Strength During Fat Loss

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Strength During Fat Loss

Post by Halfbreed » Tue May 08, 2007 3:14 pm

I am just getting ready to cycle into a fat-burning routine, and I need to know what is the best way to maintain muscle mass while burning fat. I am planning on doing cardio 5 times a week for 30 minutes to an hour, hitting an exercise bike at an average of anywhere from 20-22 mph with a fairly high resistance. After I am done doing the cardio, I do abs and core strengthening for 15-30 minutes, and after a couple hour I am lifting weights with reps ranging anywhere from 10-12, but circuiting. I lift seven days a week. I am not sure if this is the best way to do it, I know I will lose bodyfat, but I am concerned about losing muscle mass and strength as well. Any suggestions either on my routine, or anything else that will help me to fulfill my expectations?


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Post by Stephen Johnson » Tue May 08, 2007 4:03 pm

1 - Quite frankly, your workload is WAY too high. That amount of work will depress your testosterone and growth hormone levels and raise your cortisol levels through the roof. Elevated cortisol levels will make you crave carbs, particularly sugars. You'll end up eating more calories than you burn off.

2 - You don't list what you plan to do in terms of your diet. Weight loss begins and ends with diet. You should be looking to eat a lot of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and eliminating refined carbs (starches and sugars) from your diet.

Rather than rehash some points, I'll give you a link to this thread. The danger of cardio to a weight loss program is given in this book. I don't agree with the author that all cardio is bad, but looking at your plans, he must have had you in mind when he wrote this:
Cardiovascular workouts do burn a few calories, but far fewer than you think. And the more cardio you do, the hungrier you feel. Not only does cardio fail to help you lose weight, but it kills -- it kills your time, your energy, your joints, and your motivation. You burn a few measly calories but then eat twice as many afterward. The result? Weight gain -- and lots of it
Good luck

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Post by Ironman » Wed May 09, 2007 5:48 am

<groaning>

We need to make some stickies I think......

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Post by Halfbreed » Thu May 10, 2007 12:29 pm

I haven't ever heard that before. I am currently working on my AAOT, and I have to take some health classes as part of my requirements. I got this website from my professor. As part of that class, we have a textbook that discusses something like this, but what it actually said was that endurance exercise is an appetite suppressant, which would be contradictory to what was said in this post.
Quite frankly, your workload is WAY too high. That amount of work will depress your testosterone and growth hormone levels and raise your cortisol levels through the roof. Elevated cortisol levels will make you crave carbs, particularly sugars. You'll end up eating more calories than you burn off.
I was talking this over with a buddy of mine who used to play college football, and he said that I shouldn't change my diet too much but should just keep out any highly saturated fatty foods etc. He said that If I am burning 1000+ calories during the course of my cardio, which according to the numbers the exercise bike is giving me I am, I want ot do the exact opposite with my lifting to make sure that my strength decrease is minimized. He suggested long breaks in-between sets, only 3-4 exercises per session, and 4-6 repetitions. I was concerned about going into calorie depletion while doing this and not having enough nutrients to recover after my lifts.

The problem that I have with regard to my diet is that it is a controlled diet which I have very little control over. I am in a correctional institution, and the foods that they give us here are high in sodium, carbohydrates, and saturated fats. They use POUNDS of margarine in almost all of their recipes, even when cooking plain white rice. It is ridiculous, but that I can't eat well is a huge part of the problem. There is a comissary-type area where I could be some sliced turkey breast or something similar, but it's about $4.00 lb and I only make $20-$25 a month. I talked about the possibility of having cases of tuna sent in, and it is a possibility, but I'm concerned about the sodium level in tuna if I use it as a supplement to the foods that I can't eat in here.

I am 6' tall, and about 205lbs. I'm not positive on my bodyfat percentage, but Its somewhere between 13-15%. I'd like to get down to 10% with as little loss in lean muscle mass and strength as possible. I work hard, I'm just not sure how to sort through all the literature and information that I've seen and heard and find a smart program. S much information anymore is contradictory, it seems as though there is no uniform understanding of exercise. Any additional information and help I would very much appreciate. I also help to train several people in here, and I don't want to steer them wrong.

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Post by Ironman » Thu May 10, 2007 3:44 pm

Forget about fat and sodium, it's all rubbish based on junk science. Now high glycemic carbs on the other hand will make you gain weight.

Your lifting plan sounds good. It's all the cardio that is the problem. Are you familiar with the law of conservation? Your body is going to do everything it can to conserve energy so if you attack it directly with cardio, you will lower your metabolism. So you want to attack indirectly by raising your metabolism. If you can't do anything about the food, maybe you could just put on as much muscle as possible while you are in and cut when you get out. Or is it going to be a long time? If it is I would say do intervals after the weights and maybe go with your tuna plan.


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Post by Stephen Johnson » Thu May 10, 2007 9:53 pm

1 - Appetite suppression is a characteristic response to light to moderate exercise programs of physically inactive individuals. Couch potatoes - especially those who are overweight - often are unable to gage their appetites. As a result, they engage in a lot of mindless eating and binge eating. Getting some exercise and losing weight helps them "keep it real."

Appetite suppression does NOT apply to heavy duty exercise programs. A marathon runner who weighs 130 pounds soaking wet can consume 5000 calories a day or more. Anyone who has ever sat in on a carbo-loading pasta dinner the night before a marathon knows that the runners appetites are NOT suppressed!

2 - You can work hard in a cardio exercise program and use weight training as an adjunct, or vice versa - but to work hard at both is a recipe for disaster. The cardio will inhibit your ability to grow muscle, and the weight training will cause premature fatigue of the muscles during cardio.

3 - Lifting every day isn't a good idea for most people. Some advanced bodybuilders do it, using schemes that split their bodies in 50 different ways. But most people are better off doing either full body workouts or some major split (upper body/lower body or push/pull). And you shouldn't exercise a body part more than once every 48 hours.

4 - Sorry about your incarceration. Diet is key in any training program, but in your case, you don't have many options. It's more important based on your dietary limitations that you don't a lot of cardio in your routine.

Those are the things that come to mind off the top of my head. I have to leave now, but I'll check back later.

Good luck

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Post by Ironman » Fri May 11, 2007 1:13 am

Not to mention the fact that advanced bodybuilders that lift every day and split their parts up 14 ways are on massive doses of the best gear money can buy.

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Post by Halfbreed » Mon May 14, 2007 11:08 am

Ok, where to start...First, sorry it took so long to reply, I couldn't get to a computer until today. I appreciate the responses and the help.

So the unanimous understanding is that the cardio is going to ultimately kill what I'm going for. Here was my thought behind the cardio...I was aware of the law of conservation, but my thinking was that I could trick my body into raising its matabolism while burning fat at the same time because I would be eating more, raising my matabolism, but leaning out at the same time by going into a calorie deficit. I did this once before, and I lost a bunch of bodyfat, but I also lost strength as well.

I have a couple of exercise physiology textbooks, and I get ideas from them based on what the body does and why. The way they expalined it was that the body uses up its carbohydrate/sugar sources of energy during the first 20 or so minutes of exercise, depending on intensity, and then utilizes lipids (fats) for energy. I was thinking that in order to burn bodyfat, I would have to burn through the sugars via cardio and into the lipids. The more time I spent on the bike within reason after the initial 20 minute period, the more fat would be used for energy.

At the same time, to keep my body out of survival mode, I would be eating every two hours, and eating well, but keeping the calorie intake below the amount of calories that I spent to cut down. At this point in time I couldn't lift because there was an occurance here, but the bike was on our unit, so I did the cardio. I used some exercise bands to get what I could of a resistance exercise, but when I returned to the weight room my numbers had dropped. I started this at about 202lbs, and I ended at about 183. Now I am stronger than I was before with less bodyfat, and I weight 205, although my bodyfat has raised a little since the 183 weight.

This is after about 7 months of lifting again, without cardio. Now I was planning on cycling again, and I wanted to minimize the strength loss, but it sounds as though my best efforts should be made through diet as opposed as through cardio...

Also, Ironman mentioned gaining as much muscle mass as possible, but the problem that I have with that is trying to get enough weight to lower my reps and powerlift, as we pretty much only have cables and machines here. I have done some bench presses with people standing on the bar and the pin set at the full stack, and that works, but it will only work for so long. All of our upper body machines only go to 200lbs, and even with the preacher curl machine I can do the stack for a set of 3 or 4. Bench press the reps at the stack get ridiculously high, and for most everything I'm hitting at least one set of 10 at the stack. I do squats with two guys draped across my shoulders, and I try to do what I can. There is enough here that I can keep muscle memory from playing too large of roll, but anymore there just isn't enough weight or resources to really pack on muscle. Hard times...

I appreciate also the sympathy for my incarceration, but ultimately I was just an idiot. I was 16, and I don't know if you are familiar with measure 11, but out here in Oregon if you commit a crime that is deemed measure 11, anybody from the ages of 15-up gets a minimum sentence of 70 months, which is five years ten months. I got 90 months at 16, and I'm now 21. Under measure 11, its a mandatory minimum, so you don't get out early for good behavior or anything like that. I have a release date, and that's the date come hell or high water. I still have a little less than 3 left. So no, it's not going to be a long time, but I'm not sure what more to do as far as packing on the muscle here.

Thanks again or the help, I'm still open to learning more.

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Post by Ironman » Mon May 14, 2007 12:53 pm

I hate those mandatory minimum laws and 3 strikes crap and all that. It takes the power away from the judicial branch. I don't know why they don't have the balls to challenge such laws. With that you have legislative and executive branches deciding specific sentences which should be up to the judicial branch. That's too much power for the other 2 and should be unconstitutional.

Well I hope it wasn't for banging your girlfriend who was a couple years younger or smoking pot or something like that. That's my other big pet peeve, is they always want to go after kids who do normal stuff. Well at least they have you somewhere nice where you can lift weights and use a computer and stuff. From what I hear most prisons sound like they qualify as cruel, though unfortunately not unusual. I just wonder when people are going to wake up realize that without out constitutional rights, anything else they are trying to do with this law or that is all for naught.

Ok, so I'm an angry libertarian.......

Another idea is high volume training. Like low rest and 10 sets of 12 reps per major body part. Then 3 to 6 sets for smaller ones. That will make up for lighter weights. By the later sets they will feel very heavy.

You can do pushups with a guy on your back. Start out with a smaller guy, then work up to one who is a little beefier. Then before you know it you can do pushups with the fat guy that eats donuts all day on your back. You could try out 1 leg squats, handstand pushups and stuff like that too.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Mon May 14, 2007 1:34 pm

1 - First of all, you are to be congratulated for your efforts in the gym. The dedication and persistence that you've displayed in following your prison training program - while having to deal with dietary and equipment limitations that gym rats on the outside can't image - will serve you in good stead once you're released. Arnold was a big believer in using physical training to turn around the lives of prison inmates.

2 - Correct me if I'm wrong, but your strategy is to ramp up your physical activity and your caloric intake until you had a slight deficit. Then, the cardio will burn away the fat while the weights will preserve the muscle.

This will work as long as you don't get into an overtraining rut

As an alternative, you might consider a less ambitious program where you

A - Determine your ideal weight

B - Determine the calories needed to maintain that ideal weight

C - Eat a diet that is slightly higher (say 200 calories more). Since it's hard to get the caloric count right on the nose, you might consider using a zig-zag approach, where you eat more calories on exercise days and fewer calories on off days

D - Engage in a weight training program 3-4 days a week, and cardio 2 days a week. Be sure to have at least one rest day, and preferably two, per week. Train hard, but don't kill yourself.

This is a long term program. In theory, you will lose bodyfat gradually while preserving your muscle mass. As your body composition changes, your resting metabolism should rise

The problem with long term programs is that immediate positive feedback is poor. Impatient people will conclude that nothing is happening, and try a more radical program. The radical program works better - until some sort of wall is hit. Then it flops.

Be advised that if you lose weight, you'll lose some strength as well. If you want NO loss of strength, this program won't work for you.

Good luck

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Post by Halfbreed » Mon May 14, 2007 3:10 pm

Ok, first, to Ironman:

No, it wasn't something as minor as that. I was cashing my brother's roomate's check, and they called to verify. When they called, he said that he didn't want anything to do with me, he just wanted me in jail, according to the police reports. There was an officer already there who was left over from taking some lady for a forged check. He grabbed me from behind and I resisted. He decided not to wrestle with me and instead pepper sprayed me. I reacted at the same instant by shooting him.

There is a big piece of it that is missing from my memory. I remember hearing the shots but not seeing myself shoot. Somehow I made it out the door, down the stairs, and a half a block down the road, with him shooting at me. I don't remember that part, but I remember falling, and everything after I fell. He shot me 5 times before I actually fell, and another four after I hit the ground. So, I didn't get as much time as I normally would have due to that and the way he approached me, but I did deserve some time, and I'm not really bitter about it. I think that they should probably let me out as of now, because I'm not a 16 year old punk anymore, but that's not up to me. I'm not a big believer in blowing my own horn, but I've done well. I saved up enough money to afford the down-payment of my first house, which I purchased last summer and am renting out, and I have done the equivalent of a full apprenticeship in plumbing. I'm a hard worker, partly, as Stephen said, because of the work ethic that was developed through exercise. There are quite a few kids that come through here that were just young and dumb, and need a direction and some self-discipline, but that can't be found from too many outside influences after a certain age. Impressionable kids generally won't find it in prison, especially when they're still looking for acceptance from those whom they live with. Those whom are confident enough to stand on their own feet either do really well or really bad, it's one or the other. It just depends, after that, upon the nature of the person.

Anyway, I've tried the pushups with a guy on my back, but I usually do it after I've lifted. I have a guy that weighs 210 lifting with me, and I throw him on my back for that. Sometimes I'll do pushups jumping to different heights, or onto a small box and off from left to right in-between my bench sets, almost circuiting from the weights to the pushups, kind of like supersetting.

I also do a crawling pushup that is similar to a pullover motion mixed with a wheelbarrel, with a two handed jump after pulling over from each arm, having somebody hold my feet so I don't get the drag. This I will do across the gym floor after my chest workouts.

Handstand pushups are a staple during my shoulder days, and I've gone to doing them with a box on my feet for more resistance. Pullups, sets of 10 before back workouts and in-between the military press sets. I need to find a way to start doing them weighted, we don't have dumbells. I can do one set of 24, overhand with a wide-grip.

Stephen: Yes, that is essentially what I was trying to do. I did have my matabolism in mind also, trying to eat enough that it would keep my mataboslim up while keeping that slight deficit. I don't know if the body adjusts based on how much one actually eats, or based on calorie intake vs. expendature? If it is intake vs. expendature, my theory wouldn't work.

I always have a hard time taking a day off. One reason is that I feel like I'm losing on the days that I'm not lifting, even though I know that I need to recover, and the other is that I generally only have about an hour or so to lift, and I don't know that I can get all my muscle groups effectively in a week in that few days. I generally split my body into tris, bis, shoulders, back, legs, and forearms on random days. Calves go with legs. Each muscle group has one day a week, and I do chest twice a week.

I'm always open to feedback and knowledge, so if you guys still have anything to add, I appreciate it.

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Post by Ironman » Tue May 15, 2007 3:30 am

Ok, well that's not too bad then.
I was watching this Arnold the early years video. He was working out with Franco Columbu in the early 70's. It totally made me think of Halfbreed. They were using nothing but a towel. One would provide the resistance for the other. Pretty cool. Sounds like you are strong. You'll be doing 1 handed pullups and pistols with a gorilla on your back before to long. Maybe you could impress people with your feats of strength and get them to help you out.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Tue May 15, 2007 9:26 am

HalfBreed

You have a good handle on physical training and diet. My advice to you, if you haven't done it already, is to set up a training log and write down stuff you learn about training and diet as you go along. Try different training styles, and see what works best for you. Experience is the best teacher

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Post by Halfbreed » Wed May 16, 2007 10:28 am

Thanks again...

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Post by Halfbreed » Wed May 16, 2007 11:12 am

Oh yeah, also, one more thing I read just two days ago with regard to weight loss through diet as opposed as through exercise was that fat loss through diet increases internal body fat, even though external bodyfat lowers. So you get increased fat surrounding your internal organs, including your heart. Internal bodyfat protects the organs, but when you get such an increase, this article claimed that it increases the likelihood of certain diseases. I don't know the credibility of the article, but I thought I might throw it out there for you to chew on.
Weight loss begins and ends with diet. You should be looking to eat a lot of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables and eliminating refined carbs (starches and sugars) from your diet.


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