T Nation

Going Backward?

I have been sporadically trying to lose weight after reaching my highest of 165lbs in 2018. I cut out snacks between meals because I knew I grazed a lot. I also started weightlifting semi-regularly and rock climbing 3 days a week.This helped with my body composition. My love handles no longer hang over my favorite pants (this is my super scientific, go-to measurement). In 2020 I started lifting 3 days a week, and calorie counted intermittently. I put on even more muscle and a bit more fluff. This year I would like to lean down more, so I am going about the “numbers” more diligently.


While I am not shooting for a specific weight (maybe I should?) I’d like my pant size to go down. I feel like I was making good progress the first few weeks of the year. Then stalling, and now gaining.
Couple of notes:

  1. I am lifting full body 3x week (5x5 program)
  2. I climb 2-3 days a week
  3. Desk job + average around 6k steps a day
  4. I added the cardio to get ready for Mt Biking season come ~May (It rotates between the stairmill and assult bike)
  5. The favorite pants are not looser
  6. I meal prep each week. I don’t drink calories. Eat lean meat and veggies.
  7. Main two goals are to lean out and improve my power to weight ratio (I know I am not a car, but it’s applicable for biking and climbing)

I don’t want to give up/change strategies too soon, but the stall is disheartening (I am tempted to switch to maintenance and see how much muscle I can put on). Am I missing something, or just being impatient?

Is your waist measurement going down? Your pants may not be tight yet because you’ve increased the size of your legs through training

I honestly hadn’t thought of doing any measurements, so I do not know what they started as. I will add those. As far as the waist on said pants, it is not looser.

Why did you increase calories the last few weeks when your weight was trending downward?

In general, I think your protein intake is way too low for cutting while preserving muscle purposes. I’d target 200-225g/day.

I wouldn’t necessarily worry about the pants loosening just yet. The process won’t be linear and I think it’ll take a more significant drop in body fat + water weight to notice anything. It usually takes me a good 10+ lb before I notice clothes fitting differently.

Temporary lapse in self-control while traveling, and I was hungry.

Is it okay to use protein powder to get to that intake?

How tall are you buddy?

How is your energy for work/life? …6+ training sessions a week @1700 cals I would want to shoot somebody!

Totally fine, a scoop or two of quality product like Metabolic Drive can make a big difference over time

There ya go. Don’t give up on the strategy if you haven’t followed it for the last few weeks. :wink: You had good momentum going before, so get back on the train.

Of course. As long as it’s not the majority of your protein, I don’t see a downside.

1 Like

My completely unscientific theory is that protein powder is really useful for people losing weight, practically useless for those gaining. That comes from my n=1 observation that I can lose weight well relying heavily on protein powder, but seem unable to use it to gain weight.

I’m hoping the more I post this theory, the more likely it is that someone will come along and tell me I’m right, because that’s always nice.

But on the wider point: weight loss is not linear, so don’t expect it to be, especially while travelling. I like 2 or 3 weekly weigh ins to make it easier to spot trends and help identify genuine stalls from all the other potential impacts.

Edit:
Since you mentioned willpower lapses, I find those are far more common for me when I’m lacking “something” in my diet. Fat and salt seem to be the main culprit for me. If I make sure I get enough of both of those things, cravings reduce drastically.

Just letting you know the OP is female.

3 Likes

You are not going back wards.

  • Your average weight in the 1st 3 weeks was 157lb
  • Your average weight for the last 3 weeks is 154.3lb

At your size I’d say that’s good. This is why 1 off weigh in day is not a good measure. Look for trends. Over all your trend is down. You are doing just fine.

2 Likes

I like that as an initial approach to lose fat.
Maybe try a 3x10 program for 3 or 4 weeks, and return to 5x5. Then alternate. Try to make these progressive.
Pick one day a month for some 1 or 2x20 workouts.

As you know, any muscle you add will burn more fat.

I am 5’4", female.

Energy overall is pretty good, tired in the first few hours in the morning, but sleeping well. Mostly just struggling with hunger. Still having strength increases as well.

I like it, back on the train! I’ll see what tweaks I can make to my meal plans as well, so I don’t have to supplement as much to hit that protein number. I’m slowly incorporating more chicken as my food ADD allows. Food is way cheaper than powder.

1 Like

I have found protein powder useful as well, so far. I struggle to get to even the 1g per 1 lb body weight with food only. I sometimes wonder if people just walk around nibbling on chicken breasts to hit 200+ grams.

I randomly add peanut butter to my afterwork out snack. 1 tablespoon keeps the sanity in check.

1 Like

IMO… which doesn’t count for shit, as long as you are hitting 1gram per pound of BW I wouldn’t get too caught up in hitting a certain number higher than that. If you can do it comfortably great, if not don’t beat yourself up over it.

If it makes your life unpleasant you are less likely to stick with it.

3 Likes

Do you have an example of a 3x10 program?

The exercises that you are currently doing 5 sets of 5 reps, do those exercises for 3 sets of 10 reps.

Of course, it is a good idea to periodically add-in exercise variants and drop some of the ones you are currently doing.

Keep in mind that if you find the perfect exercise program, after about 4 weeks it will no longer be the perfect program for you.

3 Likes

This is a lot of activity in one week. I was getting insomnia when trying to do either powerlifting and mountain biking, or lifting and climbing. I could do about 4 sessions a week (I am not a person who can do an activity lightly), once I tried to go much above that, recovery couldn’t keep up with the training. I would get crazy cravings, and with the sleep being so bad I think that made it even tougher to lose weight.

Being active while losing weight is great, but it can be overdone. I don’t know if you are how I was (pushing pretty hard, for a good amount of time).

How long do you typically climb or Mtn bike? How long are your lifting sessions? Climbing sessions? How worn out do you feel after? Are you getting a “runners high” after said activities? That was an indicator for me that it was too much. I would be like son of a bitch I have a runners high (which usually lead to not sleeping). Most people like the runners high, but it sucks if you can’t sleep because of it.

We all have lapses, just stick with it.
Anytime I get bored with a workout, or stop getting sore from a workout, it’s time for a change. Different exercises, different weights, etc. I will go higher reps with lower weights for a week or three, then get back to my regular workouts but with different exercises. I also do the Push/Pull/Legs workouts for two months, then switch for the next two months to Back/Bis the first day, then Chest/tris the next, then shoulders the next, then Legs. I do that for 4 days then take a day off. I’ve seen good results in strength gains and keeping fat off.

My sessions typically end up like this:
Mon, Wed - 30 mins lunch time cardio
Tues, Thurs - 1 hour for weights. 1 hour climbing (only ends up being 2-3 routes, rotating with belayer)
Sat - 1 hour weights, 2-3 hours climbing (again, rotating w/ belayer)
Sun - 60-70% chance of climbing for 2-3 hours again
In the summer, those long climbing sessions get replaced with MTB. Climbing and lifting gets reduced to Tues, Thurs only. I also never try to cut in the summer. I want the energy for biking.
No “runners high” to report. No sleep issues. For example, last night we didn’t leave the gym until 9, was in bed and asleep by 10. I rarely wake up until the alarm goes off at 6.