Nutrition - Weight - Calories - Oh its all just too much..... or is it?

Right!!!!! Confusion rules!

There is an article in July's issue of TW that states (and I quote) " As an example, let's take a 32 year old, 6ft, 82kg male that is classified as very active..... " BMR = 1898 and Calorie needs are 3274 per day!!!

PER DAY!!!! What??

OK - Back up......

Im 31, 6ft 1" and 80kg. 7 years ago I weighed in at well over 21 stone. Since then I have spun my life around. However I have always been really careful with what I have eaten since! On average I take on about 1800 calories per day and train for at least an hour each day, sometime 23 hours. More at weekends.....

Having been large (sorry - Massive) before my biggest fear is getting big again, and it seems as soon as I eat more than 18002000 calories per day I gain in weight which heads stright to the midrift! 

So the idea that TW is telling me that I need to eat over 3000 calories per day seems crazy - I know the maths works out but still, is this a golden rule set in concrete - what am I doing wrong..... personally I think I need to find myself a nutrionist to figure it out, but if anyone has any idea what to suggest or reasoning then Im prepared to listren.

Am i hampering my performnace but not eating enough. It seems to of done me ok so far but I'm now led to believe my body is in a constant state of starvation!!! I have enough energy - 5 marathon in the last 5 years, numerous running races and now with my first sprint Tri behind me and the next one tomorrow - I feel fine, but could I be limiting my acheievements>>>>>>>?

Help image please


  • If it aint broke, dont fix it

    Do you believe everything you read?   Take the information given from a variety of sources and use what suits you as a person/individual/triathlete/whatever ...

    Is you performance hampered, do you eat a balanced and healthy diet, are you maintaining/losing/putting on weight ??
  • ! On average I take on about 1800 calories per day and train for at least an hour each day, sometime 23 hours. More at weekends.....

    I don't believe you.

    1 hour of decent exercise is going to be around 700 cals.
    So that would leave you at the most 1200 cals for the rest of the day on a day with one hour of exercise. 300 cals for your body on a 2 hour day.

    So it would seem that you're either in denial of how much you eat, or exercise.
  • See - thats what I thought!!!!

    Ok admittedly - sometimes I feel tired BEFORE starting a session, but so does everyone right?????

    usually sessions are good and achievements are going well. It just seems as soon as I "eat normally" I gain weight! Whats that about.

    A normal day for me would easily consist of an hours swim in the morning, work, Brick session or ride or run in the evening..... I would say I never exceed 2000 calories per day!

  • Ian M - I can assure you I calorie count (slightly obbsessively)

    and yes - I know the maths doesnt make any sense as each day I am always close to defecit!

  • oh and by the way - this includes drinks!

  • If your weight is not drifting up or down over the long term (several weeks) then you're eating about the right amount.

    The body can adjust by several hundred calories either way (different ranges for different people) so you could experiment with adding just a small amount and see what happens - - but it sounds as if you've already tried that and established your limit.

    Personally, I find the same --- not to such an extent as you -- but those calorie calculations never work for me. The amount of food I need seems to be rather less than the formulas say.

  • By the way, a person's calorie expenditure is determined far more by their work (manual labour versus office work) which they spend 40hrs a week or more at, than by "exercise" that they spend maybe eight hours a week on. I've seen research papers, where they attached accelerometers to people, that suggest that most people's "formal exercise" such as gym makes a negligible difference to their overall weekly calorie expenditure.
  • Thanks Mikefrog, Firstly its good to know I am not alone! Secondly I work in IT so I am always of the opinion if it isnt broken, dont fix it!

    I dont want to gain weight which will slow me down or limit my performance by not concuming enough energy! That happy medium must be there somewhere

  • I am pretty sure I have around 2000 cals a day ....  yes, I know I am female but the point being that people live/work/play on different amounts

    If I ate the reccommended amount (which varies according to sources) daily and plus the defecit caused by training then I would probably be the size of a house

  • Ah really - I have to admit that makes sense as I am a desk based worker. With my sessions being before and after work..... interesting thoughts.... thanks

  • Yes, I am predominantly desk based as well .... I train a lot, not overly so

    I graze a lot food wise and I think that makes a difference, yes I know the calories add up the same but I think they have a better effect spread over time

    Anyroad, I am not changing my ways!!
  • M....eldy - agreed - so I think we have completely rubbished page 40 of the edition. Briallant! image
  • Yeah I have Brekkie, am snack, lunch, pm snack, dinner and a evening snack. So I spread it out well too. If I do a hard session I may throw in something in addition to recover. Protein shake or something to that effect
  • Glass of milk and a anananananana ... sorted !
  • Nathan, I am 6' 4" and 208lbs of which at least 8, 9 or 10 lbs is fat that shouldn't really be there.  I've found it interesting watching how little weight I've shed whilst my exercise regime has boomed (10-12 hours a week) and calorie intake if anything has reduced (to around 2,000 - 2,400 per day).

    I have a very low resting heart rate (38 - 44 bpm) which is hereditary and I suggest nuances like this, that are specific to each individual, all have a factor to play.  Suffice to say the only significant weight-loss I have ever had was during training for my first marathon last year.  Coming from a relatively sedentary lifestyle to train to run 26.2 miles, during summer, the big runs at the weekend certainly had an impact.

  • Nathan Scott 2 wrote (see)
    M....eldy - agreed - so I think we have completely rubbished page 40 of the edition. Briallant! image

    not really.

    you were the one who classified yourself as very active when you are deskbound most of the day.

    as pointed out above your job has more of an impact on this than the amount of exercise you do in your own time.

  • skotty - admittedly yes - that was an error on my part  although the overall result makes little difference - even if I drop a category into "moderately active" which I think is more accurate.... this still equates to -

    1898 * 1.55 =  2941..... or there abouts. Somy point still stands.

    Robbie - again  more proof that not everything matches the numbers thanks

  • I may well be deskbound when I am at my desk but that doesnt mean that I am 'sedentary'  tho

    Funny about the RHR as mine is quite low as well .... I am not a scientist but I suspect the two are usually linked

  • Indeed - when I play - I play hard!
  • Harris and Benedict's original research on energy expenditure, on which a lot of these formulas are based, was done in 1918!  Typical daily activity may have been rather different in those days
  • agreed - I have not been down the mines yet today!
  • I must be lucky with my metabolism then...
    I'm a short small female, and generally have a leisurely swim in the morning - 45-60 mins, and then possibly a short run in the evening once or twice a week...
    I also do a long and short bike and also swim at the weekend if not working.
    Job is long hours and involves walking about but not any major exertion.
    i don't sit still easily though.
    I easily get through around 2500-3000 cals per day (more like at least 4000 on a long bike day) and have pretty steady weight of 51kg or so...
    I just don't understand how someone as active as the OP can get by on so little cals and not be either knackered or constantly starving.
    Doesn't make any sense.
  • hey K9 - hows the knees???
  • Mmmmm....... how boring would we like this to get.................. There are numerous pieces of stuff I may be able to chuck in.

    Me,,,ermmm 95kg (which is v.light for me). My RMR (resting Metabolic Rate) is somewhere around 2200kcal per day. With daily life something close to 3000kcal per day. With exercise I can get through quite a few more. Like a whole pack of chocolate digestives for instance.

    At 1800kcal per day my weight plumets by a about a stone per month. I sometimes calorie count and track all of these things. Hence I beleive my RMR is 2200kcal rather than the predicted 2000kcal. I am big boned (according to a bone density scan) and they are dense as well. I carry quite a bit of muscle mass as well which burns calories.Either that or I burn a very large number of calories when exercising (I estimate running at about 1000kcal/hour)

    So a few things to think about:

    • Large/dense bones take maintenance and burn calories
    • Maintaining fat doesn't burn calories (or very few)
    • Maintaining muscle does burn calories

     The following are three different methods for calculating calorie requirements where the latter two use leand body mass

    • Harris Benedict Equation
    • Katch-McArdle
    • Cunningham 

    So why such a low BMR, or an exceptionally efficient exercise burn rate?

    Your body could have a genetic low calorie requirement. Your body could be in starvation and burning very few calories - potentially caused by long term dieting at below your RMR.

    You could be exceptionally fit but not working out that hard or just not working out that hard period. Walking for an hour uses a lot less than running hard for an hour. I am not saying you are or you aren't working out hard - you just said you trained for an hour or two. But you would need to be bloody efficient.

    However even low levels of exercise (walking) will burn 250kcal per hour so two hours would be 500kcal. Ths leaves only 1500kcal to run the rest of your body on (based on 2000kcal). At this point I would be suprised if your body is keeping itself in tip top condition and would be surprised if it was willing to put on any muslce mass.

    Is this an issue yes/no/maybe.

    Can I increase my bodies RMR - probably

    The calorie in/calorie out calculation is pretty much understood. However the guff you here about what you eat, when you it is not quite guff. It is true that if you eat more than you burn you gain weight. However eating regularly and healthily will help boost metabolic rate.

    If you have been in starvation mode for some time then every time you a little bit too much your body willbe desparate to storeit as fat (quick to put on)ready for the next starve. It will do this ahead of  boosting metabolic rate and going back to normal maintainance. You need to provide your body enough fuel on a regular basis for a long period of time and convince your body their isn't a shortage anymore. Don't put weight on just fuel it carefully and regularly.

    Hope this helps the discussion.


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