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  • Body Composition

    I know that body composition is 80% diet, 15% exercise, and 5% genetics. I'm a good exerciser (run 3x / week (about 15miles/week), weight lifing 2x/week, yoga 2x/week, and 8-10 miles walking/week) so I think I've got that covered. I just ran the Chicago Marathon a couple of weeks ago which is a lot of cardio but I'm now back down to a normal level of cardio.

    The last time I logged food I was 60% fat, 25% protein, 15% carbs give/take and about 2000 calories. I would say that I'm 95% "clean" with the only "cheat" being the occasional apple at Panera Bread in lieu of the bread with my salad.

    I have been eating low-carb since May and lost 25 pounds over the summer and then switched to primal in September. I currently weigh around 122 pounds at 5'4" and when I did that caliper BF measurement it came it around 20% if I did it right. That's too high and the extra fat is all on my tummy.

    I don't think I need to lose "weight" since all of the charts say that 122/5'4" is the right ratio but I do want to lose fat but I'm confused about what I'm doing wrong.

    So, should I restrict calories and lose weight/fat or should I start lifing more? Should I increase fat? Protein?

    Thanks for any input.

    Darlena

  • #2
    I would agree that diet has the far and above the most to do with body fat and I think that abs are mostly made in the kitchen. It sounds like you could up your protein a bit. Protein is your what your body needs to build muscle, but makes a very poor energy source. So, increasing your protein while reducing your fat and or carb intake by the same amount might help you. That might be easier than reducing your overall calorie intake, but that probably would also work too.
    http://www.facebook.com/daemonized

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    • #3
      I listen to Robb Wolf's podcast and he says that you should eat 1g protein for every pound you weigh so for me it would be around 120g protein. Which is what I was trying to do. So, do you think my ratios should be more like 60% fat/30%protein/10% carb?

      What about sodium intake? I love bacon but there's so much sodium. At what point does that become a problem?

      And, how does one know if they are at the right weight? Do you lose weight until you are at the BF that you want? Or, do you maintain the weight you think you should be and build muscle?

      So many questions - so little time

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      • #4
        I really don't think you need 1g of protein for every pound of body fat, there's some good evidence out there against it:
        http://www.fitnessspotlight.com/2009...-build-muscle/

        If you really want to lose the fat, I would recommend cut down on the cardio a bit, include 1 or 2 HIIT sessions a week and do more slow paced movement (e.g. long walks, hikes, etc.). I still could drop a few % points of body fat, but I feel like I'm at the right weight b/c I feel great and I don't want to change anything.

        Unless you're building muscle for a specific reason, my best advice is to keep eating clean, keep up with your fitness and be happy with what you get out of it. Not everyone is meant to be ripped and/or jacked (I'm definitely included in that), don't forget that genetics has a part in what you look like. Hope that helps.

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        • #5
          i agree minimal cardio(maybe just walking) and focus on heavy lifts or bodyweight strength. i dunno about protein but i personally eat a lot but i dont track anything and with my fat its prolly not high by percentage
          Get on my Level
          http://malpaz.wordpress.com/

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          • #6
            You may not need that 1g per lb unless you're a lifter. Having a little too much protein isn't going to be a problem though and even totally going overboard on protein hasn't been proven to cause kidney damage. You don't see workout freaks (body builders, power lifters, fitness people) having excessive incidences of kidney issues unless there are roids involved. (those really are meant to cause kidney issues). I focus a lot on getting enough protein but I'm not a tracker either. I don't want to weigh everything I eat and I think that a lot of meals are just too complicated to track anyway.
            http://www.facebook.com/daemonized

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Daemonized View Post
              You may not need that 1g per lb unless you're a lifter. Having a little too much protein isn't going to be a problem though and even totally going overboard on protein hasn't been proven to cause kidney damage. You don't see workout freaks (body builders, power lifters, fitness people) having excessive incidences of kidney issues unless there are roids involved. (those really are meant to cause kidney issues). I focus a lot on getting enough protein but I'm not a tracker either. I don't want to weigh everything I eat and I think that a lot of meals are just too complicated to track anyway.
              I agree, Daemon. I would just add that if you're getting plenty of good fat, chances are you're getting adequate protein as well. At least, I'd hope so.

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              • #8
                I know that I'm in wayyyy better shape than I have ever been and in way better shape than most women my age (I'm 45). So, I'm treating this as a hobby or a pet project. If it happens, that's wonderful but if it doesn't then no biggie. I'm just secretly (hell, openly!) jealous of the women who can run in just a bra and shorts!

                I also know that, while I carry my excess fat in my stomach, others carry it in their thighs or bum.

                What do you all think about sodium? Could that be part of the problem? I love bacon and sometimes snack on jerky but both have sky-high levels of sodium.

                Darlena

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                • #9
                  No. Sodium might make you retain water, which if you drink adequate water in the day it will flush it out, but it won't make you retain fat.

                  Keep in mind that 20% body fat for a woman, even an athletic woman, is quite normal.

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                  • #10
                    I agree with the exercise advice and think that along with making sure you get adequate animal fat might be key here in helping with belly flab. It did with me although I am still working on it. Used to run 6 miles a day and strength train for 30 min 2x a week. Cut it to 2 HIIT workouts a week and 2 strength days plus trading my much loved tilapia for salmon and steak = world of difference.

                    Many love the PB workouts

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                    • #11
                      I don't know, I think genetics plays a bigger part than 5% ... It seems that people either get abs quite easily with good food and proper exercise, or need to focus A LOT on dieting for a longer period of time utilizing smart caloric deficits and stuff.
                      Last edited by Pandadude; 10-26-2010, 06:24 AM.

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                      • #12
                        I'm also not overly concerned with sodium. My blood pressure is good and I drink plenty of water.
                        http://www.facebook.com/daemonized

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                        • #13
                          I got down to about 16% BF (I am also 5'4, now at 110lbs)... Previously, I was eating ~2000-2300 calories of lots of meat and fat, ate three big meals a day, did HIIT 3x a week (including sprints) and lifted 35-60mins 2x a week + moving slowly... All way too much... Condensed my "feeding window" from 11am-7pm (16hr fast/8hr feed), ate two big meals a day with loads more vegetables (calorie intake dropped to about 1500-1800), and started doing only one sprint workout a day and 2-3x a week of hard, to-the-point bodyweight workouts for 20-45min.

                          Then all of a sudden... Good things started happening. ;-) Good luck!
                          On a mission to help others master movement, build unbreakable strength, & eat MORE food (can't beat that.) Weekly fitness, health & nutrition articles at indulgentfitness.com.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks JessJane! Did you lose weight or were you already at 110?

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                            • #15
                              I think people put a lot more emphasis on diet than is warranted.

                              Body composition is purely a function of the types and concentrations of various hormones found in the human body.

                              Genetics and a good exercise program go a long way. Take an average guy and feed him chicken and fruit loops and make him sprint and do heavy compound lifts and he'll look better than the same guy who eats "clean" or paleo but works out like a bitch.

                              Everything else being equal a good diet will give you the edge but the real world never works like that. I have slightly above average genetics and i work hard and eat right and i've got a better body than probably 98% of males out there (not bragging here, just making a point).

                              Your diet and exercise regime will also dictate to a certain extent which genes are expressed. The harder you work the better your genetics get. Kinda like how the harder you work the luckier you get.

                              My advice: Eat right because its the smart thing to do, not based on some formula for body composition.

                              Look at sprinters and long distance runners. They are both athletes and and such probably have a very similar diet in terms of macronutrient breakdown and "quality" of food but their physiques are like night and day. Sprinter=lean and muscular, long distance runners=skinny, no, not "lean", just skinny and small. There is very little muscle mass on your average long distance runners body.

                              These differences in body comp are a function of training and genetics, diet has very little to do with anything there.
                              Last edited by Alexb; 10-26-2010, 11:51 AM.

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