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Dieting and strength gains

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Old 05-21-2012, 07:34 AM   #1
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Default Dieting and strength gains

I'd love some feedback about my situation.

Around Jan.1 of this year, I started weight training (machines and dumbells) at the gym. At this time I was not dieting. I was doing really well, gaining lots of strength, increasing my weights probably weekly. Then at the beginning of April I pulled my back out (not gym related) and had to stop the lifting for 2-3 weeks. I feel I got injured because of my weight and then made the decision to diet and lose at least 100 pounds. So I started informally cutting my calories. When I came back to weight lifting, even though I was healed, I just couldn't work as hard and make gains like I used to. Now that I'm doing Weight Watchers, I'm losing weight but I haven't increased my resistance for weeks. Actually on a couple of them I scaled back the weight slightly. I'm working out at my maximum exertion so I really feel I'm doing what i'm supposed to. I'm also trying to make sure I get enough protein. My goal was to build some muscle in my upper body especially since it's weak.

Just curious if you think that my lack of progress lately is because I'm trying to lose weight and increase strenght at the same time. Or is it just typical to not feel as strong when dieting?
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:46 AM   #2
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If you are following weight Watchers, you should be eating enough calories. Beginners have a honeymoon period where they can make an insane amount of strength gains but then it slows down. You might just be in that slow down period. Also, have you switched up your workout some? That can also result in you being stagnant.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:06 AM   #3
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Thank you for your input! I'm just frusterated that I still am not up to what I was doing before I took only 2-3 weeks off for the injury. For example, I was bench pressing 60 pounds, now I've been at 45 pounds for weeks and I still can't complete all the reps. Oh well, I guess I'll get there when I get there.

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Old 05-21-2012, 12:50 PM   #4
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I'm curious as to how many calories you're consuming per day. I've been wondering if I should increase my caloric intake with lean meats and fruits etc., and my concerns are similar to yours.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:55 PM   #5
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I'm eating about 28 points per day on WW. That's about 1400 calories, but vegetables are free so it probably a little more. There's also flex points which can give us a few more, though I don't eat many of those. I'm going to estimate 1500 per day.

I had just read some of the treads on here which said that your body can't lose fat and gain strength/size at the same time. Perhaps my body is losing fat so it's not allowing the muscles to strengthen?
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:21 PM   #6
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Ah yes, you're consuming about the same as I am; however, it's too early to say which of the two I may or may not be accomplishing. I'm mainly weight lifting, and doing low-intensity cardio (~20min). My pants are definitely a lot looser (maybe even a dress size looser), but my weight hasn't exactly plummeted.

I'm unsure of the accuracy of that statement though. Generally men gain more muscle mass when they consume 20x their body weight in calories, thus making it harder to achieve the calorie deficit needed to burn a considerable amount of body fat for energy (I don't think consuming 20x your body weight to gain muscle is highly advised for women though, yikes!).

But, if your calories are too low, you run the risk of breaking down muscle for fuel (especially if you do too much cardio).

This is a tough question. Many trainers will say something different. Hopefully an expert will chime in!
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:34 AM   #7
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LIGHT BULB! Just a thought... I was reading during my cardio today in Muscle & Fitness magazine that in order to maintain muscle mass, you should be consuming at least a gram of protein for every pound of body weight...
GRANTED, I'm not sure if this advice is geared more toward men, or both men AND women.

You could try increasing your daily percentage of protein to these recommended values, or AT LEAST 160g per day. You may have an easier time supplementing your diet with a whey protein isolate.

ALSO, you may want to talk to a dietician about increasing your caloric intake, because the heavier you are, the more calories you need just to fuel your major organs, etc.; thus, your body may be trying too hard to hold onto fat, and it could ACTUALLY be breaking down your muscles for energy... just something to look into-- I'd ask a dietician their opinion.
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