Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Progress So Far - A Macro View

Throughout my blog, I will be posting the psychology behind my journey and getting plenty detailed on how I was able to get to this point (and beyond).  There had to be a complete overhaul in my thinking process, and I had to understand that my body is different.  I had to stop comparing myself to what other people were doing and what they ate.  I also had to accept that what I thought was fun and relaxing was actually a temporary insulin spike that made me feel worse when I came down off my high.

I first used the P90X nutrition guide as a plan (I am doing the P90X workouts, 2nd round day 140), but 60 days into the program (this was my 5th attempt) I started getting weak and my hunger was starting to feel like my old crash diets.  Normally, I would have used this as an excuse to crush a massive cheat meal because my body needed it, right?  But, I went a different rout, and decided to customize a meal plan that worked only for me, and get away from using more general guidelines (i.e Resting Metabolic Rate + Daily Activity Burn + 600).

I searched the internet, and came across three key websites that helped me determine what I should be eating with my workouts.  The first thing I realized was that I wasn’t eating enough calories, even though in the early phases, the P90X guide (remembering it is just a guide, and it’s been very helpful) recommended that I start out at 2400 calories /day.  Once I realized what my caloric intake should be, I found that I really had to pay attention to my macronutrients (macros) to start getting closer to my fitness goals.  Macros are your daily protein/carb/fat intake, and there are excellent educational posts on how to calculate your needs on an excel spreadsheet. 

See here:
and here:

I then came across a website that did all the calculations for you, and came pretty close to what I had calculated on a spreadsheet based on the information provided in the links above.  So, you can save yourself some time and go here:

I always underestimate my workout intensity, so as my activity level, I selected 3-5 hours/week of moderate exercise….knowing that I am conservative on my caloric needs.  This gave me assurance that I am not overestimating, and that the ultimate guide was to listen to my body.  If I am feeling weak and having trouble in my workouts, then I would increase my caloric intake.  So, when I started at 2400 calories/day, and was feeling sluggish after 60 days, I recalculated with my new weight, and upped my caloric intake to 2600 calories/day.  I also went from the goal "lose weight-10% calorie reduction" to "gain muscle and lose weight".  Now, I am switching things up even more…..resistance days, 2800 calories, cardio 2400 calories.  I am not entirely at my fitness goals, that is why I am still running a deficit on my cardio days.  I’m also sticking to the following macros:

2800 calories/day
50% carbs
30% protein
20% fats

2400 calories/day
35% carbs
45% protein
20% fats

Many of my meal plans are followed from this publication and prepared by my wonderful wife (she is the best cook and my #1 reason for being this successful to date).

I also monitor everything that goes in my body through  It’s free, and there is a really slick app that you can load on your phone to track meals and scan barcodes.

Now, this is the 30,000 foot view, I will dig deeper, and let you know how I killed cravings by staying away from what are considered “bad carbs”.  Alcohol, birthday cakes, cookies, pizza hut….all the fun crap that I used to know.  But, I wouldn’t change the way I feel for any binge weekend again.  Additionally, there are many people out there who can get away with eating the bad carbs, I can’t.  That is why I stopped comparing myself to other people.  I know my body better than anyone else, and if you listen to it….amazing things can happen.  More to come……

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