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X-RHINO SparkPoints: (69)
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Posts: 6
7/27/13 7:09 P

Cherimoose I gained plenty of muscle while on a deficit, when I reached my goal weight of 204 lbs, my arms, chest, traps, thighs, calves and forearms were all atleast and inch larger than when I weighed 83 lbs more. When I startered to gain my weight I weighed 180 lbs with a 32 inch waist. When I lost my weight I was 204 lbs with a 32 inch waist and visable abs (something I never had)
Gaining lean muscle while on a deficit is not uncommon,( infact Im bit surprised that this is being discussed) Especialy if you are a newbie to lifting, over weight, only eating at a slight deficit and eating a diet rich in protein.

Edited by: X-RHINO at: 7/27/2013 (19:19)
7/27/13 2:58 P

What he should have said is sarco. hypertrophy is *optimized* by higher reps. Strength & fluid gains happen along a continuum, with lower reps producing more strength, and higher reps producing more fluid. But you gain some of both with any rep range if using heavy weight.

As far as being under-muscled, i was talking about the general population, not you in particular. There are always a few exceptions to a trend.

Getting back to the OP's post, i would say they should begin strength training now.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
7/27/13 2:28 P

It explains Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy (fluid gain) is the result of high rep "body-building" type training and that no strength is gained.

-- I do heavy weights, low reps and my strength increases regularly.

Myofibrillar Hypertrophy is the enlargement of muscle fibers and results in greater strength as a result of low reps and heavy weights.

I deadlift close to 200 lbs at 5'2. I bench nearly 100 lbs. In standard strength tests I am nearly at advanced level or the high end of the intermediate level.

I don't work a desk job, I am a SAHM of 3 children under 6. I wouldn't say I was ever "under muscled" I've always been on the active side and relatively athletic. I was never a "skinny fat" person... I just didn't have noticeable muscles like I do now.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 7/27/2013 (14:34)
7/27/13 2:07 P

"And isn't the "pump" (fluid gain) temporary and only lasts a couple of hours after an intense workout? "

There's that, and also the increase in sarcoplasm (fluid within muscles) from strength training.. at least that's the theory. This page explains the 2 kinds of hypertrophy, fluid growth and fiber growth:

And yes, if someone is under-muscled to begin with, they may see bigger increases than average. Most people with sedentary jobs are under-muscled.

Edited by: CHERIMOOSE at: 7/27/2013 (14:08)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
7/27/13 1:39 P

CHERIMOOSE- I understand that gains would be greater on a calorie surplus but I wouldn't say what I gained is "small" considering I've only been strength training *correctly* (lol) for about 6 months, workout at home, I am a woman and am on a calorie deficit (everything working against me).

From what I've read frequenting body builder sites and forums is that beginners often experience "beginner gains" where they are ripe to build muscle (they have little). That cycling through cutting and bulking is a method for advanced builders already at their peak. My gains have slowed down considerably since I first started but that's to be expected and as a woman, I wouldn't want to get much more muscularly than I already am. In my own experience and to the OP, you can achieve a good physique without ever having to "bulk" while strength training... in fact, as woman... you'd probably not want to go that route.

And like I said, I was thin and never had muscles like I do now... not even close. I've had a low body fat percentage until my pregnancies in my late 20's. I weighed 110 lbs before gaining weight 5 years ago. So it's not an illusion from decreased body fat. I reached 110 lbs (less) recently and had muscle protruding every which way and I actually looked way too skinny at that weight compared to when I weighed that much before my weight gain. And isn't the "pump" (fluid gain) temporary and only lasts a couple of hours after an intense workout? I still retain my muscle mass on recovery and cardio days.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 7/27/2013 (14:16)
7/27/13 1:22 P

JENNILACEY - it's possible to build a small amount of muscle in a calorie deficit, especially if it's a light deficit. But most gains in muscle that people see while in a deficit are an illusion created from reduced body fat, which makes the muscle more visible. Also, muscle does swell a bit with fluid when it's worked hard, and that can make it appear larger.

NSMANN - try to see strength training as something a person does to stay healthy, strong, and fit, regardless if they want to lose weight or maintain.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
Posts: 9,713
7/27/13 12:04 P

You've heard the physical benefits from the others (including the inestimable Coach Dean, who is so smart I'd ask him to marry me if I weren't already. ;)) but let me talk a bit about the mental benefits.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, like looking in the mirror, flexing your formerly-flabby muscles, and seeing real definition.

I don't care WHAT the scale says... that is an amazing feeling. When you're in the grocery store with a giant bag of dog food, and the bus boy says "can I carry that out for you?" and you shoulder it effortlessly with a smile? That's even better.

Strength training has made me feel so much better. I love the burning feeling in my muscles when I'm pushing to fatigue. It makes me feel powerful, strong. I always get an endorphin rush from it.

And it has the magic ability to make you slimmer even when the scale disagrees. There's nothing but good there. ;)

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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Posts: 2,489
7/27/13 12:02 P

Coach Dean- I apologize for not understanding but I've heard time and time again that you cannot build something from nothing when it comes to building muscle on a calorie deficit. I believed it until I actually did gain muscle on a calorie deficit and then found conflicting information on the subject.

I certainly didn't have the muscle I have now before I started strength training. I've been eating on a deficit the entire time. (In fact, I just discovered I was probably eating way too low for my activity level, Spark had me assumed as sedentary and I was losing 1-3 lbs a week in my healthy BMI). Even when I was thin before my weight gain I had little muscle... now I have loads and managed to get pretty ripped for a girl, what gives?

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 7/27/2013 (19:25)
X-RHINO SparkPoints: (69)
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Posts: 6
7/27/13 10:06 A

I started strength training from day 1 of my 83 lb weight loss. Like mentioned below, strength training not only prevented me from losing LM. during my 13 month weight loss but i gained a good amount of LM. during it aswell. Start a strength training program, increase the amount of protein in your diet, try to limit your weight loss to about one lb. per week and you will be thrilled with your results once you reach your goal. : ) Not implementing a strength training program and losing weight too fast are the main reasons why most people are not happy with the way they look once they reach or even surpass their goal. Strength training is like finding the fountain of youth.

Edited by: X-RHINO at: 7/27/2013 (10:17)
SP_COACH_DEAN SparkPoints: (115,349)
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Posts: 15,281
7/27/13 9:16 A

Without strength training, as much as 30% of the weight you lose while dieting can come from your existing muscle mass rather than fat. You can hold that down to about 5% with a good strength training program.

In addition to preserving most of the muscle mass you already have, strength training during weight loss can also increase strength and, therefore, fitness. There are two things that contribute to "strength." One is the size of the muscle, and it's true you can't add additional muscle mass while you're eating less than you need to maintain your current weight--you can't create something out of nothing. The other thing is training your muscles to fully utilize the muscle fibers you already have (this is called "neuromuscular adaptation."). Most of us don't use our muscles strenuously enough during normal daily activities to train them to operate at maximum capacity, and that has to happen BEFORE the muscle can or will start adding more size. You can increase your "neuromuscular adaptation" with a good strength training program even when you're restricting your calorie intake for weight loss, which means more strength and fitness now and less time you'll have to devote to this process after weight loss.

So, the bottom line is that, to increase fitness and strength now and, at the same time, hold muscle loss to a minimum while you're trying to lose fat, effective strength training is essential.

Hope this helps.

Coach Dean

Edited by: SP_COACH_DEAN at: 7/27/2013 (09:20)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
7/27/13 7:54 A

It's not impossible. I did it.

But even if you can't. You should be trying to maintain lean muscle. When you lose weight, not only do you lose fat but lean muscle/tissue as well. If you want your weight loss to be concentrated on fat loss, you'll strength train.

Muscle burns more calories than fat. Losing lean muscle will affect your BMR negatively (metabolic rate) it will also affect your body fat percentage (or muscle to fat ratio) leaving you "skinny fat" at your goal weight.

You should be strength training now.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 7/27/2013 (07:57)
ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (194,230)
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Posts: 15,818
7/27/13 6:33 A

the point is to maintain muscle mass. One benefit is to keep your metabolism high.

NSMANN Posts: 977
7/27/13 2:04 A

I've heard it's nearly impossible to build muscle when you're eating at a calorie deficit. So what then is the point of strength training while you're trying to lose weight, as so many people seem to do? Wouldn't it be less wasteful of time and effort to wait until you've lost the weight, then increase calories to maintenance, then start a program of strength training?

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