T Nation

Need Some Diet Advice


#1

Hello, I’m a 24 year old male who is 5 foot 9 and weight roughly 140lbs (9 stone 9).

Started working out in the last couple of weeks and therefore started eating more in order to build up.

Have started to notice some small improvements however I’m a naturally skinny person so it’s not a lot so far.

Currently my eating at the moment is:

Breakfast: Cereal (usually cornflakes)
Mid morning: Some form of meat (usually chicken/turkey)
Lunch: Pasta with tomato based sauce, usually some meat with it. Fat free yoghurt, couple of cereal bars (not full of sugar).
Mid afternoon: Protein Bar and some more meat usually depending on how hungry I am. (Noticed I’m far more hungry since starting then I used to be lol)
Dinner: varies on what’s being made but is usually a meat dish with some vegetables and potato/rice/pasta (as I said it varies)

Also started drinking a lot more water than I used to, which seems to of cleared me out a lot from some rubbish I had inside me aha!

I normally do my workout (do a session which normally lasts around 1 hour) 5 times a week around 5-6pm (UK) and play football (soccer) for an hour and a half once a week. After my workout I normally eat some sort of fruit (banana usually but not keen on them massively aha) and some sliced meat too.

Anything you would change/add in what I’m doing. Have gained a pound or so in the last week since I last weighed myself. Think I’ve covered everything you’d need to know to offer some tips/advice.

Going away end of July for a few weeks and would be nice to have some noticeable differences :slight_smile:

Cheers in advance


#2

Good work getting started. The two most important things about diet are calories and macros.

For calories you can get really technical if you want. Google “Harris Benedict Calculator” which will give you an age/weight adjusted theoretical “maintenance” level of calories. If you want to lean out you subtract 250 calories per day and vice versa for gaining weight.

The simpler method is to just start with a number. 14 calories per pound is thrown around alot for a starting point for maintenance. Eat that many calories for two weeks (14x140 = 1,960). That number is likely way low based on your activity level. Track your weight and measurements once per week (upper arm, lower arm, thigh, calf, waist, chest). Make adjustments based on your goals, repeat forever.

Next up is macros: protein, carbs (4cals/gram) and fat (9cals/gram). Most of the studies and coaches recommend around 1g of protein per pound of body weight for weight training athletes. There’s mountains of debate about how much carbs and fat to eat. Try to keep an open mind about that and not latch onto any dogma. Lean guys tend to do better with more carbs. Fat guys tend to do better with higher fat diets. Most beginners never even get consistent about hitting calorie and protein targets. I would recommend you hit those two, keep training and sleeping and not sweat the carbs and fat ratios.

Get myfitnesspal app and a cheap food scale. It makes all this much easier. Log all your food for the first two weeks to get a good baseline.

The end of July is 5 weeks away. You won’t be able to put on more than 5 quality pound in that time.


#3

Your diet is full of carbs, kinda light on protein and fat, and seems to be completely lacking fruits and vegetables. So let’s fix that.

A far superior breakfast would be three eggs, cooked in coconut oil, with some spinach folded in, and topped with salsa and/or guacamole.

However, I understand that some people are just not up for the effort of cooking a full breakfast.

If you stick with cereal, at least I hope you’re having some milk on the cereal, so make it whole milk, to get yourself some quality fat and protein to get started, more than just carbs to start the day.

Cooked meat, or just deli lunch meat? Just curious. I assume this is just a snack to get some protein.

All carbs, a little protein, no fat, no vegetables. Come on, man. We can do better than this. At least ditch the cereal bars, change the fat free yoghurt to full-fat yoghurt, and have an apple or banana or something.

This is fine. Need something that sits well in your stomach before training.

This is fine. Having a protein, vegetables, and a starch is the right way to go after training.


#4

Cheers I put the numbers into the calculator and it comes up with around 2500 calories per day, I reckon I’m still very slightly underneath that but am adding more as days go by with things I find that are high protein and that I enjoy.

Never been a particularly fat person however I did begin putting on fat about a year ago and got myself fit again with some cardio work as wasn’t happy with what was happening, and now started this.

Anything you’d recommend changing in my food plan? Anything I could add that’s easy to pickup (Supermarkets everywhere aha!) that are easy to eat during the day? And what’s a good snack straight after working out as I’ve read that immediately eating within the first 15-30 minutes of completing your workout is highly recommended?

This is going to be a long term thing that I’m enjoying and want To continue, so I understand it is a marathon not a sprint as they say!


#5

Got great tips above for nutrition

5 times a week not really necessary for a beginner, get on a program off this site and reap the rewards. Either of these a good start…



#6

Cheers for the breakdown it’s really useful to see where I can improve, it’s what I need as you can see it through pointing it out!

Breakfast wise I don’t really have a lot of time in the mornings as have varied time difference starts so cereal is the easiest alternative and I do have milk with it :smile:

Mid morning is a snack just to keep me going and yeah is normally just some deli meat to get some protein in.

Lunch! : this is the area I’ve struggled with, my work means that sometimes I’m out and about, sometimes in the office so it’s hard t nail down a regular meal. What sort of things would you recommend if I was to replace the pasta that I have purely because it’s easy? Yeah fruit is definitely something I need to add and could get some vegestables to go with some chicken/turkey breast? I do sometimes have rice and meat as it’s easy to do is this a good alternative? If so what rice would you use?

After that the gap between lunch and working out I think I have nailed down as it keeps me going well and then dinner, still living indoors but my mum usually makes dinner and she’s always been a good eater so it’s normally a form of meat, potatoes and veg!

I guess it’s mainly the lunch area that needs tidying up.

What would you recommend immediately after working out in the first 15 mins after completing, as I said I’ve read this is the best time to get something in.

@ActivitiesGuy


#7

Also @ActivitiesGuy I’m not massively kean on Eggs regarding breakfast however I don’t mind them scrambled? Still as good or not? Thanks for everything want to nail down a solid meal plan so can work well with it! Mainly lunch area that needs adjusting as mid break meals/snacks in fairly sorted with And dinner is sorted too.


#8

@RampantBadger to be fair reading through those I’ve been doing a lot of those exercises as I found a website with a guide for beginners exercises and a rota, usually do it between 4-5 days a week but some days are lighter than others. Only reason I like it more is that doing it more keeps me motivated to do it, if I done it less I’d switch off from it quicker I reckon, weird t sounds I know but I’m really into consistency. Cheers though m going to read through it properly later and see what I can adapt.


#9

Pasta isn’t the worst thing in the world - especially as a lean guy, extra carbs are probably no issue for you - I would just want to see some more nutrition in there. If you stick with the pasta, you could dump a little frozen spinach into your pasta sauce (one easy way to add some veggies) or chop some bell peppers.

Rice and meat is another good option for sure. Wouldn’t worry too much about the type of rice. Just prep a nice portion along with some well-seasoned meat and, again, some kind of vegetable (carrots tend to reheat well; so do green beans).

Everything else is OK. Breakfast, I understand, most people don’t have the energy to cook a good breakfast (I usually have a spinach/fruit smoothie for breakfast during the week, then cook a good hearty breakfast on weekends).


#11

Hey @shauncpfc, eggs don’t change their macros or nutrient breakdown depending on whether you break the yoke or not, so you’re good to go with scrambled. Eggs, in my opinion, are a powerhouse of a food. I would try to get them into your diet if you can.

Another consideration would be to just add a scoop of protein powder to your cereal in the morning. This is what I will do when I’m short on time, I now prefer it to eating cereal without protein added. You can also do proatmeal in the morning. I’ll turn the kettle on to boil water, pour 1 cup of quick oats in a bowl with some frozen fruit and a scoop of protein, then just add the boiling water and stir.

@RampantBadger - I like the looks of that college program you linked; a nice, clean, simple PPL routine.


#12

Cheers again, quite good to hear that what I’m having at the moment isn’t too far off the mark aha!

I have in the last week bought some pre-prepared pasta dishes similar to these…

http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/dolmio-pasta-vita--fusilli-bolognese-300g

Been having these as I didn’t have time to make some meals as was away working all weekend, I understand that homemade probably is better as can get more protein and vegetables into it.

Yeah I do like rice and meat it’s definitely an easy lunch to make takes next to no time and one I could easily incorporate.


#13

That’s good to know, I do like some scrambled eggs so could easily just make them in the mornings as there nice and quIck to do. Any suggestions on what with? Some interesting ideas :slight_smile: cheers !


#14

I always wilt some spinach in the frying pan with coconut oil/olive oil before tossing my eggs in. I also grate fresh turmeric root in my eggs as well. I like the taste and there are apparently quite a few health benefits from ingesting it.

Or just keep it simple with salt and pepper. Sometimes I’ll just throw whatever spices I grab out of the cupboard into the pan. Eggs are even good with steak spice tossed in. For scrambled, I often whip them with a shot of milk (or almond milk) and it seems to keep them a little more moist and fluffy.

Oh and hot sauce, and plenty of it :wink:


#15

Yeah I do like it on it’s own aha normally do throw some salt and pepper in with some sauce :grin:

Would be an easy breakfast in the morning and then just need to sort out lunch prep time!

What’s something good to eat in the first 15-30 mins after working out? Read bananas are good but there not high on my ‘like’ list aha and meaty products…


#16

What would anyone recommend to eat immediately after exercising?


#17

Just a quick question for anyone but I spoke to @ActivitiesGuy yesterday regarding diet.

How much protein do you think I should be eating? I’ve already made a few adaptions to what ou suggested yesterday and had 3 eggs for breakfast, and have cut the cereal bars for lunch in place of an apple and some extra meat.

I weigh like 61kg and am 5’9 tall. Downloaded the my fitness app like you suggested and they recommend 126g of protein a day? Sound about right?

Also I’ve found something called Arla Protein Yoghurts? What would your opinion be on these?

Done a full workout Monday and yesterday nad always play casual football on a Wednesday so won’t be doing a workout this evening.


#18

Too low, 180-200g is the standard recommendation round here. One or two days a week could even crank up to 250…


#19

Yeah I did think 126g was far too low to be fair was looking at making it higher, what sort of things would you recommend are good at adding to it, that are easy to make/eat? Adding a lot more meat into snacks and diet is helping, and going to start using a protein shake which is an extra 21g per use. At the moment I’m heading towards around 140-150g without shake so with them it would round it up.

How many calories a day should I be aiming for @RampantBadger?

Cheers again for the help, you guys really are mad helpful at getting me on the right sort of lines/track.


#20

Eh hard to say but verrry rough guide for a young and underweight guy I would start off at 3000…Then every fortnight up by 250 until start to feel sloppy. Then back off.

At this stage though principles and guidelines are more important ie:

first priority get in protein.
2, loads of greens and cut out all sugary crap
3 steadily increase/manipulate good fats and carbs

I like this approach below also -basically bounce back and forth between normal and high carb with the occasional ‘super strict’ to keep body guessing…


#21

Just looked back at this as wanted to see when I started this post and it was 28 days so 4 weeks ago. Started off back then at 9 stone 8 so 134 pounds and as of today am 9 stone 13 so 139 pounds :smile:

Just saying thanks to those of you who posted. I’m eating constantly and working out 4 days roughly a week, hopefully maintain the weight gain going forward and continue building muscle. Definitely feel stronger since I’ve started and am lifting heavier than I was, starting to notice a small gain in muscle shape but started from basically scratch so realise it’s a long process.

Small question I’m going away on holiday on Monday for 2 weeks so won’t be around weights for a while, what basic exercises would you recommend to keep in the cycle, was thinking press ups, sit ups and pull ups if possible will keep me going for a small while…