Personally I think that trying to achieve less than a 10% fat intake is dangerous. Not all fat is bad for you and fat is utilized as an energy source by the body. Also, maybe you just need to eat more for all that activity?
I'm looking to build some muscle too. So I'm interested to see what others can advise....I've been vegan (formerly 4 years a vegetarian) for a little over a year now, and while my reasons for adopting this lifestyle always have been ethics based, I've gradually become more focused on utilizing veganism as a means to improve my athleticism/physical appearance.
Probably about 5-6 years ago I began losing weight after, at 175 pounds, I finally decided to abandon my sedentary lifestyle and get active. Turning vegetarian only aided in my weight loss. I now weigh around 125 pounds (I'm 5'7" and female) and for the last year have been working very hard to become more muscular, toned, and generally physically fit. I would be lying if I said I haven't seen any improvements, but lately I've been a bit discouraged with my progress and just how I've generally been feeling.
Lately I've been feeling extremely fatigued and have been unable to finish some of the intensive HIIT workouts I was able to complete before. This year I've gotten a summer job and, after a morning workout and a full shift, I find myself coming home absolutely drained of energy. Sometimes I barely have enough energy to stay awake after making and eating dinner.
In the past few months I have modified my diet to be even healthier (meaning that I eat 85-90% whole, unprocessed foods and have been sticking to a macro-nutrient ratio of about 70-75% carbs, 15-20% protein, and, ideally, less than 10% fats). I eat very low sodium and do not consume any added oils. I work out 6 days per week, alternating strength training with cardio/HIIT.
I'm looking to increase my muscle mass and achieve a lean physique, though not at the expense of my overall fitness. I want to be a well-rounded athlete but am struggling to find the energy to work out really hard. I don't want to lose any more weight, but I don't want to gain fat, either. A lot of online sources seem to claim that you can only achieve good body building results by doing "bulking" and "cutting" phases, but that doesn't seem very healthy to me, and I can't stand the thought of ballooning up like that, even for a short period of time. Do you have any advice for my nutrition, or an exercise regime I should follow?
You got it - that's the key right there. To more easily get calories, you can reduce your consumption of bulky, low-calorie foods (like the romaine lettuce). Just 1/2 head of romaine lettuce is more than enough to supply 100% of your vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2475/2 . A single cup of cooked kale contains almost as much nutrition as that entire 1/2 head of romaine lettuce: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2462/2I know this probably isn't enough calories, but I truly do feel satiated throughout the day and struggle to consume more. It must be all the fiber I'm consuming and the sheer bulk of my meals.