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Female n00bie - advice?

Discussion in 'Introductions & Advice For Beginners' started by hourglassy, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. hourglassy

    hourglassy Active Member

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    I read through all the stickies, but I wanted to post here to see what you all think, and perhaps get some validation. I'm so glad I found this place! I'm picking up lots of helpful info for your posts.

    Some background:
    I've been 'chubby' most of my life. It's of some comfort that at least I'm quite proportionate and no matter what weight I'm at, I look much lighter. I'm what I would call a yo-yo exerciser. I exercise for a few years, for some reason or another (studies, work) stop altogether until my weight gets out of control and start the cycle again. I can maintain a decent weight if I exercise, so needless to say, I'm committed to making exercise a part of my life from now on (no exceptions!). Having said that, my 'exercise' in the past has consisted primarily of cardio, with some light dumbell work, squats, and other non-equipment workouts.

    My weight shot up to 185 lbs a year ago (d'oh!) I finally got my arse to a gym and dropped to 160 lbs and basically have stayed there for the past 6 months or so. As of 2 weeks ago, I've been weight training, because of course I can do better!

    Here are my current stats:
    Gender: female
    Age: 36
    Height: 5'2"
    Weight: 160 lbs
    BF%: I'd say about 30%, very likely higher

    My current goal is to get down 130 lbs. Although it seems heavy for my height, that's the weight I've been most comfortable at, while fit.

    Gym-wise, I've been going 5 times a week (for the past 2 weeks). I saw a trainer and he split my program into 2 - back muscles (hams, back, triceps) and front muscles (quads, biceps, chest) and I do 1 ab exercise with both. Schedule looks like this:

    Mon: Low-intensity cardio (45 min)
    Wed: Front weights + 20 min HIIT
    Thu: Back weights + 20 min HIIT
    Sat: Front weights + 20 min HIIT
    Sun: Back weights + 20 min HIIT

    As far as nutrition goes, I know the general guidelines (good/bad carbs, fat, foods in general), and it certainly didn't hurt to read the stickies to 'refresh' my memory. I've been tracking my diet on fitday.com for the past week. I'm taking in between 1,300 and 1,800 daily - about 4 - 5 meals a day. My weight has stayed the same for the past 2 weeks, although I do have more energy and am really enjoying pushing myself with the weight routine.

    Now, for the questions:
    • Should I be doing more cardio?
    • Are my daily calories consumed ok? The range seems much too wide to me - should I aim towards the higher or lower range?
    • I'm getting at the most 30% protein - is this ok? more?
    I think I had more questions but I can't think of them now lol. Any advice will be much appreciated. :)
     
  2. Bluestreak

    Bluestreak Well-Known Member

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    If you're putting in the exercise effort you posted above, I don't think you have to worry about increasing exercise output. That's more than enough volume.

    There's nothing wrong with varying calories daily. I have tried it in the past, but I've found a relatively fixed range that works best for me over time. I suggest you record your daily diet and your training versus your body composition changes along the way so you can determine what methods were most effective for you.

    I've never really considered programs that prescribed less than 40% protein per day. While 30% seems low to me, I know other people here have had success at lower protein intakes. Again, you're going to have to give it some time, record your changes, and evaluate how well your program worked. Then tweak it accordingly.

    What you've posted above seems sane to me. You've been at it two weeks - how do you feel on this program? How you feel as you lose weight is important. The better your exercise/nutritional program fits you, the more you'll enjoy it, and the further you'll go, motivated by the enjoyment you receive from the effort.

    Good luck.

    -R
     
  3. hourglassy

    hourglassy Active Member

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    Thank you for the reply :)

    So cardio's good - I actually put in an extra 40 min/week, because I do my HIIT on the elliptical and sweat so much that I do another 10 min per session walking on the treadmill, in my mind to 'wind down' but also to dry off a little :p

    So calorie range ok - check. As far as protein goes, I spoke to my brother and he told me to supplement with whey protein, which I can do in the morning, since I hardly get any protein at breakfast. I'll see how that works out.

    I feel great so far. My main resistance to weight training before was fear of bulking up, which so far hasn't been the case and by doing some research, probably won't happen unless I *really* want it to.

    So I'm slowly pushing myself to lift heavier and it feels great. I measured myself on Monday to track my progress primarily that way (I seem to have misplaced my once tiny waist!) The weight drop will follow, no doubt.

    Thanks again :)
     
  4. tennisball

    tennisball Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. You won't get bulky, PERIOD. The worst that can happen is that you end up looking like Jessica Alba. You poor thing. :cool:
     
  5. goonie

    goonie Active Member

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    I think you're fine with the cardio as is.

    My question about the calorie range would be is this intentional as part of some type of structured calorie/carb cycling? If it is, I wouldn't get below 1500 calories on a "low" day unless you have to. If it's not, I'd try to keep things more consistent and aim towards the higher range.

    Try to up the protein an additional 5-8%. Less than 30% doesn't work out to much when you combine it with your low calorie days.
     
  6. 1FastGTX

    1FastGTX Elite Member
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    IMO, no. :) That's plenty. I'd probably move the HIIT to either a non-weightlifting day though, or try to hiit it (ha) earlier or later in the day as opposed to right after training (if that's what you're doing). Still, though, it's not going to kill you to stack them if you really want or need to.

    1800 looks a lot better than 1300. 1300 is dipping a bit low for my liking so to answer your question I would say "aim more towards the higher range." But, as Blue said and I agree, how do you feel?

    Again, how do you feel? I also like a bit more than this, and would prefer it over 40%. But that 40% I like is based on my preference, weight, genetics, goals and experience. Plenty of people here go lower than this percentage with plenty of success.

    The Whey protein is certainly not necessary, but it certainly can be convenient. If you are having trouble getting protein in during breakfast (a very common problem by the way, as many people don't feel like eating a lot first thing in the morning), then your choice to use the protein powder is a good choice. So, use it there but add something to the meal like oatmeal, fruit, maybe some peanut butter.

    Here's a good shake to get your day started if you are interested:

    1-1.5 scoops protein powder
    1/4-1/2 c. oats <-- grind them up in a blender or coffee bean grinder
    Water or milk
    Add all ingredients to a blender or shaker and drink it together. If you are using a good tasting protein powder then this is very tasty. :) Finally, add a piece of fruit to the side (some frozen strawberries, 1/2-1 grapefruit, 1 orange, some pineapple, etc.)

    :tucool: You are correct.

    :gl:
     
  7. hourglassy

    hourglassy Active Member

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    End up looking like Jessica Alba? Oh, the horror! :eek::)

    Yeah, I'm not doing any kind of 'calorie/carb cycling'. I'm actually not even very sure what that is - I haven't had time to read through the WHOLE forum (yet). :)

    I'll aim towards 1500 - 1800, seems sane to me. That's the guidance I was looking for...not being sure if I was consuming too much for my size, for weight loss.

    As far as how I feel with less than 30% protein...I feel ok, but that's also because my body's used to it (prior to weight training). I can't say that I'm starving now that I've started weight training, but my carb intake seems a bit high to me and taking in more protein seems the way to go. I didn't mention this before, but I am/was insulin-resistance (due to a 'female condition'), which is the primary reason my weight shot up to my highest ever (185 lbs). I was put on medication to regulate this, which combined with exercise helped me drop 25 lbs. I haven't had a check-up lately (although I'm due) but I'm pretty sure now that I've dropped some weight, the carb processing is at least more effective than before.

    So, yeah. Breakfast has never been a strong point for me. I am DEFINITELY not a morning person, and up until a few months ago, my breakfast consisted of 2 cups of coffee (yeah, I know). But I've changed that, I'm just not getting enough protein and the whey powder can be an easy fix for now (btw, thanks for the shake recipe, sounds yum).
     
  8. Bluestreak

    Bluestreak Well-Known Member

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    There are worse fates in the Universe than having a reasonable facsimile of her body.

    Actually, at this point, my suggestion is that you take the information you currently have gathered and put it into action. Don't worry about the eight-gazillion other methods and ideologies that you can apply to weight loss, otherwise you'll paralyze yourself trying to determine your best course of action. Too much information is as dangerous as too little, and what's been said in this thread alone is more than enough to help you succeed.

    My personal opinion is that you should shoot towards the high end of the caloric range - at first. It'll still be a vast improvement over your former sedentary diet/lifestyle, and it'll keep you from feeling sluggish or energy deficient. Keeping energy levels high early in your program is important, as it'll help combat DOMS, aches, pains, and eliminates any temptations you might have to cheat on your diet or to skip the gym for lack of energy/food.

    Since you have a medical condition, I strongly suggest you consult your doctor, if you haven't already, about these dietary changes you're making.

    As to your macronutrient ratios, I do believe a higher protein, lower carb diet is the best route, but that's what works for me - it may not necessarily work for you. I'd get those carbs to <40% and the protein to >40% if I were you. Fat percentage tends to take care of itself; I find that no matter how I plan my daily meals, I naturally end up with 15%-20% of my nutrients coming from good fats.

    Get breakfast under control now. I think once you find that you establish the habit of having a good breakfast, it sets the stage for a good day, with enough energy to power you through everything you need to get done, including your exercises.

    -R
     
  9. hourglassy

    hourglassy Active Member

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    Did the smilies not give away that I was trying to be funny? :p Although I am hispanic, I don't think I have her type of body, so although I would love to look like that, I don't want to be unrealistic.


    Very true! I'm taking the learning process as it comes. As it is, I think I have enough info to do what I gotta do, and do it right.

    I have an appt. with the doctor in 4 months (the joys of socialized medicine), but I'm def. going with trying to up my protein to replace some of the carb intake. Fats seem to be ok at under 25%. Breakfast is already under control, thankfully. I know skipping it was bad, I just couldn't get food down so early in the morning and my body got used to it. :spank:

    You guys rock! Thanks again for all the advice. You've not only provided needed guidance, but also more motivation than you know :tu: I'm going to try to start a journal...going to take some pics tomorrow to post and start tracking my progress weeee!
     

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