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JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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9/7/13 9:41 A

"The primary reason I tend to oppose suggesting someone jump too quickly into lifting, particularly "heavy" lifting is that very few people I know personally who took up weight-lifting/strength-training ever continued doing it."

--point taken and I can agree with what you're saying. After all, I did begin in the way you are suggesting. Following Jillian Michaels videos and Sparkpeople workouts with light weights. I guess I'm thinking more technically in what will be most effective in physical terms over the psychological component to developing a program.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/7/2013 (09:43)
ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/7/13 9:34 A

Thanks for sharing the sites. A lot to digest and gives a person a chance to consider several views.

Here is one that I find to be rather comprehensive and could help someone in his/her understanding of exercising and losing fat.

The primary reason I tend to oppose suggesting someone jump too quickly into lifting, particularly "heavy" lifting is that very few people I know personally who took up weight-lifting/strength-training ever continued doing it. I have known dozens of people who make new year resolutions join gyms, etc. but then drop out in a month or two. I have known many people who have bought home weight-lifting stations or barbells or kettle bells, etc. and then just stored them because they found out they did not enjoy lifting.

I definitely think that strength-training SHOULD be an important part of most people's exercise regimens, but my many years of observation of adults who begin exercising regimens is that lifting often becomes the least enjoyable aspect of whatever exercises they choose to include. I think that people who actually strength-train year after year are in a very vast minority.

So I normally oppose suggesting to newbies or people who are interested in including some exercise into their daily lives to immediately jump into strength-training, or at least into "heavy" lifting.

And now I yield the field. If strength-training is the key to losing fat, I hope more people will undertake doing it.

Edited by: ALBERTJON at: 9/7/2013 (09:37)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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9/7/13 9:15 A

Sorry, "heavy lifting" is rather vague. What I mean is using a weight that is challenging enough to reach muscle fatigue in at most 10 reps during compound exercises before increasing weight. I do agree with you that establishing the foundation of an exercise program is first and foremost for a beginner but once you become familiar with training and form, you begin to steadily increase your weight. I use heavy weights (lower reps/compound exercises because they are the most effective and beneficial form of training for a beginner. It is also the way to have an "effective" training program in the least amount of time. All you will need is 6-8 compound exercises with challenging weights for a well-balanced 30-45 minute ST program 2-3x a week.

A beginner should simply start with a weight they *know* they can lift in good form and gradually increase weight each session in 5-10 lbs increments.

I tend to disagree that those forms of cardio will be effective at maintaining lean muscle, let alone gaining. Cardiovascular exercise has the tendency to burn lean muscle as fuel when not accompanied by a strength training program. Your body quickly adapts to any resistance created.

As far as reducing belly fat through cardio/diet alone. Consider yourself one of the lucky ones JonAlbert. ;) It really comes down to your natural body shape in this one. If you are pre-dispositioned to carry more fat in your mid-section, you may have to go the extra mile to reduce it. However, that of course will be completely up to the OP and she will not know for sure until she is closer to her goal weight. The point is; particularly for women who have a much harder time gaining lean muscle than a man, maintenance is still very important in weight loss if the goal is to have a low body fat percentage in relation to your weight at the end of your weight loss journey.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/7/2013 (09:36)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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9/7/13 9:02 A

"Yes, you need sufficient calories to build muscle and you need a deficit to burn fat. However, body fat is actually the solution! What is body fat?

Stored energy or stored calories, if you will. If you don't meet your caloric needs through food, you tap into your 'stored calories' to do the job. Since those stored calories are in the form of body fat, you therefore have to lose fat in order to build that muscle."

From Scooby's website:

"Many beginners to fitness ask if they should lose their fat first or start lifting to gain muscle first, the answer is that they should do BOTH at the same time!!! Especially for beginners, it is very easy to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time!"

He goes on to talk about those who cannot expect to do both at the same time; skinny teens and advanced bodybuilders:<

"However, the average exerciser looking to improve body composition can lose fat while improving lean body tissue over time and beginners will likely get the greatest benefits of both fat loss and muscle gain."

"There are a handful of situations where the combination of muscle gain and fat loss occur relatively readily. The first of those is in overfat beginners. I want to really stress the term overfat in the above sentence. This phenomenon doesn’t happen in lean beginners for reasons I’m going to explain in a second."


"And what happens under those circumstances is exactly what you’d expect: the body appears to take calories out of fat cells and use them to build muscle. And this is effectively what is happening due to the combination of the above two factors. But the combination of the two is required. A lean beginner won’t see the above because they don’t have the fat to lose/fat energy to shunt to the muscle. And as they get more advanced, the rate of muscle gain slows way down. Again, it’s the combination of overfat and beginner status that comes together here to let some magic occur."

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/7/2013 (09:06)
ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/7/13 8:47 A

There is probably some common ground here somewhere. I think overall there is some sort of agreement that both cardio and strength-training can be incorporated from the beginning as one tries to lose weight while hoping to build muscle. However, there still seems to be disagreement on whether cutting calories to lose weight and eating extra to gain muscle are at odds. I have read differing views on such matters.

Most of us tend to suggest what worked for us will work for others. I realized that is not always sound. In my case, I did a lot of cardio and no strength-training to lose the fat (getting rid of the belly), and I lowered the body fat % considerably. I then added strength-training into my exercise regimen. I was quite happy with the result.

As far as whatever "heavy lifting" means {I've never been quite sure about the semantics), I would caution newbies or people who are just trying to firm-up/tone their muscles to approach that sensibly. Ok, so some people have achieved wondrous results with heavy lifting. I understand that. But many people who are trying to include exercise into their daily lives don't need to jump into heavy lifting, whatever that means.

There are several reasons lifting should be slowly added into an exercise regimen. (1) learn technique first at lighter weights and avoid the high risk of injury when lifting too heavy of weights or doing the exercises wrong (2) find a way to make lifting fun, so that a person does not learn to hate lifting as opposed to liking it. Too many people drop out of strength-training because they find they don't enjoy it (3) Regardless of people who suggest lifting is better than doing cardio, cardio should always be an important part of an exercise regimen.
In fact, if one never did strength-training, but did cardio only such as using an Airdyne which involves both arms and legs, speed walking, jumping rope, heavy bag, etc, etc, he/she could become quite fit.

Edited by: ALBERTJON at: 9/7/2013 (08:48)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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9/7/13 8:21 A

Albert Jon-

The last two posters explained my post for me. Muscle maintenance is an important component in weight loss and strength training while losing weight. If not to gain but at the very least maintain.

Beginners to strength training (when done properly; heavy weights/compound exercises) also experience what is called "beginner gains" as I'm sure if you were to read Scooby's notes you'd find he is a strong promoter of being able to burn fat and build lean muscle simotaneously. Leangains also supports the 'theory'. In fact, you'll find any reputable bodybuilding site does. You are correct that you'll see more massive gains at a surplus or even in recomp. compared to at a deficit but "beginners" tend to override this. Particularly 'obese' participants as research indicates. Surpluses are more for bodybuilders already at their peak in gains.

I was the exact same starting weight as the OP and gained muscle while losing weight. I lost weight quickly and gained muscle easily with a proper ST program and a proper diet that included adequate protein. Now... I may be a genetic freak who goes against all the grains of your net research... but I somehow doubt I am so lucky.

Since my experience has been that this can be achieved, I heavily promote strength training... immediately and that it is just as important to weight loss as cardio/diet. Even IF no muscle is gained, muscle maintenance is just as important rather than allowing precious lean muscle to be burned away while losing weight.

If your goal is to have the least amount of belly fat at the end of your weight loss, overlooking strength training is the last thing you'll want to do. The less muscle you have, the lower of a weight you'll have to reach to achieve a low enough BF% to reduce belly fat.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/7/2013 (08:35)
TLOVELY30 SparkPoints: (0)
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9/7/13 7:27 A


MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,461
9/7/13 6:30 A


It is true that is difficult (although perhaps not impossible) to build muscle while running a calorie deficit to lose fat, as the body tends to burn protein for energy, rather than creating new muscle tissue.

However, there are very compelling grounds for including challenging strength training in your exercise program even while trying to reduce fat:
* ST is actually a very effective fat burner, and will help you reach your fat loss goals faster, so you can start building muscle sooner.
* without ST, up to 25% of your weight loss can come from lost muscle. It is a lot easier to at least maintain your existing muscle mass through including ST now, than it is to add it back later
* a lot of the increases in strength actually come from improved muscle quality (aka 'neuromuscular adaptation') rather than increased size. So by ST while losing fat, you can get most of the quality improvement out of the way early, so when you do switch to a calorie surplus, all the strength gain is going to come from increased muscle mass.

In exercise terms, there is little difference between what you should doing to lose fat, or to gain muscle. The main difference is just on the intake side.


YOGAGEEK SparkPoints: (6,917)
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9/7/13 5:40 A

ALBERTJON: As I understood JENNILACEY's post, she wasn't talking about strength training for muscle gain, but for muscle maintenance. If you're not using your muscles, then when you lose weight you won't just be losing fat, but muscle, too.

Strength training while eating at a calorie deficit works towards the goal of fat loss, because it means that, for every pound lost (or 3500 calorie deficit), a greater proportion will come from fat than it would without strength training. So it's all about achieving one goal - fat loss - not working towards two competing goals.

The reason you can't gain muscle and lose fat at the same time is because to do the first you need a calorie surplus, while for the second you need a calorie deficit, and it is mathematically impossible to do both. You can, however, preserve muscle while on a calorie deficit, as long as you're using those muscles regularly (ie strength training).

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/6/13 10:33 P

JENNILACEY: I've done a lot of net research about the aspect of losing fat first or gaining muscle first. Although there is disagreement, for the most part, overall, the general opinion seems to me to be that a person can do some strength-training while losing fat; but, the primary gaining of muscle via strength-training will occur optimally once a person gets his/her body fat % considerably lower. Therefore, I reiterate my point that losing fat should be more of the focus, until the body fat % is low enough that concerted strength-training will help a person develop his/her muscles better. But, I am certainly not an expert. If one of the SparkPeople fitness experts has a differing opinion then that needs to be considered.

"the ideal starting point for a muscle building phase is when you are at least somewhat lean" -- aworkoutroutine

"If you have more than 15% body fat (25% body fat for woman), I would STRONGLY recommend focusing on fat loss, with potentially some muscle gain if you’re lucky."-- builtlean

"If you want to maximize the results of your weight training workouts, prioritize bodybuilding fat loss goals over muscle gain. You should focus on trimming fat without losing muscle mass before you can bulk up."--sweetsweat

However, I also ran across this:

"Many beginners to fitness ask if they should lose their fat first or start lifting to gain muscle first, the answer is that they should do BOTH at the same time!" -- scoobyshomeworkouts

And yet more differing of opinion.

"2 goals at a time is a bad idea as I've explained yesterday. Especially if your goal is to build muscle while losing fat...That's why you should focus on building muscle first."--stronglifts

KOLA84: You will have to do your own research, read what other SparkPeople suggest, and ultimately make your own decision. My best guess is that if you decide to cut calories a bit and increase your exercising a bit, then you will eventually lose your bell fat. Four years ago, I lost mine in a matter of a few months. {Well, OK, some of it has come back, but I will be losing it in the next couple of months. LOL!}

Edited by: ALBERTJON at: 9/6/2013 (22:52)
SLASALLE SparkPoints: (278,559)
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9/6/13 10:01 P

Sadly, no way to reduce fat in specific and/or preferred areas. Our bodies are all different. Everybody has given good advice - both diet and exercise, but in exercise, you need to include both cardio and strength training.

Good luck!~

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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9/6/13 9:51 P

Actually, I would say strength training is a vital component in weight loss at any stage in the game because when you lose weight, not only do you lose fat... but lean muscle as well. Strength training helps to combat this lean muscle loss. Neglecting strength training contributes to a high body fat percentage at a low weight which would contribute to belly fat (fat in general) at a healthy BMI.

The more overweight you are; the better your chances of actually building lean muscle while losing fat.

If at the end of your weight loss, you still are experiencing belly fat. It IS possible to get rid of it by lowering your body fat % further. However, what becomes the problem is that you may have to reach an unhealthy weight to achieve this. If you want to lower your body fat percentage without having to put such stress on your body it requires gaining weight back in the form of lean muscle while strength training and then stripping away fat by losing weight and continuing to strength train (bulking and cutting). It is essentially replacing fat weight with lean muscle weight but requires a lot of hard work/dedication and for the average person is probably more trouble than it is worth. It is also possible to achieve this when you are maintaining your weight but it tends to be a very slow process.

If you don't strength train while losing weight and just do cardio, you're burning both lean muscle/tissue and fat. You want to keep as much of your lean muscle as possible to *prevent* having belly fat in your healthy BMI, ie; "skinny fat".

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/6/2013 (22:01)
ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
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9/6/13 8:30 P

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to spot-reduce, if it is possible at all. Losing belly fat is possible only if we eat healthy and exercise intelligently.

What irritates me is, however, even though I can't spot reduce, I seem to spot gain. LOL! In other words, when I do gain weight, it almost always first appears in my belly. Hey, I cry "foul"! I can't spot reduce the belly fat, but I can spot gain it! Crapola!

It is very difficult to lose fat and build muscle at the same time. It might be best to lose a lot of the fat first, then get serious about strength-training while doing some cardio, too.

In any case, best of luck. Go slow but steady.

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (201,401)
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9/6/13 3:14 P

The best way to lose belly fat is with a proper diet. Good nutriiton is what takes the weight off and keeps it off. Exercise is what keeps our bodies fit. In short, you can't outrun a bad diet with exercise. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat right and watch your portions.

Exercise can only help a person lose weight if a caloric deficit is created.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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9/6/13 6:55 A

Eat less and move more. You can't target fat loss, it comes off where it is genetically predetermined to come off.

So follow your Spark range.
Eat healthy and balanced to prevent overeating and develop a style of eating that will help you maintain a healthy weight.
Do full body strength training.
Do cardio.
Find ways to stay active and moving even when you're not exercising.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/6/2013 (06:56)
MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,461
9/6/13 2:14 A

Fork put-downs, table push-aways and one armed fridge door closes.

Seriously though, burning fat is an all-body process, and you can't target where you lose weight from. Energy is delivered to the muscles via the bloodstream, NOT from being absorbed from surrounding fat stores. While I am sure that there will be a range of suggested abdominal exercises appearing in this thread, the truth is that abdominal exercises may develop the relevant muscles, but they will do absolutely nothing about the overlying layer of fat.

What you can do is to continue to reduce your overall body fat through a combination of cardio, all-body strength training and watching your intake (in increasing order of effectiveness) and some of it will naturally come off the belly.


KOLA84 SparkPoints: (177)
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9/6/13 1:54 A

What's a good way to lose belly fat

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