In early August I visited the dunk tank and got my body fat tested. The first time I have had someone test my body fat since I was probably in middle school and they did the caliper test on my calf and my side – no idea what that said.
After trying to guess my body fat a few times with measurements, I decided to take the plunge, literally. I was definitely nervous, but really wanted to know my resting metabolic rate which is something this test provides. I wish I wasn’t such a cheap ass because I would have long ago paid for a dietitian to help me cross the proverbial finish line.
In August I was pleasantly surprised when the results showed that I was just over 13% body fat. In my age range that placed me just on the high edge of being “athletic” – better than “healthy”. Shocked to say the least. I was a bit skeptical simply because I had hiked Gray’s and Torrey’s peak that morning and when I do something long and aerobic like that I tend to weigh at least a few pounds less than normal. For this test I weighed 207.
I found out my resting metabolic rate was just barely over 2,300 calories. This means if I woke up and laid in bed all day I would still need 2,300 calories to maintain weight. Well, up until that point I had been eating close to 2,300 calories a day. On some day’s I was eating well under 2,300 calories a day.
I also saw an Instagram post from Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet that said she eats close to 200 grams of protein a day. I wasn’t getting close to that either (I wasn’t tracking macros as this point, but I went back and looked at a few days and realized I was getting closer to 100 grams per day). I decided for the next few months I would eat a lot more and make sure to get enough protein. I set My Fitness Pal to 35% protein, 35% fat and 30% carbs with a minimum of 2,300 calories a day. I would track all of my activity (guess my CrossFit…) with Map My Run and those added calories would add to my 2,300 calories and I would eat that, too. This resulted in most days around 3,000 calories, give or take a few hundred. Unfortunately this was all a guess, too, since I wasn’t tracking my heart rate, but it was better than before.
It had been three months since my last check and I wanted to get checked again. I wanted to get checked before the holidays and possibly adjust my nutrition based on the results – and I plan on getting tested again just before my birthday at the end of January. I am definitely heavier, but how much fatter am I? I know I weigh closer to 213-215 now, but how much of that is muscle or fat? Has my new diet (more calories and a lot more protein) helped?
The results were positive! I did weigh more (215) and my body fat went up just over 1% to about 14.3% (if I recall correctly), but I did gain 4.5 pounds of lean mass. While I don’t want to get fat, I do want to deadlift 400 pounds, squat over 300 regularly (would LOVE to get 3 plates on the bar for a squat) and also snatch 200. I don’t think those will come without feeding myself.
So, here enters my nutrition change. I have started eating more carbs recently and less fat as I try to meet my 35/35/30 goals. I hadn’t realized how much fat I ate before – it was a lot. Think grass fed beef with guacamole added, for example. Or eggs with bacon and guacamole. I didn’t know that a meal like that is almost all fat, no carbs and some protein. Eating a lot of fat isn’t bad, I know the benefits of getting into Ketosis, but I have read a lot more recently that eating carbs benefits CrossFitters who need to be able to perform at high output levels.
Enter Instagram again. This time a post by Margaux Alvarez where she outlines how she tries to eat a lot more carbs than protein.
I had been suspicious that CrossFit athletes eat more carbs than protein based on a few other things I have read, but everyone wants to charge for any information like this. (Not saying that is bad, people have to make a living, but, like I said, I’m a cheap ass…). This was enough evidence that I need to eat more carbs.
Within the comments on Alvarez’s post was a link to a blog that would outline how and why she eats the way she does. Within this is the suggestion that you should eat 18-20 calories per pound you hope to weigh. The first sort of calculation I have ever read suggesting how much someone should eat. It also talks about eating the same amount of calories everyday, regardless of activity or lack thereof. For Alvarez she eats 20 calories per pound desired, but she is super active – much more so than I. I would like to weight 190 someday so 190 x 18 = 3,400 calories per day.
For the next three months I am going to attempt to eat 3,400 calories per day with 40% of the calories coming from carbs, and splitting the remaining 60% between fat and protein. This still gets me well over 200 grams of protein per day, but will definitely add more carbs to my diet – a lot more.
This will be difficult over the holidays, but I am going to give it a shot. After I am tested again at the end of January I will adjust, if needed. Maybe at the end of January I add another 4 pounds of lean mass and reduce my body fat by a percentage point or two?
I have been tracking my workout progress for a few years and that has helped me make improvements. Now it is time to do the same with nutrition. Test, change and retest and see how it effects my body and my performance in the gym.