I need help designing an excercise/diet plan
Kind of new to this site/forum, but I'm hoping that I can get some good advice here. I've been been trying for the last year or so to get fit, and I'm showing very little progress. I've found that I'll go hard on a new regime (P90x, Abercrombie workout, etc) for a couple of weeks, but then I'll be researching it and feel as though I'm wasting my time. It seems like for every supportive article on any given diet or fitness regime I read, I'll find two others debunking it. I need help developing a realistic workout routine with a sound diet that'll help me reach my goals.
Basically, I'm a 28 year old male weighing in at 171lbs (78kg) and a 36" waist. I estimate my BF% to be 15-20%, and I can run 5 miles in 43 mins. I wouldn't consider myself to be terribly out-of-shape, but I do have a bit of a beer belly. I've always had an skinny, ecto-morph body with little muscle definition, and I've never really felt real great about it.
My goal is to work towards a body that is in peak health and will help develop some more confidence in myself. I'm also absolutely motivated to have a body at the beach that can impress the girls. I'm not looking to be one of those guys who can barely fit into their shirt or needs a picture of themselves on Facebook to feed their ego, I just want to feel better about myself, be in peak health, and look good in the mirror.
So, if you're still reading and can maybe offer suggestions/advice, here's what I'm wondering about:
Is it possible to build muscle while taking in only a small, clean calorie deficit (300-500) with a 50% protein, 30% carbs, 20% healthy fat diet? What about a small calorie surplus with the same diet? (DMR=2900 calories)
If not, would it be better to eat a significant amount of extra calories and bulk up 15-20lbs (8kgs) while lifting weights, then put in some cardio and cut back down to a 10% BF?
What about workout regimes? I don't want to necessarily be HUGE, I just want to look fit, toned and defined - any suggestions for workout routines for this?
Am I focused in the total wrong direction here?
Any thoughts, advice, or suggestions are greatly appreciated! I look forward to reading your replies.
I am in no way an expert but here's my thoughts:
But it is also true that different regimes work for different people. You have to find out what works for you. Not only whether it is effective but also whether it is something you feel you want to and can do very regularly (and ideally enjoy, too).
Maybe you should just stick with something a little longer than you did and add some cardio to it?
I just looked up the P90X and it looks like it would be effective (albeit a little risky doing all this at home without someone checking whether you do it right
or risk injury)
Maybe it would help if you pair up with someone so you stay motivated to stick with something and exchange experiences? And to not care so much for all the reviews.
Last but not least: Not everyone will build a physique like a fitness model. If you do have an ectomorph body type it simply is harder to achieve and the effect of most workout regimes will be not as visible as it might be for others. But consistency is always key.
Well, that were my 2 cents. I am curious to see what others say.
Yes, you can build muscle on a 300-500 calorie deficit. Protein needs to be 1 to 1.5 grams per pound of lean body weight. (for you at 171 and 18% bodyfat that means your lean body weight is 140). 140 grams of protein @ 4 calories/gram = 560 calories. 210 grams of protein = 840 calories. With a BMR of 2900 (I wish I had your metabolism or youth, lol) 560 calories is only about 19% or your calories and 840 are about 29%. I only point this out to show you that your 50% protein diet may be excessively protein laden. Since protein is some of the most expensive food to buy there is really no reason to beyond the 35-40% range.
I have never been an advocate of bulking and then dieting back. Since you always lose some muscle during the diet phase it is (in my opinion) not the most efficient, albeit perhaps the fastest way to get in shape. If you are looking for long term fitness, health and a body that you are happy with I would not bulk and diet. I prefer to take the approach that you are making a lifestyle change for the long term. You eat healthy, you exercise and you achieve the body image and fitness level you are comfortable with.
For exercises you need to lift heavy! (Weight appropriate so you can only perform 4-6 repetitions per lift, 3 to 4 sets of each exercise.) Studies have shown that 4-6 reps build muscle mass faster than 8-10(which builds strength faster) or 10+ reps that build endurance faster. Since you are already in decent aerobic condition and you are more concerned with shaping your body go with the lower 4-6 repetition range for every lift. (The exception here is the Abs which have been shown to pop best with higher reps).
As for a routine you can look at my posts in the 'Did you exercise today?' thread in the Exercise section. I perform a 3 day split. Meaning that each day a different muscle group is targeted. This allows those targeted muscles to rest and repair the other two days. My splits are: Chest & Back, Arms & Shoulders and Legs. I do Abdominals almost everyday and cardio is a 5 minute warmup before lifting and 35 minutes post weights. Bodybuilding.com has a forum section with suggestions for a lifting routine. Don't overlook the importance of rest for your muscles. The old saying is you grow muscle between workouts.
Eat clean, carbs should come from vegetables and some fruit. Restrict simple carbohydrates from white flour, white bread, white rice, fruit juice, sugar and most importantly alcohol. (Alcohol has 7 calories per gram.) Instead use Whole grain bread, brown rice, whole fruit and sugar substitutes like stevia or honey.
You can make a huge change in your body in 6 months with dedication to a clean diet and a weight training regimen.
How much skill do you have manipulating those ratios? I find it very hard to get 20% fat, even healthy fat! Do you have a plan to follow that guarantees those ratios? What does your macronutrient pie chart look like on fitday these days, without changing your diet?
My average pie chart for this week is 35% fat and 30% carbs and 35% protein. Sometimes it is more fat and less carbs. I am not a big fan of meat so I sneak in some protein powder into my oatmeal in the morning ;)
Why do you want to keep your fat intake at 20%? This has to be hard if you (like me) are talking about the calorie-ratio and are on a low(er) calorie diet. I don't think I am eating lots of fat. I use oil for cooking and sometimes eat avocado and fairly often eat cheese (but i.e. cottage and sour milk cheese are low in fat). And I pour some oil over salads, of course.
I think these 30-40% fat are fine (as long as they are not all saturated fat).
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