T Nation

Fat Loss Training Questions


#1

Ive got some questions, here they are:

1) I am following a 2500kcal/day diet eating about 500 more calories on training days. My weight measurements for the past 3 weeks (including my initial measurement) are as follows:

W0 = 265
W1 = 263
W2 = 262
W3 = 261.8

What the hell is happening here? I know my appetite has been reduced by a significant margin because when I went home for memorial day weekend I noticed immediately how fast I got full. I am also eating between 500 and 1000 calories below maintenance according to my records.

2) Joint pain. Holy shit my joints are in pain. I feel like I got in a boxing match with Mike Tyson. I am trying to include 1 set near my 5RM for strength maintenance before hitting the timed supersets and trisects. Maybe I should drop the heavy lifting totally and go with a more circuit focused program?

3) For the first two weeks I had more energy. Oddly, I needed less sleep to feel more awake and my mood improved. This changed during the third week when my weight loss stalled. Maybe this isn't a coincidence.

4) If I eat too much protein I feel like I am going to puke. My diet statistics indicated I get about 40% calories from fat, 20% from protein and 40% from carbs. When I eat more protein I feel more full, but also feel more sick. Is there any sustainable way to combat this?


Diet Stalling at 2000kcals/Day
#2

What exactly are you eating?
How exactly are you training?


#3

Eating:
Don't have the data in front of me, but my day is pretty consistent

Breakfast:
2 sticks of cheese, maybe orange juice or tea if my stomach feels good (200-300cals)

Lunch:
Salad with a sandwich, almost always something like roast beef or chicken. (600-900 cals total)

Snack:
2-3 chicken strips, maybe chicken livers, maybe a cracker or 2 (200-400 cals)

Dinner:
Whatever is available (chicken, steak, a sandwich, a frozen dinner) (600-800 cals)

Late night snack
Chicken strips (200 cals)

Training
Exercise 1: strength based near 5RM
Exercises 2,3, and/or 4, super-sets or trisets at 60-70% 5 rep max, 60 seconds rest/set
Final exercise, the Schwinn depending on how I feel.


#4

It looks like you are losing weight, so I would say things are working. You'll occasionally hit a stall in weight loss, but usually after a week or 2 the damn will break and things will move along. The fact the scale is still moving downward is a good sign.

In my experience, I feel it's better to keep moving heavy weights and drop the circuit work, rather than the other way around. You're eating less, which means your recovery is taxed, and I find that using more volume is something I can only get away with when I am eating MORE. Whenever I was trying to lose fat or cut for a weight class, I'd pretty drastically reduce my volume, get rid of all my conditioning work, and really only focus on heavy sets and the bare minimum assistance work.


#5

I am hesitant to drop the conditioning/circuit work because it has made me feel rejuvenated in other ways. For example my sleep is better, my resting heart rate is lower and my blood pressure is lower.

What I am concerned about is the pain I am experiencing, my ankle, my hip, my feet, my shoulder, my lower back ache today even though all I did yesterday was work up to a near 5RM on the overhead press and goof around with the keg since I got into the gym at 9pm. Could this be related to insufficient protein or overtraining/undernutrienting?


#6

My goal by the way is to get to 230lbs by the end of September.

From what I read it also seems like density training is the way to go. I read about a 6/12/25 program that I might incorporate into my strength frame (I have the weights planned out for the next 15 o 20 weeks for the strength portion). I have also read that sprinting is a kick ass way to lose weight. And...I feel like all this information is giving me a bad case of "analysis paralysis".


#7

It may be useful to outline and prioritize your goals at this point. It might help with the analysis paralysis you're speaking of.

Something like

1) Fat loss
2) Feeling rejuvenated
3) Gaining/maintaining strength
4) Being painfree

etc. Not all of these are conflicting goals, but in my experience, sometimes something on this list has to give.


#8

Day to day planning a serious weakness of mine. Good suggestion. I think simplification and sacrifice is in order.


#9

So I went back through my logs and think I may have found a problem/solutions:

1) I hate to say this but I think I can attribute that joint pain to overtraining. Solution is to cut down on the weekly lifting.

2) I think my calorie calculator was overestimating calories burned during a workout by a significant margin, on the order of 500 calories

3) Not taking into account condiments put on food

So my new plan looks like (after doing a bunch of reading over the last 2 days):

2 Days of lifting, with emphasis on overhead pressing, deadlift, and carries since these are the lifts I need to maintain my strength most.
4 days of sprinting. Ill be doing suicides and did my first run on Tuesday. Suprisingly the run felt great and I exceeded my expectations for speed and level of tiredness. I ran 10, 15 and 20 yard suicides in 5 yard increments with about 90 seconds rest between "sets", totaling:

10,15,20,15,10

(10+5)4 + (15+10+5)4 + (20+15+10+5)*2 = 280 yards


#10

I usually hate to recommend supplements, but I've used fish oil caps to combat joint pain and ZMA to help with sleep quality with great success in the past. I've also found a low carb protein shake right before sleep has helped a lot with energy levels in the morning, although this might conflict with your weight loss goals.

In terms of the weight loss itself, you seem to be consistently losing weight which is nothing but a good thing.


#11

Eating right before bed is terrible for digestion. An article I read on this site stated it usually just gets turned right into fat and is not metabolized like normal food. Also makes for pretty terrible morning shits.


#12

A little frustrated this weekend. I weighed in Sunday morning and I was back up to 263, a little over 1 pound from last Sunday.

I was talking to a few people at my gym (a really experienced group) and they had the following suggestions

1) don't worry about the scale, you probably put on some muscle (one guy said I leaned out a little)

2) Focus more on eating veggies

3) Eat more. The guy who suggested this is 70 years old and at one point in time was highly competitive (still benches 400lbs). He said if Im not eating enough my metabolism might be halting itself and retaining fat.

I really don't know what to make with this weight gain as:
1) Ive kept good records of my foods, I usually eat between 2500 and 2800kcals a day. If anything after barely losing anything the week prior I buckled down on my calories even more

2)I have started sprinting 4 days a week and cut my lifting days down to 2. Normally I only lifted 3 days a week with a 10 minute cardio finisher.

So what the hell is going on this time. I was pretty bummed out sunday because of this and it really ruined my entire afternoon. Other than cutting down to 2000kcals Im not sure what to do other than something very drastic (like a liquid diet) that would probably facilitate significant muscle loss.


#13

You mentioned in another thread you were at a bar. Are you factoring in alcohol calories into your total? That can also have some impact, especially depending on what you're drinking.

More veggies is always a good idea.

Might also hit up EyeDentist in his thread. Dude has some great ideas on the topic.


#14

I go out once a week at the most. I rarely drink because I don't want to waste my money. I did factor it in.


#15

I'd personally nix the sprints. I understand that you appreciate the benefits it brings, but just from my own experience, I was never able to lose fat while performing conditioning. I actually ALWAYS put on weight whenever I do that, without fail. It's actually something I use as a weight gain technique.


#16

In my opinion there are 3 basic approaches to fat loss.

1) Fastest possible loss. This involves either an extreme diet or extreme exercise regimen. Diet can be something like Lyle Mcdonald's Rapid Fat Loss, or anything that keeps total calories very low. Or a slightly less extreme diet with a LOT of exercise per day. You aim to lose 2+ pounds per week.

2) Aggressive but not extreme cut. A combination of a moderately aggressive diet w/ pretty aggressive exercise. Aiming for a 750-1000 kcal deficit per day. Goal is 1.5 to 2 lbs per week.

3) A gradual cut. You eat as much as you can while averaging a 500 kcal / day deficit, which equals 1 lb / week. This can be achieved simply via food choices and normal exercise. It can be done while eating normal foods and never getting hungry, and performing normally in the gym. But it requires consistency and attention to detail.

All will work, but with #3, you have less room for error. The scale may not show weekly progress, even if you ARE losing weight. And if you mis-estimate calorie intake from day to day (REALLY easy to do), or fuck up by eating something you shouldn't, you may not lose anything in a given week.

I think it's important to choose the right plan given your psychology. If a scale reading ruins your entire afternoon, and makes you think your only option is a liquid diet or cutting 500 calories, #3 may not be best for you.

My bet is you aren't accurately estimating calories. This is unavoidable to a certain extent, but you should aim to err on the side of overestimating everything. Ignore your exercise calorie calculator -- they are very inaccurate and your activity level has probably already been calculated into your total calorie intake.

My personal recommendation is that this week you aim to hit 2700 calories exactly every day, and eat primarily protein sources and vegetables, limiting carbs to 1 or 2 meals per day.


#17

I'll give them another week or two and see how things go. I don't think it would be wise to cut them out completely, as it has cardiovascular benefits I needed. In September, for example, I was having bad palpitations and shortness of breath. I got put on BP meds which were terrible (tiredness, one of them actually made the skipped beats worse). I could barely walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing. I don't need them now that I've buckled down on the cardio and I now I'm a (not so) lean mean stair climbing machine.


#18

With my calorie estimates I was shooting for suggestion number 2. Really, I got upset because Ive got a few other things weighing on my mind, like my perpetual inability to follow routines, career not working out, sleep still not fixed, etc.


#19

I've experienced none of these issues, but YMMV.

EDIT: I've only tried this with low carb protein shakes, to clarify. I usually use them to wash down my ZMA


#20

That's interesting to hear, do you feel the benefits come from an increase in appetite or some other reason?