveling. I eat a balanced breakfast, and have 2-4 small servings of protein each day. I use the FDA food pyramid or plate as a general guide to keep things simple. And I allow myself 2-4 servings of sugar treats per week. I eat around 1300- 1700 calories per day.
I am unusually strong for my 55 years, outside of a current long-term illness (so far 6 months into it and counting...)
Go exercise daily, mix up your workouts, eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and get strong!
Protein is one of those things where it is important to get enough of it, but once you get to that point, consuming more is of little benefit, as the excess just gets burned for energy (or turned to fat if you are not at a calorie deficit).
A solid exercise program of cardio and strength training will drive your protein requirements higher. But as long as you are within Spark's recommended range for protein, you should be fine.
But I take your point - there are so many people out there who take the absolute maximum for athletes in HEAVY training, distort it (not realizing that the recommended range is typically expressed in grams per KILOGRAM of bodyweight, rather than per pound), and then add a bit more "just for good measure". They end up basically eating double the amount of protein their body can actually make use of, and the rest just ends up being empty calories.
Fitness Minutes: (38,265)
724 11/18/12 1:50 P
I agree with everyone who posted here except the consuming of a lot of protein. You do not need excess protein. You should do some strength training at least 3 times a week. You will not bulk up, but will develop lean muscle. You should do cardio at least 3 times a week also. When you burn fat, it will be all over as you really cannot target a specific area.
It sounds like what you are really looking at is changing your body composition - adding some lean mass, while losing some fat.
For this, you need to be aiming at a fairly moderate rate of weight loss - say 0.25-0.5 lbs per week. Set your Spark weight loss goals up for this weight loss, and see what intake it recommends.
Secondly, strength training is important here - you need to be choosing weights/exercises challenging enough that you are genuinely fatiguing your muscles in 12 reps or less. Once you can do 12 reps or more of an exercise, it is time to move up to a heavier weight/more challenging exercise.
Fitness Minutes: (209,060)
20,646 11/18/12 7:02 A
If you want to increase lean mass and decrease body fat, the others are correct. Not only do you have to eat a healthy diet (the body builders will tell you that strong ABs are built in the kitchen), but you have to engage in strength training to overload those muscles. If you can't hire a personal trainer, that's okay. you don't need a trainer, BUT if you are new to strength training, it wouldn't hurt to have access to a professional. Do you have a gym membership ? If so, take a group exercise weight training class. Most gyms have a schedule of classes and many include weight training classes. Take a class. a class will show you the basics of how to use a barbell and free weights. The instructor will also cue you for form. That's vital if you're going to strength train. And you can always ask an instructor for tips.
If you don't have a gym membership, then I'm going to recommend two beginner strength training books you can find at the library or amazon.
Body for Life (Bill Phillips) The New Rules of Lifting for Women (cosgrove)
Both are good books which will show you the basics of strength training.
Here's something that strikes me about your post. You mentioned that you tend to give up. Well, if you want to increase lean muscle, you can't give up after a few weeks. You have to be consistent with your routine because not to sound cliche,"if you don't use it, you lose it".
One thing you have to think about is why you tend to stop. Because if you can maintain consistency, you will achieve your goal.
Fitness Minutes: (100,648)
13,096 11/17/12 8:48 P
compound full body strength training 3x/week, heavy weights, low reps. minimal cardio, 3x/week, 30 minutes max, HIIT. You don't need a ton of protein in your diet, but try to avoid things that bloat (processed carbs, salt)
Fitness Minutes: (7,311)
1,012 11/17/12 8:27 P
Definitely can't hire a personal trainer...
I guess I should clarify. I don't want to focus on building muscle. That is not my main goal. My main goal is to lose fat. I just want to gain enough muscle to be able to do these work outs! When I work out regularly, I tend to gain muscle mass and lose fat in about equal weight amounts, then I lose the muscle when I stop working out. I have never worked out enough to actually lose the fat I want, so I don't know if I need to reduce what I eat to finally achieve that fat loss (since right now I'm eating my BMR amount plus the number of calories I burn during exercise).
Edited by: CHLOEAGH at: 11/17/2012 (20:31)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
46,222 11/17/12 8:26 P
In order to build lean body mass, you need to have a caloric surplus along with a well-balanced strength training program targeting all major muscle groups...and you must be OK with your which weight going up. Eating protein is important, but you can eat too much (just like you can eat too many carbs and fats), therefore any excess that the body cannot utilize will be stored as fat. The body can only metabolize between 35-42 grams at one time, so it is important to eat it throughout the day, but be careful not to go overboard. Protein in and of itself does not build lean body mass...that comes from overloading the muscles to the point that you cause trauma to the fibers so as the fibers heal, your muscles get stronger and bigger.
I'll defer to some of the other experts on this board, but I know you need to be eating AT LEAST as much as your maintenance caloriee range, you need to be eating a very high protein diet, and you need to be strength training with heavy weight 3 times per week. Hiring a personal trainer at first is a good idea.
Fitness Minutes: (7,311)
1,012 11/17/12 8:02 P
I love SparkPeople for the the accountability and the ability to track my food and exercise. However, right now I'm eating to maintain my body weight because I don't know how to track my goal. I am happy with my current weight. At 5'2" and 115lbs, I have a very healthy BMI. I don't want to lose weight, instead I want to lose fat and gain muscle. I carry a lot of fat around my middle. I know that is very unhealthy and it makes me very self conscious. I know about how many inches I want to lose, but I don't see any way to list this goal and find out exactly how I should be eating to achieve this goal. Will I be okay just eating to maintain my weight and working out regularly, or do I need to be eating less?
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