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weight loss

can someone help me? i know you guys are mostly about gain but i’ve had enough good results in my life to know that you all know EVERYTHING!! i’m female (35) and used to weigh 195 pounds with 36% bf and got that down - through weight training and fantastic nutrition advice from the weightlifters at my local gym - to 128 pounds with 21.6%. the only problem is i need to clean it up for my wedding in march - i’d like to drop about eight pounds (max) and about 18 or 19% bf. my trainer is of the hard-core school of lifting and at the moment i do two days a week with him - 3x 7 sets of compound exercises with a 15 to 20 rep range (about 45 mins.) i follow this with about 30 mins. cardio and then 1 hour cardio sessions for another 3 days a week. the problem i’m finding is that the workouts are pretty intensive and leave me feeling pretty fatigued - and also really hungry in the later part of the day. i follow a religously low-carb, high protein diet at night with the standard 5 to 6 small meals a day. i’m still finding it really hard to shift weight tho’ and i seem to be doing everything right. should i tell my trainer to lower the weight levels (i’m in about 15 to 20 pound range for upper body and 20 pounds more than that for lower) and go for more intensity? or should i up the cardio levels? it probably sounds really vacant but i’d love to look lean and toned for my big day. i had a lot of problems last year because i was running about an hour a day and this, more than anything, actually made me exhausted and i landed up putting on weight with loads of injuries to boot?! (i know - you live and learn in this game). i would appreciate any advice you all can give - i keep thinking i might be getting too old and my body is slowing down… help a poor desperate girl in love!!!

How, exactly how long have you been on a low carb diet? What’s your average total caloric intake? And remember with your energy expenditure you may have been providing your body with too low of calories, so its “holding onto” those last vestiges of fat.

I wouldn't increase your cardio. I wouldn't discontinue the compound movements either. You're finding yourself exhausted probably due to a diet consisting of way too low of calories. Oh, when you say "hard core school of lifting" what do you mean? Squats? Benches? Deadlifts? THAT'S what I'm talking about when I say "compound" movements. And hopefully, that's what you're doing.

With all of this being said: have you read the FAQ? Any of John Berardi's articles? Any of the Dawg School articles? Especially: "Beginners Blast Off Program" Don't know if you should read, "How to Build a T-Vixen" - but maybe you should. And maybe consider taking Surge. That'll surely help with curbing the "exhausted" feeling you have after a workout.

Another tip: the word "tone" is a no-no here. Just a mere mentioning of that word instantly drops testosterone levels to the floor on this site. You want to change your "composition" and increase your LBM (lean body mass).

Jeez, oh well, I’m happy for you :0)

Your trainer has sort of screwed you over, I’m afraid. An hour of cardio per day will not make you lose only fat, but also a lot of muscle. Here is what I suggest; it’s what I am doing now and it’s doing wonders for me.

4 days a week Meltdown Training

2day1 + 2day2

4 days a week, cardio

—2 days a week, sprint intervals with 20s sprint, 60s running (make sure to warm up first)

—2 days a week, 30min cardio at 70% Max Heart Rate

Doing this will give you multiple benefits compared to what you are doing currently: Increased strength, increased lean mass, decreased fat mass, decreased fatigue.

I think you’re going way overboard with your cadrio and 4 sessions a week like I outlined will suffice so long as you do Meltdown Training. And make sure to do all the EXACT excercises with FREE weights (even if you can only lift the bar), otherwise you will not get the benefits. Good luck in getting lean for your big day!

hi patricia!!! thank you, thank you, thank you for responding. in answer to your question - and i this is obviously the usual story with misinformed women like me: my calories are way down (i think). i love berardi’s articles and have followed his nutrition advice with regards to muscle-gain (particulary the post-workout protocol). i’m not sure if i’m under-estimating my calories tho’. my trainer says that i have a slow metabolism anyway but i tend to hover around the 1200 per day (i know, i know please don’t yell at me!!) mark on off-days and anywhere between 1500 to 2000 on training days. i’m never sure whether to increase my calories on cardio days tho’ as i still can’t get my head round the will-it-won’t-it-burn-fat school of thinking. when i say my trainer is “old school” i mean that he thinks everything is about size and gain… and that dropping weight just means doing more cardio and eating less fat. at the moment i try to follow a ratio of 50% protein, 30% carb, 20% fat. what is unusual tho’ is that i’ve noticed i’ve gotten leaner on weekend away’s to my fiancee’s parent’s house - where the food is wholesome and plentiful (?!). i’ve noticed this also on those odd weeks when i let myself go and have a “cheat day” - land up coming off slightly leaner and more compact. my routine is stating off with push-ups (30x narrow, wide and shoulder-width), followed by step-ups with deltoid medial and anterior raises (10 each leg x 15 pouds), then bicep curls (20x 20pds) followed by a drop set of 15 x 15pds, then leg curls (15 x 25pds), then bent-over shoulder raises (20 x 15pds), then standing lunges (30 x free each leg), then skull-crushes (20 x 15) followed by 20 dips (free). does this sound okay? he keeps mixing it up and although i believe i’m naturally quite strong, i find this workout taking it out of me (maybe i am weak and pathetic!). on these days, i follow with either a protein shake within the 90 minutes or i have a tub of cottage cheese with some nuts thrown in (before training, i have a protein shake and a banana) i totally get what you’re saying about the “tone” word - sorry! you are quite right - i do want to change my composition. in terms of taking supplements, i’ve become very wary of this issue. i understand that it’s different, but last year i spent about six or seven months on hydroxycut and while i appreciate that i was probably hammering it too much, i SWEAR that stuff messed me up completely… i got a terrible chest infection and that got made worse by what i think must’ve been a change in hormone levels as well (which i’m putting down to change in body temperature from the ephedrine). in terms of my nutrition, this has proven quite complicated for me. i’ve followed berardi’s advice and have calculated my calories at somewhere between 1500 and 2200 (i’m 165cm). i think the problem i have and i’m sure it’s one i share with alot of women is that i used to be really overweight and had so many fantastic results (honestly! i wish i had photos… you wouldn’t believe it!) and it’s taken me so long (about seven years) to get where i am but it’s like i CANNOT shift these last few pounds or get rid of that extra “fluff” and it’s really demotivating me… i really want to make a great push forward for my wedding but feel in kind of a fog about everything. my trainer is great but because of what i’ve explained before he thinks that weight loss is a “girl” thing and thinks i’m being stupid and should aim for even more gain which i would be more than happy to do… once i’ve shifted the damn fat!!! thank you so much for your advice… it’s really appreciated! i can’t talk to anyone else about this!

Dump your trainer. Next go over to the FAQ, and start learning. This site is full of great info and will work for women as well as men. Check out the articles that Patricia mentioned. Start doing more compound lifts (squats, deads etc). You need to cut back on your reps, and increase the weights. By the way Patricia is 36 and you can see her pictures on the photo foum. There is no such thing as too old, or too late.

To desperate!:


I read your post with great inetrest and here’s my opinion about your problem.

First, I would like to congratulate you for your achievement, going from ~195 down to 128lbs is great!

Second, I’ll address your lagging energy level. IMO, it’s likely to be caused by too low kcal and too much cardio. I remember Berardi’s appetite for construction in T-mag 7(printed issue) where he discussed the particular needs of women suffering from undereating. I would do a quick search to find it.

Second, exercise programs. IMO, you’re using too high reps and waaayyy too much cardio. Learn how to do the big compounds lifts, if it’s not done already(bench, deadlift, squat, chin-up). Then, use something like Meltdown for 4 sessions per week or any combination of big exercices, moderate intensity (65-75%1RM) and high volume. Later in the day or during another day, use HIIT for cardio 2-4 times per week and steady cardio @ 60-70%RM for another 0-2 times for 30 minutes. The reason I’m writing this is simple, I think you’ve burned a lot of muscle during your 67 lbs drop, maybe around 20lbs! I know it’s kinda hard to accept and I understand(I’ve been through it myself), but it’s the first step towards your success.

SO to summarize, here’s what I think you should do for the following 5 weeks before Christmas:

  1. Read the mentioned Berardi’s article;
  2. Rebuild your metabolism;
  3. Change training from a cardio based to a weight/HIIT based fat loss program;
  4. Change training so you’ll be doing 3-4 whole-body workout per week;
  5. Have fun;
  6. Keep faith in yourself! (that’s often the hardest part)

I hope it helped you,
I ask others contributors to critisize and add to this thread,

As far as you finding that you become leaner after cheating your diet, i forgot who wrote but about a month ago or so some wrote on this very subject. he found that cheating every once in awhile actually speeds up the process of shedding fat. so when you say that you think you look leaner after cheating a bit, you probably do.

You know what my honest to goodness advice would be here? Get rid of your trainer. You’ve supplied me with enough information to see he is providing you no benefits whatsoever. You say he constantly mixes up your routine. That’s no good. You should be maintaining a routine for about 6-weeks to see if it is indeed a optimal routine and provides you results. While Harkonnen’s suggestion of Meltdown Training is a good one - I think that once you get on a really good routine that has basic “compound” movements (cuz, you’re not doing any now), and is performed for at least 6-weeks - you will see some results. Your trainer has you on a typical “female only” type of workouts. And you know what? “Female only” type of workouts DO NOT exist. Reason why they don’t exist? They DO NOT WORK. Seriously. Does your trainer know how to perform the following: Squats, deadlifts, bench. Have him show you. Do read that Beginners Blast Off Program, as I had suggested earlier. Anyways, begin performing the simple, basic compound movements.

Let me ask you this: How long have you using the same poundage in weights? Awhile now? I regularly attempt to increase my weights. Not by huge numbers, but by at least 5lbs.

As for diet: if you haven't been maintaining a log, start now. Start playing around with your carb intake. It's good that you have read Berardi's articles. BEFORE you consider supplements - get your diet in line. If you do indeed have a fear of carbs, consider this: potatoes, yams, oatmeal, certain fruits and quite a few vegies are your friend.

Basically it boils down to this: once you get on a good weight training routine that's maintained 6-weeks, pick up the intensity (w/weights), don't increase your cardio (maybe even cut down), begin a food journal - you should start seeing some results. Maybe even have your trainer follow YOU a bit so he can learn a few things.

First of all, I’m glad to see you turning to the good people on this forum for advice and guidance. What that tells me is that you’re having doubts about your trainer. Fire him. It sounds to me like you’ve hired a 24 Hour Fitness “Fit-Pro” - 3 x 7 sets of compound exercises to me DOES NOT equal leg curls, push-ups, rear deltoid raises, and bench dips. You should be focusing on lifts like incline presses, rows, deadlifts, squats, and the like. Your cardio should involve jumping rope - I swear that’s the best fat-loss tool you could ever invest in! Keep posting and keep us updated, and before you know it you’ll be getting married at 18% bodyfat - or better!

I know your head is probably spinning right now and you might be feeling a little nervous about having to get rid of your trainer, but you’re actually in a great spot. You’ve come a long way so far (lots of congrats there!) but you’ve stagnated because of the misinformed individuals and the overall misinformation that runs rampant in this industry. But you should be excited because you’re in the right place and have a wealth of information at your fingertips. You said yourself that you look better after cheat meals. Read up on the cheater’s diet and start incorporating some scheduled refeeds and I think you’ll see things turn in the right direction. Just hang in there and don’t let things overwhelm you too much; just follow the advice you find here. You’re about to kick start the fat burning again, so you have a lot to be excited about!

patricia, harkonnen, louis-philippe, max, tyler and chris … thanks you guys! that was really helpful. it seems i have definitely come to the right place and will keep coming back. i must admit that the issue of firing my trainer is one that has been on my mind quite a bit this year. just to qualify: he does indeed keep me on the routines for six weeks at a time (although i have to remind him to change them), and he has tried to encourage me to squat before which i have shied away from as i do tend to build up very quickly on my thighs (i know a lot of women say this but it is very true in my case - i used to me a competing swimmer at school and big thighs is a big thing in my family!). however, i was not aware that “compound” workouts is not the type of training i’m doing and i’m slightly embarrassed for not knowing that. he puts me on these workouts because he says the intensity forces fat-burning. i agree with his logic but too be very honest i’ve been hovering at the same level for over a year now. we do change the routine at six-weekly intervals but it’s just a variation. i am, frankly, fed up with training with him but am not sure if the limitations in progress are down to him or me. i have had some gains this year - like my arms for instance are looking pretty good and i’ve put this down to the drop-setting on my bicep curls but i’m generally not happy at all. he seems to think i look great and i get loads of complements at the gym, etc. but i’m not happy - i know it could look better and i’m MORE than happy to put in the work it takes. i look at people on this board for instance or on other forums, or at competitors or celebrities and they get the most incredible results in, like, six weeks and it takes me six years to get to the same stage! the problem with me and my trainer is that i am very fond of him and him likewise but i think the time has come to consider giving him up for someone else… alternatively i may give it six weeks and change the routine entirely. as such, would you all recommend that i start with a proper compound movement routine? if i do, am i right in thinking this will boost my metabolism? last year, we spent about four months doing what he called a “isolated split routine” which basically meant the classic shoulders, back on monday, legs, glutes, h/strings wednesday, biceps, triceps and chest on friday - i found that i put on loads of muscle (followed berardi’s advice on insulation spiking post-routine) but that i bulked up quite a lot and shifting the fat was impossible because i got the most ridiculous cravings at night (really, really bad) and was really stiff from all the lifting. God i moan alot don’t i? given my deadlines tho’ (and it’s only four months) will it be enough to do the compound movement training in this amount of time and should i also do cardio with this? can anyone suggest a routine that i could do with the one i have now? will my trainer know about this? i’m worried that he’ll use it as an excuse to try and turn me into a powerlifter again! i do interval training on a monday but also find this affects my legs (moaning again!) as i have bad biomechanics (apparently). i was told that a very intensive walk or run for about 30 minutes is fine for fat burning as long as i keep it in the range. this is also another conundrum for me as i find even tho’ i’m 35 that i have to build up quite a lot of intensity to get into the fat burning mode - someone said this is because i am quite fit which i guess must be true because i can, if i wanted to, spend hours on a treadmill and it’s only when my feet feel like they’re leaving my ankles that i’ll come off. i get so many different stories from everyone. my trainer and the other big lifters down at the gym say “no cardio!” then the runners and other fitness people go “do interval!” then the older, leaner guys go “no cardio, no interval, just walk fast!” honestly - it’s driving me crazy. also, should i put carbs in at night? my trainer says not to but don’t i need glycogen stores in my muscle? oh well… so many questions… i guess you can all see why i get myself into such a state over all of this… i will have a look at the articles you have suggested. in the meantime, please write back to me… answers to my (i guess silly) questions will be much appreciated and thank you for all the advice and support! :wink:

5x5 of deadlift, overhead press, chin or latpulldown on day one, squat, bench or dip, row day two, day off in between, take off sat and sun and WALK, fire your trainer and give 10% of what you save to a charity. Your routine needs help. If you haven’t raised the weight in awhile, why would you get more lean mass to create a 24/7 fat furnace. As far as being in love, I can’t help you there. KUDO’S to you on changing your lifestyle.

Okay…I’ll give it one more go…

Let me clarify: We're ALL bodybuilders. Anyone who weight trains is a bodybuilder. The distinction is that some are competitive and some are not. You weight train, you're a bodybuilder.

You have to stop feeling the need to rush, rush, rush and lose the BF. If you're constantly rushing - how you gonna learn? Patience is indeed a virture. This stuff here (on this site, in this thread) is for a lifetime of physical fitness - not just for you to look good on your wedding day.

Regarding being fit and walking a treadmill: Well, basically I betcha just about anyone one this forum could walk for hours on a treadmill, ride a stationary bike, etc. What you need to think about is this: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training - look it up via "search" on T-Mag). Try sprinting. Better yet, try just three, 3-minute rounds with the jump rope. That'll tell you something about being "fit". And I think you should add HIIT to your routine (just two to three days with three days of weights).

Ohhh, if I could have a dollar for everytime a woman has said "I gain muscle easy" and then give me another dollar when they follow that with, "but, really it's true in my case....." Man, I'd be so rich.....You must remember that most women gain BF in the hips/thighs area. Are you positive that the "muscular" thighs in your family ain't mostly BF? Another thing: since women technically don't produce as much testosterone as men, we technically can't build as much muscle. You ain't ever gonna get all "bulky and too muscular" - it takes ALOT for a woman. So eliminate that fear now. YOU need to increase your poundages/intensity in the gym. Begin to perform squats. And deadlifts. And benches. And yes, pullups.

Carbs at night? I wouldn't suggest it - especially right before bedtime. However, if you workout at night - then do refuel with a P&C meal.

It's time for you to stop listening to others in the gym. Stop looking at the pictures of celebrities, competitors, et al. Besides some of those people have some "extra help" in looking the way that they do. You need something that is "real life" and will provide you with a lifetime of "real results". Just look into what's good for you and only you. You are an individual. Okay, enough of the proverbial "kick in the ass".

You have been provided with two examples of routines that would be good for you: the 5x5 or Meltdown Training. Do a search on T-Mag about these routines. The 5x5 article is written by Joel Marion and is called Ripped, Rugged and Dense. I have not performed Meltdown, but did perform 5x5. Made excellent gains in both losing BF% and gaining strength. Yeah, I had also previously said that I didn't think Meltdown - but now, after reading your most recent post - what the hell? Check it out.

I wish you luck. I hope this all helps.

Okay, I’ll add in my two cents.

First: Just to make this easier on all of us, why don’t you try putting your posts into paragraphs? Just type a “<”, a “p”, and a “>” all together after each paragraph and hit the return button. It’ll make things much easier to read.

Second: I think that if I were you I’d go for Meltdown training. It seems to be what you’d need in your situation. Unlike Patricia, I HAVE tried it (I’m 40), and believe me, it works. Ditto for the HIIT. Look 'em up, give 'em a shot.

Third: The Cheater’s Diet article is exactly what you need to read. It was written by Joel Marion a few weeks back.

Fourth: Here’s a little different perspective for you. Have you considered that maybe you really do look pretty hot as it is? Your body is your body and of course you’re free to do with it what you like. But if you’re trying to be at a certain point for your wedding day, I have to assume that you’re at least partially wanting to look a certain way for your finacee on your wedding night. Yes? If so, he might already be perfectly happy with you the way you are, and NOT want to you to lose another 7-8 pounds. Most women have no fucking idea what men like to see in terms of a body, and go overboard on the losing fat thing. You’ve indicated that not only do you get compliments in the gym but that your trainer also thinks you’re fine the way you are. I’ll say that again: Your trainer - the guy who gets paid to make you change your body - says you’re okay as is. Might want to think about that.

Just a little male perspective for you. Good luck!

Patricia, just wanted to say that that was a great last post.

What char-dawg meant about the paragraphs is that after every paragraph you put a P in those triangular brackets. Kinda like this.{P}

But you’d use the < ones.

I don’t know if RR&D is the one to use right now. I have been experimenting with it, and would have to say that it will only be useful if you’ve become relatively strong. Ie. after a strength phase. Since you’ve never really done a strength phase, I don’t know how useful it would be. When I’m dieting, I lose strength, and RR&D is designed to hold onto muscle even though you’re losing strength. If you don’t really have it in the first place …

I’ve noticed one thing in your post that I kinda want to discuss. You seem to want to ramp up your metabolism, and technically that’s not what you want to do. A higher metabolism just means that you’re burning more calories, this is something you could do by spending hours on the tread mill. What you really want to do is increase your lean body mass and decrease fat. This means that you want to do exercises that build muscle and use a calorie deficit to lose fat. But your body doesn’t “want” to build muscle, you really have to trick it.

Right now, I’d recommend a program with hard concentric* movements, but easy eccentric* movements (since you’re on a calorie deficit, healing is much harder, so you want to reduce the damage you do during workouts). By pushing your concentric strength, not only will you become stronger, but your muscles will add to their density. Meltdown and Fat-to-Fire both recommend pushing lactic threshold during your workouts. I’m not a 100% on the post-workout supplementation for them because I don’t really see the point of depleting glycogen stores and refilling them as a way to burn fat.

*Concentric and eccentric: Concentric is when the muscles involved with the lift are contracting (ie. when the bar is going up during curls, when the bar is going up during bench-press). This movement tends to not cause muscular damage, and is a good way of improving strength. However it is the “weaker” movement". Eccentric is when the muscles involved are relaxing, usually under stress (ie. when lowering yourself during a chin-up, the lowering portion of a sit-up). This tends to be the more “damaging” portion of the movement, but we’re usually stronger in the movement.

One more tip I’d recommend is asking about fish-oils. Are you taking them? If not, you should. I’d recommend taking at least 100cal worth a day. Fish oils contain essential fatty acids, and until your body gets a decent supply, it holds onto fat stores hoping that some is essential. Once you get some essential fats into your system (hence, I recommend taking the first week with meals) your body has an easier time releasing fat. You will get fish burps for a bit! So eat them when you won’t be seeing anyone for awhile.

Char: Good male perspective! And great call on the “Cheaters Diet” - never thought of that (with apologies to Joel)…

Thank you, Zev. I just hope she realizes I ain't flamin' her. I thought I came off as kinda "mean." And that's not what I wanted to sound like!

you guys are fantastic! patricia - don’t worry: i just feel a little embarrassed because i know how i must sound. one thing i do know in the time i’ve been doing this is that there are so many differing ideas about what works and what doesn’t and that it’s experience and knowledge that count. this is one of very few places i can get this information and i appreciate everything you’ve all said and suggested.

i live in the uk and i think we must be about 50 years behind the states in terms of knowledge. i tell my trainer about the things i read on this board and he’s mostly slack-jawed. i understand your comments about being a bodybuilder although the way i psyche myself up is by telling myself i’m a warrior!! :wink: i think that bodybuilding is the most effective and psychologically stimulating form of exercise and i have SOOO much respect for women like you - if i could have a third of your gains, i’d be happy. women like you set the best example - so much for all the skinny role models that are shoved in our faces by the media…

in terms of muscle gain: i understand your point too - i’ve also heard the whole “i build muscle really easily thing” and as for it being a fat thing that runs in the family? - very likely. way back, my trainer used to tell me that i’d never have skinny legs which was good but that i should aim for really shapely legs and i have received compliments on them. i also understand that this is for life (i have been doing it for six years) and i may sound pretty new to everything but i would definitely consider myself a professional amateur!

i think i get too bogged down with information tho’ and being in london doesn’t help because there’s a bit of a bad attitude to bodybuilding here and not enough good female bodybuilders to provide information and inspiration. i’ve heard all the suggestions on this board. i saw my trainer today and spoke to him about compound movements - he was very excited and said he had wanted to do this for a long time. we are starting on thursday.

i am going to read the workout suggestions that everyone has made, print them out and give them to him and then we will devise a programme from there or follow one of them entirely. i am giving it eight weeks - no interference, no side-tracking, no more questions, just focus. i definitely need to take some fat off my legs, my bum and my abs and i’m sure most of you will agree that these are areas everyone can work on. i will also discuss the concentric vs. eccentric movements thing with him as i think that’s very interesting. we are all learning i guess…

char-dawg, thank you for your perspective. however, i would like to point out that everyone pushes themselves further than where they are. i’m sure even you do. as much as my fiancee, my trainer and all the guys down the gym may think i look great, i can’t ever remember caring what a man thought about what i looked like, good or bad!! so, while i appreciate the kindness behind your words i would remind you that this isn’t a man’s world and women should set standards for themselves and by themselves. i know my husband to be thinks i’m gorgeous but I can still see those fat obliques!!

i will post again on thursday and let anyone who’s interested know what my new routine is. thank you all again for your fantastic advice :slight_smile:

Just one thing regarding your trainer: he should be there, first and foremost, to watch your form on these compound movements, and secondly, for motivation. You’ve made a wise choice by following the advice found here, so it should be YOU who sets up the routine, not him.

By the way, I’m not so sure people in the States have it any more figured out than anywhere else. But the more and more T-mag catches on, things will be changing.

Didn’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t try to improve. Of course, you should. Just make sure that you’re “improving” in the right (i.e., healthy) direction!

To El M: Thanks for the clarifications. As for post-workout nutrition while on Meltdown, I didn’t really change it up (still kept on with Surge) and it didn’t seem to hurt the fat-loss at all. Maybe it’s because the lactic acid training burns fat through a different mechanism than simple glycogen depletion? (Or maybe not; I’m just punting here…) Oh, and good call on the fish oil caps.