Okay.....like most runners, I'm freakin' obsessed with how much food I put in my body and how many calories I am burning on every run. Tracking everything and re-calculating in my head or on paper all day long. When I started running about a year and a half ago, I weighed about 180lbs and was 5'4". Well I'm still 5'4", but now I weigh 142 and about 16% body fat. I would still like to loose about 5-10 more lbs.
My weight loss has been fairly slow over the last several months. I've been playing with my calorie intake to try and find something that works.
I run anywhere from 30-40 mpw and also cross train 3x per week and strength train 3x per week. I usually run in the morning and cross or strength train in the evening. I estimate that I burn somewhere between 4000 and 6000 cals per week in excercise and my BMR is about 1600 per day.
My calorie intake had been between 1200 and 1500 per day, but I have been reading on some posts that may be too low, so I thought I would try increasing it. The past couple of weeks I have increased to 1800-2000 per day. I definetely have more energy and can train harder.
I wanted to get some feedback on what others are eating in relation to how hard their training.
I'm glad that you have noticed an increase in your energy as you increased your calorie intake. Remember that it's important to moniter what types of calories you are taking in and that you spread out your eating throughout the day. Do you eat a small snack before and after your workouts? I like the ELMO principle (Eat Less, More Often) as a reminder to focus on 4-5 small meals each day rather than 2-3 large ones.
I'm a constant eating machine. I eat 5 time per day. Usually 7am, 10am, 12pm, 3pm and 6pm. I try to get most of my calories in the am and taper them off at night. Early meals are usually 400-500 cals and 300-400 in the evening. It's actually a lot of work to eat that much.
I am by no means an expert so take this with a grain of salt. To me I think the level you were eating is really low compared to the amount you are working out, what you are eating now is more in line with what I would eat given your work out level. You may have thought about this but are you switching fat for muscle? Your weight may have leveled off but maybe you are gaining the muscle your body needs to do the work outs you are asking it to do, have you had your body fat tested again recently it might be lower.
I eat pretty much all day, probably between 3000-4000 calories a day (i've never really tried counting tho)... but I'm a cross country runner and teenage boy...so go figure....as a runner, as long as you're eating healthfully you shouldn't be worrying about how much you eat, but how healthfully. And also your weight loss might've slowed down because now your most likely devoloping more muscle compared to the amount of fat you were burning since you said you cross train and weight train as well.
To add to what B.Baker said about what time of day most of your
calories are taken in, it's also important to note what type of calorie
you intake. Remember, unused carbs are the enemy to weight loss
so you should always front load carbs in the day and taper them
throughout the day as your carb requirements taper.
Since you workout twice a day this may be a bit more tricky as you want to ensure you resupply for your morning workout... but perhaps you don't need as many at the end of the day as you're taking in? I'd shift those carbs around and see what happens.
Lastly, as you may know, the more you do an exercise, the more efficient your body gets at it and the fewer calories you burn during that exercise. Maybe you could change the type of exercise you do on some of your x-training workouts. For what it's worth, my weight plateued a few years back and it wasn't until I started walking briskly for an hour a day did the needle on the scale start moving again. There's something to be said for low-intensity, fat-burning exercise.
I have a question on the same topic ~
I'm constantly eating, but I still have trouble eating enough calories (without eating lots of junk food). Because of this, running brings my energy level down, not up. I'm just hungry all the time. I don't want to gain weight necessarily, but I sure don't want to lose any.
Without knowing what you eat it's hard to speculate. Google the term "nutrient dense foods". You likely are not eating enough of these... or you just have an insane metabolism which most of us would kill for!
You also might try eating a snack immediately after your workouts. Not a meal, but perhaps a can/half a can of tuna or drink a protein or recovery shake (I prefer Endurox R4). This is when your body most needs nourishment anyway so why not give it some good stuff to hold you over till your next meal.
Bottom line, if you don't have energy, you're not gaining weight AND your still hungry, you simply aren't eating enough at each sitting. Add good calories (again, nutrient dense foods) until your energy level increases and your hunger goes down. Likely you won't gain weight if you can find that line and stay on it. Even if you gain a little weight, better that than to be hungry all the time and have no energy for your workouts.
I do have a high metabolism. It's always been tricky to find a balance betwen running and eating (even during my pregnancies I had trouble putting on weight).
I do eat a snack after running (protein + carbs), but I'll have to run that google. Thanks for the helpful advice.
Pearland Man wrote:
Google the term "nutrient dense foods".
There are plenty of healthy foods that pack a lot of quality calories. Think of foods like nuts, granola, dried fruit, olive oil, etc. I make my own "trail mix" out of Kashi Go-Lean Crunch cereal, raisins, dried cranberries, walnuts, and anything else that looks good. It's perfect for a post-workout snack.
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