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Are PL and Fat Loss Incompatible?


Just starting out (37 years old) after lifting on and off for a few years. Long story short, bad year and let myself go. I need to lose about 40 lbs of extra weight.

I want to PL and get stronger and build up muscle, can you still lose fat while on a PL program?

Would it be too much to do a little cardio on the non-lifting days? Nothing intensive, just walking for an hour or so.


Eat failure, Shit success

I wouldn't Powerlift just yet, focus on losing 40lbs first and then you can shift your goals to getting big and strong


I'd pick one goal and stick with it.

You can't ride two horses with one ass.


that pretty much sums it up


Ok, that was going to be my next question focus on the fat loss first or PL for a bit.

I will focus on the fat loss first.


There's no reason you can't lose fat and get stronger at the same time. Eat better than you are now, lift hard, and move your ass up a hill or around the block, etc, and you will lose fat and get stronger. This may mean not making strength/muscle gains as fast as you would if you weren't trying to lose fat, but there's no reason you can't still be making progress towards those goals as you slim down.


Agree with the poster above me. I run a lot in between lifting days (both distance and sprinting) and am still making gains on my lifts. I suppose I could be making better gains and be better rested in general if I didn't, though.


There is no reason why you can't lose weight and train for PL. Weight loss is more a function of diet than anything.
That being said, you must accept the fact that your strength gains may be very limited while you are losing the weight (you may even lose a little). As people have said, you can't serve two masters at once. But, your strength loss will likely be less if you train like a PL than if you were to train in other ways.
Remember: within PL, strength to weight is key. A 200 lb lifter who pulls 500 isn't considered as good as a 160 lb lifter who pulls 485. So even if your strength goes down, you may still be a better lifter.


PL and fat loss are definitely possible. Getting your carb intake under control (under 100g and nearer 50g) will allow you enough carbs to not feel too bad, and to lose fat.

Work hard at powerlifting, performing at high intensity, and combine some form of lifting-based cardio like barbell complexes, kettlebell work, CST, etc.




Why the facepalm comment?


I am trying to lose a few kilos after Xmas, i am still setting PRs consistently (hmm, twice weekly on 4 or 5 different lifts?) on carb-cycling "diet" (i.e carbs before workout, or if u train in the morning, some carb in evening - but rest is protein, veg n healthy fats).

I am losing the chubble slowly, but surely - while getting teh strongerer.

I tried anabolic diet, but for PL its useless; you NEED carbs to PR, dont care what anyone says :stuck_out_tongue:


I agree with the carb thing but if you limit the carbs to breakfast and before/during/after your wo, you can still feel sane and make gains in the gym while shedding fat (as long as you're not dropping weight too quickly).


Why not? I did it this summer. Went from 295 to about 255 using Keifer's Carb Backloading , put about 20 or 30 on my deadlift, and about the same on my squat (bench went down but more due to changed leverages than anything else).

My geared lifting suffered, but only because my gear was now several sizes too big. regardless, I only lost about 50lbs off my best gearwhored squat. Just up your volume of assistance work, do a bit more GPP and let 'er rip.


Both can be done at the same time and fairly easily in my opinion. It all depends on how disciplined you are. I recently went from 280 to 229 for a deadlift meet. I would have smoked a PR but I tore my hamstring on my 2nd attempt. Eat clean, eat frequenlty, do cardio, take creatine, eat a shitload of good fats, and drink a shitload of water.

Thats about it. I am already back up to 270, still eating clean but am doing less cardio and added in 2 cheat meals a week. I got my bodyfat tested in lab conditions this week and it had me at 19%. When I was at 280 I was probably around 25%-30%. I am going to add in some cardio again to get back down to 260 for these new stupid IPF weight classes.

Any weight lost will cause your bench to go down but, not a lot as long as your program doesnt suck and you dont freak out and add a shitload of volume. Personally, all of my testing exercises went down about 3% and leveled off there when I was at my lightest. Might not sound like much but thats the difference between 970lbs and 1000lbs.

Anyway, I am not trying to impress anyone, I am just saying you can lose fat and get stronger in the powerlifts. Just when you get to the point where your total starts to suffer, you really have to figure out which is more important to you.


I think both can be done, but you have to do them right.

Cut your calories too quickly, you will lose more than just fat. You'll lose strength, and muscle. Same with adding in too many "extra" workouts.

It's about balancing it out. If you want to make sure your strength stays up, you'll have to cut slower, and be happy with smaller losses on a weekly basis. Cut out all the processed shit from your diet, and focus on eating meat, vegetables, some fruit, and eat lots of good fat. Throw in some GPP and you'll be good to go.

Make the most changes with your diet rather than you're training. Diet is about 90% of your fat loss. I would also recommend intermittent fasting, and eating your largest meals around your training.

I also agree with StormTheBeach. You have to decide what is most important to you.


My numbers have stayed roughly the same/ gone up in the past few months of dieting down. I am carb cycling though so I am pretty amped come training time.

Just by eating cleaner you will see some weight loss with no losses to numbers.

I think too many people equate fat loss as a body building thing... and try to do it in the same manner they do.


This is similar to what I've done, between august and november last year i went from 200lbs to 179lbs; my strength dropped fast (about 10% on each lift) but ive regained it all now, with the added bonus of being in a lighter weightclass. All I did was throw all junk food out and never buy any so I eat clean, I eat a lot of food but because i've not ate junk food the weight dropped off. I wouldn't do cardio unless you absolutely have to do it in order to lose weight.


I'm curious about that myself. As far as I can tell, everything I said was true.


Deadlift and Squat always stay relatively constant for me when I cut weight (usually between 15-20lbs going into summer), on occasion I have even gained on my deadlift, but the bench drops on what has been at least for me a very constant 1:1 ratio of weight lost to bench weight lost. If you are a real pudge dropping fat may even help your deadlift by allowing you to get into a stronger position and letting you stay there for more than 2 seconds without a lower back pump.

I don't think it's possible for even an intermediate lifter to gain bench strength while cutting weight and I would guess the more advanced the lifter the more pronounced this effect due to how used to benching at a given weight they may be.

You didn't list stats so there is some conjecture here on my part.

If you are at the level of a beginning lifter with some muscle memory to look forward to (you took a year or more off), so it's possible your general strength can improve even while you lose weight, even on the bench, if your stats are already more intermediate then I think you have to choose a master and in my opinion it would be quicker and more effective to drop some fat first,this would likely improve your mobility and general work capacity following this you could approach powerlifting with a healthier, leaner body.

I've worked with 2 guys before who have this kind of fat to lose, and in my training experience unless you already know your body very well pick a goal and bust your ass to get there.