T Nation

About to Give Up


#1

Well, not me... but my fiancee is.

A few facts: she's nearly 30 and we've got 2 kids - the most recent from 03 September 2014.

In October she started a "boot camp" in a small team of 4 with personal trainer 3 times a week for 8 weeks.

Now she's in the middle of her second boot camp and we're about to get married 1. May this year.

Height: 170 cm

Weight has been 80-82 kg for... well since she started, it just stays there and that is the main reason she feels like quitting.

Her physical shape is shrinking, she has noticed a few muscles becoming visible here and there and some people have noticed that she's "lost weight" - but the real weight... stable at 80-82 kg for about half a year.

There is a diet plan attached to the boot camp, as far as I can see it's all healthy meals on the plan and it's about 1200 kcal / day.

Her somatotype is Endomorph.

Can someone tell if it's the training (mainly heavy weights and a little cardio) or the diet that has to be adjusted?

Is it just that it takes longer for Endomorphs before their bodies start melting the fat?


#2

At that height and weight, she should EASILY be dropping 1-2lbs/week if she’s following any moderately intense weight training program and following the right type of diet.

What is she actually eating everyday?

What does a bootcamp session involve? (“mainly heavy weights and a little cardio” tells us nothing)

How is she an endomorph? What was her body comp like in college?


#3

1200 kcal… What does the diet look like? Even the V-Diet (an extreme diet) is about 2,000 kcal’s a day.

Has she had blood work done? Are there any hormonal issues?

Can’t say much about the whole endomorph thing, I think it’s most hogwash to be honest.


#4

So your wife has lost fat, gained muscle and is considering giving up on the process?

Did I hear that correctly?

I get it that her expectations may not have been met by the process, but I would encourage her to stop and think about what she was expecting in the first place. Did she have a specific goal in mind, or just some vague idea of an ideal body that she believed this process would produce?

Speaking for myself, I’d gladly take slow steady progress that builds muscle and sheds fat over some rush to a certain weight on the scale that leaves her in a metabolically worse state than when she started. That has more or less been the path I walked this year. I got a lot stronger, gained a few pounds on the scale yet have a better body shape than when I started. Was that progress optimal? Not at all. I’ve got plenty of room to improve. But it is still progress and giving up has not entered my mind, and it shouldn’t enter your wife’s mind either.

Here are some questions I’d encourage her to ponder.

Does she enjoy “boot camp”?

Does she intend on making weight training a permanent part of her life or simply a means to reach an end?

Has she taken an honest look at her diet to identify easy ways to improve? I’m talking soda, alcohol, sugary snacks, potato chips, i.e. “junk food”?

In all likelihood, she has to improve in the same place I do, which is taking more control over what she is putting into her body and exercising more discipline to consistently execute what she needs to do. In other words, she has to improve her diet.

She is already sailing in the right direction. Scuttling the ship is not necessary, but some adjustments will definitely help keep her on course.

Also forget about the body type bullshit. Lift heavy, eat well and good things will continue to follow.


#5

Well, that’s the problem: I don’t know if it’s the right kind of diet.

It’s mostly vegetables, lean meat, berries, nuts and “skyr” (don’t know the English word for that, but high protein content), amounting to app. 1200 kcal / day.

The exercises are mainly basic heavy weight bench press, DB rows, squats, plank, shoulder press - that sort of heavy resistance excursuses.

“Has she had blood work done? Are there any hormonal issues?”

No blood work, but hormonal issues - maybe. She gave birth 6 months ago, I’ve heard it can take up to a whole year before the body gets back to normal (regarding hormones).

“Can’t say much about the whole endomorph thing”

I think there is something about it, because I’m 100% Ectomorph myself, I can easily eat 200 gr. of chocolate every day for a whole month - and you won’t be able to see any difference at all.

So it’s easy for me to stay lean - on the other hand I take forever to build any muscle.

Typical traits of an Endomorph is that they can only eat few carbs before they gain weight, especially from bread, and in general have a hard time losing the fat. On the other hand they do build muscle fast.


#6

Maybe some of these old threads will help:

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
You’re holding onto fat because your body is trying to preserve energy substrate stores because you’re made it think you’re trying to starve it to death.
S[/quote]


#7

Thanks to all of you - I’ll take a look at those topics.

And twojarslave: that’s actually some pretty good questions…!


#8

Is she nursing the baby? If so, I’d venture to say she is not taking in anywhere near enough calories, which will actually work against her. It takes awhile for the body to return to normal after pregnancy/childbirth. A year is not abnormal.

I know some people live on 1,200 calories a day. But I just can’t relate to that. Especially if training is involved.

Also, don’t dismiss other benefits of working out. I understand her goal is to lose weight. But the mental benefits of training, especially with all the demands of a young child at home, can’t be undervalued. In my opinion, quitting would be the worst thing she could do.


#9

[quote]Alpharius wrote:
Typical traits of an Endomorph is that they can only eat few carbs before they gain weight, especially from bread, and in general have a hard time losing the fat. On the other hand they do build muscle fast. [/quote]

An Ectomorph/Endomorph label is not a real thing, it’s not like blood type which is hereditary and cannot be changed. It’s a summation of different factors, like insulin sensitivity, metabolic condition etc. It’s a convenient handle to describe how easily someone feels they put on weight or not and can largely be changed by changing your habits.


#10

I see these somatypes get thrown around and i think people need to forget about them. They weren’t created to give people body types to obsess over. “hard gainers” claiming that being an ectomorph is why they cant get bigger and all that. Somatypes were created by Sheldon, a psychologist, in order to predict an individuals mental characteristics.

As far as i know, there are no studies or empirical data supporting the somatype crap as realated to weight gain/weight loss, but i could be wrong. IMO that stuff just isn’t real. Otherwise, +1 to pretty much everything every one else has said.


#11

In addition to what everyone else said, I would look specifically at the protein intake.

There is a difference in results between getting “some” protein, and getting “enough” protein. For recomposition and fat loss, the protein requirements by the body are going to be higher than for gaining weight, as far as gaining/retaining muscle in a caloric deficit.

I realize this probably sounds like a high number to her, and maybe to you too, but I would try to target about 200 grams of protein a day. Shakes are going to be the easiest way to do that as far as protein per calorie.

That 200g number is 1.5 x a “normal” weight (per the BMI charts) in pounds for her height. It’s not a hard number by any means, but, basically, 200g is going to give different results than 100g.

Also, and I’m assuming you’ve already considered it, but: is she doing any snacking throughout the day, and is it accounted for in her diet plan? This seems to be a much more common thing with women than with men (I have no idea why).


#12

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
At that height and weight, she should EASILY be dropping 1-2lbs/week if she’s following any moderately intense weight training program and following the right type of diet.
[/quote]
+1 on this.

If she’s not, some adjustments somewhere need to be made, but it doesn’t sound like additional calorie restriction is the right choice.


#13

[quote]twojarslave wrote:
So your wife has lost fat, gained muscle and is considering giving up on the process?

Did I hear that correctly?[/quote]
That was my first impression too. Body composition can change without being reflected on the scale. If she’s getting compliments from people, and she’s looking visibly different than before, and her clothes are fitting differently, then she’s on track.

The ladies pictured above all weigh pretty much the same, but their body composition (bodyfat percentage and lean muscle) is obviously the biggest factor in why they look so different. If Jennifer Love Hewitt (on the left) worked out for 3 months and ended up looking like Pauline Nordin (center pic), do we think she’d be upset because she “only lost five pounds”??

[quote]Alpharius wrote:
The exercises are mainly basic heavy weight bench press, DB rows, squats, plank, shoulder press - that sort of heavy resistance excursuses.[/quote]
That doesn’t sound like any “boot camp” training class I’ve heard of. Usually those are cardio-type intervals with a lot of bodyweight work. But if she’s really lifting heavy on the basic exercises good for her. That’s the kind of training that will build lean muscle and “tone up.”

If she’s seeing results, then she should likely stay on point and work on adjusting her mindset from “make the scale move” to “visible changes are what matters.” Maybe suggest she take some recent progress pics and compare them to some pre-baby pics. What did she weigh before the second pregnancy? If she was 80kg then and is 80kg now but looking better, that should be motivation itself.

Also, about the somatotypes, they really are pointless. I explained why here:


Your personal experience as “an ecto” sounds like most skinny guys with fast metabolisms. It might take a lot of calories for you to gain size, but at the end of the day, it really is simply about dialing in the combo of smart eating and hard training.


#14

[quote]LoRez wrote:

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
At that height and weight, she should EASILY be dropping 1-2lbs/week if she’s following any moderately intense weight training program and following the right type of diet.
[/quote]
+1 on this.

If she’s not, some adjustments somewhere need to be made, but it doesn’t sound like additional calorie restriction is the right choice.[/quote]

I still think calorie restriction is the right choice, because there’s about a 1% chance she’s actually eating 1200 cals/day. To translate, she’s 5’7", 175-180 lbs. Anyone saying she shouldn’t worry because she’s gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time is off here because:

  1. She has no quantifiable evidence that this is true, just the fact that colleagues are telling her she looks thinner. Well, people tend to do that, especially when they know someone’s putting in hard work. Hell, just putting on fitness attire makes you look somewhat leaner. In any case, this is not at all reliable.

  2. She is overweight. There’s no arguing her weight is healthy. She should be losing weight, because fat loss should drastically exceed lean mass gain at this stage. She does not have to sacrifice strength gains and feeling good to achieve that.

  3. This is a classic case of she’s probably not 100% committed to every training session and monitoring macros at every meal. There’s definitely quantifiable “day in the life of” information missing here, as evidenced by OP’s very vague answers ("some heavy weight training…she eats lean meats, etc.)


#15

The math doesn’t add up here.

Woman 5’7" and 176-180 pounds eating about 1200 calories per day for 2 or 3 months with NO weight loss?