T Nation

Fat Loss, Weight vs Calories


#1

Hi all,

I'm trying to decide if I should lower my calorie intake to lose some fat. I have slight accumulation around my mid-section that I wouldn't mind losing.

I lift somewhat heavy (what's heavy for me, at least) and explosively, because I want to work on my strength and force output. I am dieting as well, but do not do cardio because of all the articles from the pros that I read. I have been thinking of including "conditioning" workouts like timed carries and the sort, however.

To preserve my muscle mass, improve strength, AND burn some fat, is it necessary to be in a calorie deficit? If I maintain my weight, can't my body burn fat so long as my diet is clean and I continue to lift the way I do?

Any feedback would be great. Keep in mind I have come to these conclusions based on my readings by some of the pros on this site. Christian, for instance, is the first one who comes to mind. I'm trying to understand that decreasing my weight doesn't necessarily yield fat loss, which is why I'm wondering what I should do calorie wise.


#2

[quote]MikeMezz wrote:
Hi all,

I’m trying to decide if I should lower my calorie intake to lose some fat. I have slight accumulation around my mid-section that I wouldn’t mind losing.

I lift somewhat heavy (what’s heavy for me, at least) and explosively, because I want to work on my strength and force output. I am dieting as well, but do not do cardio because of all the articles from the pros that I read. I have been thinking of including “conditioning” workouts like timed carries and the sort, however.

To preserve my muscle mass, improve strength, AND burn some fat, is it necessary to be in a calorie deficit? If I maintain my weight, can’t my body burn fat so long as my diet is clean and I continue to lift the way I do?

Any feedback would be great. Keep in mind I have come to these conclusions based on my readings by some of the pros on this site. Christian, for instance, is the first one who comes to mind. I’m trying to understand that decreasing my weight doesn’t necessarily yield fat loss, which is why I’m wondering what I should do calorie wise. [/quote]

It’s going to be tough to maintain your weight for the whole process, if you are going to lose fat, eventually you’re going to be lighter. You may intially be adding some lean mass, but that doesn’t last forever. Either expend more energy or eat less calories. Thats what it has to come down too. Personally, guage by how you look in the mirror and how you perform in the gym, don’t get caught up on what the scale says.


#3

Gotcha, thanks for the input.


#4

In case you are interested, couple things to keep in mind:

  • As long as you separate a reasonable level cardio from training by about 6 hours, it shouldn’t impact signaling pathways and compatibility. By reasonable, I’m not talking about training for a marathon: you really only need 20 mins 3 times a week to achieve all the health benefits you need. You may not lose weight doing it, but it will have important health benefits throughout your life. Keep in mind that you are doing cardio at some level almost anytime you move, so avoiding it completely is not possible.

  • The energy balance concept is true (less energy in than you are burning results in weight loss). That being said, several studies have demonstrated that even when maintaining the same number of calories you are already eating, people lose weight if they transition to a low-carb, high-fat diet. This has to do with your body’s metabolic adaptations to the change in the availability of carbohydrates for fuel. I don’t follow this type of diet myself, but it is interesting if you want to look into it. The main concerns with that type of diet, however, are that: a) it takes 2 weeks of adjustment until you feel ok physically and mentally as your body adapts to the change (after that, people claim they feel more even and energetic across the day); b) you do need to eat enough fat to replace calories from carbohydrates; and c) unlike traditional diets, you need to make sure you get enough salt. For info on that type of thing, look at some of the books out there by Dr. Jeff Volek. Dr. Berardi is less low-carb than Dr. Volek, but has some resources on this as well.


#5

[quote]CLewis wrote:
That being said, several studies have demonstrated that even when maintaining the same number of calories you are already eating, people lose weight if they transition to a low-carb, high-fat diet. This has to do with your body’s metabolic adaptations to the change in the availability of carbohydrates for fuel.[/quote]

Since adopting this way of eating over the last several months I’ve been able to drop weight consistently every month. I’m about 90% paleo and it’s working (high fat, high protein, moderate carb). My wife says it’s working too well (she likes more bulk). My body has almost equalized with the replacement of muscle where any fat was. I continue to drop small amounts of weight these days but my strength and appearance improve quicker than ever before. I’m almost 40 and went from 206 to 170 since January. Been counting every calorie with an iphone app. I’m very very happy and feel better than ever. A co-worker followed my diet (not perfectly) and only held on for about a week because he couldn’t hold out through the transition period.