T Nation

Lost Muscle =/= Lost Strength?

Hey everyone. I’m on Week 11 of a fat loss regime and so far I’ve lost 12 lbs. 5 of that has been in the last two weeks, after adopting TC’s 5/2 fasting scheme. I’ve been working out 4 days a week - 5/3/1 strength routines and the occasional KB/sprint HIIT workout.

However, I was about 8-10% bodyfat when I started, and aside from a slightly slimmer midsection, I don’t look much different, so I have difficulty believing that the 12 lbs. lost thus far is pure fat. That being said, I haven’t been getting any weaker on my lifts, and my bench press has actually gone up!

So the question I have is this: Is it possible to preserve (or even gain) strength whilst losing muscle mass?

You probably underestimated your actual bodyfat level from the start.

Yes, it is possible.

How much do you weigh? If you started out at 9% bodyfat, and you dropped 12 lbs without losing any muscle, then you should be absolutely shredded right now. A 12 lb difference is huge at that level.

My conclusion: You’re nowhere near as lean as you think you are. My guess is, based on you’re description, that you’re still above 12% after the cut. Without pictures, this is all I can assume. Prove me wrong though.

I apologize for the poor photo quality. There is fine vascularization on my anterior deltoids, biceps, and on my abs immediately above the elastic band of my briefs.

EDIT: And apparently I can’t rotate the image after it’s been posted. . .

[quote]dt79 wrote:
You probably underestimated your actual bodyfat level from the start.[/quote]

I think ya’ll are right. Evidently I had a lot more visceral (i.e., “invisible”) fat than I realized.

[quote]flipcollar wrote:
Yes, it is possible.

How much do you weigh?[/quote]

5’11", 163 lbs. (after losing 12 lbs.) Before anybody says “You should be bulking instead, bro,” that’s the plan, right after I drop as much bodyfat as possible. Here are my strength numbers:

Deadlift: 390
Back Squat: 305
Shoulder Press: 155
Bench Press: 205 (as of 3 weeks ago. I’m re-testing again in 2 days. 205 is a 5 lb. PR for me.)
Weighted Pullup: 3 reps @ 72.5 lbs.
Weighted Dip: 5 reps @ 72.5 lbs.

IF that picture is tightly flexed (ie giving the best possible appearance) you are on the north side of 15%. Look at Flips pic. That is what around 8% give or take looks like. And the give or take when you are talking about being that lean can make a huge difference.

Ah, seems that I dramatically underestimated by body fat % then. Thanks for your comments everyone; it seems this topic was much ado about nothing on my part, but it’s nice to know that attaining my goal of a body weight shoulder press will require little more than dropping a few more pounds.

LBM=/= just muscle

you don’t look much different because you started most likely at 15 to 16 percent bodyfat and now you are closer to 12 percent. Everyone knows that going from 15 to 12 percent doesn’t make a big visual difference. That’s my take on it

That would be the most logical explanation indeed. I’m also in limbo, you’ll see some more veins poping op in your arms and shoulders but the midsection will show up the same in pictures. But there will be some difference in waist measurements.