I have been exploring body building lately and I have made the decision that I am ready to aim for higher goals and once and for all achieve the level of fitness I know I can reach eventually. I consider myself knowledgeable in nutrition and have a passion for health and wellness. I have been vegan for quite awhile and eat a very clean diet, that being said, I still am new to this sort of fitness and have a few questions where I am still a bit confused!
First off, my goals are to decrease body fat and increase muscle mass. While I am at a healthy weight, I do have extra fat to lose. I am a 5'6 female and about 140 lbs. However, based on measurements and calculators online, I am about 28% body fat. I have looked up pictures of this online and it looks a bit bigger than I actually am, so who knows it may be less! Someday, I would like my body fat low enough that I have visible abs and lean muscle definition. But one day at a time! Right now, I want to aim for about 20% body fat, and around 130 lbs, an achievable goal, I believe.
My questions are:
1. If I want to lose weight AND build lean muscle mass, do I eat in a calorie deficit or will that inhibit me from forming muscles? I've read it is better to start with weights and cardio rather than trying to just do cardio in the beginning in the effort of losing weight. But if I am lifting, I need to increase protein and calories to support muscle growth, right? How can I do that if I'm trying to lose weight?
2. According to Livestrong.com's formulas, I should aim for 1800 cal a day to lose either .5-1lb a week (this supposedly already includes a deficit). When I add in exercise, it bumps up my calorie requirements for however much I burned. Does this mean I need to eat the calories I burned? Won't that cancel out my hard work?
3. I have just begun taking thyroid hormone replacement because i have low thyroid. I've always had a slow metabolism and gain weight incredibly easy. I feel like I should weigh 10-15 lbs less than I actually do, with as clean as I eat. So I'm not even sure if these calorie requirement formulas will work for me! I guess this isn't really a question....
4. If I run (say 200 cal a day), I need carbs to fuel that. But if I'm lifting weights, I need a higher percentage of protein than carbs. What is the correct ratio percentage if I'm doing both these activities?
Like I said, I'm pretty educated about what foods to eat, it's just the science of sports nutrition in regards to macronutrient ratios and the calculations of calories to eat.
Thank you! P.s-still trying to find a plant based personal trainer? Just bought Robert's book though!