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Important To Count Calories?
My current eating habits consist of very low carbs (100 or less a day, 200 or less on the weekends) and high protein. I currently weigh about 155 lbs, am 5'10'', and work out about 6 days a week, doing 25min. of cardio on the treadmill every other day. My concern is this... How important is it to count my calories. Dino had previously suggested that I up my protein intake to about 300g a day, but that means I am going to be eating more calories, right? Granted I burn a lot of these calories by working out at the gym a lot, and I eat 5-6(high protein/low carb) small meals a day so my metabolism is pretty high, but I just don't want to start losing lean muscle and my "toned" look by eating too many calories. My eating habits are very healthy and consist of hardly any fat (13-18g of fat at the most). Thanks.
This guy confided in me for help before and I made some recommendations to his diet. I should have explained to him the metabolic reasoning behind my answer. In this answer I will do just that. I would like to break this multi angled question down a little. Let us begin with...
"My current eating habits consist of very low carbs (100 or less a day, 200 or less on the weekends) and high protein. Dino had previously suggested that I up my protein intake to about 300g a day, but that means I am going to be eating more calories, right? I just don't want to start losing lean muscle and my "toned" look by eating too many calories. My eating habits are very healthy and consist of hardly any fat (13-18g of fat at the most)."
Well I do not consider 100-200 grams of carbs very low but for the average gym rat it is. I see where you are coming from on this one. I had suggested that you bump up your protein intake to about 300 grams or more. Now think about it, you weigh what? ("I currently weigh about 155 lbs") That (300 grams) is only double your bodyweight in protein. I eat more than that when dieting for a show and I come in shredded. It does mean that you will be eating more calories but you need them to maintain and rebuild all of the muscles that you impose trauma on during your training as you stated that "I work out about 6 days a week". So, my friend, if you want to keep, maintain, or build muscle you better start eating your protein. Eat son, eat! If you are worried about the calorie balance you should cut back on some of those carbohydrates not the building blocks AKA protein. This (eating your protein) will only allow you to keep your "toned" look and actually improve on it. I have never heard of someone getting fat off of protein. If the body dose not use the excess protein (if you have excess) than it will be excreted through metabolic waste processes in urine or sweat primarily in the form of ammonia.
As far as your "very healthy" eating habits 13-18 grams of fat is not considered healthy anymore. I do not blame you for thinking this I know that it is the American medical community who falsely accused fat as being the culprit for obesity and many other health risks we face today. Let me tell you from experience because that is what I have. This is not coming from an overweight dietitian or cardiac doctor; it is coming from a bodybuilder that has been there. I have been in the trenches, I know what it feels like to be in ketosis, I know how to carb up, I know how to suck back and get super lean during the contest season. So take it from me I have been there and I am saying that fat is not bad for you. Sure, if you combine it with a mixed ratio diet of which you consume too much of each of the macronutrients it is, but you are not doing this. You probably feel down sometimes because your carbs are relatively low. It is then when fat could be your best friend and would do you some good. Fat can give you an instantaneous boost of energy when you are eating the way that you do. But you can not be afraid of fat it can be used to your benefit if you let it and your diet will allow for it to do its function. Fat will serve as an energy source and not as energy storage in adipose tissue AKA nasty FAT CELLS!
Back to his question...
"I am 5'10'', and doing 25min. of cardio on the treadmill every other day. My concern is this Granted I burn a lot of these calories by working out at the gym a lot, and I eat 5-6(high protein/low carb) small meals a day so my metabolism is pretty high. How important is it to count my calories?
Okay a 5'10" male weighing 155 lbs is considered to be on the slim side or in your words toned. I agree with you on this. You are worrying about getting fat because society has misled you but at the same time you are cranking out 75 minutes each week on a treadmill. That is plenty of cardio for a non competitive weight trainer. On top of that you eat 5-6 mini-meals each day. This is awesome! I wish I could get all of my clients to do that. But here is a little secret for you, guess how many times I eat a day? I eat eight to twelve times a day and guess what, the meals mostly consist of protein to keep my amino acid pool saturated at all times. Guess what else, I am not fat! And another thing, you were right about was the metabolism issue. Eating smaller more frequent meals will bump up that metabolic inferno of yours. You know most of your stuff and I applaud your effort in seeking help. Now your job is to trust in me and give it a try. Take a leap of faith and get on this program with a positive mindset. I assure you that this will work or you! Bottom line - the amount of kilocalories dose not always matter, especially if your body is on a low carb environment.