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Calorie intake for endurance training

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NANLEYKW's Photo SparkPoints: (49,524)
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3/21/14 1:02 P

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I can't imagine that 1700 calories is nearly enough for you. I'm female, 5'5" and 135 lbs, and I burn about 2000 calories/week (give or take, depending on how long my long run is that week). I average eating somewhere around 1900-2000 calories/day and am maintaining my weight. (I was losing on 1800/day.)

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MOTIVATED@LAST's Photo Posts: 13,952
3/21/14 6:39 A

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The body has usable energy reserves of about 2000 calories, so should comfortably handle a 600 calorie workout.

However, I would think that you are burning SIGNIFICANTLY more than 1700 calories per day.

It is generally reckoned that a sedentary lifestyle burns around 20% in addition to your BMR through daily NON-exercise activities. As a PE teacher, this is more likely to be 30-40% in addition to your BMR. Focussed workouts would be in addition this again.

So your total burn would be BMR (1700) + 30-40% (510-680) + 600 = 2810-2990.

If you continually run down your reserves through eating significantly less than your overall energy expenditure, then it is likely that this will show up in less-than optimal performance.

Also, when faced with a large calorie deficit, your body can try to close the deficit by slowing your metabolism, sacrificing muscle to preserve fat, etc. Not only is this unhealthy, but the muscle loss makes your long term performance gains harder.

If you are looking to maintain your weight but improve performance, then you should definitely be eating more. If you are concerned about gaining weight, try increasing to 2200 and see what happens then.


The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

 current weight: 178.0 

SPARK_COACH_JEN's Photo Posts: 55,211
3/21/14 6:26 A

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There are two different methods the site uses to calculate your recommended calorie range. One is based on a calories burned goal, and the other (which I'm guessing you are using) changes your calorie range based on how much exercise you're tracking. So you will find that your range goes up as you log your exercise.

I think 1700 calories is definitely too low based on your activity level and your active job. Eating too few calories can be just as bad as eating too many, as it looks like you're finding. As long as you're getting those calories from healthy sources, eating more isn't going to make you put on fat. It's very likely going to make you feel better, both during exercise and throughout the day. I would recommend slowly increasing your calories, so that you can easily monitor how you're feeling and whether or not it has an effect on your weight. So consider increasing 100-200 calories per week until you get into the range that your program suggests.

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call "failure" is not the falling down but the staying down." Mary Pickford

"No matter how slow you go, you are still lapping everybody on the couch."

Posts: 3
3/20/14 7:20 P

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I'm a male 5'9" and weight 155. I lost about 50 pounds 2 years and ago and have been eating healthy ever since and working out a lot. My exercise involves days of insanity workouts and days of running, with each of those workouts burning at least 600 calories. I've been using my fitness pal and have recently switched to sparkpeople. I've been eating around 1700 calories a day for a while and I think it's starting to work against me. I'm a physical education teacher, so I'm on my feet all day moving around as well. I'm just so worried about putting weight back on. I like spark because of the TDEE calculator. My BMR is 1700 and my TDEE is from 2100-2400 according to spark after inputting a light activity level.

I want to eat more so I can train better. I have been very sluggish after my morning workouts and the only think I can think of is that I'm not eating enough. Can someone give me some reassurance that I need to eat more and that I won't get fat if I keep to my training schedule? Also, if I burn 700 calories from a workout, do I add that onto the 2100-2400 calorie range, or is that already added in by saying I am lightly active?

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