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Lifting heavy not enough for fat loss?

Answered on June 07, 2014
Created May 31, 2014 at 6:48 PM

I've been going to an Olympic Lifting class 3x/week for a month now (not crossfit), and though I can tell I'm gaining strength by adding weight, I don't feel like I'm losing much fat?

Besides my 70/30 paleo eating which must/will improve, I'm wondering if I need more cardio to supplement fat loss? A few years ago, I was 30lbs lighter (gained a bunch last year) and achieved fat loss and muscle gain in 11 months mostly by cardio and diet alone (muay thai).

I'm wondering if I'm either not giving myself enough credit because it's only been one month, or if adding something like cardio to my weight lifting will help to maximize the results (in addition to eating)? *Bonus question: is it more difficult for me to lose the 30lbs I gained in one year compared to the fatloss I experienced beforehand? Thank you in advance! stats: female, 26 years old, 170lbs, 5'5ft, 48.5% body fat, looking to lose at least 20% body fat

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 05, 2014
at 12:59 PM

yes, getting in your basic minimum macros and micros is important. And sufficient protein is important. That's not germane to this conversation. The OP is exercising and is eating a varied diet. If she wants to drop more weight she needs to be at a caloric deficit. Cardio, in addition to her lifting may help -- but diet is where she needs to focus

F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on June 04, 2014
at 04:06 AM

Well explained... well argued... imo spot on.

btw... 500 per day work just fine for me. :)

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 03, 2014
at 01:44 PM

7. Just eat whole foods

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on June 03, 2014
at 01:32 PM

Lol Matt, I'm going to give you a noogie !

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 03, 2014
at 12:25 PM

agreed. But I tend to follow the anchor and adjust philosophy. I'll give you the answer that works for 90-95% of the population, start there and adjust to your specific situation.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 03, 2014
at 03:39 AM

You're saying to start with number seven right?

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on June 03, 2014
at 02:22 AM

I don't like defining an absolute calorie amount to burn per day or per week without distinguishing between different peoples' weights / heights or noting the intensity of the exercises that get the individual to said threshold. Sprinting vs running vs jogging vs walking vs standing will have different maximum weekly thresholds before over-training.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on June 03, 2014
at 02:14 AM

I know you recommend exercise, which is why I tried to be kind; I feel like we recommend largely similar points, I needed to stress though that CICO only works assuming adequate physical activity and certain core nutrition standards. CICO does not work if 50% of your calories come from High Fructose Corn Syrup and you get under 1,000 steps per day of physical activity. CICO only works for fat loss assuming adequate protein, low processed sugars, fiber, complex carbs (if you eat carbs) and physical activity.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 03, 2014
at 02:05 AM

In my response below I do suggest exercise. This was a comment to his post.

That being said, the body, with sufficient protein, will not preferably burn muscle over fat -- yes there is always some grey area where we burn both, but typically muscle wastes at 2-4% per year, fat can be burnt at much higher rates.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on June 03, 2014
at 01:42 AM

@CDone, I know that you recommend exercise. Above you only mention CICO though, you do not mention exercise. Exercise has a MAJOR hormonal effect on the human body. So when you combine exercise with a balanced CICO diet you will see fat loss/ muscle maintenance/muscle gain. But saying Calories In Calories Out for someone in poor metabolic shape will not result in fat loss. It will result in weight loss, which is of questionable utility for body appearance and health.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on June 03, 2014
at 01:40 AM

CD, CICO may apply to weight gain and weight loss but OP is asking about fat loss. Fat loss is NOT as simple as CICO. There is no study that shows CICO by diet alone causes fat loss and not muscle loss. I think this is the miscommunication that's happening between you and raydawg. Low carb is not a superior way to lose fat and retain muscle mass either though @raydawg. She should be at maintenance diet with a focus on protein (20%) and increased physical activity. CICO only works with a balanced diet and exercise.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 02, 2014
at 04:46 PM

I think people who want to gain weight should both eat and exercise (to a maximum of 5000 calories per week) more. Hard gainers should limit their exercise to ~500 Calories per day to get the biological adaptations without over-stressing their body (thus negating the potential benefits of exercise.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on June 02, 2014
at 03:36 PM

So 'hard-gainers' should exercise more in your opinion? Serious question.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 02, 2014
at 03:34 PM

Diet-induced energy deficit triggers mechanisms to control hunger and metabolic rate. Exercise induced energy deficit does not. That is to say, for every 500 calories of less food you eat, your body changes to adopt that eating style. For every 500 calories of exercise you induce -- your body initiates biological adaptations to increase your energy consumption.

These facts are not in question. They vary from person to person -- but in general dial in diet first. Exercise is supportive.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 02, 2014
at 03:31 PM

Maybe if you are looking to lose that last few pounds. But in general, it is a lot easier on the body to operate at a 500 calorie deficit than it is to exercise an additional 500 calories. And this isn't just a thought piece. Loads of research show that some, moderate exercise is beneficial -- but crossing the 500 calorie exercise barrier can hamper health in most humans.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on June 02, 2014
at 06:56 AM

then movement/'exercise' is a big part of the equation..., esp if the persons makes it a part of lifestyle alongside food and other habits...

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on June 02, 2014
at 06:56 AM

we're at cross purposes to some extent i think... I agree that cutting big mac/calorie rich non-nutrient rich food will probably help someone losing weight... Nunace needed though/there are different situations. You're assuming the person has a diet with some or many big macs, similar type foods- i was thinking in relation to someone who eats generally whole foods already working to cut fat... For such a person who's dialed in to some extent what makes them feel good, with this meshing with theory (i.e. taste receptors etc not going along with the big mac...)

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 01, 2014
at 06:07 PM

a big mac is 550 calories.

That's the same as:

  • 50 minutes of cross-country skiing
  • 45 minutes of jump roping
  • 70 minutes of boxing
  • 50 minutes of MT Pace running
  • 2.5 hours walking

It is far easier to cut out 500 calories than it is to exercise 500 calories.

Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

(559)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:45 PM

Just think how enjoyable life would be if that was the healthiest way to eat :D.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:44 PM

to some extent arguable imho. easier for some people to move themselves into a calorie deficit than eat.., particularly if the movement is well planned and implemented, sufficiently intense alongside there being adequate rest...

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19483)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:42 PM

There is no ambiguity, hormones, genes, and the thyroid have a larger effect, if you don't dial them in, you won't lose fat no matter how low you go. Stating it's a matter of burning more calories than you consume is meaningless due to these factors, we don't eat calories, we eat food, and its make up has an effect as well.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:42 PM

I miss the beer, pizza, and pasta diet...

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:41 PM

it still works. just because you cannot accurately measure calories out doesn't mean it doesn't work. the problem is that it is the wrong question.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19483)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:39 PM

That's exactly the point - if the CICO theory worked, you would lose fat by simply staying awake 48 hour stretches at a time, but this doesn't work BECAUSE of the effects of the hormones. The CICO theory doesn't work precisely because of the effect of hormones.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:36 PM

technically its thermodynamic which is an aplication of physics which is an application if math.

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:17 PM

I think your confusing the ambiguity in measuring either the intake or the expenditure or energy. ( Which common people don't have a good way to do ) This does not disprove the point...it just means we need to measure better or take more factors into account. ( note the part of my post about exercise )

Either that or you've read to many self-help blogs from people trying to sell you things. :D

------------------------------------------

Stupid comment limit~

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:17 PM

Did not read this, the premise was just too stupid. ( Sorries ^^ )

If you really wanted to be picky I could rephrase a bit to make the technicalities go away. ( Consume = absorb/assimilate )

But on the actual point, there is no getting around it...it's just math, it's stupid to even think the contrary there are no alternative theorys.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:01 PM

The problem with your "debunking" sentences is that it does not debunk it.

insufficient sleep causes hormonal imbalances that changes the calories out portion of the equation. The calories in - calories out still holds true.

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9 Answers

0
Medium avatar

on June 07, 2014
at 04:09 PM

Are you combining your lifting with an intermittent fast? You might try that if you want to avoid cardio. However, sprints, hills and bleachers are not the same as running and walking. Interval training is a form of high intensity training (or is that the other way around?). So you might consider getting a warmup and do some high intensity interval training and keep it up until you're in a pool of sweat. Do it just like lifting... half a minute on, half a minute off... or even longer to rest when you're starting out.

Some odd, fun and unusual exercises you can do between workouts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx_Zy4x9TTw&list=PLDracXdlKk5Lk6yyw-y4pQ0X_dclToLjO

0
Eb87941a669017dfb288d296cc672130

on June 05, 2014
at 02:25 PM

For the vast majority of people, heavy lifting alone is not going to be sufficient to illicit any sort of significant fat loss. Even assuming you're in a caloric deficit, it's still hard to drop a significant amount of fat with just strict dieting alone. It can be done, yes, but (1) it takes a lot of time (2) cardio only amplifies results in several ways. First, is that cardio will also increase insulin sensitivity and therefore allow you to better partition calories that you do eat (For instance, carbs into glycogen, fat as fuel, and protein as a catalyst for muscle repair). Second off, cardio burns calories and therefore means you can increase calories (a little), which allows you to intake more nutrients and therefor remain more nourished on your diet. (3), it just simply speeds up the process. No one wants to remain in a deficit for years on end. If you do daily cardio and vary your intensities and types, from my own personal experience I would say that you can at least half the time it takes to get lean. And (4) lengthy cardio stimulates growth hormone secretion ("fountain of youth hormone") significantly more than weight training ( http://ergo-log.com/lengthy-cardio-training-stimul... ). (5) Sweating is good for guys' hair as it eliminates DHT build up on the scalp, which can contribute to premature balding (I sweat way more when i do cardio than when i weight train). (6). It improves mood. Cardio releases endorphins in your brain that make you feel fantastic (exercise induced Nootropic factor or something like that, aka "Runners high"). (7) Running improves bone health.

Those are just 7 important reasons to do cardio. Do it. Also, for good measure, I'd like to add that Mark Sisson is a phony :P

0
A003a0e704118f11b86a6e1fbbb13cd7

on June 04, 2014
at 06:58 PM

Keep it simple! Get strict on your diet. I had great success doing the Whole30!

http://busyboldblessed.blogspot.com/2013/05/even-more-whole30-results.html

Also, I've read that adding sprints can accelerate weight loss.

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/15-reasons-to-sprint-more-this-year/#axzz33hM2fXI7

0
Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10979)

on June 03, 2014
at 02:01 AM

I'm going to give you advice below. Until you can obey the first rule, don't move to the second rule; until you can follow the second rule don't go to the third, etc. If you won't take this advice then don't even bother reading the rest of my response.

  1. Increase your physical activity, burn at least 400-700 (minimum) calories daily by walking or running or biking or swimming, Muay Thai or any other physical activity / sport that you enjoy.
  2. Cut out simple sugars and artificial sweeteners for 100% of your diet 100% of the time. There is no reason to eat these indulgences when you could eat real food ever when you're trying to lose weight.
  3. Minimum 18% of daily calories must come from protein. Absolutely no more than 30%.
  4. Eat more fibrous complex carbs (beans/whole grains). Eat more vegetables.
  5. Don't snack.
  6. Measure and limit your daily calories in/out.

Assuming you don't have an underlying medical condition following the above steps TOGETHER will result in however much fat loss you desire and it's not even controversial. Almost any medical doctor would agree with that advise. In fact I encourage you to take any advice you read here to your doctor FIRST and talk it over with him to ensure it is a good idea.

To answer your first question though, NO, heavy lifting alone is absolutely not enough for substantial fat loss.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on June 03, 2014
at 03:39 AM

You're saying to start with number seven right?

0
Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

on June 01, 2014
at 03:41 PM

In my experience calories are king. I got up to 245lbs by drinking gallons of beer weekly, eating pizza and pasta and drinking soda. I changed my diet to wild salmon, free range chicken, fat free yogurt with blue berries and granola. I also ate tons of watermelon and grapes. breakfast consisted of egg whites in evoo, or one cup of multigrain cheerios with a small amount of fat free milk. I ate 4-5 times a day and wasn't hungry. I barely exercised maybe 3-5 miles light jog a week for the first 5 months. I lost 95lbs in 10 months. The reason I am telling you this is your apparent stalled weight loss mostly likely is from the quantity ofccalories you're taking in.

Af679502f1e31c0c59c79bd08f324b35

(559)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:45 PM

Just think how enjoyable life would be if that was the healthiest way to eat :D.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:42 PM

I miss the beer, pizza, and pasta diet...

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19483)

on June 01, 2014
at 01:35 PM

@wtfgod

Actually the Calories-In-Calories-Out theory is a myth. I can debunk it in two sentences:

1) "Since when you sleep, you only burn your Basal Metabolic Rate, to lose lots of fat, you shouldn't sleep, that way you'll burn lots more calories." 2)If you actually try this, you'll find yourself as insulin resistant as a Type II Diabetic, become ravenous in an attempt to stay awake, and actually gain far more weight.

Further, we don't eat calories, we eat food. If you try to break things up into just calories, you'll find they have totally different effects on our bodies. 100g of fat doesn't have the same effect as 100g of carbs, nor 100g of protein. Even if you account for the energy difference of 4cals/g of carb/protein vs 9cals/gram of fat and eat 100cals of fat vs 100cals of protein vs 100 cals of carbs, the effects are completely different.

Even if you take just one of those macros and break it up, 100 cals of MCT oil have a completely different effect than 100 cals of SFA, or 100 cals of MUFA. If you don't believe me, take 100g of ricin - a protein, and feed it to a rat. Next take 100g of whey protein powder and feed it to anther rat - you'll need two rats, not just to have a control subject, but because the first one will die. Ricin, while a protein, is extremely toxic.

Calories aren't interchangeable.

Our bodies don't work like bomb-calorimeters, there are lots of factors, driven by tons of hormones including insulin, leptin, ghrelin, melatonin, cortisol, as well how well our thyroids function, the amount of carbs we eat and so forth, how many amylase genes we have, and so on.

Yes, calories do matter at some level, but only when you're talking about a huge increase or decrease of calories.

Additionally, I just ran across this:

http://rockstarresearch.com/these-5-genes-predict-...

Turns out, some people do much better on a high fat diet, others on a high carb diet. Some with light exercise, others with high intensity exercise.

Many people, myself included, do great on a high fat low carb diet, but if we go down to ZERO carbs, we get in trouble. Our thyroids shut down, producing mostly rT3 and rT4 instead of actual T3 and T4, we get lethargic, as if we were ready to hibernate, and put on the pounds of fat. If we skate just slightly above that, say at 50g/carbs a day, we do great.

Others can easily lose fat on a low fat diet. It's all in the genes. You could get your DNA sequenced via 23andme or Ancestry.com, then unzip the file and search for those SNPs in the article above, or you could just try it... Mostly, it turns out that those of us who become fat on a SAD diet are more likely to lose fat on a HFLC diet precisely because the SAD is an extremely high carb diet.

The value of exercise is to a) move your lymph around so you can detox your body (with that, sweat is also a detox mechanism), b) raise your heart rate so blood can go throughout your body and oxygenate all tissues, even those that normally don't get much oxygen because they're at the ends of capilaries that are hard to reach, c) break down muscle tissue and rebuild it later when we rest d) feels awesome (endorphin release), e) increase sleep pressure so you have a good night's sleep.

Building muscle is the key to raising your basal metabolic rate. The more muscle you have, the more you burn around the clock. But to build muscle, you must stay in mTOR, and this means you'll also gain some fat along with it, then to lean out, stay in AMPk... that is, to do it right, you'd do cycles of bulking and leaning. See my other answer here:

http://paleohacks.com/questions/525319/fitness-pal...

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:17 PM

Did not read this, the premise was just too stupid. ( Sorries ^^ )

If you really wanted to be picky I could rephrase a bit to make the technicalities go away. ( Consume = absorb/assimilate )

But on the actual point, there is no getting around it...it's just math, it's stupid to even think the contrary there are no alternative theorys.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:01 PM

The problem with your "debunking" sentences is that it does not debunk it.

insufficient sleep causes hormonal imbalances that changes the calories out portion of the equation. The calories in - calories out still holds true.

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:17 PM

I think your confusing the ambiguity in measuring either the intake or the expenditure or energy. ( Which common people don't have a good way to do ) This does not disprove the point...it just means we need to measure better or take more factors into account. ( note the part of my post about exercise )

Either that or you've read to many self-help blogs from people trying to sell you things. :D

------------------------------------------

Stupid comment limit~

0
7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on May 31, 2014
at 09:37 PM

The way you lose weight is by burning more calories than you consume.

If you are consuming in excess of what you are burning it does not mater if you work out 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Why exercise is valuable is that it raises your metabolism so you burn more than you otherwise think you are. ( Offsetting into the negative )

You can't exercise your way out of a bad diet.

On another note, depending on your practice, weight loss can be slow. If you are working at a deficit of only a couple hundred calories a day it can take 2 weeks to lose a pound of fat. That pound of fat loss can easily be hidden by water weight shifts, so the short term analysis of weight loss/gain can be ambiguous.

TL:DR - DO THE MATH. :D

0
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on May 31, 2014
at 09:02 PM

Weight loss is 80% diet and 20% life style (sleep, exercise, movement, etc). Cardio helps me with hormonal balance -- I think I definitely feel better with cardio -- but weight loss is about diet.

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on June 01, 2014
at 03:44 PM

to some extent arguable imho. easier for some people to move themselves into a calorie deficit than eat.., particularly if the movement is well planned and implemented, sufficiently intense alongside there being adequate rest...

0
F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on May 31, 2014
at 08:44 PM

I'll answer the bonus question first

Is it more difficult for me to lose the 30 lbs I gained in one year compared to the fat loss I experienced beforehand?

No... fat has no memory effect.

I lost 30 lbs (220 to 190, 6') in ~ 7 months.... no real cardio other than walking ~ an hour a day. No weight training either...pretty much all diet. I ate very clean.. no junk, except on 'cheat days' which I gave up pretty quickly.

Have you checked your calorie input? Have you estimated your output? Are you sure you're in calorie deficit? Have you lost any inches on your waist? The tape is often better than the scale.

My swag, at 70/30 you're too "un-paleo" AND you're likely eating too much....but just a guess. But OTOH, are you tired? Hungry? Are workouts too hard, stressful?

checkout

http://home.fuse.net/clymer/bmi/

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