Increased Cardio Leading to Rapid Weight Loss

I’m an experienced lifter but will never claim to know everything. I’m 31 years old and have been lifting since I was 15. Weight training is my passion but sports and athletics are a close second. I’m the head track coach at a high school and our season is now underway. I generally do most of the workouts with my athletes because I love pushing my body to see what it’s capable of but also, athletes respond way better when their coach is willing to do what he asks of them. However, over the last three weeks I’ve dropped from 184 pounds at 11.5% body fat to 176.5 pounds at 10.2% body fat. I’m not complaining about the overall improvement in body comp but I am a little concerned that my increase in cardio will drastically halt my hypertrophy/strength progress. I still lift but usually only three days per week whereas I train on the track five days a week with my athletes. I will never do anything that holds back the progress of my athletes but as far as I’m concerned, what should I do to keep as much mass as possible while my cardio is at an extremely high level? Any ideas are welcome.

You’re gonna have to eat more. Lots of ways to calculate what you need to eat. It will level off. Track season just started did it not?

Similar set up for me, had to force feed myself to stay healthy with all the exercise working out with young athletes. Got lean and strong though.

Pre, intra, post work out nutrition was important. Try not to exercise on an empty stomach.

Thanks, Zack. All great reminders. As far as increasing caloric intake, should those calories be primarily from carb sources or should I simply increase the amounts of what I currently eat? I usually stick to roughly a 40% protein, 30% fat, 30%, carb diet. I was thinking about increasing my carbs 2 hrs. before workouts and increasing portion size during all other meals. Thoughts?

Those sound like great ideas. Since you’re running I’d increase carbs and be generous with fats. Drinking a sports drink may not be a bad idea if it’s a tough workout.

If you do it, the kids do it, everyone wins

I have suffered this same problem through the years. I like balance in my life, and in my training life as well. I love to go to the track and do sprints and also some longer running sessions on the road when during the Spring and Summer. But I also love to be able to squat and overheard press good numbers as well. They have always been at odds with each other. What I do is accept the fact that I am going to drop a few pounds of fat and muscle during the late Spring early Summer months when I enjoy running outdoors. I then get motivated July 1st to start regaining the lost muscle and I phase back the running to maybe once per week. and instead do some biking which is not as hard on muscle loss as running. And in fact seems to build my legs instead of tearing them down as running does.

The advice that Zack gave you is very good. Beyond that you could adapt a plan whereas you stop fighting the weight drop during track season (I admire the fact that you are leading by example). Accept that you are going to weigh 8 to 10 pounds less for a few months. Then go through a bulk session during the summer (I assume you Coach Spring Track). This will alleviate some stress about keeping the muscle that you are apparently going to temporarily lose when you put yourself through these track sessions. And it’s only a few months. You will gain back lost muscle far quicker than new muscle. So, it might only take you one month to regain what you lost during track season.

Good Luck My Friend.


Thanks, Zeb. I appreciate the feedback. I’m beginning to accept the fact that I’ll be walking around a little lighter over the next few months. The other good news is with my increased caloric intake (like Zack mentioned) my weight loss has tapered off. I’m only down about a half pound this week so that seems to be working. Also my endurance is rapidly improving leading to more intense workouts in the weight room. Overall, I’m feeling fast and strong. Thanks again for the feedback, guys.

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