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Please help me with post contest nutrition

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I have my first contest on June 9, bodybuilding category. In December I finished up a long junk food bulk and topped out at 151 lbs. I was probably eating 3-4k calories a day and at least half of my food was processed (gardein, ketchup, juices, clif bars, cookies, oils, any kind of vegan product i could find, the cheeses etc, eating out a lot, chipotle, artificial sweeteners). I usually counted up to 3k on my calculator but would leave out random things, restaurants, alcohol I'm a 5'4 female. I'm 120.8 lbs today, and on the day of my contest I'll be 115. my pants are size 2 and shirts are extra small. My cutting diet has been 105 carbs, 130 protein, and 70 fat as per my trainer. Lifting 5 days a week and 70-80 minutes of cardio and the pounds shed off. I have vowed to eat clean and allow myself to cheat only one night a weekend and special occasions. Online calculators say I can net 2100 calories and maintain a 125lbs weight. I would be OK maintaing 130. I will continue to lift 5 days a week and probably do cardio 3-4 days a week, assuming I don't do another contest. If I compete again I will rehire my trainer, but since this is taking a toll on me i am pplanning and leaning toward a recovery plan and just trying to stay as fit as possible using whole plant based foods that are inexpensive (oats, fruits, beans, veggies, nuts, peanut butter, and possibly the left over jugs of protein powder that I have, but eventually want to phase those out as well). I was able to come up with a plan for six meals, 2100 calories, about 300 carbs, 130 protein, 70 fat, 65 sugar, tons of fiber. I ran that by my trainer and while it's my decision, he says I'll get fat again if I do that...what do you guys think? I know I'm getting ahead of myself and I should be focusing on the contest but I'm a bit preoccupied with this and want to get it started two days after I compete. The day after I plan to eat big and when I want to and not count portions but all clean stuff. If I remove the two fruits servings and just work with the rest of the stuff, it cuts out about 60 carbs, but I think fruits are beneficial to health and my dermatologist who is treating me for my hairloss (real or imagined im not sure) said plenty of fruits and veggies. Note that my coach has won dozens of natural bodybuilding competitions using the keto diet....so you cant argue that his method doesn't work for him...but i dont want to be tied down to protein powders and seitan and black bean spaghetti for 5 bucks a bag for the rest of my fitness life..

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If I replace banana and apple with berries, I can reduce carbs and sugar....but would you recommend it necessarily? I have two big boxes of the spaghetti left over and three tubs of protein powder, but id eventually want to change this...but i could do this for a while. im fantasizign about it right now lol.


Meal 1 : ¼ cup steel cut oats, 1 T peanut butter, 1.33 servings rice protein, 8 strawberries

Carbs/fat/Protein: 38/11/27

Meal 2: 1 cup chick peas, ½ cup spinach, 1/2cup blue berries, 1/8 cup walnuts

Carbs/fat/Protein: 56/13/18

Meal 3: one cup lentils, 1 cup cauliflower, 10 almonds

Carbs/fat/Protein: 47/8/23

Meal 4: one cup lima beans, one cup steamed broccoli, 10 almonds

Carbs/fat/Protein: 46/7/21

Meal 5: ¼ bag black bean spaghetti, 5 brussell sprouts, 1 TB peanut butter

Carbs/fat/Protein: 26/14/28

Meal 6: 2 TB peanut butter, 20 almonds



Total Carbs/fat/Protein:


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Wait, a trainer told you that if you continue to work out five days a week and eat 2100 calories, you're going to get fat?


I second this. How does he define 'fat'? Plus, if he is anti-carb, he is going to want to cut many healthy vegan foods out of your diet. Perhaps PM another bodybuilder or two on here, and see what they do for food after a contest?


Remember, the best diet is a lifestyle that you are comfortable with, and where you enjoy a good balance between foods you want to eat, foods that are healthy, and foods that will help you achieve your fitness goals. If a diet isn't sustainable emotionally and physically, then it's not something you want to plan for the long term. I think this trainer is not quite in line with some of your post-competition goals.... :/

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If I compete again I will rehire my trainer, but since this is taking a toll on me i am pplanning and leaning toward a recovery plan and just trying to stay as fit as possible using whole plant based foods that are inexpensive


If you decide not to compete again, I would suggest increasing your carbs and decreasing your protein.


Using your plan of 224 carbs, 81 fat, 130 protein, you could do something like increasing your carbs by 50 grams and decreasing protein around 50 grams.


This would give you a total of 274 carbs, 81 fat, 80 protein.


This would make it a wash out for your total calories keeping you at 2145/day.


And even at 130 lbs, you would still be getting 1.35 grams of protein per kg of body weight which should be plenty of protein to maintain your current muscle mass.


This would put you diet at 51% carb, 34% fat and 15% protein.


The increase in carbs could be accomplished by increasing your vegetables/fruit intake, preferrably vegetables. Do you like salads? Including atleast 1 salad a day including lettuce besides iceberg would be great.


I am not sure how much protein you are getting from the protein powder, but you may could get enough decrease alone by cutting it out, which you mentioned you may do anyway. Otherwise, you may need to reduce the nuts a little, which would also decrease your fat intake at the same time, but since you would be at 34% fat, a decrease some there shouldn't be a problem.


As far as your overall general health benefits, which I think are very important. This change would make life a little easier on your kidneys and increase your phytonutrient/antioxidant intake.


How does this sound to you? Like was mentioned before, you need to find something you can live with long term.


Good luck at the contest!

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So decreasing protein and increasing carbs has the benefit of helping my kidneys? Is that what you are saying? I definitely want to maintain my muscle if not add more! Thank you...


I've never seen evidence that high protein intake causes kidney issues in anyone who doesn't already have some degree of kidney damage or disease. All such claims are anecdotal. Just keep an eye on things (e.g. urine color, UTIs, etc) and you should be fine.

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So decreasing protein and increasing carbs has the benefit of helping my kidneys? Is that what you are saying? I definitely want to maintain my muscle if not add more! Thank you...


Sorry, I should have clarified about what I meant about the kidneys. It is the protein that can most effect your kidneys, and while it is true that vegan sources of protein do not effect your kidneys as much as non-vegan sources and that as blabbate states it is more of a concern for people who have a kidney damage/disease already or family history of kidney disease, it is known to make existing kidney problems worse so it seems reasonable to expect that long term high amounts of protein could possibly lead to kidney problems. The biggest concern for you in my opinion would be the protein powder, although I assume it is from a vegan source, it is still in a concentrated form.


120 grams of protein a day for someone of your weight seems high, especially once you enter a recovery phase. Now if you decide in the future you want to start gaining more muscle you may need to increase a little above the 80 grams I suggested. Personally, I consume 80-100 grams a day at 165 lbs 12-13% body fat and I workout 4-6 times a week.


Any excess protein not needed to repair the body can be converted and used as energy, but the conversion process isn't as efficient as using carbs for energy.


But the main point of my suggestions was that the foods used to increase your carb intake would also be more nutrient rich foods which would be better for your long term health.


Not to sound preachy, but I think many athletes lose sight of their long term health while pursuing their athletic endeavors. Speaking as someone who has done the same in the past and had health problems, I don't think your health is worth it unless maybe you are making millions a year in your athletic events.

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No you dont sound preachy at all and I really appreciate you helping! Basically I want to preserve overall health but at the same time I want to maintain the muscle mass of a bodybuilder without putting back on the fat that i used to carry while "bulking" dirtily. I want to be assured that I can eat plenty of carbs (approx 300? ) from fruit, veggie, and complex sources without having to worry about too much fat gain, and also that i will preserve and even gain muscle mass without having to supplement protein. Without using any powders I can get 120 grams....carbs will be higher than if I did that with powder. Argh maybe I am reading too much into it. I also know that my food will be varied. I plan to cook one week for the following week, but next week change maybe based on what is on sale, what is coming up in the garden, what i feel like etc. I want to learn to try trust body at bit more and not be so strict....to trust my instincts a bit more.. And I also wish I knew what has been the most important factor in the fat ive lost during this diet - the calorie restriction, the carb reduction, the workouts, the high protein?? no alcohol...well i guess it's a combination...ya know?! I also hope that my body hasnt somewhat adapted to 1500 calories with tons of exercise....if thats so then 2k calories and much less cardio who knows how it could react? i guess it will come down to trial and error?

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Does your insurance cover seeing a RD so they can help you come up with a diet plan that you mind doing for a long time. From what I'm reading on these boards are a lot of competitors get so obsessive when it comes to eating, reps, cardio, etc that it starts to take a mental toll. The person becomes hard on themselves for eating the wrong food, not be able to have a great workout because they are sore.


Any fruit or vegetable are ok to eat. They aren't processed and it is natural. Also it is summer why miss out on enjoying a fresh piece of seasonal fruit.


Most grains are healthy qunioa, millet, oats, wild rice, buckwheat, spelt, kumut, wheat berries


Beans and lentils are good


Seeds, Nuts and nut butters are good. You may also like Almond butter


Try to come up with a diet that you can tolerate

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One more comment why are so many female competitors are so strict with what they eat or put in their body but yet have no problems getting beast implants or over tanning. Guess perfect body wins over the risk of cancer or other health issues.


Jungle, it isn't worth over thinking carbs to protein to fats. Try to eat clean

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You ask a lot of good questions there jungle. I don't know the exact answers to all of them, everyone is a little different and you have to figure out what works for you, but I will give you my opinion/answers.


Can you maintain muscle mass without putting on fat? Yes, I am certain you can.


Can you eat plenty of carbs(300) without gaining fat? Yes, you can, IF your total calorie intake isn't to high. It's not just carbs that can cause you to gain fat, protein and fat can as well, if you eat too much of them. 300 grams of carbs a day would be 25 grams or equivalent to 100 calories more than what I suggested, but that would be fine if you cut back on the fat to make up the difference in calories. To cut 100 calories from fat you would have to reduce your fat intake by 11 grams.


Can you gain muscle without protein supplements? Yes, you can. As I mentioned before, your current protein intake is well above what you need to gain or maintain muscle.


Can you get 120 grams of protein without protein supplements? Yes, you can, but as you say it will increase your carb/fat intake thus your total calorie intake, which could cause you to gain fat. But, is 120 grams needed, I don't think so.


Most important factor in your weight loss? I think it was your total calorie restriction. Carb reduction can do it but carb reduction alone won't do it if you increase fat/protein intake thus increasing total calorie intake. Workouts burn calories and can certainly cause fat/weight loss, but it does no good if you burn 500 calories in a workout then go consume 500 extra calories then you normally would, which is what a lot of people do. Higher protein shouldn't cause weight loss because by increasing protein you are actually increasing your total calorie intake, UNLESS you cut calories from other sources such as carbs and fats, so then you are right back to reducing your total calories. Reducing alcohol would help in losing weight, because alcohol is high in calories, so by reducing alcohol you are reducing calories. So basically, it all goes back to your total calorie intake, no matter where it is coming from.


Has you body adapted to 1500 calories a day and now if you go to 2k will you gain weight? This is very possible. Your body can and does adapt to the number of calories you are taking in. A person who is taking in less calories body will become more efficient at burning those calories and that person won't need as many calories as someone else to survive. This is similar to the "survival mode" your body will go into while fasting, where your body greatly reduces the amount of calories it is burning in an effort to continue to live. So after your contest, you will have to see how your body reacts to your diet/workout changes and adjust from there.


You mention trusting your instincts. I think this is key, especially if you mean by this, listening to what your body is telling you what it needs. I can understand keeping up so closely with your calorie and gram intake of fats, protein and carbs while training for a bodybuilding contest. But after the contest, if you decide not to train immediately for another, I wouldn't try to keep up with every exact gram of everything everyday. Personally, I never have until just the last few weeks, only because out of curiousity to wanted to see where I was at. But I have never trained for a bodybuilding contest either.


I know you stated all this was on your mind right now, but you may not want to focus too much on all this until after the contest is over, so you don't lose focus for the contest.


Good luck at the contest.

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Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I guess I wish someone could just give me a magic formula!!!!! I keep bouncing back to 2000 calories since that's what is the general value for the "average american". Yes I'm a petite woman, but I also workout hard...so I dunno. I also don't want to deny myself alcohol, just want to moderate, which has always been hard for me (for both food and alcohol)! hehe. Also want to figure out how much cardio is ideal to keep trim but also gain some muscle. But you are right about focusing, 9 more days!! Hopefully this thread will keep bouncing up a bit during the next week and I can come back to it after it's all said and done and think about a plan...

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Always consider this - even if you stay with around 2100 cal./day and train hard, it isn't as if fat is magically going to sneak up on you one day and deposit 20 lbs. without notice. You can still eat more carbs and test things, if you find that you're gaining weight too rapidly after a few weeks, then try your trainer's advice and decrease carbs a bit to see how it fares. Look at it this way - if they've been right about everything so far, and have gotten you close to where you want to go, then it doesn't make sense to abandon all they've been teaching if you want to stay the course for progress. You can also SLOWLY increase total calories as well, maybe just upping the total by 50-100 cal./day from your current amount to the higher 2100 total over the course of a few months, thereby allowing better adaptation without as much shock to your system from a rapid increase. Figure this, it's like anything else, if you diet hard and strict for a few months, your system will be in prime "store everything I can because I don't know when I'll get to eat like this again!" mode, which does make fat gain more likely with a quick return to higher calories, so perhaps a slow return is the better approach. Not to mention, along with fat loss, you've certainly had some muscle loss as well, therefore your body will still require fewer total calories per day than it did when you were bulking up at the end of 2011.


I know all too well how it is to be carb-sensitive - too much rice, bread, fruit, etc. all ends up settling extra weight right in my gut, the last place it ever wants to vanish from. Doesn't matter if I stick to "clean" carb sources, once I'm over 400g/day (and don't forget, I'm also 6' tall and 238 lbs.), my fat gain kicks back up and it's back to square one. Some of us really do operate better with fewer carbs and more protein/healthy fat, we're not all the same and there's no "perfect" plan for people to follow that will guarantee things will work out ideally. I know there are tons of vegans who say "Just eat lots of good carbs, don't worry about protein, it'll be great!", but what works for them does NOT work for everyone else, and if I followed such advice, I'd be 300+ lbs. and feeling like crap within a year or two. There's nothing wrong with being carb-sensitive, it just means it's a bit more tricky to fine-tune diets without having to always be more protein-focused.


It all boils down to what you want in the long run. If you want to stay lean and not worry about gaining fat for a while, then play it safer and don't up the carbs too much/too quickly, keep protein high, and change things slowly. If you plan to compete again later and want to gain more mass and/or don't mind dieting down again, then there's no worry about putting a little fat on with your lean mass, it's bound to happen. If you're focused on health completely, then that will likely take you in a different direction. Just think about where the next season's goals lie for now, and plan accordingly!

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