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RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
9/1/13 1:21 P

My sister runs half marathon distances at least once or twice a week and the muscles on that woman are like you would not believe. By all means do your strength training (she certainly does), but don't let anyone scare you out of doing your long runs either if you enjoy it. Just make sure you eat enough to stay fueled for it all (again, she certainly does). Of course it's taken years for her to get there, and for the vast majority of that time she was not eating at a deficit, but you can't accomplish all goals at the same time. (As others have suggested, if anything were to go in favor of more strength training, I think the elliptical gives the least benefit out of what you're doing.)

And don't worry overmuch about messing up your metabolism. Again, keep your calories as high as you possibly can while still maintaining the necessary deficit, and if you do that along with all the other good things you are doing -- and if you keep doing all those good things once you reach maintenance -- there's no reason not to believe you'll be just fine. Any effects on metabolism will likely be small, temporary, and manageable.

RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
Fitness Minutes: (74,870)
Posts: 522
8/29/13 2:44 P

ArchimedesII, you are so right!! Thank you - I needed to hear that. {{{virtual hug}}}

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (195,969)
Fitness Minutes: (292,363)
Posts: 26,975
8/29/13 2:15 P


If you're achievement orient, then focus on those achievements and not on weight. You mentioned that you're training for a 10K. Do you feel that completing that race in a decent time would be an achievement ? I sure would. Would you consider someone who started a kettlebell class with 5-10 pound bells and is now using a 15 pound bell an achievement ? I would.

Instead of focusing on your weight, focus on those athletic achievements instead. From my own years of yo yo dieting, I've learned that what my body can do is more important than how it looks or what it weighs. Good health really does come in many different shapes and sizes.

As far as worrying about regaining the weight, that's a concern many of us have had in past because it's somethign that happened to us all. Every single one of us are experts at gaining, losing and regaining the weight. That's the past. You can't change the past, but you can influence and change the future.

I took the weight off and have kept it off not because I exercise regularly, but because I reformed my eating habits. When it comes to weight loss or weight gain, what matters most is what we eat. Good nutrition is what takes the weight off and keeps it off. Execise is what keeps our bodies fit. You can't outrun a bad diet with exercise. what happens when you get injured ? that was a mistake I made. Thought that as long as I was exercising, I could eat whatever I wanted. That was a misconception.

If you want to take the weight off and keep it off, you have to do your best to eat right and watch your portions. if you have good portion control, you'll never have to worry about your weight again.

RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
Fitness Minutes: (74,870)
Posts: 522
8/29/13 12:34 P

Simplelife2, I didn't realize that distance running would burn muscle! Perhaps I will shorten my Sunday long run after the race. You're right that most people in the class use lighter weights. I started with 10 lb kettlebells and now I'm using 15#. I haven't been counting reps but I suspect it is around 12.

ArchimedesII, she's the only PT at my community center who does caliper measurements. I have no idea what her training is but the other PTs all said she's the one who does them most. I'd love to get a water immersion test done but I'm asthmatic so I worry I wouldn't be able to expel all the air from my lungs.

The reason I'm fretting over this so much is two-fold:

1. I have friends who did ultra low cal diets and no strength training and now they are gaining back the weight. I suspect they lost a lot of lean mass and repressed their metabolic rates. I don't want to gain back the weight I've lost.

2. I'm achievement-oriented and I still feel like the obese girl I used to be. I need a clear, objective target to tell me when I can stop trying to lose weight. Then I will know when my friends say I look good that they aren't just being nice.

Edited by: RAVELGIRLY at: 8/29/2013 (12:37)
SIMPLELIFE2 Posts: 707
8/29/13 12:10 P

I wouldn't be alarmed. If her results are accurate, you are still losing more body fat than muscle mass. As mentioned, when you lose weight, you can't make sure none comes from muscle tissue. Our bodies just don't work that way.

Running for long durations can lead to muscle loss because your body simply does not hold enough carbohydrate stores to fuel the entire distance. This is why high intensity intervals can be preferable for fat loss. You burn more calories in a shorter time. Since you are training for a 10K, I can understand why you would not to switch that out.

Kettlebells are a weird hybrid of cardio and strength, but still has an element of cardio to it. And on top of that, you also are doing the elliptical. You may want to opt out of this elliptical session and do strength training for a third day. Just make sure you don't strength train on consecutive days unless you are doing a split routine.

Also, you mention that strength training is a class. This makes me wonder if you are using heavy enough weights. Light weights with lots of reps -- which often is done in strength classes -- build muscle endurance but do little to promote muscle growth, which requires heavy weights and fewer reps. And once you feel comfortable with a weight, you need to progress to heavier weights so your muscles continue to be challenged.

You are losing pounds, fat and inches, so it sure sounds you are on the right track to me, although I would eat higher on your range to meet your activity level. If you aren't eating enough calories, your body doesn't just use fat calories -- which would be ideal. It will take them from both muscle and fat stores. Keep up the great work!

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (195,969)
Fitness Minutes: (292,363)
Posts: 26,975
8/29/13 6:08 A


Caliper measurements can be very accurate, but only if the person doing the measurements are accurate. I would get a second opinion. Have another PT take your measurements and do a comparison. For now, DON'T PANIC !! If you've lost an inch off your waist, that means you ARE making a difference.

Why are your measurements different ? I suspect that your PT didn't take measurements in the exact same spots as they did the first time. It is true that if a person "diets" to lose weight, some of the weight they lose WILL be from muscle. There is no way around this. A person can minimize this loss by engaging in a good strength training program.

This is normal. When you strength train (while dieting), you're not necessarily adding lean muscle. In order to truly add lean muscle, your body needs a surplus of calories to grow muscle fibers. If you're dieting, your body just doesn't have the calories to increase muscle. BUT, what you are doing is making the muscle you already have work more efficiently. When your muscles work more efficiently, that will help your body to become more efficient at burning fat.

However, in order to gain muscle, you need to do two things. You need to eat a surplus of calories and you need to have a good strength training program. You also have to have the right genetics. Women do not pack on muscle the same way as men do. So, if your goal is to increase lean muscle, it's going to take time. I know, I've been trying to increase lean muscle and it's been a very long process.

The point ? Don't worry about the numbers. If you're losing inches, you are losing body fat. But, continue to strength train so that the weight you lose from muscle is at a minimum. How much is lost with weight loss ? Hard to say, none can tell for sure. I can tell you this much, everyone who loses weight does lose some lean muscle. that's why you must continue to strength train as well as eat a wholesome diet that nourishes your body.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (244,167)
Fitness Minutes: (41,124)
Posts: 26,631
8/29/13 2:51 A

I would be inclined to question her qualifications to do this. Did she do a 9 point caliper test? Ask next time if she is officially qualified to do this - a lot do it but aren't qualified and therefore don't get the correct results!

I'm certainly not qualified in this field, but I wonder if you are actually eating enough. It sounds like with the exercise you do, you should be eating more.


RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
Fitness Minutes: (74,870)
Posts: 522
8/28/13 9:03 P

Five weeks ago, I had my body composition tested at my gym (calipers). She measured me at 28% fat (my weight was 156). Today the same trainer measured me. She said I am now 26.6% fat (weight 150). I'm a little suspicious there was some operator error because she measured my triceps at 18 today and they were 17 in July. She measured once at 3 sites both times.

But anyway, the concern is this- I've lost 6 pounds, so if her measurement is accurate today, that means 4 pounds of that was fat and 2 pounds was lean. That scares me!

I run 40 minutes two days, run an hour one day (training for a 10k), do an hour of kettlebell or other strength training class twice a week, and do my elliptical 45 min once a week. I am 5'2". I've been eating 1250-1300, trying to work up to the 1400 (the new Spark range now that I'm aiming for 1 pound per week). I hoped that doing challenging strength training twice weekly would keep the lean loss to a bare minimum.

Is my lean loss normal? How do I slow down the lean body mass loss? Is it possible that my test results aren't accurate?


ETA: I forgot to mention that I did lose an inch from my waist and an inch from my hips in this time period.

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