Just give me a number? Just give me a number?

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Thread: Just give me a number?

  1. #1
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    Default Just give me a number?

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    Hello. About two months ago I started listening to the podcasts, reading the books, and training on the LP. My numbers got yanked around after a lengthy battle with Norovirus, so they arenít where I want. My question is, I think, quite simple: how many calories should I eat? Iíve read the three questions article, and a clarification. I see a lot of ďobviously a 150 pound male eats differently than a 250 pound maleĒ but I havenít seen a way for me to actually figure out how much I should be eating to both continue my gains on the novice LP and not balloon considering Iím already close to the danger zone (I think).

    Iím a 36 yo male. Two months on LP with a hiatus for Norovirus in the middle. Squat 135 to 215; bench 115 to 160; deadlift 175 to 285. Progress is nice, and Iím optimistic thereís more here. Iím also 5-11, 200 pounds. BMI 28; waist measurement 39 inches (although I wear a 35 or 36 pant). I do think part of this is large hips/frame.

    Iíve seen recommendations from 2500 to 4000 calories. Iíve seen recommendations for eating at a slight deficit (because I have plenty of amassed storage) to eating at a large surplus to chase gains. My head is spinning. I want to keep progressing as long as I can on the LP and I donít want my waist to get any larger. Are those incomparable goals?

    Thank you for your time.

  2. #2
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    The LP assumes sufficient macronutrients are consumed. The overweight trainee who needs to lose body fat may be able to fuel his fat stores for a period of time but eventually he will have to end his LP, go to an intermediate program until he's done losing weight, and then reboot LP once resources are sufficiently replenished. LP is not a weight loss program so understand that being able to lose weight while on it beyond the first month or two is the exception not the rule. You are also not that overweight and not that strong yet. 405 x 5 deadlift and 315 x 5 squat will change the way you carry that 200 lb.

  3. #3
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    "Just give me a number" :laugh: As I begin to learn on this journey I realise just how pointless giving any number would be. Getting serious with a diet is as tough as lifting the weights. Most people just estimate it "yeah near enough" that "one small beer" or that pack of peanuts won't make much difference.

  4. #4
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    Exact numbers are hard because of the differences between people.

    Do you keep a food diary? When I have friends that ask me questions about gaining or losing weight I normally recommend something like this:

    Keep a food diary for 1 week. Just eat what you normally would eat. At the end of the week if you did't gain or lose weight then you've found the minimum number of daily calories needed to just maintain your weight. Adjust calories up or down from there depending on what you are trying to do. Since you are trying to gain weight, you'd go up in calories. The number of calories takes a little experimentation. For example, for me, as I've gotten older (49 now) I've found that if ramp calories up too quickly, I just get fat. Not much stronger or more muscular, just fat. So, when I'm trying to gain weight I go up pretty conservatively. Normally 100-200 per day each week and watch what my weight, waist circumference, and strength do. If my weight and strength are doing what I want and my waist stays reasonable, I stick with that number of calories for another week and repeat the evaluation. Once I stall out and stop gaining weight, I adjust again by 100-200 calories per day and start the process over.

    --Andy

  5. #5
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    Andy you make it sound almost easy :-)
    Having embarked on a recomp diet, two things became clear:

    The first is that I have to eat the same exact quantity and similar foods to be sure of maintaining steady calories, I still have to weigh it all, even after 3 months.

    The second is just how inconsistent my diet had been previously despite thinking it was pretty much fine.

    Hats off to you if you are able to eat normally without actually counting and weighing, but for me it would be an impossibility. I can eye up a plate of roast sweet potato chips and roughly the size of 6oz of lean meat. A bowl of porridge made with water is easy enough, as is a cup of boiled rice, or fresh berries. The problem is fat. I could go out for a meal and have a heap of mashed potato which is about the same as the sweet potato mound, but if it's full of butter, cream and milk it's going to be massively different. Same with porridge made with full cream milk, or berries with added sugar. A piece of chicken is easy, but in a curry sauce ? I'm lost.

    Robert, I think, recommends photographing everything in order to make a food diary, but even then, unless you're anal, there are going to be times when you forget, or can't be bothered.

  6. #6
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    Tracking and weighing is meant to be educational training wheels so to speak. You should be paying attention to what actually comes out in terms of portion size with the intention of eventually self managing. We didn't evolve to eat to plug numbers into a smartphone app so long-term compliance is often nonexistent for most. The goal is to be consistent with your food choices and thus your results will be consistent as well. Adding too much variability to your routine is often what causes your weight to swing the other way post-diet. That and we slow down as a function of age so at some point everyone gains weight back no matter what. Getting stronger bends this curve by adding lean body mass but eventually biology takes over.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the responses. I agree with Robertís initial comment, that I am neither fat nor strong (yet). I have been eating between 3000-3300 calories per day with 215+ grams of protein. This is per MyFitnessPal and using a scale. This would be a slight calorie surplus. I eat almost the same foods at the same time each day. Iíve read and listened to enough to know that there is variability, hence the range rather than a precise number, but my diet (and ability to track it) is not the issue I am asking about. Admittedly my initial post was not clear about this. While Iím not claiming to be perfect with it, the point of my original post was to determine the appropriate target calorie intake if I was. (Sort of like ďassuming a frictionless environment...Ē).

    Maybe instead of asking for a number, I should have asked for a range, or maybe more generally, just a concept. Given my training status, current numbers (weight on scale and on bar), should I continue to eat at a slight calorie excess? Or am I carrying enough excess fluff that I should be training at a slight deficit until my lifts stall? Or should I go full hog 6000+ calories?

    Judging from Robertís first responseóthat Iím ďnot that overweightĒóI take it that Iím not in the ďuse fluff to trainĒ group and should eat up. Yet, clearly Iím not an underweight trainee I n the GOMAD group either. That leaves me to believe that I should eat at a slight surplus (3300ish) until the LP stalls. Because Iím no expert, I appreciate the advice and comments. Thanks.

  8. #8
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    Hi Nockian - it does sound easy But, it's far from it. Being disciplined about your diet is a million times hardier than being disciplined with training. I've spent a lot of time over the years measuring and tracking what I eat. I'm now to the point where I can pretty accurately eyeball things and get close to my calorie goal for the day. I also end up eating a lot of the same stuff day to day which also helps with just knowing what I'm eating. ie: I have three different breakfast meal plans and I just rotate through those. I've done that for so long that I can tell you the calorie and macro break down off the top of my head. It's kind of OCD, actually.....

    I also still force myself to measure and track in a food diary for a week every couple of months. I've found that just helps with keeping things in perspective and my intake in check.

    --Andy

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walleye View Post
    Thanks for the responses. I agree with Robert’s initial comment, that I am neither fat nor strong (yet). I have been eating between 3000-3300 calories per day with 215+ grams of protein. This is per MyFitnessPal and using a scale. This would be a slight calorie surplus. I eat almost the same foods at the same time each day. I’ve read and listened to enough to know that there is variability, hence the range rather than a precise number, but my diet (and ability to track it) is not the issue I am asking about. Admittedly my initial post was not clear about this. While I’m not claiming to be perfect with it, the point of my original post was to determine the appropriate target calorie intake if I was. (Sort of like “assuming a frictionless environment...”).

    Maybe instead of asking for a number, I should have asked for a range, or maybe more generally, just a concept. Given my training status, current numbers (weight on scale and on bar), should I continue to eat at a slight calorie excess? Or am I carrying enough excess fluff that I should be training at a slight deficit until my lifts stall? Or should I go full hog 6000+ calories?

    Judging from Robert’s first response—that I’m “not that overweight”—I take it that I’m not in the “use fluff to train” group and should eat up. Yet, clearly I’m not an underweight trainee I n the GOMAD group either. That leaves me to believe that I should eat at a slight surplus (3300ish) until the LP stalls. Because I’m no expert, I appreciate the advice and comments. Thanks.
    Calorie Needs for Barbell Training | Robert Santana

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by SpazTheCat View Post
    Hi Nockian - it does sound easy But, it's far from it. Being disciplined about your diet is a million times hardier than being disciplined with training. I've spent a lot of time over the years measuring and tracking what I eat. I'm now to the point where I can pretty accurately eyeball things and get close to my calorie goal for the day. I also end up eating a lot of the same stuff day to day which also helps with just knowing what I'm eating. ie: I have three different breakfast meal plans and I just rotate through those. I've done that for so long that I can tell you the calorie and macro break down off the top of my head. It's kind of OCD, actually.....

    I also still force myself to measure and track in a food diary for a week every couple of months. I've found that just helps with keeping things in perspective and my intake in check.

    --Andy
    'Far from it' :-) I've been recomping for 3 months and lost 13lbs whilst actually increasing my lifts, not an easy balancing act and I wouldn't have been able to do that without Mr Baker to coach me. Very happy with the results both from a health and aesthetic perspective, but boy do I have to be strict and focused. Once I hit my target BF I'm going to have to do something similar to what you are doing for a bit of variety. How long have you been doing this ?

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