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  • Primal Leangains difficulties - any helpful advice?

    Hi all,

    I've been doing the Leangains method, eating only primal foods, for the last 2 weeks, and there are three initial issues I wanted to bring to light here to see if you vets could add your perspective to the situation.

    Additional context: 25 y/o, 5'9", 170-175 LBs, ~12-14% BF, compound lifting 3x/week, other light training 2-3x/week (on 'rest' days). Goal is body recomp. The IF calculator I'm using is: IF Calculator

    1. Calculating base calorie intake for the day

    Should I use BMR or TDEE to apply the +/- 20% to? I believe the answer is TDEE, but I have mistakenly been using BMR the past couple weeks. D'oh. Guess I was doing 'extreme fat loss' (+/0 0/40%) for a bit accidentally

    2. Macronutrient profiles of training/rest days

    Are my macro's I'm calculating below on target? Am I correct in capping fat at 50g on training days and carbs at 50g on rest days?
    I feel like I've got a LOT of carbs on training days, but I don't want to consume too much fat. Using TDEE as baseline for calories for the below targets.

    Training days (+20%): 3360 KCAL = 200g Protein; ~525g Carbs; 50g Fat
    Rest days (-20%): 2240 KCAL = 200g Protein; 50g Carbs; ~135g Fat

    3. Carbs for training days

    This is where I'd really appreciate your experienced perspective - what primal carbs are you eating? The past two weeks, with targets of ~330g carbs on training days (lower than above because of BMR calorie mistake), I've been going heavy on sweet potatoes (~2-3 LBs), bananas (~3, or 15 oz.), and berries (blue, rasp, black, straw) when feasible (they're expensive!!). Veggies also, but miniscule carb count. I was using dates, too, but I read more and I don't like their fructose. Am I being too picky avoiding rice/dates/juices?

    Thank you SOO much for your help! I'm excited to put myself on the right path to short and long term well-being.

    Also - for those of you who answered my past related posts that got me to this point, thanks again for all of your guidance.

  • #2
    Originally posted by powk View Post
    1. Calculating base calorie intake for the day

    Should I use BMR or TDEE to apply the +/- 20% to? I believe the answer is TDEE, but I have mistakenly been using BMR the past couple weeks. D'oh. Guess I was doing 'extreme fat loss' (+/0 0/40%) for a bit accidentally
    TDEE.

    Originally posted by powk View Post
    2. Macronutrient profiles of training/rest days

    Are my macro's I'm calculating below on target? Am I correct in capping fat at 50g on training days and carbs at 50g on rest days?
    I feel like I've got a LOT of carbs on training days, but I don't want to consume too much fat. Using TDEE as baseline for calories for the below targets.

    Training days (+20%): 3360 KCAL = 200g Protein; ~525g Carbs; 50g Fat
    Rest days (-20%): 2240 KCAL = 200g Protein; 50g Carbs; ~135g Fat
    In my opinion, you should just bulk, and then later cut, you're just spinning your wheels doing that - and it takes a lot of time and extreme dedication in order to do a recomp effectively.

    Originally posted by powk View Post
    3. Carbs for training days

    This is where I'd really appreciate your experienced perspective - what primal carbs are you eating? The past two weeks, with targets of ~330g carbs on training days (lower than above because of BMR calorie mistake), I've been going heavy on sweet potatoes (~2-3 LBs), bananas (~3, or 15 oz.), and berries (blue, rasp, black, straw) when feasible (they're expensive!!). Veggies also, but miniscule carb count. I was using dates, too, but I read more and I don't like their fructose. Am I being too picky avoiding rice/dates/juices?
    Whatever primal carbs you enjoy. Unless you have a real reason to avoid those things, then I see no reason not to eat them if you like them. In my opinion, I like to eat my foods not drink them. Regarding my main carbs: potatoes, pasta, rice, vegetables.
    Last edited by Darz; 02-25-2013, 08:29 AM.

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    • #3
      I agree with what Darz said above. Also, good job on putting your question into a fairly concise, logical format.

      Personally, I get the bulk of my starch from white potatoes. I also eat bananas, dried figs and prunes, and oranges. And ice cream. I also drink raw milk.

      Also, it is not a staple for me, but cassava/yuca is about twice as carb dense as white or sweet potatoes. It's used to make tapioca. Now that I mention it, I should get it more often!
      Cassava - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
      That table also reminds me that plantains and yams are also good options that are somewhat more carb-dense than potatoes. Of course rice is the king in that regard. I eat it on occasion, but I do like getting the bulk of my starch from tubers.

      Looks like figs are actually higher in fructose than dates, but prunes are lower: Sugar Content of Fruit | Nutrition Information from Dr. Loren Cordain
      Either way, I don't sweat the fructose from those too much, as I only eat 2-3 pieces of each per day.
      Last edited by yodiewan; 02-25-2013, 08:59 AM.

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      • #4
        Darz, Yodiewan, thank you for the guidance!! Sounds like I need to significantly increase my calorie intake - I'll shift up to TDEE +30/-10 for bulking to start. MAN that's a lot of calories, especially for two meals / 8 hour eating window. Sounds like fun, hah.

        Yodiewan, your links are especially helpful as I figure out additional carb options. That sugar chart is dynamite. Cassava looks interesting, I'll have to see if Whole Foods has any (and if I have the culinary skill to utilize it). Of the carbs I'm OK with, I like the flavor of sweet potatoes (what I call Yams) and dates the most. I'll push the yams to 3-4 lbs per lift day and add dates back in for a few oz a day. MAYBE even rice with Thai curries here and there
        Last edited by powk; 02-25-2013, 12:13 PM.

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        • #5
          If you can cook sweet potatoes, you can definitely cook cassava. Just peel and boil. Mash if you like. They sometimes have a fibrous string in the middle like parsnips. I usually just spit that part out, but you could cut it out in advance of cooking too.

          I like them with cumin+coriander+turmeric. Especially with some added red palm oil, but I leave that out on training days.

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