Weight Loss Support - Losing muscle :(




View Full Version : Losing muscle :(


indiblue
05-24-2011, 04:50 AM
I almost titled this thread "worst fears coming true!!!" but that that was a bit overdramatic.

However, this WAS one of my fears about losing weight and it IS coming true. A trainer told me today that the sharp pain on the outside of my knee when I run was likely caused by (or exacerbated by) weak quad muscles. He then tested my quad muscles and told me in fact they were "quite weak."

Worst diagnosis ever! I hated to hear what I heard today but I believe him. I grew up very athletic and a soccer player, so I always had big quads. I've noticed in the past few weeks/month or so they are becoming visibly smaller.

I am happy to lose weight but I always feared losing muscle. Being strong and able was something I was always proud of and loved about my body, and I'd gladly take a little fat if it meant being able to keep my muscle.

I'd welcome any advice-- I suppose up my protein (I usually only get 60 g a day consistently, though I aim for 70-80) and increase strength training? Or should I accept some muscle loss as an inevitable part of weight loss and work on building muscle later? Or stop weight loss now if muscle loss is such a concern?


supergir111
05-24-2011, 07:23 AM
I'm not sure if I am allowed to link other forums, I'm guessing I can't but if you have a search for some body building websites/forums they offer great advice on how to maintain muscle mass while losing weight.

I think a good start would be aiming to eat your lean body mass (your total weight minus your body fat %) in protein minimum (or as close as you can get) while lifting heavy 2-3 times a week. My knowledge is very limited but my understanding improved greatly while lurking on these forums.

JayEll
05-24-2011, 07:40 AM
Have you been doing specific exercises to build your quads? Have you done any weight exercises at all?

The best way to keep muscle loss to a minimum is to keep on using the muscle. It doesn't have to be either-or, you can lose weight (fat) at the same time you are strengthening muscle. Look into an appropriate weight-lifting routine--both upper and lower body.

Jay


sacha
05-24-2011, 07:54 AM
60g protein and losing pounds is a recipe for muscle loss. Generally, it is recommended to consume 1g/lb lean body mass minimum and a solid strength training program in order to retain muscle during weight loss.

Now, when people lose weight, you will naturally lose some muscle but ^^^ will help retain as much of it as you can.

Good luck :)

silverbirch
05-24-2011, 07:59 AM
sacha - what does ^^^ mean?

sacha
05-24-2011, 08:04 AM
Haha sorry, I mean ^^to above, where I said 1g/lb lean mass protein + strength training.

silverbirch
05-24-2011, 08:15 AM
Thanks!

indiblue
05-24-2011, 08:31 AM
You guys are right and I appreciate the reminders!

Protein: I just measured my body fat percentage using the US Navy method and found out I was obese. I think I did it incorrectly! Either way, I imagine I need to be getting closer to 80-100 g of protein a day. I find it near impossible to get that on a daily basis because I don't eat meat and live in a developing country (in other words, no access to seitan, quinoa, tempeh, tofu, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and other sources of protein I tend to rely on). Near impossible, but not impossible.

So.... order protein powder on Amazon and have it shipped? Which one? Clif builder bars (chocolate mint, yum)? Any other recommendations for protein supplements?

Lifting: I do lift (squats, lunges, various resistance band exercises), but not consistently. I need to do more. It sounds like heavier weights at lower intervals is the key?

Thanks for all the input!

sacha
05-24-2011, 08:50 AM
If you are a vegetarian without access to those foods then yes, you'll want to supplement. It's strictly a matter of taste although I'd choose a lower carb one as the majority of your diet is probably carb based (I love AllMax, ON Whey makes a natural brand, both taste excellent).

Here's a great thorough discussion of PP r eviews:
http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=123241801

As for lifting, yes, you need to be consistent and yes, the heavier the better. ALWAYS (with injury or certain training exceptions). A solid full body routine is best.
Another good discussion on training:
http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=127023861

indiblue
05-24-2011, 09:16 AM
Thanks so much sacha!

I'm usually able to keep my carbs around 100-150, so a low-carb protein powder would be ideal. Beans are a huge source of my protein and bring with them lots of carbs, so a low-carb protein powder is welcomed. The link you shared with reviews will be very helpful.

sacha
05-24-2011, 09:26 AM
Do you have access to lentils?

supergir111
05-24-2011, 09:29 AM
hehe that was the site I was going to link

irishlad
05-24-2011, 10:20 AM
For what its worth I am currently intaking daily - 150g protein (and 3 protein supplements on top of that) @ 230lbs, I am losing fat but was told I am building muscle. Not sure if this is relevant to you but I would say increase protein and work on quad and hamstring curls. Maybe 4 sets of 15-20 reps (At a weight that is manageable but tests you). Its great because you can sit down doing them and only using your legs so at the end of your workout get a breather, sit down and just work these muscle groups. I am no expert in it though.

indiblue
05-24-2011, 11:08 AM
Do you have access to lentils?

Yes, both beans and lentils. I live in India so I eat daal on a weekly basis :). They are both in my diet, but I can always eat more of them.

beerab
05-24-2011, 11:11 AM
Do you eat eggs? Those are also a good source of protein- I know you said vegetarian but I didn't know if you also meant eggs as well.

indiblue
05-24-2011, 11:49 AM
Yes, I definitely eat eggs. Eggs, cheese, milk, beans/lentils, and fish (I do eat seafood, when I get can get my hands on it) are my major sources of protein. I'm on 1200 cals a day so those only get me so far- to about 60-70 g. I think I really need a supplement to get up to 90-100. I snuck back some Clif Builder bars from the US which are helping me eat more protein, but at almost 300 calories, I can get more protein-for-my-caloric-buck from milk and eggs than from those.

indiblue
05-26-2011, 05:19 AM
CRIKEY.

So Optimum Nutrition is super expensive here (I live in India), so I just got home from purchasing British Nutritions Whey Platinum Standard (about $30 for 2.2 lbs). It turns out it's an Indian brand and reviews on its efficacy are scattered and not helpful.

Is it possible a protein powder can be bad, or ineffective? One scoop is 117 calories, 1 g fat, no sugar, 8 carbs, and 20 g protein. I chose it mainly because the ingredients- it claims to only be why protein concentrate and whey protein isolates, fructose, cocoa powder, vitamins and minerals, and sucralose.

However, having lived in India for over a year, I am extremely distrustful of Indian products, and somewhat distrustful of nutrition facts on Indian foods, just because so many things here are so poorly regulated.

Is it possible for a whey protein to be "bad" and ineffective? Should I try to take this back or will it do just as god a job as the other stuff?

sacha
05-26-2011, 07:34 AM
CRIKEY.

So Optimum Nutrition is super expensive here (I live in India), so I just got home from purchasing British Nutritions Whey Platinum Standard (about $30 for 2.2 lbs). It turns out it's an Indian brand and reviews on its efficacy are scattered and not helpful.

Is it possible a protein powder can be bad, or ineffective? One scoop is 117 calories, 1 g fat, no sugar, 8 carbs, and 20 g protein. I chose it mainly because the ingredients- it claims to only be why protein concentrate and whey protein isolates, fructose, cocoa powder, vitamins and minerals, and sucralose.

However, having lived in India for over a year, I am extremely distrustful of Indian products, and somewhat distrustful of nutrition facts on Indian foods, just because so many things here are so poorly regulated.

Is it possible for a whey protein to be "bad" and ineffective? Should I try to take this back or will it do just as god a job as the other stuff?

I would take it back. You already have a higher carb diet, there are plenty of proteins without 8g carbs (as for the India thing, I understand, I probably wouldn't trust it). Can you have ON or another brand shipped to you online?

indiblue
05-26-2011, 09:02 AM
Is 150 g higher carb? I thought it was, then someone in another forum said it was relatively low carb. Should I work on lowering it?

Sigh, I was worried I'd get that reaction about the protein powder. I can order ON on Amazon, but it won't be here for another month. I don't want to spend the next month continuing to lose muscle. Is it really that bad to take this one with 8 g of carbs?

Today was another daily battle with the protein. I ate a tbs of peanut butter pre-workout (4 g), a Clif Builders Bar after (20 g), a cup of pinto beans (15 g) and 1/4 c of hummus (3 g), and a cup of pea soup (15 g) for lunch. I'm at 1000 calories (which includes 1 tsp of canola oil the beans were cooked in and 1 c of mango) and only 58 g of protein. That's 83% of my calories for today and only 60% of my protein. And I'm ultra-limited as to what I can now eat for dinner (which right now pretty much looks like yet another plate of eggs, nothing else will get me 30 more g of protein in just 200 calories)

I can't just eat beans, eggs, and milk every day, which is what I'm doing now, with the exception of an occasional serving of fish when I can. Is there any other way to do this besides a supplement?

sacha
05-26-2011, 09:05 AM
Hi, no, 150g is not 'high carb' but your diet was carb based so I assumed it was higher. 1000 calories and 58g carb is a recipe for muscle loss, even at your height/weight. I would say just go with the powder you have :)

indiblue
05-27-2011, 02:07 AM
sacha thank you for the one-on-one therapy/nutrition counseling services. I'm sitting here sipping my protein shake, indulging in 50 g of smooth, chocolate protein after my lifting this morning.

I'll buy ON online but hopefully this will tide me over for the next month or so before it gets here. Will report out on results in the next few weeks. Thanks again to you and others on the advice!

bronzeager
05-27-2011, 08:54 AM
Do you eat fish? You don't need to rely only on fresh fish; canned is an excellent source of protein and just as good for you -- some canned fish like salmon and sardines are even more sustainable and toxin-free than some fresh fish. I am in the UAE and the large supermarkets here mport John West which seems to be a British brand, but there are also lots of south and east Asian producers on the shelves, so check if you have those available. I tend to avoid the very cheapest brands because the cans tend to look a little ... weatherbeaten. But tastewise in my experience a sardine is a sardine, plain or packed in tomato or curry sauce. I usually eat them right out of the can on a Rykrisp cracker but have also put them on top of salad. They go well with bitter greens if you eat fresh greens, or you can put them on top of some spinach/palak sauteed with garlic, which is a time-honored rural Italian recipe. Anchovies are especially good that way -- Yum! -- but I can see where that might be an acquired taste.

indiblue
05-27-2011, 12:35 PM
bronzeager yes I do eat fish, mainly for utilitarian reasons, but I still eat it :). I do try to get a can of tuna a week, but your reminder about canned anchovies or sardines is a good one. I love both but I don't think I've looked for them her. I LOVE Southeast Asian food and yes, anchovies especially are easy to find in Southeast Asian grocery stores, but we regrettably have very little SE Asian products in the city where I live. That said, I will definitely check out anchovy and sardine options. Thanks for the reminder :)

indiblue
06-04-2011, 02:24 AM
Quick update. I just talked to a friend here who is a trainer and his perspective is that Indian protein powders are "fake." Fabulous! I mean, it's not really something that can be proven one way or another- there are no regulations for anything here and very little oversight.

Sigh. I'm going to try to finish out this container and then order my ON on Amazon this afternoon. Hopefully this powder will do something between now and then...

runningfromfat
06-04-2011, 09:19 AM
Just wanted to send a :hug: your way. I totally get the whole frustrated because you can't find XYZ locally.

We have a plethora of protein powder here but it's ridiculously expensive but I'm thinking of sucking it up and buying some because I'm also struggling to get enough protein in (and in my case that starts to cause wicked cravings).

One suggestion... can you compare your common sources of protein (eggs, beans, milk, and nuts) and see which has the lowest calorie to protein ratio and then try and focus on eating that more in the meantime?

sacha
06-04-2011, 09:29 AM
If you eat fish then I wouldn't worry about needing a protein powder! Sorry, I assumed you didn't eat fish. Focusing on incorporating enough of those into your diet and you don't need to worry about powder. White fishes are very low in fat, mostly protein, and then a couple of oily fishes a few times a week are great for essential fats.

indiblue
06-04-2011, 09:37 AM
Thank you running! Appreciate the expat love.

I have looked at the protein per calorie ratio for those items and egg whites and milk seem to be the best bang-for-the-caloric buck. Before the protein powder though I couldn't get all the way up to 90 g of protein focusing mainly on those two. Beans and nuts are great, but 1 cup of kidney beans is 225 calories and 15 g of protein. 1f I ate two cups I'd only be at a third of my daily protein and close to half of my daily calories. Nuts are worse- 4 grams for about 100 calories. I do eat fish sometimes, when I have access to it, and that would be a huge boost to my protein.

The problem is even when I ate almost exclusively protein products (2 eggs for breakfast, glass of milk, 1 serving of fish, cup of beans), I would still only get to 60 g of protein, 70 max because my calories are so low right now. 40 g from protein powder was really the only way to bump it up to where it needs to be- 90+.

For me I'm just going to bite the bullet and import Optimum Nutrition. My health is just too important. I hope you're able to find what you need as well!