T Nation

Women's Macro Breakdown?

As a few people here know I’m trying to help my gf get into better shape. She’s running 3 (VERY soon to be 4) times per week, and will begin some light weight training soon. We’ve been working on her diet the last couple days, and I realize I’m not sure what a good macro breakdown is for a woman who’s running and doing light weight training on the side.

Right now she’s averaging:

1361 calories. 34g, 300 cals, from fat (22%), 233g, 886 cals from carbs (65%), and 44g, 167 cals from protein (12%). I’m thinking that Protein should be higher and carbs lower, but I’m not sure how much lower. Any help is appreciated.

Other people are more expert but…
Yes, more protein and lower carbs. More fat, too, I think.
More food in general, unless your girlfriend is extremely tiny. No, scratch that, almost certainly more food.

How much does she weigh and what are her overall goals? :slight_smile:

Does she tolerate carbs well? And lastly, how does she feel so far with her diet so far?

:slight_smile:

44 grams of protein is about right if she weighs 22-28 lbs.

jjackkrash makes a good point. Girl needs to eat a lot more, particularly protein.

Is there a reason she is running 4 x a week? Running (steady state) is not a great exercise for most women (most men for that matter) so unless she’s doing it competitively, she should rethink that. Get her to read this: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/case-against-cardio/

She would be better served by doing some decent weights, HIIT or sprinting and sticking to one longer run a week. Her body will thank her for it.

oh snap! I didn’t even see the 44g protein thing!

The rule of thumb is at least 1g of Protein per pound…

Or at least enough protein to support her LBM! The protein will be especially important when she starts working with weights(but you already know that!)

she’s 5 4, 131 lbs., bf around 28%. She carries ALL her extra weight in the thighs & ass. From the waist up she looks borderline waifish,but if you just saw that part of her you’d assume she was 5 4 190. I’m not even joking. I’m assuming it’s because she used to have an AWFUL diet. Even 6 months ago. It was borderline anorexic. She’d eat around 300 calories/day with occasional 2000 calorie binges. She was closer to 150 then. It’s a work in progress right now. It’s hard because she’s vegan so we have to be creative with planning meals. I know she wants to clean it up more though. We talked some yesterday and she’s replacing all pretzels and other empty cals in her diet with fruits & veggies, so that should help.

I have her running because getting her to do anything is like pulling teeth. She’s very leery of working out for some reason. I’m honestly not sure what her goals are at this point. When she started it was to be able to run for a half hour straight, which she can do now.

By a quick calculation she should be getting at least 90-100 grams of protein…being vegan means that she can get sources from beans, tempeh, tofu that sorta thing…there’s lots of good websites out there as well to help with the vegan diet…

carbs are going to naturally be a bit higher, but that’s ok…fruits and veggies over pretzels FO SHO! :stuck_out_tongue:

If she really wants to get into shape, she should be here asking these questions. Besides, if you don’t know her goals how are you supposed to figure out her diet?

A vegan runner? Oh dear. I can’t help her unless she makes the decision to change. As it is, she is doomed to a future of chronic health and hormonal problems and osteoporosis. Humans are designed to eat animal protein, not grains and especially not soya.

[quote]debraD wrote:
If she really wants to get into shape, she should be here asking these questions. Besides, if you don’t know her goals how are you supposed to figure out her diet?[/quote]

I definitely second debraD. Fitness is an attraction rather than promotion type endeavor. If she has not made this choice for herself, there is nothing you can do but set an example by living a healthy and active lifestyle. Also, if her diet was so unhealthy, bordering on an eating disorder, what she might really need right now is therapy. Undereating/picky eating (vegan diets especially) and excessive cardio are prime indicators for disordered living. Now I totally see the ethical benefits of veganism and for some people, even the health benefits, but I do not believe it is for all. Some people have had great success with veganism, especially when their goals are simply to be smaller. However, I would not say it is it is conducive to becoming stronger, fitter, or leaner (again, for the people it has worked for, right on, but you better be HIGHLY carb tolerant if you want the results most women on this site desire).

Again, it sounds like your girlfriend has bigger problems than just “bigger” thighs. I do believe gaining strength and taking control over the health of your body can absolutely change one’s confidence and self-esteem. But it takes time, motivation, and much MUCH more than running, actually NOT running. Especially when someone is not physically conditioned to do long running stints (aka, someone with a heavier build), it can cause extreme stress on joints and prime someone for injuries.

If she does not do this by herself, it will never work, and may even cause adverse elements within your relationship…clearly I have no idea what your relationship is like, but do know the pressure an insecure female can feel from a man telling her how to eat, workout, etc., even when it is someone you love.

Overall, I would suggest getting her on here herself or trying to encourage her to find a girlfriend to get in the gym with or workout at home. Plyometrics can be a good way to start.

Just my two cents.

[quote]AccipiterQ wrote:
she’s 5 4, 131 lbs., bf around 28%. She carries ALL her extra weight in the thighs & ass. From the waist up she looks borderline waifish,but if you just saw that part of her you’d assume she was 5 4 190. I’m not even joking. I’m assuming it’s because she used to have an AWFUL diet. Even 6 months ago. It was borderline anorexic. She’d eat around 300 calories/day with occasional 2000 calorie binges. She was closer to 150 then. It’s a work in progress right now. It’s hard because she’s vegan so we have to be creative with planning meals. I know she wants to clean it up more though. We talked some yesterday and she’s replacing all pretzels and other empty cals in her diet with fruits & veggies, so that should help.

I have her running because getting her to do anything is like pulling teeth. She’s very leery of working out for some reason. I’m honestly not sure what her goals are at this point. When she started it was to be able to run for a half hour straight, which she can do now.
[/quote]

Thrive Diet by Brendan Brazier. If she’s going to do this vegan she’s going to have to go mega hippy about it. No more pretzels, she’ll be replacing them with things like hemp seeds and certain algaes. Chlorella is 70% protein. Also, she’ll want to invest in some Vega, tastes like ass but it’s the best thing for vegans. 3x the protein she’s eating now, in the form of beans, tempeh and tofu. Nuts be good too. Stay away from soyburgers/dogs/deli meat, that’s shit. Carbs around workouts and at breakfast. The golden rules still apply.

Precision Nutrition V3 comes with a plant based diet guide. I’d suggest that too. You can snoop around the forum section on the PN site and find some sample diets from the veggies over there.

Tell her she can eat way more food and spend about half the time working out if she switches to weight training, and look better. Plus it’s way less boring than staring at a wall and running at the same pace for half an hour. Time better spent napping, in my opinion.

Also, as mentioned, this needs to be coming from her, and not from you. She has to really want this. A good way to know: does she go to the gym by herself, or only with you? Does she read about working out on her own? Even if it’s something crappy like Women’s Health, does she come to you with ideas? Actually, Rachel Cosgrove writes a column for Women’s Health now, so the info in that mag isn’t as bad as it used to be. Introduce her to the Powerful Women section of this site. Show her some pics of fitness models (if she thinks they’re too bulky, go for some good Hollywood role models like Jessica Biel or Michelle Rodriguez), try to get a feel for what kind of physique she wants to build, and then you’ll know what to advise her on. But if this isn’t her goal, she ain’t gonna make it happen.

If she doesn’t eat animal protein she should check out Precision Nutrition. Berardi did an experiment wherein he compared his results on both a carnivorous and vegetarian diet and HIS results were nearly identical, leading him to conclude muscle building without animal protein IS doable. But then, he’s an expert and most of us are not. It’s tough enough getting the diet/training thing right when you DO eat meat so if you aren’t an expert you probably need to consult with one to make sure you not doing it wrong or closing out all your available options.