New Mom Looking to Grow Muscle and Lose Fat

Hello Dr. Darden,

I have done your body fat breakthrough in the past and had amazing results. I recently had a child and looking to lose weight again. I am 5’6 and 195 pounds. I came across your article about your son, Tyler, and a new workout regiment that seems very effective. I would really like to lose fat and grow my glutes and legs. Is it possible to use the new workout routine with the program for body fat breakthrough? Is that something you would recommend?

How recently?

Not the approach I would recommend for you but I know you asked Dr Darden and not me.

If you havn’t worked out in awhile and are atrophied from lack of movement this could be done. But your first approach should be nutrition planning and execution. You don’t get to be 195 at 5’6" with good nutrition. My point is not to be rude but moreso blunt. You can’t out train what you put in your mouth. So that being said, a mix of weight training and cardio would be your secondary best approach after first getting a proper nutrition plan as a primary goal. I would be happy to give you pointers if Dr Darden or someone else doesn’t if you feel open to it.

I understand what you’re saying. Hence, I am doing Dr.Dardens program that includes nutrition. My question to him has more to do what workout regiment would he recommend from the two he created. Thank you for trying to help, maybe work on your tact when it comes to potential clients.

You’re too funny. Potential clients? I’m not a trainer I was trying to help you. Pro bono. You are going the complete wrong direction. But if you don’t like my tact so be it. Best of luck to you in your journey.

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I’m assuming you’ve never read his program on fat loss? It has to do with calorie restriction, cardio, and weight lifting. So I’m confused as to why a program written by Dr. Darden himself would be wrong? But thanks for the backhanded luck. Good look to you as well.

Actually I have but the direction with his program referencing Tyler is what I was specifically referring to. Either way sounds like you have it all worked out. I could explain a dozen concepts to you that are applicable to postpartum mothers, how to deal with your new hormone levels and optimize your workouts, specific nutrition plans tailored to you, and what you should be doing in the timeframe you have available to you specifically. But but you have a book!!! As I stated good luck in your journey.

Edit: Sorry one more after thought and this is applicable to Dr Darden’s response. Please answer my question about how recent the child birth was. If recent we need to know how recent and whether or not it was vaginally or c section in order to assess your threshold for working out. He can take it from there.

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Most of us here aren’t trainers, though ironically many of us have more experience and knowledge than “certified trainers” (this is a shot aimed only at the 48 hour online class certified trainers you find at commercial gyms for $10/hr). This being said, Dr. Darden is very much a wealth of knowledge and should by no means be conflated with a lowly certified trainer.

I think what @blshaw was getting at is that the program Dr. D wrote for his son is specifically a muscle gaining program, which is fine if you wish to follow suit - but it is not geared towards fat loss. The goal of that program is to put on muscle (good) which usually takes a calorie surplus (bad, for fat loss).

I wouldn’t contradict anything Dr. Darden would say intentionally, but this likely isn’t the right program to follow to meet your goals. He most likely has other programs more suited to what your goal is, though.

A few (non Darden) items that may be worth your time to read…

P.S. @blshaw is actually a very nice guy, and i didn’t find his initial comment to be with malice in mind - unfortunately written text often comes off that way regardless. The best method of communication in the format of a forum is to be direct and yes, that can also be read with a different tone than written… my first thread here i felt like everyone was shitting on me and as i read through it in hindsight, it was actually just blunt (but important and accurate) questions and responses.

Anyways, good luck with your plan - many people here would love to help.

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Than you for the time to respond and the articles you provided. I didn’t want to go in a caloric surplus, but remain in a deficit. My questions really is would there be an advantage to his son’s workout routine rather than the 30-10-30 routine he lays out for the program.

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I believe you should stick to the program you’ve already had success with. You do not need to use Tyler’s plan.

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The reason why this doesn’t really work is that in order to build muscle, you need a caloric surplus. In order to lose weight (muscle or fat), you need to be in a deficit. So trying to build muscle in a deficit is exceedingly difficult and unlikely.

If you are new to lifting weights, then you might see a small period (1-2 months) where you are able to lose bodyfat and gain muscle, commonly called a “recomp”. To save you the science-y terminology; this only works for the very first couple months due to your body adapting to physiological stressors it isn’t used to… After those first couple months, your body isn’t going to respond the same way and muscle gain/fat loss will both stall.

Not trying to put out a plug for another author in the Darden forum, but Bret Contreras is kinda the go-to person for this stuff… he may as well have birthed the instagram booty (the non-surgical ones) into popularity.
I also have my wife run programs originally written for men, but I cut the upper body stuff in half and double down on the lower body stuff (because men are more likely to over-emphasise upper body and neglect lower body, and women tend to want the opposite).

MODS If mentioning another coach/trainer isn’t allowed here, please edit my post. Just trying to help out a new mom =)

@Andrewgen_Receptors I appreciate the kind words above, but I believe you are pissing in the wind here. She got her answer from Dr Darden which was the exact same thing I said and referenced regarding Tyler. I’m sure shes happy now.

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Maybe, maybe not. I’ve been helping my wife recover from her child-bearing weight and it hasn’t been easy for her; fat loss for women is simply harder (especially post-partum for lactation/adaptive thermogenesis purposes) and I have a soft spot. New moms are going through a world of shit (literally, in some cases) and it’s tough enough as is.

I don’t mind putting some information out there that could help. Even if OP doesn’t listen, maybe this stuff can help another new mom that reads it later down the line.

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Good for you. I have a lot of experience in this matter as well and similar outlook. I’ve taken 36 hours of training in prep for the two home births my wife had as well. It’s an interest of mine as well as a new found interest in womens hormones as I already know mens rather well. It’s a shame the OP was not more receptive but that ship has sailed for me. Stay kind brother.

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Thank you so much! I’ve been following Bret religiously for 4 years now. And I will take your advice in double downing on lower body and cutting back on upper body. I don’t know everything, not even close, so I am open to information for post-partum mothers.

I have read it’s hard on a deficit to build muscle. In his program, people were able to build muscle. I guess that’s why I was asking the question from my original post. If I can build muscle with his 30-10-30 in a deficit, is it possible to build on the other workout?

But thank you for taking the time to respond. I’m sorry things went sour with blshaw. I wasn’t questioning his knowledge, but I was looking more for a direct answer about what I originally posted and his response caught me off guard.

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In a word? Yes.
The question is “how much”? and there’s no way to know without doing it honestly. Worse is that there’s no good way to measure muscle gain if you’ve got a little extra fat; this is because the muscle won’t be readily visible, and the scale may show no improvement if muscle gain weight=fat loss weight. This isn’t a huge problem so long as you are able to objectively look at yourself in the mirror and decide if you’re improving or not.

Personally, I would recommend going for a cut - something with relatively high intensity that helps train your compound lifts. During the first couple months of your cut, you will still probably put on muscle - regardless of what program you choose, but the muscle gain will be short lived while in a deficit.
The training will help facilitate either a deeper deficit, or allow you slightly more food while still in a deficit. Training your compound lifts will give you a good strength baseline for when you’ve reached a BF% you feel comfortable at, because at that point, I imagine your focus will me more oriented to putting on the leg/booty muscles you mentioned… This means a slight surplus is probably in order to facilitate the muscle gain.


A lot of us have training logs here; I would recommend starting one of your own, if that is something you want to do. It helps with accountability and can be used for near real-time feedback. The knowledge on this forum is quite extensive… After 12 years of training I thought I knew it all, then I came here and got schooled up. Food for thought =)

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