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Old 12-06-2005, 08:19 AM   #1
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Default Need workout help

I am exhausted. I'm working 70 hours/week this month. Eating (except for this weekend) has been pretty good, because I keep it clean and simple when I'm at work and I'm too tired to eat junk when I get home. My problem is with the lifting side of things. I am finding I simply do not have the strength to get through a workout like I used to. (I think I've lost a lot of strength over the past few months anyway, but that's another story.)

My interest right now is in fat loss - I can get back to strength training later, when life isn't so crazy - and I'm wondering if anyone can suggest some lifting ideas that will help me lose fat and not put such a complete and total tax on my system that I am wiped out after 3x10 with a moderate weight. (Yeah, that happened the other night, and yeah, I actually cried out of sheer frustration.)

Do I just need to drop the poundage? Get away from the compound stuff and do higher-rep isolation work for mass-building? (Though I'm skeptical as to whether I can actually build mass right now, given the fact that I don't eat much, can't recover from workouts, and get what seems like not nearly enough sleep.) Working less and/or sleeping more are not options. 30 hours/week of this is OT and we need it badly. I cannot drop the workouts because I will gain fat like a fiend, and I'm not willing to settle for maintenance. It's the holidays, for God's sake, and the only way I'll get through them without gaining weight is to make it my goal to lose weight.

I'm not trying to gripe, y'all. I'm just so
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:58 AM   #2
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Do I just need to drop the poundage? Get away from the compound stuff and do higher-rep isolation work for mass-building? (Though I'm skeptical as to whether I can actually build mass right now, given the fact that I don't eat much, can't recover from workouts, and get what seems like not nearly enough sleep.) Working less and/or sleeping more are not options. 30 hours/week of this is OT and we need it badly. I cannot drop the workouts because I will gain fat like a fiend, and I'm not willing to settle for maintenance. It's the holidays, for God's sake, and the only way I'll get through them without gaining weight is to make it my goal to lose weight.

I'm not trying to gripe, y'all. I'm just so
Sounds like you might be overtraining. I find high rep work (7 reps/set+) is very hard for me when I am following a restrictive diet.

Have you tried a lower rep scheme (5x5 or even 6x3)? I do a lot of ladders (1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3) with something like 85% 1RM or 6x3 with 75%. You don't want to approach failure on the lower rep stuff because it is really taxing on your recovery especially during a diet.

I have dropped 70# in the past year with only a 5-10% strength loss training this way. Exercises I am not really training (such as benchpress are really suffering, however). I am trying to train frequently and avoid failure in an effort to hold onto as much muscle as possible while I am following this restrictive diet. I am still hoping to hit my end of December goal of weighng in at 275#.
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:05 AM   #3
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Have you tried a lower rep scheme (5x5 or even 6x3)?
Yes. I just switched away from a 5x5 because it was wearing me out. In fact, rep scheme notwithstanding, I am now struggling with 50% of my 1RM. So I don't really know what options I'm left with.
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:47 AM   #4
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Yes. I just switched away from a 5x5 because it was wearing me out. In fact, rep scheme notwithstanding, I am now struggling with 50% of my 1RM. So I don't really know what options I'm left with.
Drop the weight and work on Dynamic effort for a while? If that is no good I would try a bit of a layoff with a diet you can recover on.

Do you think your problem is your nervous system being exhausted? If so maybe all you can do is take break from the weights.
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Old 12-06-2005, 12:57 PM   #5
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Can you take a week off from lifting? It sounds like you really are just plain exhausted! Mentally and physically. I've been able to take a week off, and come back to lifting at the same level or a little more. I've also been reading a lot lately that getting enough sleep aids in weight loss! I think I'd try a week of eating well and getting enough sleep, then go back to exercising. Give your self a mini-break.
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Old 12-06-2005, 02:07 PM   #6
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I agree about taking a break. Since there's so much stress in your life, you don't want to get sick and completely conk out, esp. at this time of year.

You could do low-key core and abs. work at home.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-06-2005, 02:41 PM   #7
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I hear what y'all are saying, and a rest is soooo tempting. But my workouts help keep me on track mentally, which means I'm better able to resist holiday food temptations. I am mortally afraid of gaining weight if I cut the workouts back or take a break from them, not only because I won't be burning as many calories but also because I tend to become undisciplined with my eating when I let my workouts slide.

I dunno. Maybe a break would help me mentally in other ways, which could in turn help me keep my willpower in place. (I tend to pig out when I'm stressed.)

Bah humbug.
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Old 12-06-2005, 03:04 PM   #8
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Then i would knock the intensity way back and increase the frequency/volume. It is the high % of 1RM stuff done to the brink of failure work that really overtrains you.

I do abbreviated work (4 or so lifts) two to three times a week and completely avoid failure while I am dieting.

I have been thinking about alternating bodyweight exercises (push-ups etc) and rowing with my weight training over the next month while I am trying to drop weight at a rapid pace. I figure that I should train very frequently to prevent muscle loss while I am dieting, and the light workouts should help give my body a better chance to recover.
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Old 12-06-2005, 04:54 PM   #9
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Hi Shannon
I agree with everyone above: you are just too exhausted and need a break, however, I also personally share your fear about resting. What I've done when I get into that state and need a break, is to switch to very different workouts for a week. Two weeks ago, I abandonned my usual 5 day split, and did 3 full body workouts, one spinning class, and a "body pump" class. It's not true physical rest, but it's a great mental break and a whole lot easier on my body than my usual workouts. If you keep your food clean as usual, you shouldn't gain or lose strength. I came back stronger, looking forward to my lifting workouts.

The other suggestion I'd make (after you get a little rest ) is that if your goal really is fat loss at this point, pick up the pace of your workouts. Do lots of supersets and keep it moving. Don't worry about going for personal bests on any lift. Maximum time under tension and keeping your heart rate high throughout your workout seems to work best for weight loss.

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Old 12-06-2005, 06:09 PM   #10
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Mel - Let me make sure I've got my terms straight:

- time under tension does not equal superslow, right?

- by supersetting you mean alternating something like a set of squats with a set of DLs or a set of bench press with a set of military press?

And if I need to drop the weight quite a bit, which I think I do, then that's okay for now, right?
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Old 12-06-2005, 06:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Mel - Let me make sure I've got my terms straight:

- time under tension does not equal superslow, right?

- by supersetting you mean alternating something like a set of squats with a set of DLs or a set of bench press with a set of military press?

And if I need to drop the weight quite a bit, which I think I do, then that's okay for now, right?
You can also achieve TUT with lots of volume. 10x10, drop sets etc. That stuff is still to advanced for me.

I think the idea behind supersets would be to train two opposing muscle groups without rest in between, IIRC from my reading of Muscle&Fitness back in the '80's. So you would superset a row and a press not two different presses. Advanced bodybuilder training IMHO.

Why do you think you need to lose 10#? 125# sounds like an ideal weight for a non-lifter or a "ripped" bodybuilder. Maybe you should focus on being leaner at 135# rather than dieting down to 125#.

Do you have an idea of what your bodyfat% is? I am planning on really slowing down on my diet when i get under 20% bodyfat.
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Old 12-06-2005, 06:29 PM   #12
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It's just vanity. I have this continual tension between wanting to be strong and wanting to look a certain way, and at the moment I'd rather be a comfortable size 4 again than a snug size 6, even if I am a bit stronger this way. If I were able to get serious about the weight training I could probably hit the size goal without dropping the weight, but that's an issue of lack of resources.

I'm not sure on the bf thing. Earlier this year (when I weighed 125), I had a 3-point caliper measurement taken (those are not the most accurate, I know) that came out to 14%. I personally think it's closer to 17-18%, especially considering the weight gain.
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Old 12-07-2005, 08:52 AM   #13
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If I were able to get serious about the weight training I could probably hit the size goal without dropping the weight, but that's an issue of lack of resources.

I'm not sure on the bf thing. Earlier this year (when I weighed 125), I had a 3-point caliper measurement taken (those are not the most accurate, I know) that came out to 14%. I personally think it's closer to 17-18%, especially considering the weight gain.
I think you are getting too thin. What is the average woman? 25% bodyfat?
Your percentage is lower than most men's.

If you really want to be a size four just step up your diet and cardio and eas off the weight training, but I counsel against it. Regaining all that hard won muscle might not be so easy, especially if you are really going to lean out to a super low bodyfat
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:13 PM   #14
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I think you are getting too thin.
You couldn't know that without knowing what I look like. People can carry the same body fat percentages in vastly different ways.

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What is the average woman? 25% bodyfat?
If the average woman is 25% body fat, she's in the red zone.That's not where I'm trying to be.

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If you really want to be a size four just step up your diet and cardio and eas off the weight training
Did you miss the part where I said my metabolism works in just the opposite way - responding better to weight training than cardio?

(Not to restart the whole debate - I'm just speaking for myself.)

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I counsel against it
I in turn would counsel against eating only 1500 calories, over half of them at one meal...but that's your choice.

I think it's possible to gain lean mass without gaining fat, provided the eating is strictly regimented. But again, that's not my priority right now.
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Old 12-07-2005, 02:25 PM   #15
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Shannon,
Apart from advice - how is your iron, did you check your hormons if youa re exhausted (I had both cases and i fainted once during work and my iron was 0!!!) - another advice about your workout routine. Why don't you take it easy and try pilates and yoga for one week? Even though they are not cardion - however I noticed that they still keep your mind clear and even though it seems like "no sweat" workout, you are in the regime of exercising - not taking break from exercise. And also hatha yoga CAN be challenging and you can pick up videos OR DVDs in your library.

Yoga and pilates week is what I do as a week of break.
Sandy.
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