Low Carb, High Calorie???

BigSurArcher

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So I've been training pretty hard with both cardio and weight training, and eating clean has made a world of difference. I've dropped from mid-170's to a leaner and "bigger" looking 159-161. Now that I've got my body fat down to where I want it, I'm having a hard time building up my muscle. I've been stuck at the same weight for a couple weeks now and it's hard to tell if I'm building muscle at the same rate as I'm losing more fat, or if I'm just not getting results. I feel like I'm just not getting results though (weight-wise anyway, as I am getting stronger). I think I need more calories but I'd like to keep my carb intake where it's at. I eat very few carbs unless it's my post-workout meal. I get roughly 170 grams of protein per day so that should be more than plenty. What's a real good low carb/ high calorie food I can add to my diet? Right now pretty much all I eat is chicken, tuna, deer/elk, vegetables, fruits, eggs, a little bread, and pasta or rice for my carbs. I use about 4 protein shakes with peanut butter and a pre-workout as my supplements. Any advice? Thanks!
 

billy molls

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I am by no means a nutritionist, but from what little I know, carbs aren't bad like we all once thought. In fact they are important right after you work out. I always drink Gatorade right after I workout, and try to eat a meal with a fair number of carbs. Are you changing up your workout? And if you think you aren't getting enough calories, you probably aren't.

Again, these are just ideas that should be taken with a grain of salt.

good luck,
 

HellsCanyon

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If you are on a "plateau" as we called it, I bet you need to change your work out up a bit... It always seems that the first 6-10 weeks of hitting the gym I would get bigger and stronger in a hurry and then would "plateau" out after about 2 months where gains were minimal. When you work out you don't increase your muscle cells, you just make them bigger/stronger so there is a bit of a practical limit on how big your muscles can get.

This is just coming from my past 4-5 years of working out through college and lifting with friends who were really into it. I'm not a nutritionist but I know what worked FOR ME. Best thing I would recommend is trying to find different lifts/exercises to work out those same targeted muscles. And get a good spotter so you can keep increasing your weight and 'burn out' more often and safely.

Mike
 

sreekers

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I am in agreement with HC. It sounds like you have hit your plateau, and it will take a little bit of shock work to get the desired results. Below is what I do to consistently change up the workouts to shock my muscles out of plateaus.

I typically plan my workouts in 3 month increments or 12 weeks. When at the gym I try and do a minimum of 10 exercises during this period and have two separate ways of grouping them.

The first way is: Monday-Chest/Triceps Tuesday-Back/Biceps(Lower back exercises involve some leg work) Thursdays-Lower Body Fridays-Shoulders/Abs. Of those 10 exercises I try and sub one new one in every week to keep working different muscle heads. This is the workout where I typically see gains in mass largely due to concentrations on muscle groups. At the end of one 12 week cycle I take a week off and evaluate how it went and what I need to do a better job of for the next 12 weeks.

I typically do this during the winter when a lot of cardio is done playing hockey on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursdays. On Mondays and Fridays I will either run 3-5 miles, eliptical for 45+minutes, or the stationary bike.

Something that is key to this workout is that Wednesday and Saturdays are reserved for rest and recovery. This could be another area that you may want to evaluate during a plateau. Those two days are huge for the muscles to work and regenerate.

My summer workouts are again based on 12 weeks of work, but I will switch to a full body workout 4 times a week. I am in the process of writing up what that will look like for this summer. Typically that means 12 different exercises that cover a variety of upper and lower body work. This time of year I typically lose a few pounds pretty quick because the change up from the other workout. I also tend to see more definition over mass. There is also more bodyweight workouts with pushups, squats, squat jumps, etc.

Cardio looks a bit different as well. I will run a LOT more this time of year because hockey isn't available. Hiking will also happen a lot. As a rule though, I like to run 4 times a week.

In ten years of lifting I have gained close to 70lbs of muscle mass. I am content where I am and don't have any desire to look like a linebacker in the NFL. I want overall health, so have quit worrying about how heavy I lift. The plateaus don't come nearly as often, but hopefully this helps.
 
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BigSurArcher

BigSurArcher

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Wow thanks for the info guys. I just recently changed up my workout schedule a bit, so hopefully that helps. I had a feeling I may have plateau-ed. When I saw my biggest gains was when for 3 weeks I was lifting for almost every muscle two days in a row with a cardio only day in between. Now I am doing bi's, tri's, and chest one day and shoulders, back, legs, and abs the next, and then cardio the day after that with one rest day thrown in. It's still a lot of work, but I'm 23 and my body seems to recover really fast. Was this enough of a change you think? If so I'll do 2-3 weeks like this and then change it up again to maybe 2 muscles per day. I'm totally open to opinions on this though. So maybe my diet is fine afterall?
 

HellsCanyon

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I think your diet is good to go. And yeah changing it up like you mentioned is a good idea and should help you. One thing you should think about is changing up your favorite lifts for your targeted muscles. I know that I really HATED decline bench press and but LOVED doing incline. Consequently I would favor the incline more. If you can talk with a personal trainer and get some NEW exercises to help target your muscles then that will be best. I know the biggest thing limiting myself would always been my lack of creativity and knowledge of certain types of lifts. Don't be afraid to steal another persons lift in the gym if its new and looks like it'll work you over pretty good. Good luck man!

Mike
 

ohhiitznik

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4 protein shakes a day man? Chill on the powder. All the protein powder in the world won't get you any larger. You will have to put on some fat to see more size gain quickly. Unless you want to gain like a lb a month. Its just the name of the game. You need to generate a calorie surplus to allow for growth. Eat more food. And if you really want size, and that is your goal, lift really heavy things. Deadlifts, squats, cleans, jerks. doing 2-3 rep sets with 90% 1RM will allow you to build size. Make sure your form is good. And don't do targeted muscle lifts. When you isolate muscles you will not gain size as quickly as if you do large compound movements that work entire chains of muscle. Concentrate on your posterior chain of muscles as you will put on "size" the fastest there.
 

mohawk32

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Nik pretty much nailed it. Eat big, lift heavy. You're not gonna get size with high reps and low weight. And the big lifts will get you there faster. There are some good programs out there for gaining strength and size. Pick one and follow it if you're not sure about what you're doing. Believe me, they WILL help. When I picked a dedicated program and stuck with it, the weight I could move jumped considerably.
 

ohhiitznik

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One thing I'm noticing is people want to get cut and then get big. Its easier to get larger while you have a fat surplus and calorie surplus on your body already stored, than to get all cut up and then try to put on size. Get bigger then cut down. That is a much easier recipe than getting cut and then getting "BIG"
 
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