T Nation

Increase or Cut Calories?

Ok,I am lost as to where to go now. To make a long story short, I lost 45 pounds (consistent 1-2 pounds a week) between last October and March of this year. I did it by eating clean and cardio (jogging). I am 6’1", and now 200 pounds.

I started lifting late in March. I also started actually tracking my calories and realized I had only been eating between 1800 - 2100 cal/day when I lost the weight. My training schedule went from 5-6 days a week cardio only, to 3 days lifting, and 2 -3 days cardio per week.

My lifting consists of: squats, deadlifts, overhead press, chin ups, bent over DB rows, incline DB press, curls, dips, lateral pulldowns. My cardio days consists of either jogging 3 miles on a treadmill, or riding my bike about 6 miles (total time either way is about 20 - 30 minutes).

I estimate my BF to be about 15% when I started lifting. I gained 5 pounds on the scale after the first 2 weeks of lifting. After 4 weeks, my weight had not changed, but I could see that I had definitely added some muscle, with no noticable decrease in remaining fat. My belly fat (right in the middle of my stomach) stayed unchanged.

So, 3 weeks ago, I started to increase my calories to 2500 per day. I am eating very clean, and averaging 2500 calories a day. I eat 5-6 times a day, with my ratios being about 40,30,30 (c,p,f). Meals are pretty much 1-2 protien shakes a day, 2 eggs, oatmeal, tuna, yogurt, steak/chicken/fish, mixed green salad, brown rice, every day. Over the last couple weeks I have gained about 5-7 pounds, which is fat in my belly section.

According to everythign I have read, I should be taking in somewhere closer to 3000 cal/day. With my calorie increase to 2500, I have gained a noticeable (to me) amount of fat. I am unsure wether I need to cut back my calories, increase my cardio, or increase my calories.???

My goal is actually to get rid of the belly fat, and for the first time in my life, feel good about not wearing a shirt, while also increasing muscle mass. I have read all the usual stuff and forums, and feel that (at keast in theory) I should be eating MORE calories than I am. But, since increasing my cals, I have gained weight (fat) pretty fast.

When I was lifting and maintaining my 2000 calories a day, I was making noticeable gains in strength, and no gains in size or fat. But I don’t think that was enough calories. is it possible I have the worlds slowest metabolism and i DO only need 2000 calories a day??? I would appreciate ANY help. I hate to feel like I am going backwards in my progress (like I do with the last 2 weeks weight gain).

After losing the weight I did, I do NOT want to be gaining it back, especially when it is noticeable fat in my belly area.

I apprecaite any opinions and advice!



Hmm Id say keep reading and educate yourself on diet the effects of foods etc. check out the round tables on Carbs, fats and proteins those are great starting points here some links to some of those and others.

7 Habit

Foods That Make You Look Good Nekid
The Carbohydrate Roundtable, Part 1&2

Fat Roundtable I&II

Massive Eating
M/E Reloaded

Solving the Post W/O Puzzle 1&2

T Dawg 2
7 days to Ultimate leanness

Now I suspect with your build and as low as you were eating you have played havoc on your metabolism. That takes time to repair. SLOWLY up the calorie every two weeks or so by 250. Check the scale weekly (no more) and just be sure your gaining no more than 1-2 lbs. if your gaining stick that level out stay there. let the body adjust. after weeks.months you’ll notice that its workoing your eating more more enrgy which leads to better workouts and activity in general. Its a slow process all of this just take those steps bro.

Best of luck

[quote]roguefishr wrote:
…is it possible I have the worlds slowest metabolism and i DO only need 2000 calories a day???[/quote]

To start with- yes! I was in the same boat as you (eerily about the exact same boat- read my stats) about a year ago. I realized that those calorie models were not for me. I had fucked my metabolism so bad after years of crash dieting that I just couldn’t use the normal math.

As Phill stated, you need to start out slow and increase the calories slowly. Anytime you go from eating 2000/day and up it to 2500/day or even 3000/day you’re going to gain weight. Your body is just not used to that big of a surplus. You need to ease into it.

As an FFB (you are, by the way), you also need to realize that you are more prone to fat gain than most other people. Read up on Chris Shugarts FFB Handbook (search) as this should help you out.

Also- don’t be concerned that you aren’t taking in 3000cal/day, as the calcs suggest. You need to find out what your maintenance is and go from there. It very well may be around 2000. Trust me though, as you begin to repair your metabolism (i.e. slowing upping cals) you will find over time that your maintenance will increase to where you probably will be closer to 3000.

thanks for the info. I will check out all the leads. I think that after losing the weight that fast (6 months), I expected to just be able to up my calories and be right where I should be. I will stay at it, just at a slower pace. I know I will be more prone to gaining fat, as a FFB. Thanks again for all the info and help.