I wish I could say that I experienced nooby gains but I think doing kettlebells a year before probably makes that unlikely. I think it's likely that concentrating more on lifting than dieting helped me keep what muscle I had. I think I can at least be assured that even if weight loss has been slow, it's been mostly fat and not a lot of muscle.(Which is why I think I look better than other times when I was merely thin)
And a big yes to your point about people should strength train even while eating at a deficit...there is a point! At 55 I look far better than I did a decade ago and I was at a much lower weight. I have no loose skin, my hair, my nails look good, I have amazing balance and reflexes(when things drop I just catch them) and I can do things that I'm seeing most of my friends cannot do anymore.(small things like carrying a case of wine out to the car, lifting bags to the overhead bin, starting a generator.)
6/7/14 9:27 A
I've heard very good things about this program. Funny, I think I intuitively reached some of these same conclusions, after years of dieting I started adding back things that were dieting no no's (like fats) and it was only then that I started to lose the fat and regain things like thick hair and good skin tone.
I think I could probably up my cardio for quicker results but I must be doing something right(probably kettlebells) because I ran for the first time in a year and could easily do 5 miles. It was just kind of boring.(I have discovered I tend to like explosive, intense actions best)
Fitness Minutes: (104,447)
6/5/14 7:28 P
Check out Tom Venuto's program: "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle!"
Fitness Minutes: (110,991)
1,474 6/5/14 7:16 P
I've read many times that sometimes people who are new to strength training can gain some muscle even with a small deficit if their nutrition is good and they are following a challenging strength training plan. And it may depend on your genetics. It is generally very difficult for people to gain muscle even when they want to, especially if they have been training a while. It may possibly be that you may have had some newbie gains. If so, well done! It is also possible and likely that your strength training caused you to keep more of your existing muscle and the loss of fat exposed your nice strong muscles--hence the more "toned" look. This is actually more likely and not uncommon when people lose weight in a healthy way while also strength training. You likely got stronger as you trained because that can happen from your muscles becoming more efficient even if you don't gain much much muscle mass. It is easier to maintain muscle than build it, and carrying around extra pounds can certainly have caused you to build some muscle back when you were eating at surplus (which would have led to the weight gain), if you managed to keep most of the muscle you built--excellent! Sometimes when dieters read that they can't build muscle during a deficit they wrongly interpret that as "there is no point in strength training while eating at a deficit'. That is very far from the truth though, as it sounds like experience has shown you. While it is debatable whether one can gain muscle while dieting, the benefits of doing both together are certainly worthwhile (even without gaining muscle mass).
u are right about listening to your body.........also it's your body and u get to design what it looks like......Isn't it fun to see our bodies changing for the better......? I love to see my body do that......and thanks for the kind words.
6/5/14 2:07 P
Thanks Russell, and you're right about the mirror.
6/5/14 2:01 P
I rarely use the scale. I rely mostly on the tape measure and even then, I don't do it that often. I swore to myself that this time, I was only going to do things I loved and stop denying myself good food and nutrition. I'm 55, I've lived through decades of calorie counting, boring exercises, trying to tone, tone, tone. I figured it was time to ignore all the 'wisdom' and start listening to my body.
The scale is an invention of the devil put here to toment us, all it does is measure the force of gravity, A hundred pounds of rocks weight the same as a hundred pounds of feather but look at the disparity in the size of what is being weighed. Do a sopranos with your scale , feed it to the fishes.
To measure progress use measurements and photos of youself in minimal clothing, both will give you an accurate assessment.
Any muscle if overworked will grow. It does that to adapt to the new stress, so as long as you are working to failure, and experiencing muscle soreness after a workout, you are working the muscles, and they will grow. Slower at 55 than 25 to be sure, but still growing.
I eat low carb, and have lost a lot of weight, and still losing, and my weights on all my exercises are increasing. I am getting stronger, and my muscles are getting bigger. This is how we look better. We lose fat, and build muscle until we can see our muscle.
You may not be building muscle as fast as you lose fat, but the result is that they look better because you can see them. An 8 lb. loss could be 4 lbs. of muscle gain, and 12 lbs. less of fat. Go by how you look in the mirror. The scale doesn't take into account whether you are a muscular 180, or a flabby 180.
Keep lifting heavy, and eating healthy, and you will build muscle, and lose fat. Even if slowly, with enough time, you will reach your goals.
as a sister in Iron....yea 4 U....................you are getting a lot stronger and that's a good thing in my book. I agree to have your body fat tested. Keep up the great work. I love getting stronger too....
6/4/14 4:52 P
Well thank you Lec, I'm seriously flattered. I just hope that people(women) realize they're capable of so much more, and that it's so much more fun than doing the latest hamster wheel fad.(And I say that as a veteran hamster wheel person :) )
I didn't enjoy exercise until I challenged myself. (Decades of doing stuff that I hated....hopefully you guys coming up won't do that crap) That kettlebell scared me, and called me at the same time. I was hooked. Tell me something is hard and I now want to do it. Tell me something only guys do and I want to crush it.
I think about my life....step/Jane Fonda versus pulling an Expedition. I'll take the damn car.
Fitness Minutes: (6,555)
6/4/14 4:29 P
I'd just like to say Greebo, you're my new person I want to be when I grow up ;)
6/4/14 3:12 P
Archimedes, thanks for your reply. Yes, I did think I probably wasn't swapping out muscle for fat.(As much as I had hoped:) ) I haven't had my body fat tested, but there is a place close by that tests using a body pod. I have to admit that I'm curious.
I'm just amazed at how much muscle was under so much fat. I ripple in a good way:) I never looked like this even when I was a lot thinner and younger.(And I always thought I was athletic being a runner!)
I wish years ago I had learned NOT to exercise and just train. It's so much more fun.
6/4/14 3:01 P
Thanks Migirl, I do take a whey protein shake after my workouts, and every meal has lean protein and lots of fruits and veggies. So tons of greek yogurt, poached chicken and fish are on my plate. After being a habitual dieter for most of my life(even though I've be slender for most of it), I've added back good fat and have noticed a lot of good returns....from good skin and hair to actually losing inches from my stomach.
Another important thing is nutritional balance and micronutrients. I'd start reading what weight lifters take for "recovery," or post workout building. Eat more protein and less carbs...Not zero carbs, but, I knew a professional weight lifter (female) who weighed 160... but it was all muscle. Her glutes were like stone. She ate low fat meats (lots of it), fish and lots of salads and steamed vegetables. No starches.
Fitness Minutes: (270,854)
6/4/14 1:03 P
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Hello, Greebo !
It's true. It is very difficult for a menopausal woman to increase lean muscle when eating at a deficit. In order for the human body to add muscle fiber, not only do they have to engage in a good strength training program that overloads the muscle, they need to have a surplus of calories.
If you eat at a deficit, how does your body know to use some of those calories to increase lean muscle ? It doesn't. All your body cares about is having enough calories to keep your vital organ functioning. So, any calories will be used to ensure that your heart, lungs, brain, nervous system, etc all have enough energy to function first. If there are any spare calories, those could go to adding lean muscle.
If you are eating at a deficit and seeing an improvement in strength and fitness, what's happening is that the lean muscle you already have is working more efficiently. That's great !! That's why your inches are decreasing and your strength increasing. You're decreasing body fat with a good diet and increasing the efficiency of your muscles.
It really is very hard for a woman to pack on lean muscle. believe me, it is slow going and I've been at this for a while. Women lack the necessary testosterone to really be able to add muscle the way men do. So, I would encourage you to continue your strength training. With time and a little surplus calories, you can increase your lean muscle. For now, if you're going to eat to lose weight, it will be tough to add extra muscle.
PS - That's a fabulous deadlift ! One last point, even if your BMI says you're overweight, you may be at a lower body fat because of the strength training. Have you ever had your body fat properly tested with calipers ? If not, I'm going to encourage you to get your body fat tested. I'll best your body fat is lower than you think. Which is also pretty fabulous !
Edited by: ARCHIMEDESII at: 6/4/2014 (13:09)
6/4/14 12:37 P
I'm a 55 year old woman who has been dedicated to exercise and healthy eating for almost exactly 2 years now. My start weight was 230, current weight is 181 pounds. Height 5' 7. I've only lost about 6 pounds since last year at this time. But I'm down a few sizes and am quite pleased with my muscles, skin tone and the overall feeling that I'm in the best shape of my life.
So I guess my question is, is it possible that even though eating at a small deficit I could have added muscle? I've been lifting 'heavy' since November. Currently I do 5 sets of 5 reps 2 or 3 days a week. I deadlift 210 pounds, squat 190, bench 100, row 90 and press 80. I also do hanging leg lifts and pushups wearing a 20 pound weight vest. On other days I do kettlebell swings with a 70 pound bell.(I average 100 swings in 4 minutes, do 300 swings)
Other than that I chop some wood, do a little boxing/sparring, yoga some heavy ropes.
My body looks good except for my menopause stomach which is being really stubborn. I know my BMI says I'm overweight, and I am.(Though there's no way my body would be able to lose the amount needed to reach that goal, I'm thinking I'll look thin at 170, maybe 165)
I also know it's almost impossible to build muscle with a caloric deficit...and yet I keep getting stronger and I've had complete strangers telling me they'd kill for my arms. Is it possible that while I only lost 6 pounds in the last year I was replacing the fat with muscle? (At the age of 55?)
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