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Q and A: Calorie Confusion

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:00pm

Hey Kelly!

Here’s my deal:

I do some sort of cardio (run, spin or random group class) 4-5 times per week and I also weight train 2 times a week (I tend to lift heavy). I am 5’9 and weigh 190lbs. I seem to put on muscle very easily but I would love to better my race time and also train for a half marathon. I want to lose fat to achieve this. I have played around quite a bit with my diet and calories but at this point now I am trying to stay within 1200-1500 calories per day. I checked out your link to the Harris Benedict Formula and it states for my activity level I should be eating about 2500 calories, could this be correct if I want to lose? Also like I stated above I lift 2 times a week but I hear you say over and over to people on your site that minimum should be 3, how do you split that? I usually do upper one day then lower on another…..I also check out a lot of websites to find new weight training exercises so any ideas or sites on that would be much appreciated.

You seem like a fantastic resource so thank you so much for your time J

Hope you have a great day!

-Amy Hansen

Amy- there are a few things to consider:

1) The Harris Benedict formula is to figure out how many calories you need to maintain your weight. In order to safely lose weight (about 1 pound a week) you want to subtract about 500 calories from that (500 calories equals 3,500 over a week: 3,500 calories are in a pound, so viola!) so in order to lose, you should be eating around 1,800-2,00 calories a day. Bleh, math.

2) 1,200- 1,500 is way too low. You aren’t going to drop weight if you don’t eat enough- which makes all that exercise you are doing a waste. I say it over and over, but if your body is starving, not matter how much you make it work, it isn’t going to burn calories, so you definately shouldnt be anywhere under 1,600, especially for the weight you are at.

3) Your body only needs a day in between to heal from strength training so you can split your strength training up a number of different ways. You can do full body each time, you can alternate upper and lower (which means one week you will do upper twice and one week you will do lower twice) or you can split it into random muscle groups, or you can do full body one day, then abs and core the next- it really doesnt matter. As long as you give your muscles one day of rest in between workouts (at least) you’ll be fine. Remember: We give our bodies too much credit. Weeks are a man-made thing, your body doesnt think in terms of weeks, so dont worry so much about being even. However, 2 times a week isnt bad, so don;t fret too much

4) Some good sites to check out for exercises are: Youtube.com (just type in the body part you want to work) PTontheNet.com (you have to search a bit for free stuff, but if you sign up for a membership- that’s what my work uses when we aren’t feeling creative), Workoutz.com. There are a million. Just search free workout videos and you’ll find anything you could ever want.


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