Trouble building muscle/losing fat

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Trouble building muscle/losing fat

Postby AndieB » Mon May 14, 2012 8:28 pm

Apologies if I should be posting this elsewhere, or if it's been covered -- this is my first post (feel free to direct me to the appropriate area).

After several years of strict vegetarianism/always eating vegan at home, I went completely vegan about 7 months ago. Here's the issue:  I've gained about 3 pounds and lost muscle tone despite the fact that I'm doing more strength training (not a ton -- just curls/lateral raises/etc w/ 8lb weights, crunches, squats and lunges a few times a week,  but I rarely strength trained at all before).  I'm also hanging on to more fat in weird places (e.g. belly weight, which was never a problem before, even at 10+ lbs heavier than I am now).

I run 3-7 miles 3 or 4 times per week (I'm currently training for a 15k and then my fourth half marathon).  I'm a much stronger runner since going vegan -- my endurance is better, I'm a bit faster for longer distances, and recovery is quicker than ever, even after tough runs.  But I can't seem to lose even a single pound, or even just drop some of the fat and build some new muscle, no matter how hard I try. I feel like those few pounds and the loss of muscle tone are keeping me from fully realizing my fitness gains.

I'm female, 28 years old, 5'1" and 125 lbs. I'm a pretty healthy eater (all fruit/veg smoothies in the morning, salads or veggie sandwiches for lunch, stir fry type meals for dinner and very few snacks). I net around 1400 calories per day, and I hit my protein goals (50-70g) most days.  My intake is usually around 60% carbs, 16% protein and 24% fat.  

I know the obvious answer is to eat more protein, but that doesn't seem to be helping.  Has anyone experienced this?  I'm super frustrated and I'd welcome any and all suggestions.
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Re: Trouble building muscle/losing fat

Postby baldy » Mon May 14, 2012 8:32 pm

AndieB wrote:I net around 1400 calories per day,

Without doubt that is a problem, what do you base a 1400 calorie requirement on? Seems very low for a standard person let alone someone training.
"A wise man once said, "It's easier to buy smaller clothes, than to put on 5kg." ... Buzz
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Re: Trouble building muscle/losing fat

Postby AndieB » Mon May 14, 2012 9:01 pm

Thanks for replying so quickly! 1400 seems to be consistent with most calorie calculators for someone my size, for reducing fat (they suggest that maintaining for an active person would be around 1600). I'm pretty small, so I don't burn nearly as many calories as an average-sized person (e.g. A 7-mile run only burns about 700 calories).

And as I mentioned, I NET about 1400, which can mean upwards of 1800-2000 calories consumed on a long-run day. Nothing crazy -- eating a lot of fruits and veggies I don't feel deprived or hungry at all.

That said, maybe I do need to up my calorie intake. It just didn't seem like I was doing any crash dieting or anything, but I guess that could be it... Maybe making a point of having another protein shake per day would help?
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Re: Trouble building muscle/losing fat

Postby Talyn » Mon May 14, 2012 9:16 pm

I think just eating more normal food would help, doesn't have to be another shake.

Welcome, btw. And good luck,
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Re: Trouble building muscle/losing fat

Postby baldy » Mon May 14, 2012 9:17 pm

AndieB wrote:Thanks for replying so quickly! 1400 seems to be consistent with most calorie calculators for someone my size, for reducing fat (they suggest that maintaining for an active person would be around 1600).

I have never used these calculators do you have a link, interested to see what it says for me.
"A wise man once said, "It's easier to buy smaller clothes, than to put on 5kg." ... Buzz
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Re: Trouble building muscle/losing fat

Postby AndieB » Mon May 14, 2012 9:37 pm

Here are a few, I think they just tell you how many calories to consume. I track my net calories and exercise with an app called myfitnesspal.

http://www.webmd.com/diet/calc-bmi-plus
https://www.livestrong.com/register/?tdp_cal=1
http://www.fatsecret.com/Default.aspx?pa=rdic

Thanks for the welcome talyn!
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Re: Trouble building muscle/losing fat

Postby AndieB » Tue May 15, 2012 1:20 am

baldy wrote:
AndieB wrote:I net around 1400 calories per day,

Without doubt that is a problem, what do you base a 1400 calorie requirement on? Seems very low for a standard person let alone someone training.


So, I went back and checked the settings for the calorie- and activity-tracking app I use... I had the activity level set at sedentary. I fixed that, which increases calorie goals retroactively. I looked back at my previous weeks and found that I've been anywhere between 300 and 1500 calories under my weekly calorie goals (goals set for .5 pound reduction per week) for several weeks now. Yet, I haven't lost a single pound. So I suspect you were right. Thanks for getting me to think about that a bit more carefully!

Is it possible that a whole-food plant-based diet is so amazing that I was substantially undereating without even realizing it? In a weird way that's kind of awesome. And definitely something to keep in mind.
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Re: Trouble building muscle/losing fat

Postby Koa » Tue May 15, 2012 2:31 am

I find this calculator to play around with best: http://www.1percentedge.com/ifcalc/
Squat - 170kg
DL - 200kg
BP - 110kg
OHP - 75kg


"How can you run when you know" -Neil Young
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