Weight and Resistance Training - Atkins and Weight Training Questions

04-23-2009, 05:12 PM
I am on only the second day of Atkins induction. I have been weight training 2x per week with a trainer (plus cardio 4 other days) for the past two months and during that time was calorie counting (1500 per day). Didn't lose much weight, so decided to try Atkins.

First question: Today was weight-training day. I noticed I seemed more weak than normal, and in fact my legs failed on the last set of squats. Perhaps my trainer was pushing me harder (he said he was) but I wondered if it might have something to do with my low carb intake the last two days? If so, will it get better?

Second question: My trainer wants me to eat a protein drink plus a source of carbs (like a small banana) to repair muscles immediately after the workout. Is there any Atkins-friendly food to substitute for this after weight-training period, or should I just use all my carbs weight training day for this snack?

Thanks to all for any advice on low-carb and weight-training. CJ

04-23-2009, 06:35 PM
It will get better but unfortunately until your body adjusts to the change in carbs you may well feel awful. It may be wise to scale back on your training for the next week or so... instead of risking feeling so weak that you cave in and have carbs.

Anyway, that's my experience. I am plannign to start the south beach diet tomorrow as cutting calories just don't work for me - I am crabby all the time. From past experience I found that once I hit my stride with it I could train as well as I normally do - if anything, the lack of fluctuation in my bloodsugar that I get with a 1300 calorie diet made it easier for me to train

that's my 2cents' worth! :)

04-23-2009, 07:47 PM
I eat low carb compared to an average diet, but I could NOT do useful strength training while in ketosis. I was miserable- couldn't lift much, felt nauseous, and nearly keeled over a few times. Your experience today wa most likely the lack of carbs.

I skipped the induction phase when I was doing South Beach and could lift just fine. Listen to your trainer- protein with NO carbs to transport it is not really useful if you are doing a strenous enough workout to induce muscle repair.


04-23-2009, 08:00 PM
CJ - Just a thought but is it possible that you weren't losing weight when you were counting calories, because you weren't eating enough? Based on your weight and the amount of exercise you were doing, I would have thought that you should have been a fair bit higher....maybe 1800+ calories/day.

04-23-2009, 09:22 PM
Linniet - thanks for the advice. I'm going to see how I feel next Tuesday when I have my next session and then decide.

Mel -- I am not in ketosis yet having just started the program yesterday. The trainer is really pushing me, upping the weights even in the same session. I know I am just a beginner in weight training but it is tough. I like it though. I am almost 60 yrs old and he says I'm doing great. Based on your advice, I will do the protein/carb thing after and use it as my carbs for the day. If I end up not being able to do the weight training well on Atkins I will move to something more carb friendly, but it is frustrating not losing much weight when you are trying so hard. I love the weight training, though (except squats! but I know they're good for me). I can feel myself getting stronger.

Elisa -- He actually started me out at 1800 calories which I did for several weeks, but nothing at all happened with the weight until I cut it down to 1500, when I lost 5 lbs. The final 2 pounds I've actually lost in the last two days! He told me to eat frequently which I have never really done, and, because of the frequency of eating, I felt I was eating more calories than I had in the past (and I still do). I have historically eaten healthy foods, my downfall being the 2 cookies I often had after lunch. Of course, I have cut out all sweets when I started calorie counting two months ago. I'm very happy with the exercise and know the weight will come when I figure out how to address it. I know we always want it to be "more better faster" but I feel as if I'm on the right road.

Thanks to you all, any other advice also welcome. I would like to stay with Atkins but not if I can't do the weight training.

Zumba Chick
04-24-2009, 12:58 AM
CJZEE How awesome I was just going to ask the same ??I think you working out is fantastic
My DH & I just joined a gym & HE wants me to try a personal trainer for a month like you I'm 53 & menopausal way out of shape!!
I too am trying to do low carb but I have not lost any weight he thinks this might help me
DO you think I should try it even if I have to go by the trainers meal plan!!

also does anyone know how many carbs max you can have in a day & still be in KETOSIS??Some days I think I'm in ketosis but the scale not moving so maybe I'm not!!
CJZ I am soo proud of you I hope you find what will work for you ,let me know YOU GOOOOO GIRL!!!!

04-24-2009, 02:29 AM
LET ME know how your doing IF YOU CAN DO MAYBE I CAN DO TOO!!!

Hi Judy -- thanks for your HAPPY support!!! Well, I have been using the personal trainer 2x per week for two months and I love it. Well, perhaps I love what it is doing for me because it is tough when we're actually in session. This guy pays total attention to ME when we're in session, he doesn't look around, talk to anyone else, talk on the phone etc. I feel like he's really pushing me to get stronger and I feel stronger. He is kicking my butt, all to the good.

You know, I have to tell you I never feel my age mentally so it is not odd or weird to me that, as an older person, I am doing this. Ditto for the weight, it always surprises me how much I weigh and doesn't stop me from doing anything. I just stand up straight, smile, and forge on. I think you should do it too. You are a slim spring chicken (as my Dad used to say, LOL).

You don't have to follow their dietary advice, but I think the post-workout mini-meal is to help repair muscle tissue. I have read about it on the internet.

I'm trying Atkins on my own, his preference is for me to calorie-count with specific nutrient percentages (ie, fat below 30%, etc). I have been so strict with myself, logging every calorie and doing so much exercise (for me!) that I have been disappointed in the weight loss, which is why I thought I would try the low-carb approach.

So, if you want to go into ketosis, I would read Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution. He outlines clearly how to do it, but induction (the first 2 weeks) starts with only 20 grams of carbs PER DAY. That is not very much. After the first 2 weeks, then you slowly start adding more carbs back in. You can tell if you're in ketosis or not by buying the strips to test your urine. I would highly recommend reading the book.

04-24-2009, 03:04 AM
From what I've read, what my trainers have told me and from personal experience, an Atkin's-style diet is not recommended for weight training because soon after being on it you don't have enough of the proper fuel, muscle glycogen, to perform a strong workout.

If your goal with weight training is to strengthen your muscles, then you need to feed them properly. We burn glycogen. We get it directly from carb food sources, or we create it from stored fats, which is far less efficient and leads to earlier fatigue.

If your goal is to burn fat, then aerobic activity is more effective, and high intensity interval training (HIIT) is actually the best way.

I went really low carb to get control over type 2 diabetes. I was able to completely manage it with diet and aerobic exercise. But when I added weight training, within a few weeks, I stopped progressing and was very, very tired all the time. I adequately increased my carb intake, adjusted down my fats and I'm now seeing improvement.

I highly recommend "The Body Fat Solution" by Tom Venuto.


04-29-2009, 06:36 AM
I am on only the second day of Atkins induction. I have been weight training 2x per week with a trainer (plus cardio 4 other days) for the past two months and during that time was calorie counting (1500 per day). Didn't lose much weight, so decided to try Atkins.

Today was weight-training day. I noticed I seemed more weak than normal, and in fact my legs failed on the last set of squats. Perhaps my trainer was pushing me harder (he said he was) but I wondered if it might have something to do with my low carb intake the last two days? If so, will it get better?

Thought I'd provide an update on my strategy for weight training while on Atkins induction. I decided to eat my entire carb intake for the day at the meal BEFORE weight training (for me breakfast). Actually, I spread the carbs between breakfast and a late-morning snack as my training session is at 1:30 p.m.

I felt GREAT. (Or as great as you can feel when your trainer is kicking your butt.) Very strong, none of the weakness of the previous session. Of course, I had no carbs left for the day, but I was able to manage that okay.

Of course, I have now been on Atkins a longer period of time, and perhaps just needed to become more acclimated.

Either way, I think (hope) the first problem is solved. Thanks to everyone for responding to help me.

04-29-2009, 08:29 AM
CJZee- What you are doing is called by some people a "targeted ketogenic diet". You eat your carbs on either side of your workout. You may or may not actually be in ketosis by the end of the day, but I'll bet you feel a lot better, can lift, and will lose. I did it for may years, and to some extent, still do it.

As for feeling your age, I really think the gym or weight training in general is the fountain of youth. I don't feel or act my age! Something I'm quite proud of :)


04-29-2009, 02:43 PM
While I don't do an Atkins type diet, I just wanted to share that I am 64, and constantly get comments along the line of "you sure don't look it." Nothing like being fit(ter) to keep you feeling younger.

I lost close to 70 pounds in my mid-50's and it was much slower than when I'd lost weight when I was younger. I've gained some of it back again, and am working to get back down to my goal - and it's happening, but even slower than 8 or 10 years ago. But what's the alternative? I'm not going back to my sluggish, inactive life! It pains me to see women my age - or younger - who have given up and have so much trouble just getting around, never mind being active. So keep up the good work - you won't regret it! :)

04-29-2009, 07:34 PM
Mel -- thanks for the info on the "targeted ketogenic diet". I thought I invented it myself, LOL. I am trying to listen more to my own body and figure out the correct things to do.

Pat -- The weight definitely comes off slower now that I'm older. Wow! Who knew? The first two months with calorie counting I lost 7 lbs, and I lost 3 more in the last week (my first week on Atkins). But, you're right -- what's the alternative? I have always been relatively active, but in a swimming, walking, Curves sort of way. This weight training is harsh and hard for me, but I love it. I think it will really help. Thanks for your support. CJ

Zumba Chick
05-02-2009, 10:07 PM
CJ , PAT, & MEL ALL you ladies inspire me!!
This MON. I start my 1st training session 2 times a week for a month
I hope she doesn't beat my butt too bad like Jillian on biggest loser LOL I hope this gives me enough knowledge to be able to set up routines for myself later!!
It's because of all you ladies that I finally decided to give it a try I have to start somewhere
Let me know how things are going for everyone
I don't know if I'm going to stay on ADKINS


05-02-2009, 10:56 PM


Hi Judy -- I think you will really like it. It's hard (or at least mine is) but I really think it is helping me. Report back after your first session and let us know how it went. Hugs ... CJ

05-03-2009, 03:00 PM
CJ, glad you got the diet worked out. I am eating lower carb than before, and had to mess with the distribution of carbs and the amount of fat to get it right. I take the bulk of my carbs before and after the workout, then the rest of the day is pretty low carb, except sometimes I get a craving for carbs right before bed, so I'll have some fruit and/or yogurt at that time. I think keeping the high carb stuff like fruit/sugars separate from the fats/protein meals helps, or at least, it doesn't seem to do any harm. I stick to low GI veggies like broccoli with my protein/fat meals. That's just what's working for me. Sounds like you're on track and feeling good in your workouts. When you find the right mix with the diet, I bet the fat starts melting off. I've lost close to 2 inches on my waist in the past month, and I feel like that's mostly due to getting the diet right (finally!).

05-04-2009, 06:32 AM
Hi Cheryl -

Interesting observation on separating the carbs from the fat/protein. I wonder why that works? Right now, with 20 grams of carbs per day, I'm only eating some low GI veggies -- no fruit or sugars at all. It feels good.

I'm eating way more calories than I did calorie counting (I'm actually still counting both calories and carbs, but not paying too much attention to calories, which is weird), but the weight is coming off much faster. My official weight-in day is Wednesday, and I'm quite sure I've lost several more pounds this week. After 2 months of very slow weight loss, this feels great to me.

05-04-2009, 10:47 AM
Good for you; I'm glad it's working for you!

05-04-2009, 11:22 AM
CJZee - When you are doing low carb, the first week or 2 will have very fast loss. The reason is your body has stored glycogen which is quick energy ready for you to use. When you do low carb, your glycogen stores are depleted and your body can't fill them up because of the lack of carbs. Depending on weight, its not unusual that you could lose 10 lbs, none of it fat. It is one reason though that people like low carb diets because they see the scale move very quickly in the first few weeks.

05-04-2009, 02:32 PM
Nelie, interesting about the glycogen. I didn't know that. Since the glycogen binds water (right?), is that mainly water weight? Seems like everybody loses big the first 2 weeks, even calorie counting, as long as the diet is significantly "better" than what the person was doing before. I lost 14 lbs just switching from eating truckdriver-like portions of junk food to eating "normal" portions of junk food, when I started last year, just as one example, so is that the same thing going on there? Of course, at that point, I didn't care what kind of weight it was, I was just happy to be 14 lbs lighter! ;) Now, of course, I'm much more protective of my muscle weight and glycogen stores, so I hope to keep those in good supply, and am aiming for mostly fat loss if I can help it.

CJ, I'm not the greatest with the science part of dieting, but my understanding is that you need carbs to burn fat and also to store fat, since they stimulate the insulin, which is what can access the fat cells (I might be butchering this utterly, I warn you!). So, my feeble mind figured that if I was gonna have an insulin spike, like with sugary fruit, or the sugar in my tea, it would be best if I wasn't having it at the exact same time I'm loading up on my proteins and good fats, cuz if I get the spike, and there's not a lot of fat or "excess" calories to store, what can it do? Anyway, it's just an experiment on my part, because I like to have a yogurt for breakfast, I like to have some sugar and a little milk in my tea, and it seems like if I'm going to have those, it certainly can't hurt to keep them separate from the fats/proteins which are the bulk of my calories, even if it's not really helping (like if I'm totally wrong about the science of it, which is entirely possible...worst case, it doesn't help at all, but so far, it at least doesn't seem to be packing the pounds on, so something somewhere is working).

05-04-2009, 02:36 PM

It is a similar process when you start any diet really but I don't think it is exactly the same. Low carb diets really hit the glycogen stores and don't allow them to be replenished. It is also why low carbers can see a huge jump in weight from eating a high carb meal.

I did some research a while back when I was following a fairly low carb diet and I too saw the huge drop in weight loss which was pretty amazing. It is motivating and can help people but also gives a slightly false impression that you lose more weight with low carb vs other restrictive plans.

05-04-2009, 04:09 PM
Cheryl and Neli -- Thanks for the interesting posts. I know I've just started Atkins, it will be 2 weeks on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see how my body reacts in the long term. I hope to have healthy, on-going weight loss. And I am so happy with my weight training, I can tell I am getting stronger. CJ

05-04-2009, 04:30 PM
Good Job CJ :)

05-06-2009, 07:43 AM
Two recent studies suggest you might lose more with an Atkins-type diet. The following two studies reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Both studies showed Atkins type dieters lost more weight in the first 6 months and improved their blood chemistry more than low-fat dieters.

Neither group stuck to it, though ... so as we all know keeping going is key and maintenance is a hard.


05-06-2009, 07:45 AM
Good Job CJ :)

LOL Nelie -- that is what my trainer says to me when I've about killed myself. It's his highest form of praise!