What do you eat anyway and how does exercise affect your calorie intake?

After a handful or more talks with some of my co-workers about body building and the lifestyle change made to accommodate it, here’s what you need to know about what I’m eating.

It’s understandable that when you tell someone that your eating between 5 -7 times a day they assume you’re consuming a ridiculous amount of calories, but that’s not always true. In my case I’m consuming around 1,600 calories every day, and I watch what I eat to make the most out of those calories. I used to see food as a comfort, and that’s how I gained weight; now I see it as fuel to help grow and build my body. Without fuel a machine can’t function properly and that’s what our bodies are.

I use My Fitness Pal to track my macros.

Macro-nutrients- grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats

For my weightloss, fatloss and muscle building purposes, my calories are divided into 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 20% fats. As long as I hit these 3 goals or stay around them the calories don’t really matter too much.

After inputting these percentages into My Fitness Pal calculates how many grams of each you should be consuming WITHOUT exercise. For me that means I should hit around 200 grams of protein, 120 grams of carbohydrates and 36 grams of fat. Sometimes I have less carbs or a little more fat (healthy fats found in food like avocado or nuts don’t bother me if I go over) or some combination like that, but for the most part I hit these every day. I also increased my water intake to 150 ounces; one gallon of water is 128, so I’m consuming a little more than that.

The increased water intake help flush out your system of toxins such as lactic acid from lifting as well as preventing cramping your muscles after a rigorous workout. Since I’ve increased my water intake my skin is a little more clear (but I never had too much of a problem with skin), I rarely get headaches, I’m not bloated and it helps me stay fuller longer.

Back to the food!

To help speed up my metabolism and ensure that my macros are spread throughout the day, I started eating every 3 hours. I prep meals ahead of time, so it’s not an inconvenience. Meal prep also ensures that I stick to my meal plan and always have something with me at work! I wake up and eat at 7 am EVERY DAY, even on the weekends. From there I eat every 2.5 to 3 hours. Here’s an example of what I will eat and when in a day.


June 30, 2014 Meals:  Calories: 1,455, fat: 40g, carbohydrates: 112gprotein: 178g

Meal 1 (breakfast foods)- 7 am

1 medium banana with 2 tbsp of Trader Joe’s raw almond butter

2 egg whites

Meal 2- 10 am

12 ounces Price Chopper plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup raw blueberries

Meal 3- (lunch like foods) 1 pm

Post-workout shake: 1 scoop MHP Paleo Protein Powder Vanilla Almond and 1 cup of Silk Almond/Coconut Milk

Buffalo chicken

2 cups organic kale

5 cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup cucumber slices

Meal 4- 4 pm

1/2 cup lean ground turkey

1/2 medium green pepper

2 tsp Sriracha sauce

Meal 5- (dinner like foods) 7 pm

Quest Bar: Cookies and Cream (during gym workout meal)

Meal 6- (dinner like foods) 10 pm

4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast

1/2 cup cauliflower


You’ll notice that my meals have protein in each one, from egg whites, to Greek yogurt, to  meat and protein bars. Sometimes I call my meals a snack, because it can be hard to think of yogurt and blueberries as a meal, but without amount of protein, it’s very filling and well rounded with macro- and micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals).

On this day I also did two workout sessions The first was in the gym and consisted of 54 minutes of shoulders, biceps and triceps lifting circuits: 456 calories burned. I also work a second job, where I stand and walk around a lot. In 238 minutes or almost 4 hours, I burned 673 calories. I track calories burned during this job because when sitting the average heart rate is about 70 bpm, when I’m walking around my job it ranges from 95 to 120 because of lifting furniture, boxes and just walking around.

The more you workout the more food or fuel you need. On this day, my protein jumped from 200g to 358 g; however, I don’t consume that much protein. My Fitness Pal calculates your needs for weightloss without the consideration of exercise, so once you input your exercise data your goals shift based on the new needs of your body for the day.

I like lifting, because I love eating. They balance each other out. I Like Lifting (Food)

What important to know about your body is how many calories you burn on a daily basis without exercise. This helps you figure out a base line for calorie consumption for weightloss without exercise. On average I burn about 2,300 calories a day without exercise, but I’m only consuming 1,600 calories; so I’m already running on a deficit, this is how you lose weight. It takes 3,500 calories burned to lose 1 pound. Adding in my calories burned from working out, I’m averaging 1.5 to 2.5 pounds weightloss a week.

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I’m lifting 3 days a week and doing cardio 3 days week. While many believe lifting weights bulks you up, which it can, it does so much more than that. Anaerobic exercise burns more calories because it takes longer time for your muscles to recover and your body takes that energy from fat stores. After a lifting session, you can continue to burn more calories an hour for 24 hours. While cardio burns many calories at the time, an aerobic workout stops it’s benefits once you stop the workout.  The more lean muscle you have the more calories you burn an hour as well.

Let’s recap:

  • So while I’m eating 5 to 7 times a day, I’m eating WHOLE foods, meaning things that are minimally processed and give me the most for the caloric value.
  • Running on a deficit of calories helps you lose weight, but you still need to consume a good amount of macro-nutrients to rebuild, recover and fuel your body.
  • Lifting weights helps burn more fat, while adding muscle because your body pulls from “storage” energy to help muscle recovery up to 24 hours post a lifting workout.
  • The more you workout the more you can and should eat, not necessarily calories, but definitely macro-nutritents.

If you want to poke around for yourself, here are some links that will help you research more about bodybuilding and eating this way.





<3 Cristina

7 thoughts on “What do you eat anyway and how does exercise affect your calorie intake?

      1. Definitely! There’s so much research out there. I probably read too much, but when I start something I want to know what I’m getting myself into! I couldn’t be happier with bodybuilding and I’m glad I get to share my experiences with people like you.

  1. I love the way you take care of yourself. Planning all those meals really needs an effort to do so. I commend you on that. I’ll try your meal plan and see if it works for me. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Lisa,

      Thank you for the kind words! I’ve definitely gotten a lot of different responses, but I’m 28 days in and I’m down 11 pounds. I can’t remember the last time I weighed this little! I think the planning is good for anyone, no matter what you’re eating because it prevents you from eating out or not having something to grab and go when you’re in a rush. If you want to check out more concepts around this google Bikini Prep dieting or Bodybuilding Dieting. There’s also flexible dieting or IIFYM that allows you to eat whatever you want within your daily calorie allotment.

  2. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and engaging,
    and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head.
    The problem is an issue that too few folks are
    speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I found this in my search for something regarding this.

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