Hard time getting enough calories in during heavy lifting


44y old male. 6.3.ft/192cm. 247 LBS, 27% body fat. weights 4-5x week(heavy). cardio 3x week(light)
goal is fat reduction without muscle loss. also on 200mg/TRT weekly
i got 27%BF or so. last dexa in nov i was 30. so there is success.
i was on and off keto, but firmly back in (mostly carnivore) for a month or so. dropped like 5lbs in a week (probably water)
my maintenance calories are 3300. my goal is 2500. when i was off keto, no problem. was even hungry.(but fat loss was rather slow)
now I hit 2000cal and i just can’t eat anything. my protein is at 200-250g however which is my goal.
sould i just ignore the calorie count and listen to my body, as long as hit my protein intake?

(Bob M) #2

How do you feel at 2000 cals? How are your workouts?

To me, if you’re exercising 7-8x/week, that seems low. But I’ve often been wrong.


i feel ok. i can lift the same amount as on carbs, but so far can only do 80% repetitions.
i would hope that i have enough fat storage for my body to utilize it. but maybe that fat burning process (when its own body fat) is more taxing ovwerall?

(Bob M) #4

The fat storage issue is an interesting one. Sometimes people can’t access their fat stores, which is one issue. The other issue is even if you could get energy from fat, could you get enough for lifting a long time?

I have found that I can, but I also think a lot of that is coming from my liver. Blood sugar from my liver instead of from fat.


yeah this process is slower then carbs for sure. thats why i think i can only do 3/4 repetitions or so.
on carbs I would do 1 exercise, 12/10/8/6 repetitions rule, on keto I skip the 12 only 10/8/6. but strength is the same, in terms of how much weight i can put on.
i think once I reach my desired body fat level, I’ll go back on sort of a meat/fruit (saladino style) diet.
but as my body is not very efficient in transitioning between fat/carb utilization, i think i have to stick to pure keto now.


27% fat for a male, yeah, you have some fat reserves but how much they can help, I don’t know… Eating 2000 kcal when your need is 3300 sounds a way too big deficit.

Don’t you have less satiating, more tempting items you could eat more of? If I choose very fatty protein sources, I usually can eat more, drinking my calories help too… I usually eat too much but sometimes I get super easy satiation on carnivore and then it’s good to know what items I can use to avoid tiny meals (I still get my calories, I just eat many times, even at night, not fun).
I stop if I go over 200g protein too but I usually have more than enough fat at that point. But if you get 2000 kcal and 200-250g protein then you don’t eat fatty enough for your needs. Did you try to eat fattier?


yeah i think i have to go to fattier meats. right now it is mostly chicken breast/lean ground beef (what costco has), maybe adding fatty cheeses will do the trick too.

(BuckRimfire) #8

Not sure if this is relevant to your interests, but when I’m trying to gain weight (muscle) I make a protein shake in the evening, stash it in the fridge, and drink it as soon as I wake up. Then I eat a big breakfast about two hours later. Maybe a rich shake first thing in the morning or right before bed would help you hit your goals?

My shake recipe: 350 mL Swansons chicken bone broth (a bit hard to find but by far the best commercial chicken stock IMHO; compare the protein with their other chicken broth products and although it’s their most expensive broth, it’s by far the cheapest per gram of protein, and it tastes better), 80-100 grams 5% Fage yogurt, a large pinch of nutritional yeast for flavor, a small pinch of salt, 3 Tablespoons olive oil and 25 g whey protein powder. This may seem weird, but the flavor profile is kinda like cream of chicken soup and not offensive.

The olive oil alone is about 400 calories. I used to add the olive oil last, but my preferred brand of protein powder is hard to mix into the shake and formed clumps. It almost seems hydrophobic, so I finally hit on the idea of putting the oil in the blender bottle first, then the whey, and giving that a good mix before adding the other ingredients. That worked like a charm! Zero clumping. Apparently, I’m brilliant. Eventually.

My favorite whey powder is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XX65GS1
I’ve tried others that were easier to dissolve, but they all tasted nasty. This one has the least flavor and it’s very similar to the taste of non-fat dry milk.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #9

The usual advice is to eat to satiety. If you have an excess of stored fat you still need to shed, then eating to satiety should cause you to eat in the neighbourhood of 1000 calories less than your daily energy need. At least, this is what Phinney and Volek have typically observed.

I would think so, yes. The only danger in under-eating on keto is signaling our body that there is a famine going on. But if you have not been restricting calories as a usual thing, then it is likely in your case that you can trust your appetite. As your excess fat dwindles, your appetite should gradually ramp up, until you reach the maintenance stage, in which your daily expenditure is met by your daily intake.

On thing to bear in mind, however, is a study of ad libitum intake compared with energy expenditure, and the data showed that on a day-to-day basis, there was no real match between intake and expenditure, but over any seven- or eight-day period, the match was astonishingly precise.

Make sure, of course, to get enough protein to supply your muscle growth.

(Alec) #10

I had/have the same issue, although I am currently not weight training as much as you. But I do a lot of cardio.

My view is to eat carnivore (lots of fatty meat) to satiety ie just keep eating until you are comfortably stuffed and do it again when you are even slightly hungry…. Don’t wait for mealtimes. Hungry? Eat fatty meat! Cook a steak, salt it up… eat! The standard keto advice is not to snack, but this is to avoid continual insulin surges… on carnivore this is going to be very low/insignificant. So snack away as long as it’s fatty meat!

My advice is also don’t count calories… you might think you need 3300 calories but you are not in charge of that, your body is. Your body may want 4000 or it may want 2000, it will tell you what it needs if you listen to it through your hunger signals. Best way to make sure you can hear your body telling you this? Eat carnivore… no plants… no carbs. My experience is that I can hear my body now on carnivore WAY easier than when I was eating plants.

Good luck… I might want your advice soon on weight training! I am losing the fat, and underneath is this weedy guy! :joy::joy::man_facepalming:


good advice. i think counting is key for me. in the past i have been over-eating, but mostly due to eating excessive ‘keto’ treats. keto chocolate, nuts etc.
also if you do want to focus on muscle growth, you need 1.5-2g protein per (target) body weight).
i found that on a ‘clean’ keto i hardly have this problem of overeating, but the counting is still useful.
you can ‘under/overeat’ still while counting, but that self accountability is huge. if you over-eat constantly on keto you won’t loose fat. been there. but then my keto was also quite dirty.
it is harder then you would think to hit 200-250g of protein per day. thats where protein shakes are great. i focus mostly on whey protein, but due to digestion issues i add some pea/rice protein isolate.

(Alec) #12

You are mentioning lots of processed foods (whether keto or not). My advice is drop all the processed foods (including and maybe especially the protein shakes), and eat fatty meat instead. If you eat processed foods this will mess up your satiety signalling.

My view is that you overate in the past because you couldn’t hear your body. If you eat the right stuff, you become much more attuned to what your body is telling you. It is highly intelligent, and wants to be lean, fit and strong. It will go there naturally if you feed it right.


Yeah, I can relate. Certain items are clearly worse than others satiation wise. Overeating can happen with fatty meat too (at least temporarily) but it usually works pretty well for many of us. But they aren’t all the same, some meats aren’t very satiating for some people, I heard this from many and I experienced it too.
Meat often have a clearer sign about when to stop eating, that’s nice, I never had that before (I barely ate meat before carnivore and anyway, carbs mess up things for me even in the presence of meat). Not so useful if it comes early and you want to eat more but there are the options of different items, a bigger number of meals…

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #14

So you are saying then that your target weight is 125 kg/275 lb.? That seems high, for someone who’s only 6’ 4"/192 cm. My favourite hockey player weighs that much, but he’s another five inches taller than you.

So you felt satisfied by your meals and then deliberately ate more anyway? Or perhaps you weren’t eating enough at meals, so the urge to snack was hard to resist?

If you stick to zero-carb/carnivore, that should no longer be an issue. There was a famous study of overfeeding fifty or sixty years ago, in which one of the study participants broke down in tears at the thought of trying to choke down one more pork chop. Despite their high caloric intake, the participants basically didn’t gain weight, because all the meat they were eating revved up their metabolisms. Sam Feltham found the same on his 5000-calorie, 28-day keto diet experiment. He gained a little over a kilo, but the DEXA scan revealed that it was muscle, and he’d actually lost almost 2 kilos of fat (not that he really had much fat to lose, at that point).


Maybe it’s simply a non-satiating item, that’s why. It was in my case. And one can overeat chocolate using only bigger proper meals (well too much chocolate in the end as dessert, maybe that’s not so proper but it depends on who you ask).
Nuts aren’t very satiating for many of us either.

I can overeat on carnivore but I didn’t test it long term yet… We will see in February.

Of course. Meat can get boring quickly especially using a single cut. But I have so many tempting different carnivore items, soooo easy to overeat in hungry times… Even so, carnivore helped even me regarding overeating (and even eating below maintenance sometimes, maybe I can even lose fat on longer term carnivore) and it’s not a small miracle. But good food choices are still important, unsatiating meats and too much fat leads to inevitable overeating in my case and well, not just in my case. A too fatty diet easily do that. And that’s why one shouldn’t follow gurus about eating very high fat and lowish protein without a very good individual medical reason or something…
I personally don’t gain weight if I overeat (unless I do it very seriously all the time and even then it’s very slow) but it was true even on high-carb. And it’s NOT enough not to gain, many of us want to LOSE.

But of course, the OP has the opposite problem, not being able enough so snacking doesn’t even sound bad :slight_smile: Unless one has something against snacking, I never had. But even so, undereating is very bad so snacking hardly can be worse.


my goal is around 20% body fat. i’m going mostly by dexa, my smart-watch seems to have the scan body fat option but this is super inaccurate.
i’m not sure what my weight should be lbs/kg wise. since a year or so, I made around 10-15lbs in muscle gains. at 20% BF, with my current lean gain progress, i probably will be around 225-230lbs or so. this is how i calculate my protein intake, while some would say it is a bit too high, due to the fact that i am on (a rather high dose) of TRT. there don’t seem to many downsides of having your protein a bit higher.
i think a lot of my over-eating has been purely emotional in the past, but a clean keto/carnivore deals with that problem, the main reason I like it.
the overall idea here seems to be, that once you eat a carnivore diet, your body will send the proper hunger signals. i think this is the key.
on the flip side, if you are looking in maximizing muscle gains, combined with a hard workout, one has to wonder if bumping your protein intake ‘artificially’ is a good thing. if you look at any pro-body builder (i am not one and don’t want to be), they do eat excessive calories, despite having no desire to, but which in turn causes them to grow more muscles.


Probably requires some time on it as I had everything between no hunger for several days and intense hunger on my shorter carnivore times. But when it’s chill, it’s perfect! :smiley: Never had that perfect satiation on any other woe. I always was satiated, I made sure of it (except on Unsatiable Hunger Days and those happen on carnivore too but they are rare) but normal satiation or being very full is very different from PERFECT satiation. Not too much, not too little, food has NO power over me while it lasts… It’s amazing.

:star_struck: Wow!

:thinking: Hmmm… Excessive protein doesn’t really help as far as I know, one wants to be safe and go for something around 2g/kg, that should be enough. 200-250g is a higher intake that one may or may not need, I obviously have no idea how much you need (it’s even individual to some extents, there are studies and there are exceptional people. I heard about studies showing that 1.7g/kg for LBM is the most a natural bodybuilder can use but it was statistics and some people swore they are better with over 2g and some said they got nice gain with 1g… I can imagine they weren’t lying just being exceptional, of course nice gain and optimal gain may be different, it’s possible not to be able to use all the consumed protein etc. but main thing is that there is some individual factor) but 200-250g doesn’t sound necessarily too much to me. Especially that my own body wants A LOT of protein (less than 200g, usually but I have a much smaller and less muscular body) or else it bothers me with hunger signs.
I really don’t think huge calorie surplus is needed, it makes no sense and it leads to gaining too much fat while bulking (the experiences aren’t from ketoers but one can gain fat on keto too so surely it happens there too. as it’s known some ketoers and carnivores easily gain fat when overeating). Some surplus is typically needed but no one gains muscle super quickly, not even young male beginners with amazing genetics. But everyone has the right to experiment with their own method I suppose.

(Alec) #18

Not happened to me yet… 13 months and counting.


with external androgenic steroids like testosterone your body can utilize more protein. i’m by no means even a beginner on this mechanism, but this has to do with nitrogen retention i am reading.
I think you are right that excess calories, in this case fat, isn’t needed, especially when you have excess reserves.
I am thinking how to throw fasting into the mix to push my body to utilize more stored fat.
the problem is that I do workout quite often, and i don’t think weight lifting and fasting go very well together. any thoughts on IF/weight lifting? I had good success in the past with 1 day full 24h fast a week, but not sure this is an option now, since i do weights…


Yeah, some people (probably most carnivores) have it better, I know. It takes me days at most to get bored of meat and eggs only (variety in meat helps but not enough)… Good thing I have no problem with dairy and eggs are super versatile so I can eat them even when I am bored of the simple egg dishes.

If you have a decent deficit, I don’t think it’s needed. But IF is pretty normal, I can’t imagine it going against muscle gain. Maybe OMAD isn’t good for everyone but a normal IF where one can eat before and after workouts if needed (I need fasted workouts because I have enough energy and a proper state only when well-fasted)? As long as one can eat the right amount in their eating window, I don’t see a problem. If you already eat too little in a bigger window, a smaller one probably isn’t a good idea but I met people who ate more in a smaller one.

I thought about doing EF on my non-workout days but my body wants food every day so that didn’t happen. If I could do it, it wouldn’t be a problem but it’s me with my small muscles and small weights, it can be easily different from you, I don’t know. I just know that IF very much suits some people and they do it even when bulking. Even OMAD happens sometimes but it must be a rarity, most people can’t even comfortably eat enough in one sitting for that and there is the optional need for food before workouts.

I hope someone more knowledgeable or even experienced will be able to answer this… (But it must be individual like almost anything.)