Nutrition for Lifting Weights – Daily Calorie Intake

Weightlifting nutrition is an individual pursuit – yes, you burn a lot of calories when lifting weights, but how many calories and what your replacement levels are is dependent on your specific metabolism and your goals. For best results you need to start with a specific program and then modify your daily caloric intake based on your results.

  1. Define Your Overall Goal:
    Why are you lifting weights? Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to build muscles? Are you just looking to improve your overall fitness? Each of these goals requires a different daily calorie intake, so it’s important to know what you’re aiming for before you begin.
  2. Start A Food Diary:
    If you’re like most people, you only have a vague idea, at best, of how many calories you’re presently consuming. Why is that important? Because what you’re currently eating has brought you to your current weight and your current body composition. You’ve been giving your body the right number of calories for the muscle you’re carrying and for the bodyfat level you currently have, assuming your weight has been fairly stable lately.
  3. Learn About The Different Food Macronutrients:
    You don’t need to become a nutritionist necessarily, but you DO need to know the difference between carbohydrates, protein and fats. While all three are important to your daily diet, they’re not the same. As an example, carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram while fats have 9 calories per gram. Part of figuring out the right number of calories for your daily intake will involve knowing what ratio of macronutrients you should be ingesting. One helpful tool is a book of food counts – numerous exist so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a good one in your local bookstore or online.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s start with your current daily calorie intake. Since you already now the results from that level, you can start making your adjustments from there. Protein level is the first step, since it’s mandatory to build muscles and needs to be high enough to protect your muscle level when you’re trying to lose bodyfat as well. The most commonly-quoted target level for daily protein intake is .8 to 1.2 grams per pound of bodyweight.

Obviously, if you’re looking to lose weight aim for the lower end of that range, and the top of the range if you’re looking to build muscle. If you’ve been lax in tracking your calorie intake to this point, there’s a good chance you’re not getting enough protein each day, so that’s the first thing to fix. There are easy ways to add in more protein – eggs instead of cereal for breakfast, tuna or salmon instead of peanut butter and jam for sandwiches, and always having meat, fowl or chicken with dinner each night. Protein shakes and supplements help too, but remember they’re called ‘supplements’ for a reason – they’re to add to your proteins from foods, not to replace them.

Building Muscle Mass

Nutrition for Lifting Weights - Daily Calorie Intake For Building Muscle

Once you’re sure you’re getting enough protein each day you can start to modify your overall daily calorie intake based on your goals. If you’re looking to build muscle, add in the necessary amount of protein each day to get you to the 1.2 grams per pound of your bodyweight and give your body a week or two to get used to that level of calories. To grow from there, every couple of weeks add in another 200 – 300 calories a day by increasing your complex carbohydrates – sweet potatoes or yams, brown, red or black rice, steel-cut oatmeal, broccoli or brussel sprouts, etc. At first this is easy – simply add a meal with protein & the new carbs an hour before you start lifting weights and/or an hour after your gym session. Keep an eye on your stomach – you can keep increasing your carbs a bit every two weeks or so until you start to see a bit of an increase in belly fat. Once that occurs cut your carbs back that last 200 or 300 calories per day – you’ve found your current effective daily calorie intake. Remember, though, as you continue lifting weights and eating right you’ll be adding new muscle mass, so every month or so add just enough protein and carbs to match your then-current bodyweight.

Losing Body Fat

Nutrition for Lifting Weights - Daily Calorie Intake For Losing Body Fat

If you’re lifting weights to torch body fat, there are two things you MUST remember up front. First, your goal is NOT weight loss – it’s fat loss. Strictly restricting calories from the start will cause you to lose weight – but a goodly-proportion of that weight loss will be muscle loss, and that’s not your goal. Many people are very surprised when they start lifting weights to find their clothes getting looser, their waistline shrinking but their weight going UP. This is because muscle is much denser than fat, and therefore heavier for the same size. Don’t let that bother you – focus on how your clothes fit or have your bodyfat percentage measured by your doctor or a certified personal trainer.

Second, understand that the calories you eat, and the source of those calories, will determine whether you’re losing fat or not. Yes, you’re burning extra calories when lifting weights. Yes, you’re building muscle and more muscle burns more calories 24/7, even while you’re sleeping. But these will NOT be enough extra calories burned to make a big difference – especially when compared to the difference your nutritional choices can make.

As with those trying to build lean mass, start by getting your protein intake into range. If that means you’re getting more calories each day from protein, cut back the equal amount in the carbohydrates you’re eating daily. You’ve figured out how many calories you’re already eating each day, and 20% of those calories should be coming from healthy fats – especially Omega-3’s. Once you subtract that 20%, plus the calories you’re going to be ingesting from protein, the remainder come from carbohydrates. Every 2 or so reduce your daily carbohydrate intake by 200 – 300 calories. This won’t cause sudden fat loss, but it will slowly force your body to start burning stored energy – body fat – to fuel your daily activities and your weightlifting sessions. Larger or more sudden caloric reductions can trigger your body to slow your metabolism, and that’s not what you want, so keep to the slower reduction. Remember NOT to use the scale to judge your progress – base it on body fat measurements or how your clothes fit around the waist.

You can reach your goals, be it reduced body fat or bigger muscles, as long as you use proper nutrition for lifting weights and keep your daily calorie intake in line with your current body composition, your activity levels and your goals. And with improved health, a stronger system and a better-looking body as the side benefits, it’s certainly worth the effort you’re putting in – see you in the gym!

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Bodybuilding at 60 – Quest For My Best!

Weightlifting has proven to produce a healthy response in people up to, and over, 100 years of age. There are a myriad of benefits to exercising regularly, and lifting weights helps with everything from blood sugars and hypertension to balance and bone density. Yet the public is constantly bombarded by people saying those over 50 have to slow down, take it easier and avoid or limit heavy lifting in the gym if they go at all. Even a lot of younger personal trainers will tell clients that you can’t do much to build strength or muscle size once you’re ‘over the hill’…

One day last year I was discussing this with my friend Dave Avery, a fellow personal trainer who both competes in and runs his own natural bodybuilding competition each year in Cobourg, Ontario. As a Master Business Success Coach I have helped a lot of entrepreneurs and executives build their businesses and careers, only to watch them stumble and fall back due to health issues – it’s all too common for people to neglect their health and fitness in their pursuit of wealth. When I mentioned that so many of them tell me they don’t have time to exercise, or are simply ‘too old’ to get back in shape, Dave suggested I prove them wrong – he said I should turn it up a notch myself and compete in his show in the Masters Division – athletes that are 50 years of age and over.

Doug Champigny - Bodybuilding at 60 - back double biceps

At first I laughed, but as we talked it started to make more sense. I had stayed in great shape til 50, let our business take over my life and ended up out of shape and fighting Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – a typical mid-fifties entrepreneur. At 57 I had started back into weightlifting and even earned my certification as a personal trainer. Yes, I was doing what I told my business clients to do – to get back in shape and stay in shape – but Dave had a valid point in that if I wanted them to believe they could do the same, I’d have to take it farther to prove my point.

In January of 2015 I turned 60 – and thus began my one-year ‘Quest For My Best’. I altered my workouts from strength training to bodybuilding and committed to entering Dave’s UFE show in the Spring of 2016. Will I ever be a big bodybuilder like you see in the magazines? Of course not. Because I lift weights for my health, I won’t be using any performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) – that’s not a knock on those who use steroids, we each walk our own path in life. But between the potential health and legal problems they represent, they’re not for me. Besides, my purpose in doing this quest is to show executives, entrepreneurs and really anyone else over 50 that they can, in fact, get back in good shape. After all, if I can get into stage-ready condition at 60, surely they can at least improve their strength and conditioning. YOU can.

Doug Champigny - Bodybuilding at 60 - chest

I hope you’ll join me on this journey… I’m now 3 months into this bodybuilding adventure and enjoying the challenge. While I’ve lifted weights for 40 years now, on and off, I’ve never trained for size before, preferring to train for strength. And I’ll admit that even now some of my workouts stray back to heavier weights with lower reps, but that’s an ego problem I’m fighting to fix… 😉

It’s not going to be a walk in the park – I have a fast metabolism that has kept me from ever being fat, but that also means I burn through my energy stores (carbohydrates) quickly, and the diabetes stops me from eating the number of daily carbs a bodybuilder would normally consume. But guess what… EVERYONE has concerns and conditions and very few people have even close to perfect genetics and conditions for building muscle. Once again, this Quest is about bodybuilding at 60 for the average person, not the trials and tribulations of an elite athlete. I’ve worked behind a desk for most of the past 40 years, so in most ways I’m a fairly typical example of a 60-year-old businessman – except that I’m on a mission to help others reclaim their strength and fitness, regain and reclaim their health and protect themselves against the ravages of time to whatever extent they can.

Doug Champigny - Bodybuilding at 60 - Front double biceps

And to do that, I’m stepping WAY outside my comfort zone… Up until now every time I’ve stood on stage it was to teach business people how to improve their business and make more money – not to show off my body in some ridiculously-small set of posing trunks! While my competitive nature will push me to try and win, just getting into good enough shape to look like I belong on that stage with the other competitors will make my point – and I’ll be getting healthier personally with each step. And along the way I hope I’ll garner a better understanding of what our Flirting With Fitness customers, clients, fans and followers experience when THEY decide to compete, as well.

I can honestly say I never thought I’d be a bodybuilder, definitely not a competitive bodybuilder and had never even considered that I might be bodybuilding at 60 and beyond – so it’s going to be an interesting year. I hope you’ll follow along and that the info, insights and experiences I share along my Quest will be both of interest and of help to you. And with that, it’s back to our training lair!

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Workout Videos – FlirtingWithFitness YouTube Channel Launched!

Reading about workouts and exercises is a great way to learn, but sometimes you need to see actual workout videos to see the proper form to do the exercises correctly. So we’re pleased to announce that we’ve (finally!) launched our Flirting With Fitness video channel on YouTube!

These aren’t long, full-workout exercise videos, but instead just the highlights of some workouts to show you what we do in the gym and how we perform each exercise. Our first 3 videos are up now for you to watch, and while all 3 are shot in a commercial gym that won’t be the norm – we’ll also be working on a lot of videos showing you how to do your workouts in home gyms too. That way those who are working out at home will get the info they need, and pretty much any exercise you can do at home can also be done in commercial gyms. Over time we’ll also be adding some ‘talking head’ videos for subjects like nutrition, weight loss and recovering between workouts, subjects that are equally important but don’t require live demonstrations to get the message across.

Here’s the first of those exercise videos as a shorter-than-normal sample…

And here’s where you come in… If you have specific questions or have particular fitness or nutrition questions, let us know in the comments below so we know exactly what our readers want to see and we’ll look at creating videos to address those issues for you. We look forward to building a large, helpful collection of exercise, nutrition and weight loss videos that truly address the needs of our online community!

So leave your comments below, then head over to our exercise videos and let us know what you think of those first 3 videos, ok? Thanks!


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Bodybuilding Blast For The Holiday Season

Bodybuilders and weightlifters know it can be hard to stick to their weightlifting and nutrition routines over the holidays – especially the time from Christmas to New Year’s. But there is a solution that not only keeps bodybuilders on track, but can actually build more muscle while freeing up more time over the holidays!

Plan an overreaching/supercompensation cycle to keep your workouts and nutrition on track through Christmas & New Years!

Plan an overreaching/supercompensation cycle to keep your workouts and nutrition on track through Christmas & New Years!

The idea here is to time a short period of over-reaching and it’s corresponding super-compensation week to align with the holidays. If you’re not familiar with over-reaching and super-compensation, the former is a short period of greatly increased training volume – increased to the point that it would lead to overtraining in short order. But instead of falling into the overtraining trap, after a few weeks of over-reaching workouts you take a week off to let your body heal fully, and GROW! That week off is your super-compensation, so named because you can experience more growth during that week as your body grows than you might otherwise see.

You don’t need to increase the weights you’re lifting during your workouts – in fact that could push it too far. Instead, add more reps to each set using your usual weight, add more sets to each exercise or add in a few more exercises per bodypart. If you don’t have the stamina for the longer workouts, increase your training frequency instead. For example, you could train legs, chest and triceps on Monday, Wednesday & Friday, then train back, shoulders, biceps & abs on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday. That way you can do one or two compound exercises and two or three isolation exercises for each bodypart and still be out of the gym in 60 – 90 minutes each day. On that schedule every bodypart gets trained 3 times per week with twice the volume you’d do on a full-body workout, and you only have one day (Sunday) off each week.

It’s easy to see how doubling your volume could quickly lead to overtraining, but you’re going to keep it in the over-reaching stage by only doing it for a short time. Intermediate and advanced bodybuilders could do it for 3 weeks or so starting December 1st or 2nd, while novices should limit it to two weeks and can wait til the 8th or 9th to start. Either way, by the 23rd or 24th you’re finished and move into the super-compensation week. For the next week to ten days you stop lifting and take in more clean calories than you’re used to so that your body can compensate and heal from all you’ve put it through.

Now suddenly you have no gym time required from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day, freeing your time up for family, friends and holiday fun, takes away the frustration of trying to train if you’re away for the holidays, and makes use of the extra carbs, protein and fats you’ll be consuming during that time. And after a week to ten days off you’ll be chomping at the bit to get back in the gym for your next session, just in time for January’s cycle.

When you go back to the gym after your week off, return to your previous workout routine or have your trainer create a new one for you. DO NOT go straight into another over-reaching/super-compensation cycle, as it’s too hard on your central nervous system – never do one of these cycles more often than once every 3-4 months.

So go ahead, set your schedule to do your workouts this way once December rolls around again, and be ready for a better, less rushed and lower-guilt holiday season where you actually build more quality muscle and endurance than any December before, and set yourself up for a great following year!


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Successful Weight Loss and the Motivated Mind

Successful weight loss or, more properly, successful fat loss, is not a matter of calories or exercise. What it takes to successfully lose weight is a motivated mind. Everything else, from following healthy nutrition to working out regularly, stems entirely from your mindset.

Now you may be thinking ‘But I’ve wanted to lose weight forever and it’s not happening!’ That’s not a motivated mind – that’s wishful thinking or dreaming about success. If your mind was truly motivated to help you lose weight, it would already be happening.

Successful Weight Loss

You see, when your mind is truly motivated you focus on your goals in a much more effective way. Simply put, you take action – massive targeted action directly aimed at achieving your weight loss goals. You choose healthier meals, you limit your overall caloric intake and you hit the gym or go for a run each and every day.

You don’t have to obsess over it and have it take over every waking minute – in fact, you probably spend more time beating yourself up for being overweight or obese than you need to use to lose weight. If you’re truly motivated, your subconscious mind will lead you to the right decisions without even thinking about it most times. You’ll eat when your body is hungry, and only eat enough to satisfy that hunger. You’ll choose the bottle of water over the soda or fruit juice at lunch. You’ll choose healthy complex carbs and green vegetables for supper instead of pasta or pizza. And you’ll push yourself that extra few reps in the gym or that extra mile on your runs.

So how do you achieve this motivated mind? Avoid worrying about the past or your current physical condition. Concentrate entirely on your future and who you’ll be after the weight loss. Don’t accept even the mildest chance that you’ll fail to lose the weight you want – know that you’ll do whatever it takes to burn all the fat you want to. Cruise through the magazines and online resources to find photos of what you want to look like – especially look for photos of people who have similar features to your own… Hair colour, overall build, etc. If you’re handy with photo editing software, even superimpose your face onto some of the digital photos.

Next, put the best of those photos where you’ll see them every day… Tape a couple to your bedroom door so you see them first thing every morning and last thing every night. Tape one or two to the bathroom mirror so you see them at various points through the day. And take 2 or 3 of the ones you like best, the strongest and/or sexiest of them, and put them on your refrigerator door so you see them every time you go to open the fridge. Put the rest of the digital photos onto a page and print it out, then put that page and the magazine shots into an album or some type of cover. When you feel your mindset slipping, pull it out and look through them again. In fact, look through them at least once a day and picture yourself in that shape, having achieved your weight loss goals, and visualize how your life will be different then…

You know you’ll feel better then, feel better about yourself, have more confidence and have more energy on a daily basis. It’s worth putting in the effort to keep a motivated mind working for you through all of this, and letting it guide you to successful weight loss. You deserve to be happier, healthier and more energetic – and your motivated mind is the key!

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