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Calorie Range while exercising?

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Old 03-29-2006, 10:05 PM   #1
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Default Calorie Range while exercising?

I'm new to exercise on purpose. I'm wondering how many calories I should be eating. I'm 37 years old, weigh 169 lbs, 5'8" tall and working to get to 145-150 lbs.

I go to the gym five days a week. Four of those days I walk/run on the treadmill for 20 minutes (up to 12 minutes of running) then stregnth train either upper or lower body on nautilus machines or weights. I strength-train three sets per exercise, working up to 8 reps or to failure. The fifth day I do a Power Yoga class for an hour. My exercise goals are to be fit enough to run for a half-hour without feeling like I'm gonna keel over, and to have that muscle-y toned thin look.

Before I started at the gym I was eating 1200-1300 calories a day, but now I'm eating about 100 calories more a day. Am I eating away my hard work?
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Old 03-30-2006, 09:49 AM   #2
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i don't think there is anything wrong with the amount of calories you are eating. it is highly recommended that you do not go below 1200 calories a day. i think anywhere between 1200-1400 is perfect. and you must be doing something right because you've lost 18 pounds. so you are on the right track. it just takes time for us to lose the weight we never noticed we were putting on. honestly, most of us probably only put on half a pound to a pound a week to make us fat, so realistically, it should probably go away about as fast as it came on. not that i want to wait 2 years or more to totally lose the weight, but one pound a week is a great weight loss for me. sure i'd like to drop 10 pounds a month, but it ain't happening, so i'll take my one pound a week. by halloween, i should be able to dress as a harem girl or whatever.
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Old 03-31-2006, 03:06 AM   #3
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I am a calorie counter all the way. You need to figure out what your basic metabolic rate (BMR) is to start off with. Your basic metabolic rate is essentially what you are burning just by existing...your organs pumping etc. A pound gained or lost is a calorie deficit or excess of 3500 calories. If you want to lose a lb. a week you need to have a caloric deficit of 500 calories a day. According to my calculations you have a BMR of around 1536 a day. Then you burn more calories through lifestyle, everything you do from sitting at the computer typing to walking to the bathroom. On top of that you have the actual exercise you do. So let's say including lifestyle calories you are burning around 2200 a day than you want to eat 1700 calories a day to lose a pound. 1200 which is around what you're eating will give you a 1000 calorie deficit which means you should lose around 2 lbs. a week. Remember that on days you are more active you do need more calories just make sure they are healthy calories from lean protein and veggies rather than empty calories. If you want more info on calories you should check out the Calorie Counter Thread under Diets. You might also want to check out FitDay because it calculates how many calories you burn in a day and you can see what your difference between calories in and calories out.

Did any of that make sense?
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Old 03-31-2006, 09:26 PM   #4
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Thanks ladies!
I'd sure like to see a 10 lb. loss in a month, too! That's the rate I lost weight before my last baby was born. My metabolism just isn't what it used to be, which is my main reason for incorporating exercise into my life.

I do use Fitday to track my calories. I have for a long time, and wonder if I'll count calories the rest of my life? I may if that's what I have to do, but I'd love to be able to monitor my food intake by portion size and habit.

My problem with the calorie counting on Fitday is that I suck at figuring my BMR. Thanks Kristy for helping me with that.
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Old 04-01-2006, 03:17 AM   #5
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That's no problem at all! Your metabolism definately does slow down as you get older but you can do things to pump it back up. Make sure that when you are working out you are working up a sweat and actually feeling hot...that's your metabolism kicking in. Try to eat frequent meals in smaller amounts rather than big meals all the time and you may want to flex your calories a little higher and a little lower different days. Remember your metabolism is like a thermostat and when it's turned up it continues to burn even if you lower your calories. You can also sip ice water in between your meals that's supposed to up your metabolism. As far as I've experienced though exercise is the best thing to keep those calories burning. You don't just burn during your workout but your body keeps working at a higher rate. One thing I try to do is just expend extra bits of energy no matter what I'm doing. Don't use a remote to change the channel, put on some music while you're doing the dishes and dance, go for ten minute walks when you have the opportunity. every little bit makes a difference, you might feel silly at first but you won't when you reach your goals and feel healthy. I'm rambling! Keep at it and you'll start to see results!
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:36 AM   #6
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Kristy has some great tips. I definitely think that 1200 calories is not enough for you. If you eat too few calories each day, your metabolism will slow down because your body will think you aren't able to get food and it will hang on to all the fat it can, and we don't want that!
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:44 AM   #7
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You know, I think that might have been my problem last week. I'm working out at the gym 5-6 days a week for an hour (working hard, not socializing), then working 3-4 hours a day helping my DH with carpentry. Well, this weekend I totally crashed! I slept alot Saturday and Sunday and totally binged. I just felt wiped out, devoid of any energy or oomph at all. I'm taking vitamins, but I don't think I'm getting enough protein.

I just went to six different activity calculators, and averaged 984 calories of activity, including only 2 hours of the carpentry work. I don't know how accurate these things are, though. I think I'm going to up my calorie level about 300 calories per day and keep up the activity. What do ya'll think?

My goal is to rev up my metabolism, not shut it down. I don't want to live the rest of my life eating 1200 calories a day. I want to build muscle and burn fat, are these two things counter-productive to one another simultaneously?
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Old 04-04-2006, 07:13 PM   #8
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I think eating 300 more calories a day sounds like a good idea. You also can probably find a calculator online that will ask you to put in your age, weight and if you are a male or female and if your activity level is sedentary, light to moderate exercise, etc. Then it will tell you how many calories you need to maintain that weight. To lose a pound a week, subtract 500 calories or say, 250 calories and then burn 250 calories a day doing more exercise.

But for now, I think going up 300 calories would be a good idea.

Also, I think that since you are relatively new to "exercising on purpose," you should be able to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously. It might get harder to do that later, from what I've read, but I think you can for sure do both at the same time now.
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