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T-Vixens and T-athletes, I need your help!

Hello, I am a 16-year-old female athlete trying to lose body fat and gain lean muscle. Currently I am at 5’2" 120, around 20-25% bf.
I have two concerns:
Is it practical to be on a 40/30/30 (C/P/F)slightly hypocaloric diet while maintaining a schedule of soccer practices (including running & sprint work) and twice weekly weightlifting sessions? I am concerned about my performance being affected by the calorie shortage, and also I have read that females’ bodies resist losing bodyfat through diet and instead adapt to the lower # of calories.
How do I circumvent this problem?

First, trying to do both at the same time is usually a recipe for failure. Pick either leaning out or bulking up, and pursue that exclusively.


Second, yes, it is true that people (not just women) will adapt to lower cals and hang onto fat if they don’t diet correctly. However, to explain the mechanisms behind this would take a lot of Forum space! So why don’t you take a look at the FAQ and start reading everything by John Berardi. You will learn more than you ever wanted to know about nutrition, and in the process learn what it takes to make positive changes in your body in a healthy manner.


Good luck!

Short answer to your question is “yes.” Focus on meeting your meeting the nutritional goals through 5 or 6 smaller meals throughout the day.
At your age, a balanced diet of macronutrients is a must if you want to increase your odds of being and staying healthy.

I’m not a big fan of the idea of trying to lean out during a season, but it can be done. Personally, I’d keep calories at maintenance and allow your increased activity level to create the caloric deficit. Most females’ bodies resist losing body fat because their diets and training programs are ineffective (e.g. high carbs and aerobics only). To avoid this problem, you should make sure that your protein consumption is up (to maximize the thermal effect of food and prevent muscle breakdown), that you are eating frequently (5-7 times per day) to rev up your metabolism, that you are weight training, and that you drop the calories gradually instead of going on a crash diet. Shoot for 1-1.5 lbs. per week and just be patient. You’re still young, so whatever you don’t shed off now can be taken care of after the season. Good luck, and let us know if we can help out any more.

Cardinal is correct. Be more concerned with meeting your nutritional needs than getting “lean”. First, you’re 16. You’re still growing. Second alot of that fat that you are concerned about is more than likely “babyfat”. And it is two different goals you speak of: getting lean and gaining LBM. You do one or the other. One last thing: the 40/30/30 you ask about sounds perfectly fine to me. Especially in regards to the type of training you’re involved with.

Your last question: "I have read that females' bodies resist losing bodyfat through diet and instead adapt to the lower # of calories. How do I circumvent this problem?"

I don't believe this "phenomena" to rest soley with females. But can happen to males, too. But it's something that can be easily avoided. By staying (or becoming) physically active and eating a good, clean, nutritious diet - it's really just all common sense.

I completely agree with the previous posters that leaning out probably shouldn’t be your main concern…I second Eric’s opinion that you should stay around maintenance cals and let your increased activity levels create a deficit. If you don’t give your body what it needs while in-season, and drop a lot of weight while at it, I wouldn’t doubt that your performance would suffer.

During season I’d recommend Massive Eating and don’t add cost of exercise. My personal experience is it’s superior to any other diet. I think it would benefit you more than a plain 40/30/30.

The off season is the best time to improve your skill and bodyfat level. If you wanted to lose fat during the season, a clean diet will do the trick. Low cals is disasterous for you since you need the energy to perform and recover. Looking good is one thing but performing well is another. Personally, I would think that a diet higher in carbs would be better for you because of your demand for them. I know many people will disagree with me on this but, I doubt many of them have played soccer and know how much running you do.

Thanks for all of your replies. They helped a lot, and if I have any further questions this is where I will come for answers!