I’ve known for awhile now that eating more means more gains, and I preach the heck out of it to Murph. I had even created a meal plan for him centered around hitting a lofty daily calorie goal. Truth is, if you’re lifting heavy, or crossfitting hard, you need to eat more than you think. Food fuels us for workouts, helpa us recover, and provides all the macro- and micro-nutrients we need to keep our muscles, joints, and hormones (among other things) running well.
Yet, I haven’t exactly been following my own advice. Conventional wisdom still gets the best of me and my past still affects my thinking about eating a lot and subsequently gaining fat, not muscle. But in truth, if you eat the right foods and are working hard enough, you should be fine (barring any other hormonal issues, i.e. hypothyroidism).
For the next couple of months, I’m going to experiment eating more. For the first few weeks, I’ll keep track of calories, just to make sure I’m getting in enough.
This is what yesterday looked like:
7am Protein Shake (chocolate protein powder, 2% milk, creatine)
7:30am Green Tea from Starbucks (China Green Tips, hot)
9:30am Breakfast-Ground Turkey, Kale, Mushrooms, White Potatoes, Olive Oil
2:30pm Lunch-1 can of sardines mashed with 1 whole avocado and salt (I know I should eat carbs – I brought mashed sweet potato – but the sardines and avocado really fill me up!)
7:00pm Dinner – About 6-7 ounces of ground beef mixed with onion and garlic and a cup and a half of rice with a tablespoon or so of butter. It’s been a staple lately, as it’s very easy to make, but it’s soo good.
I use My Fitness Pal to track calories. I’ve set a goal of 2,400 calories for myself, though this should be a rest day. For a training day, it should be more around 2,724 calories. (So I would have been good if I had had that serving of carbs at lunch!) I’ll try hitting this consistently for a week to see if I need to readjust. My measurements aren’t anywhere near perfect, but my estimate is that my day totaled 2,419 calories. As for macros, that’s ~24% carbs, ~53% fat, ~25% protein. Ideally, I’d like to have a better balance – around 30% from carbs, and 30-40% from protein, so I’ll work on that in the next few days.
The only real benchmark I have is my 1RM deadlift that we found last Friday, which is 205. This was at about 6:15 in the morning, so who knows if that number could be more at 6pm, when I am more accustomed to moving that much weight. But, it is what it is.
Overall, it is hard to say whether my food intake has affected my performance in the gym. My squats have felt horrible lately, but I have been squatting at least twice a week for the past… eight months, without more than a week’s break. Which is good, I need to keep squatting if any of my other lifts are going to get better, but I feel I’ve hit a huge plateau and I’m trying to figure out if that’s from fatigue, lack of sleep, lack of calories, or lack of mental capacity.
Physically, I am happy with my weight, and I think my body is too. It hasn’t fluctuated anymore than 4lbs one way or the other in about a year. However, I think I have more muscle to gain and a bit of fat to lose, and this should keep me at about the same weight, if not add a few pounds. As long as I’m not noticeably gaining fat, and the numbers are going up in the gym, and I’m comfortable in my body, then I don’t care what the scale says.