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Balance for Losing Weight AND Gaining Muscle Simultaneously?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created November 23, 2012 at 7:34 PM

What is the balance for a 25 year old female and newbie to Paleo for losing 80-90 pounds of fat and putting on muscle simultaneously?

What is recommended and why?

High Protein/Low Carb/Low Fat?

High Protein/High Carb/High Fat?

High Protein/Low Carb/High Fat?

High Protien/High Carb/Low Fat?

etc...

All advice, information, and suggestions are welcome. Thank you for your time.

EDIT***

To add to my stats; I am a 25 year old, female, at 5'8", 220 pounds. I want to get down to 10%-15% body fat, and put on muscle. In addition, after two months on the waiting list, I will start a Crossfit Foundations course next week, and plan to continue with that, and hopefully get to the point where I am crossfitting 6-7 days a week. I began converting to a Paleo lifestyle in September 2012.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 24, 2012
at 04:17 PM

Yes, definitely "wouldn't", sorry :)

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 24, 2012
at 01:15 PM

Crossfit*** My Macbook automatically corrects what it thinks the correct way a word should be spelled.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 24, 2012
at 05:05 AM

Magnesium has shown to help with sleep but the main focus on that is to make sure Calcium and Magnesium are balanced. Lack of sleep can lead to Magnesium deficiency, so that's one of those chicken and egg scenarios. I do think sleep issues can be resolved with other things and if you've had sleep problems in the past, there's probably a lot more going on (specifically relating to the diet and hormone levels) than Magnesium. I'd recommend T.S. Wiley's book "Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival" and Carolyn Dean's "The Magnesium Miracle" for further information.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 24, 2012
at 05:03 AM

With both cinnamon and ALA, I use them differently. I like taking ALA in the morning on an empty stomach (I combine it with L-Carnitine, which has been shown to have some other benefits, Google it if you want to know more) and the cinnamon I love eating on certain foods, in my coffee and in other "liquid meals" like protein shakes. Sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and a few other things are great with cinnamon.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 24, 2012
at 04:59 AM

If you're starting CrossFit and find someone who teach you the proper techniques and monitor your programming, you should be fine there. As for the glucose meter, it's a good way to really see what your body does with carbohydrates. Even with the Glycemic index of foods, I've found some things are major blood-sugar spikers and other things aren't. This can help when determining which carbs to really keep around workouts and others that you can consume more liberally. Outside of that, just knowing your response to certain foods is great N=1 information.

C3bc92e6b5eba45dc55f43ac3c70cc25

on November 24, 2012
at 04:18 AM

+1 for suppversity link. That & Ergo-log are info mine fields

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 24, 2012
at 01:39 AM

KA24 - That was a very informative article. I enjoyed reading the comments as well. It gives me a great deal to think about. Thank you so much for your input!

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 24, 2012
at 01:30 AM

KA24 - Did you mean to say "I definitely "wouldn't" just jump right..." instead of "would"?

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 24, 2012
at 01:11 AM

KA24-I began converting to a Paleo lifestyle in September. Regarding #1. I start my crossfit foundations course next week. That should provide some intense cardio and lifting. Is there a way to measure what percentage of my body is muscle. #2 What exactly will the blood glucose meter teach me after each meal? Will it allow me to know which carbs spike my blood sugar? Sorry, both my degrees have nothing to do with medicine and nutrition. This is all new. #5. Would you recommend I take a cinnamon or Alpha Lipoic Acid supp? #6. Would a magnesium supp help with my erratic sleep history? Thank you!

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 23, 2012
at 10:38 PM

No problem. Fasting for women seems to be much less likely to be as great as people think. Not saying it won't work for you, but I definitely would just jump right into it (for someone needing to lose a lot of fat and especially if that person is a female). Check out this article... http://www.paleoforwomen.com/shattering-the-myth-of-fasting-for-women-a-review-of-female-specific-responses-to-fasting-in-the-literature/

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 23, 2012
at 10:26 PM

Sigrid - Thank you for your input! I did not realize that body fat percentage could potentially hurt me (I am still learning everyday). As far as cross fit; I am going to gradually build up the number of days I attend. Plus, the great thing about cross fit is the ability to scale down the workouts to my ability at that time. In between classes I plan on jogging, walking, light sprinting, stretching, etc.

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 23, 2012
at 10:20 PM

CD - Thanks for your input! After being stuck on a waiting list for two months, I am finally starting my crossfit foundations course next Tuesday.

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 23, 2012
at 10:17 PM

anonymous - I start my crossfit foundations course on Tuesday (finally after two months on the waiting list). When you say, consume 1 gram of protein per pound of goal weight... do you mean that if my goal weight is 130 pounds, I should consume 130 grams of protein per day?

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 23, 2012
at 10:14 PM

KA24 - Does intermittent fasting affect females a different way than it would affect males? Thank you for your input. paleo12 - why would you recommend intermittent fasting? And for what time periods do you think would be beneficial?

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 23, 2012
at 09:12 PM

I'm not anti-fasting, but blindly recommending this for a FEMALE who needs to lose 80-90 lbs might be a little much...

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6 Answers

4
21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on November 23, 2012
at 09:54 PM

It's great that you are so gung-ho about making changes, but you might want to tweak your goals to make them a bit more achievable. 10% to 15% body fat is very low for a female - we're talking potentially compromised fertility. SuppVersity.com has a series of great articles on the "female athletic triad" affecting women with body fat that's too low.

Also, even a Crossfit coach would not recommend going every day or almost every day. Recovery is an important part of gaining muscle and preventing injury. Three to four times a week is plenty. You could always supplement with walking.

By setting these highly ambitious goals you are risking setting yourself up for failure. Perhaps you would benefit from setting a series of moderate, achievable goals that include cutting yourself some slack?

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 24, 2012
at 01:15 PM

Crossfit*** My Macbook automatically corrects what it thinks the correct way a word should be spelled.

C3bc92e6b5eba45dc55f43ac3c70cc25

on November 24, 2012
at 04:18 AM

+1 for suppversity link. That & Ergo-log are info mine fields

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 23, 2012
at 10:26 PM

Sigrid - Thank you for your input! I did not realize that body fat percentage could potentially hurt me (I am still learning everyday). As far as cross fit; I am going to gradually build up the number of days I attend. Plus, the great thing about cross fit is the ability to scale down the workouts to my ability at that time. In between classes I plan on jogging, walking, light sprinting, stretching, etc.

3
68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 23, 2012
at 08:27 PM

My best advice for someone wanting to lose 80-90 lbs of fat. I'd pick a plan, whatever that might be, and stick with it. Whether that be Paleo, Primal, Whole 9, Low-Carb cycling, Atkins, Perfect Health Diet, etc...select one that best fits what you enjoy and go with it. With that said, be flexible and pay attention to YOUR body. If something seems to be an issue, change it.

  1. Focus on the fat loss. You probably have a lot more muscle mass than you think, despite having a lot of additional fat. Instead of trying to gain muscle, I'd focus on trying to preserve the muscle you have. You can worry about toning up specific areas and strengthening weaker areas, but I wouldn't make it a priority. For the fat loss, there are a few approaches, but I'd keep it simple. Steady protein intake, train your body to use fat for fuel and incorporate your cardio, whatever that may be, in a fasted state. This doesn't mean do crazy long fasts with a ton of cardio, but a simple 20-30 minutes in the morning before eating would suffice. I've found that a moderate amount of fat as the last meal before going to sleep can help someone have enough fuel in the morning for that cardio session. If this isn't possible, I'd not even really bother with cardio outside of walking.

  2. Walk a lot. The benefits of this apply in a few different ways. First, it's natural to move around a lot. I don't buy the whole "10,000 steps a day" program but it does have some merit. If someone can simply go on a 2-3 mile walk every day, it's a great way to get some sunshine, relieve stress and keep things moving (lymph system, blood flow, digestion, etc...). Also, walking after a meal that contains a high glucose load can actually improve

  3. Dial in your carbohydrate intake. You will quickly realize your tolerance for certain carbs. Get a blood glucose meter and test after meals. Some things will wreck you, other things won't have any affect. Like many others say on here, use your carbs after workouts, especially when lifting weights. It makes too much sense and definitely has some benefits in maintaining muscle.

  4. Deadlifting and Squatting. "Heavy" is a relative term and certainly, start where you need to. However, I think it's absolutely essential for everyone to learn things like these lifts. These are two things that will absolutely maintain the muscle you have, but give you some amazing base strength areas that will make it easy to try different stuff as you continue to progress toward your goals. Outside of an injury, EVERYONE should be incorporating these movements as often as possible.

  5. "Hack" your glucose metabolism. I think some people undervalue this. While it seems to only matter to those with Diabetes, I disagree. Simple things like walking after a carbohydrate-rich meal or taking a cinnamon or Alpha Lipoic Acid supplement daily can really improve what your body does with blood glucose. These are easy things that take very little effort or expense to do and even those in the best shape can benefit from.

  6. Sleep. This ties in to #5 as sleep can really help keeping stable blood sugar throughout the day. It's the same with training. I've found that when I allow myself adequate sleep, I can training and eat without limitations and not really see any negatives. There are tons of other benefits of sleep that I'm sure you can do searches just on this site and find.

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 24, 2012
at 01:11 AM

KA24-I began converting to a Paleo lifestyle in September. Regarding #1. I start my crossfit foundations course next week. That should provide some intense cardio and lifting. Is there a way to measure what percentage of my body is muscle. #2 What exactly will the blood glucose meter teach me after each meal? Will it allow me to know which carbs spike my blood sugar? Sorry, both my degrees have nothing to do with medicine and nutrition. This is all new. #5. Would you recommend I take a cinnamon or Alpha Lipoic Acid supp? #6. Would a magnesium supp help with my erratic sleep history? Thank you!

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 24, 2012
at 04:59 AM

If you're starting CrossFit and find someone who teach you the proper techniques and monitor your programming, you should be fine there. As for the glucose meter, it's a good way to really see what your body does with carbohydrates. Even with the Glycemic index of foods, I've found some things are major blood-sugar spikers and other things aren't. This can help when determining which carbs to really keep around workouts and others that you can consume more liberally. Outside of that, just knowing your response to certain foods is great N=1 information.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 24, 2012
at 05:03 AM

With both cinnamon and ALA, I use them differently. I like taking ALA in the morning on an empty stomach (I combine it with L-Carnitine, which has been shown to have some other benefits, Google it if you want to know more) and the cinnamon I love eating on certain foods, in my coffee and in other "liquid meals" like protein shakes. Sweet potatoes, squash, carrots and a few other things are great with cinnamon.

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 24, 2012
at 05:05 AM

Magnesium has shown to help with sleep but the main focus on that is to make sure Calcium and Magnesium are balanced. Lack of sleep can lead to Magnesium deficiency, so that's one of those chicken and egg scenarios. I do think sleep issues can be resolved with other things and if you've had sleep problems in the past, there's probably a lot more going on (specifically relating to the diet and hormone levels) than Magnesium. I'd recommend T.S. Wiley's book "Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival" and Carolyn Dean's "The Magnesium Miracle" for further information.

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on November 23, 2012
at 08:00 PM

I feel like doing both are difficult. what you should aim for is eating in a way that is healthy for you. Some people are goo on low carb, some are better on moderate carbs. Base it on your ener levels and the amount of exercise you are willing to do. Then eat that way. Exercise and work on progression, but do t worry of you progress slower than you expect.

There is not a magical formal where you input goals and age and you get macros out. Aim for health, the rest will come naturally.

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 23, 2012
at 10:20 PM

CD - Thanks for your input! After being stuck on a waiting list for two months, I am finally starting my crossfit foundations course next Tuesday.

1
D05f3050dc3d973b8b81a876202fa99a

(1533)

on November 24, 2012
at 06:30 AM

I would just dial in your nutrition and do some strength training. If you train 3 days a week, rest 4 days, and cycle your calories you can lose fat and build muscle. This is a somewhat involved process and goes against the intuitive and simple nature of a typical paleo or primal diet. Basically, you could do a LeanGains style calorie/macro cycle where you eat 20% above maintenance on lifting days and 20% below on rest days. More rest days than lifting days = weekly deficit. Not to mention that the surplus on training days will mostly go toward helping your muscles grow if your training is structured and efficient.

80% diet and 20% training. That includes CrossFitters or any other group out there.

Sounds like you're motivated though and that's good. I think you'll see some good success if you stay open minded and always do some of your own research like you are now.

1
Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

on November 23, 2012
at 08:20 PM

Focus on resistance training more than the minutae of your diet right now. Just make sure you have a slight calorie deficit below your total daily energy expenditure, (not too much, take it slow) and lift heavy weights like 4 days a week, try for some interval training 2 or so days with a lot of nice long walks.

One simple diet thing I find helpful though is setting a protein goal for the day - like 1 gram per lb of goal weight - and try to hit that goal every day. Protein is critical for lean mass retention and gain. It is also the most satiating thing you can eat. Well, that and fiber I suppose.

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 23, 2012
at 10:17 PM

anonymous - I start my crossfit foundations course on Tuesday (finally after two months on the waiting list). When you say, consume 1 gram of protein per pound of goal weight... do you mean that if my goal weight is 130 pounds, I should consume 130 grams of protein per day?

0
77188106a9c27a22ad47d0ef7318de7a

(922)

on November 23, 2012
at 08:29 PM

IF- intermittent fasting

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 23, 2012
at 09:12 PM

I'm not anti-fasting, but blindly recommending this for a FEMALE who needs to lose 80-90 lbs might be a little much...

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 23, 2012
at 10:14 PM

KA24 - Does intermittent fasting affect females a different way than it would affect males? Thank you for your input. paleo12 - why would you recommend intermittent fasting? And for what time periods do you think would be beneficial?

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 23, 2012
at 10:38 PM

No problem. Fasting for women seems to be much less likely to be as great as people think. Not saying it won't work for you, but I definitely would just jump right into it (for someone needing to lose a lot of fat and especially if that person is a female). Check out this article... http://www.paleoforwomen.com/shattering-the-myth-of-fasting-for-women-a-review-of-female-specific-responses-to-fasting-in-the-literature/

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 24, 2012
at 01:30 AM

KA24 - Did you mean to say "I definitely "wouldn't" just jump right..." instead of "would"?

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905

(5795)

on November 24, 2012
at 04:17 PM

Yes, definitely "wouldn't", sorry :)

97d98cdf2f18fa2c0bd8567ea1159609

(1047)

on November 24, 2012
at 01:39 AM

KA24 - That was a very informative article. I enjoyed reading the comments as well. It gives me a great deal to think about. Thank you so much for your input!

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