Weight and Resistance Training - NRLW hurting weight loss?

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04-17-2009, 02:39 PM
So this morning I finished stage one of New Rules of Lifting for Women. I am really enjoying the program and I have definitely gained strength over the last 6 weeks. In the final 2 "special" workouts I could do more reps of every exercise, and felt almost embarrassed to lift the low weights I started with - I felt like I was cheating!

But - when I started NRLW I weighed 152. This week I have been bouncing between 148 - 150. So in 6 weeks I've only lost 2 - 4 pounds. During the 6 weeks before I started, I lost 11. In fact, I averaged 2 pounds/week every week since November until I started this program. My clothes are fitting slightly looser, but not a lot.

So I'm wondering - has NRLW slowed my weight loss? It doesn't seem possible to build enough muscle to offset that rate of fat loss? I know there can be many reasons for a slowdown or plateau, but my rate of loss dropped off quite suddenly exactly the week I started lifting so it doesn't feel like a coincidence. Looking back over my food journal, my calories haven't increased significantly - I always did eat more on my workout days - so I don't think it's diet-related. Any suggestions or advice would be welcome!

Shannon in ATL
04-17-2009, 03:05 PM
Everytime I change my exercise routine I hang onto water weight for a few weeks, particularly when that change is related to lifting. Maybe that is what is going on for you?

04-17-2009, 03:10 PM
I hate when people say "oh, maybe you're gaining muscle" or "muscle weighs more than fat" blah blah blah. It's so cliche. So I'm not going to say that :-)

Here are my thoughts:
1) What's happening to you is very common. Your body goes through peaks and valleys, and I think when bringing weights into the routine, your body gathers its strength (water/fat/energy) to be able to get used to the weight program, builds a bit of muscle, and then starts to get going again with the weight loss.

I think of it a bit as someone slapping me in the face = they slap - I am stunned - then I react. You have slapped with the weights, your body is a bit stunned, then it will start to react by losing weight again.

2) 6 weeks/2-4 pounds is normal but slow weight loss. That's how I lose!

3) Your weight loss may be slowing down as you are getting lighter, i.e., it's harder to lose when you have less to lose!


04-17-2009, 03:29 PM
I hate when people say "oh, maybe you're gaining muscle" or "muscle weighs more than fat" blah blah blah. It's so cliche. So I'm not going to say that :-)


It is usually a cliche, but when someone starts serious strength training, it might also be true.

Have you had your body fat% checked? Congrats on your success!

04-17-2009, 04:51 PM
I'd say you are probably hitting a plateau, keep going, you'll see change.

04-17-2009, 05:10 PM
Are you doing any cardio? I haven't read the NRL books all the way thru yet, but I know on BFL that cardio is a key component to fat loss and weight decreases, because you can expect the muscle to gain you a bit of weight. I would suggest checking your total calorie intake during the day and then playing with the cardio levels.

04-18-2009, 08:43 AM
Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement, everyone. I suspect you've all hit on a part of the real answer!

Shannon - it's true that my muscles usually feel a bit stiff or sore from the workouts, so they may be holding some water.

Choirgirl - yes, I've been telling myself all along that I wouldn't be able to keep up a 2 lb/wk loss all the way to goal, so maybe the timing of the slowdown is just coincidence.

midwife - muscles would be good! :Dn I think I have probably at least slowed the muscle loss I must have been having before I started lifting, and hopefully gained a bit. No, I haven't had my bodyfat checked because my fitness club is a rather bare bones one and doesn't offer that service. Their "trainers" are nearly all students who encourage push low-weight, high-rep, machine workouts. It was a good choice for me when I first started losing weight, in that it was non-intimidating, not expensive, and close to home. I would never have been brave enough to walk into most of the other gyms! I've outgrown it, and as soon as I can I'll be looking for a new gym, but for now I'm pretty much on my own.

beerab - yes, it may well be just a normal slowdown (not even really a plateau, because I am still losing slowly), so I'll try to be patient!

sportmom - I did reduce the cardio for the first 3 weeks, because NRLW says endurance cardio (vs. intervals) is optional. Then I realized that I wasn't losing and have cranked up the cardio levels again.

I'm supposed to take a recovery week between stages of the program, so I won't be lifting this week. It will be interesting to see what happens on the scale. The thing I'm proudest of is that I am frustrated but I'm not discouraged. Any other time I've tried to lose weight I would have given up by now, but this time I'm sticking with it and eventually it will work.

04-18-2009, 11:13 AM
All I have to say is GOOD JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't you feel awesome?????