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PsychoSlug

Body Recomp Calories - Rest/workout Split

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After a long, deep cut, I feel that I am at a crossroads.  Progress has slowed considerably, and I feel low on energy post-workout.  My goal is to get down to a body fat % of roughly 15%.  There is nothing magical about that number.  It is simply a goal to strive for and I assume love handles and belly will be mostly gone at that point.  Most online calorie calculators tell me that I am eating too few calories.  I'm torn between continuing a deep cut or increasing calories drastically, at least on workout days, just to see what happens.  First some facts about me:

  • 44 year old male
  • 74 inches tall
  • 196 lbs. as of this morning
  • 20.1% BF as of this morning via a scale (I know, not always accurate but I use it for trending)
  • BMR is calculated to be 1,896 cal
  • TDEE is calculated to be 2,939 (using the moderate activity multiplier - I confirmed this with activity guides as well)
  • Lean body mass is 156.6 lbs.
  • Fat mass is 39.4 lbs.
  • Minimum recommended calories is 1,775

My current intake levels are:

  • Rest days - 1,850 calories (37% under TDEE)
  • Workout days - 2200 calories (25% under TDEE)

Initially I was around 1,600 calories daily, but adjusted that when I added calisthenics and running to my regime last summer/fall.  This did the trick to drop about 58 pounds total, but I no doubt lost muscle along the way because I didn't pay attention to macros or did strength training until earlier this year.  In the past 12 months, I've dropped 20 of those 58 lbs., so the loss has really slowed.

 

I'm debating adjusting my plan to the following:

  • Rest days - 2,351 calories (20% under TDEE)
  • Workout days - 2,931 calories (TDEE)

This plan, according to the calculators online, should reduce my weight by 10 lbs. and BF% to 16 by the end of the year.  90% of the weight loss should be fat.  While still under or at TDEE, I'm assuming my energy level should be better for performance under the bar.

 

I've also toyed around with a standard -20/+20 recomp, which would take a year to get the same results.

 

I'm using this calculator to come up with all of this.  I welcome any opinions about which direction to go to maximize weight loss and maintain strength.

 

For the TL;DR crowd, here is a summary:  Ex-obese man would like help to determine calorie/macro levels to lose the last of the fat and perform better under the bar. 

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Most of the stuff I've read on JTS about performance nutrition has you consuming your carbs during and after training--but not within 5 hours of training.  The idea is to get the biggest benefit from them.  Also, only use caffeine or any other stimulants when you are actually training so that you aren't burning yourself out with nervous energy.

 

A couple other articles worth looking at are:

The first one talks about how the thyroid can pretty much shut down in deep caloric deficits.  A couple high points would be to make sure you are using iodized salt as the thyroid needs iodine for proper function, and you may need to do periodic refeeds to make the thyroid happy again.  The second article gives you a couple strategies to play with.

 

I think your body is ready for some sort of change--even if that change is running maintenance levels for about 6 weeks before going on another weight loss stretch.

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Will be popping back later to give my thoughts. Just commenting so I have it in my feed.

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I vote you give it a while at maintenance so your body can reset, being in a cut for too long makes your body want to slow down, so a month or so at maintenance might remind your body you're not in danger of starvation.

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Yeah, maintenance for six weeks, or just slightly under if you are really intent on continuing cutting.

 

Recomping after that is the way to go, I reckon.  It goes better than you might think on paper, or at least it did for me.

 

The other option is to go balls to the wall for 12 weeks after a six week stint at maintenance.  Either way, I really think maintenance is the way forward for the next six weeks.

 

You should hopefully know your maintenance by now, but it is about 2800 / 3000 I reckon.  For a recomp I'd start with maybe 2500 on non workout and 3200 work out days and work from there.  Take pictures weekly and assess.  Non work out is lower in carbs and higher in protein and fats.  Work out days are higher in carbs.  I normally have a decent portion of slow digesting carbs in the morning or at lunch  (oats / brown rice), at least a few hours before training, and then during training I have some maltodextrin mixed in with my water and after a shake with easy digesting protein  and carbs.  That's followed by a meal later of lean meat and carbs and fruit.

 

As for macros, you should have a decent handle on what sort of macros your body has by now ;)

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Most of the stuff I've read on JTS about performance nutrition has you consuming your carbs during and after training--but not within 5 hours of training.  The idea is to get the biggest benefit from them.  Also, only use caffeine or any other stimulants when you are actually training so that you aren't burning yourself out with nervous energy.

 

A couple other articles worth looking at are:

The first one talks about how the thyroid can pretty much shut down in deep caloric deficits.  A couple high points would be to make sure you are using iodized salt as the thyroid needs iodine for proper function, and you may need to do periodic refeeds to make the thyroid happy again.  The second article gives you a couple strategies to play with.

 

I think your body is ready for some sort of change--even if that change is running maintenance levels for about 6 weeks before going on another weight loss stretch.

 

Thanks for the links, Berin.  My wife actually has thyroid issues and is on medication for it, so we're careful to keep carbs high enough to not cause issues.  I definitely don't have the same issue based on my metabolism compared to hers.  My carb intake is typically well north of 155, even on rest days.  Interesting articles nonetheless.  I had never heard of the iodized salt requirement.  We don't typically salt our foods since I have high blood pressure (thanks Dad), and my sodium levels are high enough without adding salt.

 

Agreed about needing a change.  More on that to follow.

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I vote you give it a while at maintenance so your body can reset, being in a cut for too long makes your body want to slow down, so a month or so at maintenance might remind your body you're not in danger of starvation.

 

Thanks Mathiah, and I agree.  I've started already and will outline my plan below.

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Yeah, maintenance for six weeks, or just slightly under if you are really intent on continuing cutting.

 

Recomping after that is the way to go, I reckon.  It goes better than you might think on paper, or at least it did for me.

 

The other option is to go balls to the wall for 12 weeks after a six week stint at maintenance.  Either way, I really think maintenance is the way forward for the next six weeks.

 

You should hopefully know your maintenance by now, but it is about 2800 / 3000 I reckon.  For a recomp I'd start with maybe 2500 on non workout and 3200 work out days and work from there.  Take pictures weekly and assess.  Non work out is lower in carbs and higher in protein and fats.  Work out days are higher in carbs.  I normally have a decent portion of slow digesting carbs in the morning or at lunch  (oats / brown rice), at least a few hours before training, and then during training I have some maltodextrin mixed in with my water and after a shake with easy digesting protein  and carbs.  That's followed by a meal later of lean meat and carbs and fruit.

 

As for macros, you should have a decent handle on what sort of macros your body has by now ;)

 

Thanks Rob.  I'm actually going to take a hybrid approach and see how it goes.  Yes, I'm all over my maintenance and macro needs.  Actually hitting macro goals is the challenge.

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Thanks again, gents. After much consideration, including your input, here is my calorie plan.  The rest day goal is pretty much unchanged from current.  The numbers are estimated and don't add up to the totals exactly.

 

Rest Days        Work Out Days

Breakfast          300                      660

AM Snack         175                      175

Lunch                350                      630

PM Snack         300                      300

Dinner            450-600              650-800

Supps               240                  240-500      

Total             1800-2000          2700-3000

 

This allows me to ease into it a bit after the extended cut.  Up until recently, I rarely measured calories on the weekend, so those would be my refeeds, but within reason.  I'm actually finding it a challenge to hit my calories with healthy foods.  I certainly ate more calories in order to get plump in the first place, but it wasn't via chicken breasts, tuna, rice, milk, etc.  The extra calories are coming via a switch from skim to 1% milk, and more of it, as well as bigger helpings of healthy foods.  Hitting my fat and fiber macros will be challenging.  I've been using avocados and nuts to bring up my fat levels, and will supplement with some peanut butter as needed.

 

Today was my first breakfast following the workout day goal, and holy crap that was a belly buster.  It will be interesting to find out if I feel a difference in my workout tonight.

 

I will monitor and adjust as needed.  If it wasn't for the fact that I am an impatient SOB, this would actually be fun.

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A table spoon of olive oil here and there should make it easier for you mate

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I had never heard of the iodized salt requirement.  We don't typically salt our foods since I have high blood pressure (thanks Dad), and my sodium levels are high enough without adding salt.

 

It's more for the iodine, and the ways to get the iodine are:

  • More kelp (loads of iodine in kelp)
  • iodized salts--you can get iodized lite salt which is 50% sodium based and 50% potassium based salts.  The sodium raises blood pressure, while potassium lowers it.  Net effect: blood pressure remains pretty much the same and you get iodine.
  • Straight iodine supplementation.

I think the first two methods are preferable due to higher absorption rates, and the last one doesn't do quite as well with that.

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A table spoon of olive oil here and there should make it easier for you mate

 

Thanks for that, Simon.  Olive oil definitely does the trick.  Now that my calorie level is higher, I can afford it more often.

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It's more for the iodine, and the ways to get the iodine are:

  • More kelp (loads of iodine in kelp)
  • iodized salts--you can get iodized lite salt which is 50% sodium based and 50% potassium based salts.  The sodium raises blood pressure, while potassium lowers it.  Net effect: blood pressure remains pretty much the same and you get iodine.
  • Straight iodine supplementation.

I think the first two methods are preferable due to higher absorption rates, and the last one doesn't do quite as well with that.

 

I actually love kelp, so I'll have to talk to my wife about that.  Never tried iodized lite.  Interesting.  Tonight she is shopping, so I'll mention it.

 

EDIT - just read this and perhaps I don't need iodine.  It recommends supplementing only if you meet all of the following, which I do not:

  • You are a vegetarian or vegan who actively avoids processed foods, or a meat eater who never eats fish and avoids processed foods
  • You avoid adding additional salt to your diet
  • You avoid consumption of seaweed or seaweed based products (such as sushi, which are wrapped with Nori)

This forum is awesome.  I add something to my knowledge arsonal darn near daily.

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Just finished lunch an hour ago.  Chicken breast sandwich (5 ounces), 1 cup of brown rice and 11 pretzel crisps.  558 calories.  Ugh.  Normally I'm already thinking of my PM snack.  Not so much today...

 

On the bright side, I feel more energetic than usual.  Psychological?  We'll see in the weeks to come.

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