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Old 03-30-2012, 02:23 AM   #1  
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Default How does weight training affect weight loss?

Hi everyone,

I've been thinking about starting weight training but I have seen in some people's posts that weight training might stop weight loss. Is this true and why?

Is it just water weight that goes away with soreness?
Or is it muscle gain? I have a hard time believing we can build muscle at the rate of typical weight loss (i.e. 1-2 lbs/week), so the number on the scale should still go down right?

Thanks for your input!
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:18 AM   #2  
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It's quite possible to see a temporary stall on the scale or a small gain due to water retention when you first begin weight training, or when you increase your training in some way. But you will still be losing weight if you're creating a calorie deficit (even if you don't see it on the scale right away), and strength training is an excellent idea during weight loss. If you DON'T do strength training, you will lose muscle along with the fat.

I think the amount of muscle you can GAIN during weight loss depends on the person. You will likely see strength gains initially, but it may taper off so that what you're really doing with the strength training is just preventing muscle loss. However (and others who know more can correct me here ), I think it's possible for some people to continue gaining some muscle/strength while maintaining a calorie deficit over the long-term. For me personally, I know that I have been able to continue to increase my reps, sets, weight, etc. throughout my weight loss. The strength improvements are slow, but they are noticeable.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:19 AM   #3  
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Weight loss is not important.

Fat loss is.

Lifting weights promotes fat loss for a number of reasons.

Lifting weights can slow down weight loss for a number of reasons - all of them are beneficial to fat loss.
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Old 03-30-2012, 03:21 AM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickadee32 View Post
It's I think it's possible for some people to continue gaining some muscle/strength while maintaining a calorie deficit over the long-term. For me personally, I know that I have been able to continue to increase my reps, sets, weight, etc. throughout my weight loss. The strength improvements are slow, but they are noticeable.
Strength improvements of the kind you're talking about are neurological. It is only possible to gain muscle in a caloric deficit for a short period of time - typically 3-6 months and the amount of muscle a woman will gain is fairly minimal.

The physiological processes of losing fat and gaining muscle are opposed to one another and do not happen simultaneously.
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:09 AM   #5  
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Thanks JohnP! I understand strength training is important but I really want to understand how it affects weight loss and why.

Do you know why lifting weights may slow down weight loss? Particularly, if as you say, we don't gain muscle during weight loss?
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:26 AM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklegirl07 View Post
Thanks JohnP! I understand strength training is important but I really want to understand how it affects weight loss and why.

Do you know why lifting weights may slow down weight loss? Particularly, if as you say, we don't gain muscle during weight loss?
I see how you're confused. Before I answer your question I want you to understand the difference between weight loss and fat loss. You can lose fat but have the scale continue showing the same number. Two people with idential bone structure can weigh exactly the same but have dramatically different bodies.

Weight is how much you weigh when you step on the scale. Everything on your body adds to this weight but for the sake of making this very easy to understand lets just consider your bones, your muscle, and fat.

When you lift weights while dieting your body retains more weight than it would if you were not lifting. When you diet without lifting you lose fat and muscle.

When you lift weights you increase bone density. If you don't lift you don't.

Retaining muscle and increasing bone density will make the scale slow down for a while. How long depends on the individual.

Ultimately though, the greater weight you're carrying around and the higher percentage of muscle you have will make fat loss easier as you approach your goal weight.

I've seen it many many times where someone gets close to goal weight and can't understand why they look like crap. I'm talking more about men but no doubt women exerience the same thing. It's because due to a lack of lifting they've lost a lot of muscle along with the fat.

So yes - lifting slows down weight loss because initially you're gaining muscle and then later retaining it and all along you're increasing your bone density. Your weight is just a number on the scale - it doesn't matter. That is why experts reccomend people take pictures and measurements because the number on the scale is simply how much you weigh. What we actually care about is body fat percentage.

Hope this has helped.
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:38 AM   #7  
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Thank you for that very informative post, John. I'm just looking at getting started with lifting some weights so info like this is really interesting!
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:49 AM   #8  
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John has nailed it. I lift heavy and because of genetics I build muscle quickly. I recently went through a stall on the scale but have been droping inches, now I'm almost in a size 8 at 187lbs! Muscle makes you look lean and curvy and helps you burn more fat It's totally worth it for the look you want, the strength you want to feel if you don't mind the scale not moving as quickly as you want it too. Go my measurements and how your clothing feels!
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:20 AM   #9  
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Just wanted to say that it's a breath of fresh air reading your post, John. I'm new around here, but not to forums in general and I'll just say that there are a lot of communities on the net that lack such a voice of reason and experience.

So good on you for helping out!

To add...

John nailed everything about resistance training and why it, in my opinion, must be in place for most people to reach their physique and health/performance goals.

That said, it can do all sorts of things in relation to stress and how your body responds to stress. I'm not talking about the typical adaptations we see in response to progressive resistance training - muscle growth/maintenance, increased skeletal growth, fiber type shifts, improvements in nervous system function in relation to muscle action, etc.

I'm talking more along the lines of stress on systemic levels. And when you start messing around on that level, water fluctuations abound. Especially in women. Especially in women who don't have all that much fat to lose. And this can really toy with the mind, especially seeing as how lighter females aren't going to lose fat quickly no matter what they do and how water shifts week to week can easily mask true fat loss.

None of this means terribly much. Maybe it helps highlight why it's important to rely on a variety of metrics to measure progress. The scale's meaningfulness becomes less and less the closer you get to your goal.
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Old 03-30-2012, 10:34 AM   #10  
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Just wanted to add a couple things. Weight lifting makes you smaller - more compact. I've been doing resistance training for several months. Recently, I've ramped it up a bit and my body is looking much better (so is my husband's who does it with me).

Yesterday, my mother in law and I went shopping together which is something we never do. She is looking for a lightweight summer pant, so we went to REI. She and I are the same height and about the same weight (give or take 5 pounds - me being a tad less than she). She has a tiny frame and is unfit. I have a large frame and am getting fit. I needed a size 8 in the same pant she needed a size 14. While she is a bit more bottom heavy than me, she's put on the weight pretty evenly. It made me realize how much weight lifting has made me SMALLER - more compact.

But then JohnP and Steve Troutman I have a question. This past week especially I've noticed I'm getting hungrier and unlike in the past where it was sugar I was craving, I'm finding I'm craving ANY food - I want huge salads. Meat. Fruit. Veggies - not junk, just more food. I've upped my caloric intake a wee bit (1450 to 1650) to help keep from feeling starving, but it's not like I'm doing TONS of stuff.

Saturday I did one hour of cardio (I missed the resistance class this week). I did nothing on Sunday. I did 1 hours of resistance training on Monday and one hour of Cardio. Tuesday I did nothing. Wednesday I did 45 minutes of resistance training and then 45 minutes of cardio. Thursday I did nothing. Today I'm mowing and working around the yard for exercise and will do one hour of resistance training tomorrow (saturday). So, it's not like I'm killing myself at the gym. I'm trying to figure out if I'm truly hungry, or sleep deprived hungry. So hard to figure it out!
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Old 03-30-2012, 11:26 AM   #11  
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I too was worried about this-as much as my body composition should matter more to me than my weight, I do care about reaching goal weight a lot.
Did some googling-
http://www.elitefts.com/documents/female_athletes.htm
8. Bulking up is calorie dependant. This means if you eat more than you are burning, you will gain weight. If you eat less than you are burning, you will lose weight. Unfortunately, most female athletes perceive any weight gain as “bulking up” and do not give attention to the fact that they are simply getting fatter. As Todd Hamer, a strength and conditioning coach at George Mason University said, “Squats don’t bulk you up. It’s the ten beers a night that bulk you up.” This cannot be emphasized enough.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11350094...aining-weight/

There's some evidence that exercise may boost your appetite . But don't fall into the trap of thinking that because you're exercising, it's OK to take in a bunch more calories, says Molly Kimball, a sports nutritionist at Ochsner Clinic's Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans.

Here's an example of why that's a mistake: "An average 150-pound person will burn about 300 calories during 30 minutes of pretty intense cardiovascular exercise," Kimball says. "This 300 calories, plus much more, can easily be consumed without realizing it with something as simple as a normal-sized baked potato or sweet potato or a six-inch Subway sandwich."

So what about strength training — can't extra muscle account for added weight?

While strength training builds muscle mass, it's highly unlikely that you've gained 10 pounds of muscle in one month, says Ivy. It's just not that easy.

Once I started hitting the gym and on the cardio machines a few days ago, I ate more too. I know that this does NOT have to happen-in the past, I would just buckle down and refuse to eat more, but nowadays I would rather take a longer time and walk around outside and not feel the appetite increase, than go back on the treadmill. I'll reserve my higher cal days for 1x a week kickboxing (I am doing this more as a stress outlet than anything else)
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:04 PM   #12  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berryblondeboys View Post
But then JohnP and Steve Troutman I have a question. This past week especially I've noticed I'm getting hungrier and unlike in the past where it was sugar I was craving, I'm finding I'm craving ANY food - I want huge salads. Meat. Fruit. Veggies - not junk, just more food. I've upped my caloric intake a wee bit (1450 to 1650) to help keep from feeling starving, but it's not like I'm doing TONS of stuff.
Hunger is a complex topic and I am not an expert. I'm only a relative expert (I know more than my relatives.)

The lower your bodyfat, the lower the leptin levels will be in your body. Leptin is one of the primary drivers of hunger. To take it to the extreme levels this is why you'll see bodybuilders do some epic binges over several days because they've become so lean and essentially have been starving themselves for months. It is also why as you aproach goal weight and vanity lbs it is important to lose weight slowly and have occasional refeeds.

In your case what might help is cycling calories around those 90 minute workouts and eating a little more on workout days and a little less on off days.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:29 PM   #13  
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Berry.... any idea how many grams of protein, carbs, and fats you're consuming per day, on average?
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:37 PM   #14  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berryblondeboys View Post
But then JohnP and Steve Troutman I have a question. This past week especially I've noticed I'm getting hungrier and unlike in the past where it was sugar I was craving, I'm finding I'm craving ANY food - I want huge salads. Meat. Fruit. Veggies - not junk, just more food. I've upped my caloric intake a wee bit (1450 to 1650) to help keep from feeling starving, but it's not like I'm doing TONS of stuff.
I did notice that like you I was craving more "real food" ever since I upped my weight training. I actually haven't had any grains in almost a week simply because I didn't want them. I wanted straight up chicken and veggies, not a chicken, cheese, lettuce and tomato wrap. Instead chips I want nuts, etc.

I don't necessarily mind this, but it certainly is strange nonetheless.
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Old 03-30-2012, 12:44 PM   #15  
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JohnP I was just wondering if I could get some clarification on something you said.

Quote:
The physiological processes of losing fat and gaining muscle are opposed to one another and do not happen simultaneously.
Although I've done some resistance training (mainly body weight based) I'm about to start lifting heavy and I'm hoping to actually build some muscle that I know I've lost. So just to be sure, you are saying that while you are building muscle, you won't be losing fat, presumably because you need to be eating an excess of calories. Is that correct? And is a true excess needed, or can you build muscle at maintenance? Sorry if I'm misunderstanding, but I just wanted to be sure.

And one more question, if I still have some body fat I want lose, would it be a good idea to stay at a reasonable calorie deficient for a bit while I learn form, eta. and then increase my calories later to start building muscle?

Thanks.
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