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losing weight and toning muscle at the same time = possible ?

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Old 07-16-2008, 03:10 PM   #1
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Default losing weight and toning muscle at the same time = possible ?

Is it possible to lose weight and tone your muscle (build muscle) at the same time ? I've heard that in order to be able to build muscle (tone muscle) you have to eat more calories and that you just cant do that when you are trying to lose weight.

So i'm wondering of what the point of doing resistance training (push-ups,sit-ups) is when losing weight if that doesnt build muscles ?
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:48 PM   #2
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If you lose weight without doing resistance training you will lose muscle as well as fat, meaning you will often end up looking flabby thin. If you are doing resistance training you will hopefully only lose fat & reveal a trim, toned body as you lose weight.

Yes, you can build your muscles & lose weight at the same time. In fact as you gain more muscle your body will burn more calories at rest making fat loss easier.
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:48 PM   #3
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Im not exactly sure what your question is. But i do know that you should always add weight/resistance training to your exercise plan if you are able. Muscle burns more calories than fat which allows you to eat more. You can lose weight and build muscle. Just remember you have to do cardio and weights
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:52 PM   #4
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Toning muscle is a myth. Either you're building muscle and strength our you're not.

But yes, it is possible to do both at once *if* you are significantly overweight to begin with. If you are close to your goal weight, then it will get harder and harder to do so as dieting can burn lean muscle as well as fat.

In the long run, building muscle will help you lose weight because doing so will help raise your metabolism.

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Old 07-16-2008, 03:55 PM   #5
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To echo all the posters above (y'all jumped in while I was typing! )

Yes, it's possible to build muscle while losing fat. I did it (gained seven pounds of muscle while losing 129 pounds of fat) and so have others here.

But the real point of lifting weights while losing fat is to preserve your existing muscle mass. Gaining muscle is great and a wonderful bonus, but our #1 concern is not to LOSE muscle while losing the fat. A traditional diet without weight training will result in up to 40% of the "weight" you lose to be Lean Body Mass (LBM), not fat. And that's bad news because muscle is metabolically active (it's the calorie burning furnaces in your body) and the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is. A high metabolism makes for easier weight loss AND maintenance.

Additionally, working out with weights while you're losing fat will get you a smaller, tighter body when you reach your goal. People who lose "weight" without weight training can end up being "skinny fat", where their scale weight is normal but their body composition still has quite a high percentage of fat. Those folks are loose and jiggly and wear a bigger size than women who lifted weights all through their fat loss. Ever wonder why two women who are the same height and weight can wear very different sizes? It can be due to differences in muscle mass.

Have I convinced you how important it is to lift weights while you lose fat? I hope so!
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Old 07-16-2008, 04:01 PM   #6
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Here's a helpful article:

http://exercise.about.com/cs/weightloss/a/toning.htm
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Old 07-16-2008, 05:32 PM   #7
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Good points, Meg. I am currently weight training on machines (30min. sessions 3xweek) to try to hang onto my muscle while I diet and push my cardio training (60 min. sessions 5xweek). I don't think you can avoid ending up "skinny fat" without some sort of lifting regimen.
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:17 PM   #8
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Well thing is I don't lift weight.

Is doing push-ups and sits-ups enough and running ?
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:30 PM   #9
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I've been doing yoga every day, and I have most definitely built strength while losing weight.
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg View Post
A traditional diet without weight training will result in up to 40% of the "weight" you lose to be Lean Body Mass (LBM), not fat.
Meg, 40% Thanks for posting that! I had no idea! What about cardio, doesn't that build at least a little bit of muscle and help to maintain it? I guess not for people who are already active, but for someone who was quite sedentary before beginning to work out?

I've also heard that you can lose bone mass while losing weight, which exercise can help to build/maintain.
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
What about cardio, doesn't that build at least a little bit of muscle and help to maintain it? I guess not for people who are already active, but for someone who was quite sedentary before beginning to work out?
Cardio will build SOME muscle, but you very quickly reach a plateau. It also only mostly builds leg muscle and maybe some glutes. The only way to build muscle is to work the muscles ... and for that you have to move past cardio.

Body resistance is also good - not as good as weights combined with BR and cardio, but if you won't/can't lift weights, then throw in some body resistance stuff.

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Old 07-16-2008, 09:25 PM   #12
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Here's the deal with cardio -- it's great for burning calories, conditioning your cardiovascular system, and building strength and endurance. But it's not so great for building new muscle. In order for the physical process of muscle building to occur, a muscle has to be worked to exhaustion or failure within 60 - 90 seconds, which is about the time of a typical set of exercises while you're lifting weights. But as we all know from watching the seconds count down on the cardio machines , we don't work our leg muscles to exhaustion within 60 to 90 seconds. Nope, most of us can go for 30 - 60 minutes at a time. So the physical process of muscle building (muscle exhaustion/failure, microscopic tears, healing stronger than before) just doesn't come into play with cardio.

My personal opinion is that both cardio and weights are essential for fat loss, along with good nutrition. Nutrition probably trumps exercise since we can certainly outeat anything we burn off at the gym, but in terms of exercise, we need both cardio and weights. Different types of exercise for different goals.

The first six months to a year that a sedentary person starts exercising are called the Golden Period because an untrained person tends to add muscle very quickly in the beginning. It's the ideal time to start a fat loss program because you really can add muscle while you're losing fat, even if you're in a calorie deficit.
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:49 PM   #13
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Meg - thank you for such an insightful and concise post!
I absolutely concur that weights/resistance training from the very beginning is extremely helpful for maintaining and building muscles. I am so much stronger (physically AND mentally) now BECAUSE I started strength training at the very beginning of my journey.
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg View Post
The first six months to a year that a sedentary person starts exercising are called the Golden Period because an untrained person tends to add muscle very quickly in the beginning.
I knew there was something good about being recently sedentary
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:05 PM   #15
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I couldn't agree more. What has worked best for me is a combination of exercise modes -- aerobic, strength conditioning, core conditioning, balance and stretching. It all works together. And I'm easily bored, so it mixes things up! I'm a runner and spend a lot of time each week on cardio, but the core and strength work combined with flexibility work (stretching), helps prevent injury. Plus, it's all just so darn functional. I'm stronger now than I used to be, so daily activities are just easier ... bringing in the groceries, getting the Christmas boxes down from the attic, whatever. Working cardio AND strength means that I can hike up the mountain with a backpack and keep up with my teenage boys. All of my activities are easier because of the gym-time, which means I move around more just as a part of daily living, which means I burn more calories ...

And if you put that together with a well-balanced diet that establishes a modest calorie deficit, then your weight falls in line! It all works together ...

And yes, I definitely lost weight AND gained muscle at the same time. It took a while though, months. It certainly didn't happen overnight. It takes time and consistency to see the real payoff.
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