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TOPIC: let me get this straight.......

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June 3, 2012 7:03 AM
Hi,

Please forgive me if I use the incorrect terminology.

I am trying to lose weight / fat and am eating at a deficit (this is the only way it works for me) but am concious that I will also be losing lean body mass.

I want to maintain as much lean mass as I can, and not be skinny fat.

From reading the boards I understand to build lean mass I need to incorporate strength / weigh training.

I also read that I cannot build / gain lean mass on a calorie deficit.

So... will strength / weight training help me maintain the lean mass I have already and slow down the amount of lean mass I'm losing ?

I have tried eating a higher number of calories TDEE - 15 and 20% and gained weight
  6967606
June 3, 2012 7:04 AM
How much of a deficit are we talking about?
  20677253
June 3, 2012 7:21 AM
I'm at a deficit of about 900 calories a day.
I eat 1300 and exercise calories, which is about another 600 every other day.
I am attempting to eat cleaner, weigh 226lb, am female and 5ft 11 tall, aged 36.
  6967606
June 3, 2012 7:29 AM
You must eat to lose. That being said, you should NET at least 1200 (more in my opinion). For example, if you burn 300 calories from exercise, you should eat a TOTAL of 1500 calories of CLEAN, HEALTHY food in order to lose weight. Our bodies are machines that NEED calories in order to work...if you don't fuel your body, you are denying your brain, muscles, and complete body of the nutrients, vitamins and energy it needs to even function! Your brain needs calories to operate, your eyelids need calories to blink, your muscles need calories to allow your fingers to type...get what I am saying? Starvation will do nothing but cause long-term damage.
June 3, 2012 7:32 AM
and yes, you can strength train and lose weight...I did it and highly recommend it. Strength training builds muscles that burn MORE calories in the long-term...but you must eat enough to A. build muscles and B. to fuel the muscles
June 3, 2012 7:34 AM
Hi Mormas, you've said you eat back your exercise calories, which is about 600 calories every two days. Are you only burning 300 calories a day working out? Like amnski said below, you need to make sure you're in proper balance, and if you're short changing yourself on calories after an intensive workout, you could be slowing your progress.

PS, we're very similar in statistics (age, weight, height, and goals, sheesh!) so I've sent you a friend request. It's always nice to pal up with folks with similar goals and proportions. Maybe we can bounce ideas off each other and see each other to goal! flowerforyou
June 3, 2012 7:35 AM
amnski, all i can say about your physique is WOW! nice job!
June 3, 2012 7:45 AM
QUOTE:

amnski, all i can say about your physique is WOW! nice job!

I agree!

I eat 1300 Calories if I don't work out, and about 1900 on days I do work out, always netting over 1200 calories a day, which I understand is the absolute bare minimum required for basic function. I eat about 900 calories below my BMR daily, if I burn more through exercise I make sure I eat them back so my net does not drop below my goal of 1300 calories net a day.

I did try eating more using the method advocated by Helloitsdan and his followers, but unfortunately it did not work for me (like it has't many others)

I understand everything (and agree with) what Amnski says, but am (naively) asking about the benefits of strength training while eating a deficit as I have read that you cannot build muscle on a deficit, so would I be assisting in retaining lean muscle mass by strength trsining.
  6967606
June 3, 2012 7:56 AM
First, I'm going to suggest that you eat slightly more and that you are currently a little less agressive about how much of a deficit you are eating. I'd make the deficit 500 calories and then start strength training. You don't really need to build new muscle tissue. You have muscle tissue that is underdeveloped. Strength training will help you to develop that and maintain lean muscle mass. It is much easier to develop and keep what you have than to lose some and try to regain it. I recommend eating slightly more because you will be putting higher demands on you body with strength training. Also, it is easier to comply with long term. Also, keep eating back your exercise calories. You will lose slower but be heathier and stronger and look great from the strength training! You are on the right track!!
June 3, 2012 8:20 AM
thanks mmapags flowerforyou ! You explained that beautifully.

I was concerned as I thought I was losing muscle, and would need to consume more calories (no deficit) and strength train to build it back, but now understand there is every point in continuing with strength training to develop and retain the muscle I already have, and I can still do this on a deficit, albeit it is a smaller deficit than I have been allowing myself.

Magic!!
  6967606
June 3, 2012 8:24 AM
QUOTE:

You must eat to lose. That being said, you should NET at least 1200 (more in my opinion). For example, if you burn 300 calories from exercise, you should eat a TOTAL of 1500 calories of CLEAN, HEALTHY food in order to lose weight. Our bodies are machines that NEED calories in order to work...if you don't fuel your body, you are denying your brain, muscles, and complete body of the nutrients, vitamins and energy it needs to even function! Your brain needs calories to operate, your eyelids need calories to blink, your muscles need calories to allow your fingers to type...get what I am saying? Starvation will do nothing but cause long-term damage.


Nicely put!
June 3, 2012 8:26 AM
I think that what you are doing is fine. You are over 200 lbs, a 900 calorie deficit is ok. But be aware that as your weight comes down you will have to reel that deficit in.

QUOTE:
I have read that you cannot build muscle on a deficit, so would I be assisting in retaining lean muscle mass by strength trsining.


There are exceptions to that rule. New lifters can build some muscle on a deficit. And people with a very high body fat % will also gain muscle in a deficit.
Edited by therealangd On June 3, 2012 8:27 AM
  6611838
June 3, 2012 8:28 AM
QUOTE:

thanks mmapags flowerforyou ! You explained that beautifully.

I was concerned as I thought I was losing muscle, and would need to consume more calories (no deficit) and strength train to build it back, but now understand there is every point in continuing with strength training to develop and retain the muscle I already have, and I can still do this on a deficit, albeit it is a smaller deficit than I have been allowing myself.

Magic!!


Yup, you got it! If you lose mass and then try to gain it back, you actually have to eat at a surplus to do that and in doing that, you gain back some fat. It just seems so counter productive to me, especially for a woman who would be trying to gain back lean muscle without the benefit of testosterone! Glad I could be helpful! flowerforyou
June 3, 2012 8:31 AM
QUOTE:

and yes, you can strength train and lose weight...I did it and highly recommend it. Strength training builds muscles that burn MORE calories in the long-term...but you must eat enough to A. build muscles and B. to fuel the muscles


Yes, Yes, YES!!
  13651635
June 3, 2012 8:32 AM
QUOTE:


I also read that I cannot build / gain lean mass on a calorie deficit.



This is absolutely not true, although a common misconception.
June 3, 2012 8:33 AM
If you really gained weight at TDEE - 15% or TDEE - 20%, then your TDEE isn't as high as you think it is.
June 3, 2012 8:35 AM
QUOTE:


QUOTE:
I have read that you cannot build muscle on a deficit, so would I be assisting in retaining lean muscle mass by strength trsining.


There are exceptions to that rule. New lifters can build some muscle on a deficit. And people with a very high body fat % will also gain muscle in a deficit.


This is correct however newbie gains are minimal and building muscle for women is probelmatic without testosterone even with high body fat. But for most of us, we've got enough muscle tissue, we just have to develop it through lifting. We will gain some size as the muscle tissue develops and fills with water and glycogen and it will look like we gained muscle but it is really neuro muscular adaptation. That not a bad thing! It's just not critical in most instances to grow new muscle cells unless we have let much of it waste away by severe undereating or we are a body builder training for competition.
June 3, 2012 8:36 AM
QUOTE:

I'm at a deficit of about 900 calories a day.
I eat 1300 and exercise calories, which is about another 600 every other day.
I am attempting to eat cleaner, weigh 226lb, am female and 5ft 11 tall, aged 36.


Hey there, i'm 5'11 used to be 231 (206 now) and am 20 (21 next week!) and you I eat at a deficiet but my body fat percentage has also gone done about 2-3% in the past 2 months or so. If you want to maintain muscle mass, it's recommended that you consume at least .75-1g or protein per pound of body weight. It's obviously very hard to do this, and its a great day if I can get above 100, but it works. I recommend protein powder, and don't get too crazy(over 200g) with carbs

oh and you DEFINITELY need to lift, I alternate 3 days lifting with 3 days cardio
Edited by sisierra On June 3, 2012 8:37 AM
June 3, 2012 8:38 AM
As you stated you cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit. Strength training and consuming adequate protein should help combat muscle cannabolism (although SOME is undoubtedly going to happen) to maintain a larger amount of muscle mass.

Best of luck!
Edited by rainbowbow On June 3, 2012 8:39 AM
  7740730
June 3, 2012 8:41 AM
QUOTE:

You must eat to lose. That being said, you should NET at least 1200 (more in my opinion). For example, if you burn 300 calories from exercise, you should eat a TOTAL of 1500 calories of CLEAN, HEALTHY food in order to lose weight. Our bodies are machines that NEED calories in order to work...if you don't fuel your body, you are denying your brain, muscles, and complete body of the nutrients, vitamins and energy it needs to even function! Your brain needs calories to operate, your eyelids need calories to blink, your muscles need calories to allow your fingers to type...get what I am saying? Starvation will do nothing but cause long-term damage.



You look great!! I would and will deff. take advice from you!!!
  22912798
June 3, 2012 8:41 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:


I also read that I cannot build / gain lean mass on a calorie deficit.



This is absolutely not true, although a common misconception.


This is not true. ^ Can you restore atrophied muscles, maintain muscle mass, and lose fat to make your muscles more defined? Sure. Can you build new muscle fibers/aka/hypertrophy while in a caloric deficit? No, no you cannot. This is practically 99.99999999% impossible for most people.

Edit to say: expecting to gain muscle mass in a caloric deficit is setting yourself up for failure i think. And I think she's on the right track wanting to maintain as much mass as possible while losing. :)
Edited by rainbowbow On June 3, 2012 8:45 AM
  7740730
June 3, 2012 8:48 AM
~ Find out your BMR and don't drop under it calorie wise each day ... sometimes the TDEE can be over estimated causing people to gain by eating over that allowance. Stick with what you know ... 3500 calories burned is 1 pound lost. If you can carry a 500 deficit seven days a week .. you will lose 1 pound a week.

Lean body mass is much harder to lose than people lead one to believe ... if your diet is built on adequate ratios of calories / carbs / protein ... and you are making healthy choices you will be fine with a deficit.

You do need to strength train ... but, how much will depend on how much more weight you need to lose. One of the toughest battles in this journey is building muscle while still losing body fat. It is imperative to focus on one vs both. If you need to lose 20+ lbs ... focus on diet and cardio with 2 to 3 days of 30 min strength training. If you need to lose under 20 lbs ... strength training should come first .. leaving cardio at 2 to 3 days.

Always remember that your " diet " is the key to success ... what you consume will eventually define you. By making smart choices in the kitchen ... you will already be one step ahead of the game !

Best of luck to you ! flowerforyou
  7904435
June 3, 2012 8:57 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:


I also read that I cannot build / gain lean mass on a calorie deficit.



This is absolutely not true, although a common misconception.


You can build muscles but you cannot build mass. Muscles will intake and hold water and be more solid (and heavy), and you can make a small amount of gains in muscle size if you are a beginner to it. But realize that this is very limited, only a couple pounds max. You simply will not gain anything like 10 lbs of muscle in a deficit, even if you try for years.
  12040936
June 3, 2012 9:03 AM
1300 seems way low to me. I'm 232 & I'm losing pretty steadily on 2500 calories a day average. With no exercise the lowest I'd go is 1700 since I burn about 800 thru exercise. To answer your question, YES you can preserve your lean muscle mass with 30-60 min of strength training 2-3 times a week.
  11276895
June 3, 2012 9:05 AM
Your body will use up fat before it uses up muscle if you are eating a healthy diet. As people pointed out before, you need to re-evaluate how many calories you are eating/not eating as you lose weight as your BMR and TDEE will change.

You can't build muscle on a calorie deficit. HOWEVER, what most people refer to as building muscle is actually getting more toned and building strength, both of which are absolutely possible on a calorie deficit. Furthermore, some minor creation of new muscle is possible on a deficit for people who are extremely overweight, but this is temporary.
  21619196

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