Weight and Resistance Training - Why isn't my bodyfat going down more?




MotoMichelle
10-19-2008, 06:47 PM
Hi all.

Once a month my trainer takes my measurements and bodyfat %. The last two months my bodyfat has not gone down much at all. The last measurement had it go from 36.8 to 36.6.

However, in the last two months I've had my most successful amount of weight loss. About 15lbs.

So my results were that I've actually lost LBM. :(

My trainer said it could be one of two things: not enough protein or I'm creating too much of a calorie deficit and am burning muscle.

I was eating at 1400 calories and now I'm bumping that up to 1500 to see if it makes a difference at the next measurement taking. I'm also going to start tracking my protein intake.

What do you guys think? I exercise 5 times a week: 2 days weight training, 3 days cardio.

I thought I was doing everything right, especially with my successful weight loss these past few weeks. I'm a bit disappointed that it seems most of it has been lean mass instead of fat.

Any advice?


Lydia227
10-19-2008, 07:26 PM
Hi Michelle,

A couple of questions first.

How many weeks/months have you been strength training.
What strength training exercises are you doing on those two days a week
How many sets and how many reps in the sets on average

Cardio:
How long are your cardio sessions on the three days. Are they 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or more?
Are you doing cardio of 45 minutes on the same day that you are lifting?
Are you doing steady state cardio (constant middle of the road speed) or
Are you doing HIIT cardio (intervals of really intense cardio period of a minute or so followed by a recovery of several minutes and then back up to an intense level of cardio once again during the session)

Nutrition
I use Fitday to track my macronutrients (Protein, carb, fat) ratios as well as my caloric intake. After tracking your food for several days what percentage of protein vs carb and fat are you generally consuming.

Do you use a post workout snack within two hours of your workout? (very important 'specially after a lifting session. :yes:) Those muscles are hungry!

MotoMichelle
10-19-2008, 10:37 PM
Hi Michelle,

A couple of questions first.

How many weeks/months have you been strength training.
What strength training exercises are you doing on those two days a week
How many sets and how many reps in the sets on average

Cardio:
How long are your cardio sessions on the three days. Are they 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or more?
Are you doing cardio of 45 minutes on the same day that you are lifting?
Are you doing steady state cardio (constant middle of the road speed) or
Are you doing HIIT cardio (intervals of really intense cardio period of a minute or so followed by a recovery of several minutes and then back up to an intense level of cardio once again during the session)

Nutrition
I use Fitday to track my macronutrients (Protein, carb, fat) ratios as well as my caloric intake. After tracking your food for several days what percentage of protein vs carb and fat are you generally consuming.

Do you use a post workout snack within two hours of your workout? (very important 'specially after a lifting session. :yes:) Those muscles are hungry!


Hey there. Thanks for asking.

1. I have been working with my trainer and doing strength training since April. The first couple of months I was not very good with my calorie counting so I got a slow start. Around August I got very strict with my calories and that's when the weight started falling.

2. Well, one of the days is my training day with PT. We do 50 minutes of continuous weight training, a full body workout. The other day I am on my own and I do 30-45 minutes of full body workout.

3. I do cycles of 3 exercises with 2 sets each with about 15-20 reps in each. Example: Cycle 1: 15 lunges with dumbbells, 20 hamstring curls, 20 leg extensions. Repeat cycle.
Cycle 2: 20 lat pulldowns, 20 chest press, 20 bicep curls. Repeat cycle.
And so on...

Cardio:
1. My cardio sessions are 45 minutes.
2. I don't do cardio on the day I meet with my PT. On the day I do weights on my own I will do 15-20 mins of light cardio afterwards.
3. I am doing steady state cardio. Typically I either jog or do the stairmill with a little elliptical when needed.
Example: 1st cardio day: I jog 2.25 miles with 1/4 mile walks thrown in the mix to make 3 miles. This takes me about 45 mins. When I'm jogging my heart rate is in the high 160's, low 170's.
2nd cardio day: Stairmill for 30 mins, elliptical for 15 mins.
3rd cardio day: Jog 1-2 miles, elliptical 15 mins.

Thanks for the FitDay suggestion. I may give it a try or I may just adjust my journal to include fat, protein, and carbs. I know I should be tracking that and will begin this week.

I workout after work so I used to just go home, shower, and fix dinner - no specific after workout snack. This past week, though, I picked up some protein powder and will have a scoop of that in a full bottle of water on my way home from the gym.

Thanks again for the response. I hope those answers help!


PhotoChick
10-19-2008, 11:39 PM
All I can say is that for *me* ... at 190 and doing the kind of intense workouts you're doing, I see two things:

1400 calories doesn't sound like enough
you need to check how much protein you're getting

I'd try a bump of at least 200 calories per day and adding in the protein shake after working out sounds like a good idea too. I find that (again, for me), when I get 100-120 g of protein per day, I tend to lose weight more steadily.

.

MotoMichelle
10-20-2008, 10:35 AM
Thanks, Photo.

I think you are right about the calories. Yesterday I upp'ed them to 1600 actually. I wore my BodyBugg all day yesterday (I really do not like wearing it at all, but figured I need to figure out what's going on with my body) and yesterday I burned 2700 calories. So I can see why I need to eat more. By 9pm I noticed I was at about 2550 burned so I knew I would get in about another 100 burned by midnight, so I drank some milk to add in 80 calories to get to 1600 before bed.

My gut feeling is that, like you said, I'm not eating enough for my activity level. The protein could also be a factor so I began this morning tracking not just cals but also protein, fat, and carbs.

This week will certainly be experimental, but I want to not just lose weight, but lose my fat and not my muscle that I'm working so hard for.

Thanks for the response. :)

PhotoChick
10-20-2008, 10:45 AM
Oooh yeah. I want a Bodybugg. :)

I'll be interested to see how it goes for you with a few more calories and more protein. Keep us updated! :)

.

MotoMichelle
10-20-2008, 10:56 AM
BodyBugg is a neat device, but I don't like wearing it all day. It tends to irritate my arm. However, the data it gives you is very useful.

I'll let you guys know how it goes. I won't have another BF reading for a month, but hopefully my weight loss will stay consistent with the calorie/protein changes.

Thanks. :)

Lydia227
10-20-2008, 11:24 AM
Hi Michelle,

Thanks for the info. Just helps to get a better picture. It is difficult to lose weight and not lose lean body mass in the process. Making certain that you are not taking in too few calories will help. One other thing to keep in mind is that the measurement of lbm also includes water. If your measurements were taken at a different time of day or if you have exercised prior to the reading this could also affect the measurements. Just a thought.

Anyway, to offset the potential to lose lbm it will be helpful to encourage more muscle development.

Nutrition: Track your protein intake and make sure you are getting at least 30 to 35% of your calories in the form of protein. Personally I like to get about 40. You will also want to gradually add in more calories. This is going to take a little journaling but add an extra 200 calories to begin and then maybe an additional 50 or 100 the following week if you find that you continue to lose. Once you find that you are no longer losing then you can taper it back down again.

Cardio: Continue your current cardio. Maybe even add in some HIIT as you increase your caloric intake with more protein. ;) Most of us do at least 30 minutes of cardio if not 45 minutes 5 to 6 days a week. I don't think that you are inherently doing too much cardio during your week.

Weight Training: Two days a week is really the bare minimum here and this is where I think I would make adjustments. I would at least do a full body workout three days a week. If you have the time consider having your trainer provide you with a four day program. Also, looking at your reps I would consider doing 8 to 12 reps, 15 max. With 20 it becomes more of an endurance building exercise for your muscles. 8-12 reps will give you the best of both, endurance and strength. Make certain that you are lifting a weight heavy enough to make the last two or three reps rather challenging. Almost to near failure.

In your message you have indicated that you've been lifting for about six months. I'm assuming that your lifting program has changed since then. If not, you may also wish to ask your trainer for new strength training exercises for your rotation. Keep in mind we should be changing the stimulus ever four to six weeks.

Your on the right track. :D Muscle is metabolically active tissue and helps us to lose weight long after our workouts are completed for the day. The most desirable way to lose weight is through proper nutrition that supports an environment to build/repair muscle tissue, a strength training program that helps to build new muscle, and cardio that will improve your heart/lungs/and boost are metabolisms during and post workout.

Good Luck!

I was working on your post while you guys were discussing bodybugg. How cool. Maybe I'll put that on my Christmas list. :chin:

MotoMichelle
10-20-2008, 11:59 AM
Thanks, Lydia!

Some good info there. I know I've been lacking in keeping tabs on my nutrition info besides calories. I'm actually glad to start seeing where I am with total nutrition.

You know, I've been wondering the same thing with the weight training: should I be doing more? I asked my trainer, but he feels the 2 days is enough. I feel like I'm not seeing the results I like, so I may add in a 3rd day of weights with cardio. I will try out adjusting the reps and how much weight too. I think I've been too easy on myself at times.

Would a 45 min weight session and 45 min cardio be too much for one workout? Or is that ok?

Lydia227
10-20-2008, 02:19 PM
I think that 45 minutes of cardio and 45 minutes of lifting on most days would be too much. Some do that and if it works for you then great. However, I would consider doing 30 minutes of cardio (HIIT on some days) and 40 to 45 minutes of lifting. Just simply shift the focus to lifting if your time is limited.

That being said, the effectiveness of your strength training will not be based upon the amount of time you spend in the gym. It will really be based upon the work you do while you are there. A couple of things to keep in mind:

Use a weight that will fatigue you by the last few reps as previously mentioned.

Keep your mind focused upon on the muscle you are contracting. You should really feel and think about that contraction.

Spend you time doing free weight exercises over machine based exercises. We have a sticky above that discusses reasons for this.

Use compound exercises instead of exercises that isolate a muscle group. Saves time in the gym and gives you the opportunity to hit some of those muscle groups more than twice.

To further increase intensity you can limit the amount of rest between exercises. For example, I like to do horizontal pull ups followed by pushups without a break in between sets. (By the top of the third set I am usually toast and do regroup for a 15 to 20 second rest before beginning again.)

Remember to stretch. Find stretches that compliment the muscle you have just worked at the end of all of the sets. Also, when you are finished with both your cardio and strength training spend at least ten to fifteen minutes doing stretches during your cool down period. It will prevent the blood from pooling in your arms and legs and back up to your head and chest where it belongs. It will also help in removing some of the metabolic waste, build up of lactic acid resulting from all of your good work. ;)

PhotoChick
10-20-2008, 02:24 PM
I agree with everything Lydia posted. When I first started lifting weights and researching, I was very skeptical - that I could finish a workout in 30 mins and not regress or gain weight.

But I tried it - still feeling rather skeptical.

I found that if I really pushed myself with the weights (like, couldn't finish a 3 set) and worked hard, I would usually get through a weight workout in about 30 mins. Then I'd follow up with 20 mins of steady, medium intensity cardio just to loosen up afterwards ... followed by some long, deep stretches on the mat.

On non-weight days, I do 30 mins of HIIT cardio and stretching and that's it. I'm in and out of the gym in less than an hour. Doesn't mean my legs aren't still shaky afterwards, though! :)

When I stick to that schedule, I find my workouts are much more productive, I can see results sooner, and I lose weight better.

.

MotoMichelle
10-20-2008, 02:46 PM
Wow. I guess I've always been on the mindset that I have to be in the gym forever.

I feel that I use my time well in the gym (I don't do much resting between sets, just move on to the next), but I definitely think I need to up the difficulty.

I think I'm going to try:
Sunday: 30 min weights, 30 min cardio
Monday: off
Tuesday: 30 min weights, 30 min cardio
Wednesday: 45 min cardio
Friday: 50 mins weights with PT
Saturday: 45 min cardio

Thanks, guys, for the support. I feel better now that I will improve my workouts and hopefully pay off at the next BF measurement. :D

MotoMichelle
11-09-2008, 12:03 PM
Update: It worked!

I raised my calories to 1600 and began journaling my protein as well. I make sure to get at least 100g of protein a day but on average I get about 130 (25 from protein shake).

It's been 3 weeks and we took measurements again Friday. I lost just over 3 lbs this time (stalled about a week and a half when I first upped my calories) but those 3 lbs were all fat! :carrot: My LBM actually went up by .2 lb. My BF went down by 0.8 %.

Woo hoo! I'm relieved to be going in the right direction again. :D

Thank you all for the great advice!

Lydia227
11-09-2008, 12:47 PM
Michelle: Look at you! :high: I'm so glad it's working for you and thanks for giving us an update too. :goodvibes:

Mel
11-09-2008, 12:49 PM
:bravo: Congratulations on your success and hard work!

MotoMichelle
11-09-2008, 03:46 PM
Thank you both! :D