Weight and Resistance Training - Bodybuilders are the zen masters of fat-loss

12-21-2013, 03:08 AM
So, I'm not going to post a massive list just now (bed time soon!). But I was just reading through a few other threads, and wanted to point all you lovely people in a fun new direction to look for tips.

Bodybuilders are often obsessed with bodyfat %'s - just on the other side of the spectrum that most of us are struggling with. But, by the very nature of their hobby, the bodybuilding community has been working to develop the most effective fat-loss techniques that also lose an absolute minimum of lean body mass (the non-fat bits :D), which is a good thing for us.

From what I've read, bodybuilders have some of the most sophisticated nutritional approaches that I've ever encountered; and often their 'gym logic' has developed decades before science caught up to prove it sound academically.

Also, strength and resistance exercises are extremely helpful in fat-loss; and the guys and gals that are obsessed with muscles have the know-how about strength, and how to develop it. (The whole resistance vs cardio/endurance debate can wait for another day ;) ).

Finally, please don't ever fear that if you start to add resistance training, you will all of a sudden turn into the Hulk or She-Hulk. It is actually quite difficult to cultivate the big bulgy muscles that bodybuilders work for; that WHY they've developed such awesome techniques to help. It takes years of focused effort to put on that much muscle so specifically; but general resistance training will only help you improve your health, well being, and fat loss goals!

Erm, yeah. Anyone else want to pitch in about things we can learn from bodybuilders?

PS. I'm NOT a medical professional, dietitian, or even a fitness professional; I just read too much. =P But please continue to do your own research, and make your own conclusions; and ask your doctor if you have any concerns, or before starting new workouts. (y'know, the normal disclaimer stuff )

12-21-2013, 06:53 AM
I personally don't consider bodybuilders in general to be very zen, since (as you pointed out) they can be quite obsessed people :-)

There are quite a lot of different techniques and plenty of "bro science" amongst the bodybuilder community, but I also pay attention to their ways of achieving a specific body composition. Especially everything that has to do with intermittent fasting and training fasted, as IF works for me as a lifestyle very well.

I'm sure that a lot of the same things that bodybuilders do would work for a person who is overweight, however, a different approach might be needed for those who are obese. A person who is obese already has plenty of lean body mass to be able to move around. They already lift heavy every day. Also, the hormonal challenges are different between someone who's body fat percentage is over 40% and someone who wants to get rid of stubborn body fat.

This is an interesting six part article about training the obese beginner: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat-loss/training-the-obese-beginner.html

I highly recommend it as well as the other articles there to get a clear picture on how fat loss works. I also like it because Lyle writes about facts without any extra fluff and isn't condescending. I've read a lot of training/dieting books and a lot of them are written as if the reader had the mental and emotional capabilities of a five year old. It's really frustrating and kind of insulting.

12-21-2013, 08:05 AM
I think that, like everything else, there is a good side and a bad side where the bodybuilding community is concerned. Certainly, the impression I get is that it has to be "their way or the highway". Try hanging around the forums of MFP and you'll see what I mean.

Personally, I simply take home what works best for me. Unfortunately, lessons have been learnt only through a lot of trial and error and with much heartache!

ETA: I didn't answer your question - since you've posted this in the weight and resistance training section, I will say that the the key facts I learnt from them (well, through the MFP forums) are:

1) The importance of resistance training for weight control;
2) The focus on macros for body composition.

I try following these two principles as far as possible.

12-21-2013, 05:16 PM
I personally don't consider bodybuilders in general to be very zen, since (as you pointed out) they can be quite obsessed people :-)

Haha, I absolutely take that point. The reason I was thinking about it last night was because I've observed a certain parallel within this forum; a group of people from different backgrounds, working towards the same goal of body recomposition. I don't know that body builders are any more obsessed than some people who are trying to lose weight; it's just a different focus.

And thank you for the link; I've read Lyle McDonald's articles before, he approaches fat loss, fitness and nutrition from a scientific basis, which (I agree!) is a refreshing change from some other resources.

Personally, I'm at 41% bf at the moment, but don't really feel obese (even if that is an accurate descriptor). For myself, I tend to relate better to the idea of 'improving performance' than I do to the approaches offered to those are obese. Again, personally, I don't really struggle with physical activity or mobility, so many of the tips and solutions offered don't resound as strongly. But yes, I completely agree that just because we're all working towards body recomposition doesn't mean that we all won't have our own DIFFERENT physical, chemical and hormonal, and psychological challenges.

I think that, like everything else, there is a good side and a bad side where the bodybuilding community is concerned. Certainly, the impression I get is that it has to be "their way or the highway". Try hanging around the forums of MFP and you'll see what I mean.

You're absolutely right about 'good side/bad side'; I think you'll find a wide range of people in any community. From fanatics and dogmatic followers who don't like to contradicted, to the 'researchers', 'experimental' adapters, those who are unsure where to even start, as well as those lovely zen masters. I've never looked through the MFP forums, but I always take forums with a grain of salt; there are idiots in every community, some are just more vocal. :)

Some bodybuilders I know are pretty much a**holes who are very closed-minded about fitness and nutritional approaches that are different from their own; others constantly try and improve, or even practice 'mindfullness' during lifting, and actually meditate whilst working out! I think a lot of my respect for people who practice natural body building stems from their discipline and commitment to their goals; plus, I'm kinda jealous of their bf%. ;)

Also, magical, I'm very impressed by the progress you've made (150/125/125!), and have nothing but respect for people who are willing to TRY things and find their own solutions through trial and error; kudos!

Thanks so much for the contributions so far! The real reason I brought this up is genuinely that I just wanted to point people in a new direction to learn things; I know that some people don't always associate 'fat loss' and 'bodybuilding' as having alot of crossover. Some of the most interesting studies and techniques I've read about I found through bodybuilding articles, so I wanted to share. :D

Would love to keep hearing more points of view!

12-21-2013, 06:09 PM
After losing about 60lbs with diet alone - hate to say it but I was too big to exercise rigorously from the start of my journey - I began bodybuilding/resistance training and I must admit some of the dietary techniques these guys use are quite good for weightloss if you look at what bodybuilders do when they "cut" or "shred".

Bodybuilders seem to do two things with their diet. First, to bulk, eating lots - sometimes junk (eating whatever they want) other times more "clean" - to fuel muscle development as they build but this also results in some fat gain. So, secondly, they then go into a cut or shred phase with the aim of cutting calories and burning fat while trying to preserve muscle.

I do not do, and will not do, bulking. But what bodybuilders do on a cut is certainly working for me. They focus on high protein, lean foods and doing a lot of cardio.

So I eat lots of fish (with my salad) and lots of eggs and oats. And I run a lot too. So far, so good. My weight has continued to fall and I am toning up quite nicely. The last 5 or so pounds are proving tricky though. Building muscles messes with the scale as does all exercise.

12-21-2013, 06:13 PM
There is definitely a lot to be learned from the bodybuilding community when it comes to training and diet. I think people are just put off by their appearance, which isn't to everyone's liking. Especially when it comes to women. Someone might look at a female bodybuilder and think "I definitely don't want to look like that, so I'm not going to do what she's doing". There's still a lot more to it than what's talked about in public. You don't get the masculine appearance with porridge and weight lifting alone and you do have to deliberately manipulate the hormones (quite possibly through hormone injections) and work hard. Nobody ends up looking like that by accident.

I really like this forum, because the people here are rather normal and accept others as they are and allow them to go through their own journey the way that suits them. I have to stay away from certain other forums, because I'm just going to lose my temper :-) I try to avoid getting into conversations with obsessive people, because it makes me feel really uncomfortable. Partly, because I've been an obsessive person myself and I'm afraid that I'd slip back into it, and partly because it makes me feel really sad. I also pick up other people's energy and vibes really easily, and when someone is really stressed and obsessive, it makes me feel stressed as well. Anyway, in my eyes there's no difference between a person who stuffs themselves with food/alcohol/drugs because they loathe themselves or a person who obsessively exercises because they loathe themselves. To me it's all about the intention.

By the way, I used the word "obese" just as a technical description without any emotional, let alone moral attachments. I know I've also been in the "obese" section of some chart and my reaction was "Wooot?! I am not!" :-)

12-28-2013, 04:03 PM
I've read Lyle McDonald's articles before, he approaches fat loss, fitness and nutrition from a scientific basis, which (I agree!) is a refreshing change from some other resources.

I have to agree here as well --Lyle's website is one of the few that I consider to be trustworthy, science-based resources (James Krieger's Weightology (http://weightology.net) and Stephan Guyenet's Whole Health Source (http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com) are the other two).

Agreed, too much bro-science out there! :dizzy:

01-13-2014, 11:12 PM
Oh geez, sorry sorry sorry for taking so long to come back to this convo! Holidays blew up :(

IanG, congratulations on your success thus far! 'Cutting' is a good place to look for losing fat whilst preserving muscle mass, you're right; but many of the more rational builders don't follow the old-school methods of bulking/cutting anymore, preferring to limit the worst of the fat gain during lean mass gain. Yes, there are plenty of idiots out there who eat crap while bulking, but I prefer to ignore idiots in favour of paying attention to the 'educated' crowd. ;) Thanks for your input! (ps. if you're still struggling with those last 5lbs, I've heard anecdotally that sometimes the best thing to do is just to take a 'break' for a week, to let your body rest and recover from the metabolic change - something to think about, maybe! =D)

SparklyBunny, I love how you put things so succinctly; I feel like you are where I want to be in 5 years! :) (If that doesn't sound too creepy ;) ) I absolutely understand wanting to avoid the whole 'obsessive' side of things; it has recently been brought to my attention that I might be slightly perfectionist, and can get distracted by the details instead of paying attention to what actually matters! One of my goals this year is to be more mindful with my own 'intentions'. Thanks for continuing the conversation!

Hi Ija, thanks for introducing me to James Krieger and Stephan Guyenet; I haven't seen their work before!