3

votes

Is eating for weight loss and eating for performance mutually exclusive?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 02, 2012 at 3:14 PM

A little background: Had a baby in June 2011. Ballooned up to 244 lbs - I'm 5'6" (I wasn't paleo during pregnancy - which I regret). Thanks to a focused Paleo diet and exclusive breastfeeding/pumping, I'm now down to 160. I started up my workouts five weeks ago and currently I'm crossfit 5x a week (I rest when I need to and scale everything).

I'm in the military and in six weeks I will be weighed and take my physical fitness test. So, I need to add in two or three days of running workouts (just 15-25 minutes of intervals/tempo runs/timed two milers) along with push ups/sit ups since crossfit doesn't focus on them specifically and I want to max the test. I probably need to drop two minutes off my two mile time and increase push ups by 20 (I have two minutes to do 50). I also need to lose another five pounds before the test so that I can comfortably pass the weigh-in. I'm averaging 40-70 grams of carbs/day, anywhere from 1300-1700 calories, and protein is 70-150 grams depending on the size of my steak. :)

If I continue eating the way I have been, I'll lose the weight. However, I won't have the energy to sustain my workouts or to get stronger. If I increase calories/carbs, I'll have the energy but I'll stall the weight loss (tried it last month and stalled for two weeks). I'm also concerned that if something doesn't change, my milk supply will dry up since it's also getting much lower, supplements/extra pumping hasn't helped, and I'm sure my lower calorie diet has something to do with it.

How would you approach this? I feel like I'm missing something...

EDIT to add: For anyone who tells me to take long walks, I walk my dogs for 15 minutes a day and an hour on the weekend with my baby in a stroller. Aside from that, I have no time to do multiple long walks each week. I work full time, crossfit at the buttcrack of dawn, and cook/do chores all evening/weekend to keep the house going. I'm lucky to have an hour to sit down and play with my daughter each evening.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:22 PM

I'm ok with Robb Wolf, though he'd also disagree with my workout routines too. :( Plus, in his book/site, there is a dichotomy in his recommendations for how someone should eat while training and how someone should eat while losing weight. Which is why I came to paleohacks in the first place.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:21 PM

I can't believe that it's incompatible, but it may require different attention to timing or make things harder than they need to be. Something to have in the pocket perhaps.

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:21 PM

As Steve Martin would say..."exccuuuuseee meeeeeeee!" :) I took it that the following meant add MORE running. "...I will be weighed and take my physical fitness test. So, I need to add in two or three days of running workouts...." Sorry about that. My fault. English was my first language, so... BTW-I take it the people that haven't been that heavy don't know what it's like to get out there and run and find that it puts weight on!

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Oh and I like "the alternative is to get fitter and leaner and better at using the muscles you already have" comment. I think this is what I should shoot for by the test. Dropping the lbs will actually help my push-ups (won't have as much resistance) and run (less dead weight to carry). After the weigh-in/test, I'll go back to training for strength.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:17 PM

Hmm... I hadn't considered that IF could be used in my case. My only concern with IF is that I tried it when I got a little overzealous in January (before I started workout out) and it seemed like my milk supply dropped. Though it's possible that could have been caused by something else. Guess I'll be giving IF a shot next week. Thanks!

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:15 PM

If you were still doing CrossFit 5x a week, I would point to that as the culprit then. You could also try Dr. K's leptin reset. Has helped my energy levels a lot due to the back whack of protein in the am.

Dc77df0e0b3a7643c94ce84eb0ae1fb4

(944)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:12 PM

what about some of mr wolfs stuff? (obviously similar to cordain however...)

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:09 PM

The progress she's struggling with is improving her running time. 2 mile runs are not a long distance, but it's still hard to improve without actually, y'know, running.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:06 PM

Thanks for the link. I'm just not a huge Cordain fan. I'm more of a Kurt Harris girl myself. Though he would not agree with my level of exercise.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:04 PM

It shouldn't, but it did last month when I tried it...

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:03 PM

While I agree her workouts sound intense, I don't think unning in particular will mess up progress so long as she's smart about it. Plus, she said she needs to add it in to her current routine for her military tests. It sounds like she is focusing on short intervals and daily long runs - she should be fine with this.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:03 PM

What running? I haven't started it yet...

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:02 PM

Sleep. W/an infant. hah. :) I co-sleep and am lucky if I get seven hours broken up with two wake-ups for feedings. But yes, I eat well. As for the workouts, I know 5x a week sounds like a lot but aside from the first week, I've felt great. I don't have too much muscle soreness and the workouts are all varied and there is always a strentch component so I don't worry too much about dedicating a day of resistance. Push ups are just muscle endurance and sit-ups/the run are technique. I just need to start doing them... I'm very wary of over-reaching/over-training. Thanks for your response.

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6 Answers

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1
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on March 02, 2012
at 04:07 PM

They're not mutually exclusive but it's hard to push the limits of both at the same time in a short time-frame.

If you genuinely don't have the strength then I'm not sure there's much you can do in time. More likely you just need to access it, in which case I would concentrate on getting your aerobic ceiling as high as possible and making sure you're recovering as well as possible. If you do need to train to increase muscle mass then you have to feed it - and chances are your weight will go up. The alternative is to get fitter and leaner and better at using the muscles you already have. Which means not over-training them so that you're forced into eating just to get up in the morning. Throw in frequent but short 'sprints' (with whatever exercise you like) to get your heartrate up as much as possible and then let it recover before you damage your muscles.

Carb-loading immediately before the test will improve performance in it but also add a few pounds. Ideally you want to make the weight and be able to pass the test without too much of a boost. It's all about aerobic capacity and technique at this point - the run could probably be fixed by technique but still it's not a lot of time without someone actually there to help.

Obviously the standard recommendations on IF apply. Whatever approach is practical, it allows for adequate feeding around workouts and calorie restriction.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Oh and I like "the alternative is to get fitter and leaner and better at using the muscles you already have" comment. I think this is what I should shoot for by the test. Dropping the lbs will actually help my push-ups (won't have as much resistance) and run (less dead weight to carry). After the weigh-in/test, I'll go back to training for strength.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:17 PM

Hmm... I hadn't considered that IF could be used in my case. My only concern with IF is that I tried it when I got a little overzealous in January (before I started workout out) and it seemed like my milk supply dropped. Though it's possible that could have been caused by something else. Guess I'll be giving IF a shot next week. Thanks!

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:21 PM

I can't believe that it's incompatible, but it may require different attention to timing or make things harder than they need to be. Something to have in the pocket perhaps.

2
Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

on March 02, 2012
at 03:49 PM

Do you need to "add in" additional workouts? I'm skeptical that you need to up your training. I'd swap out some xfit for intervals and maybe a day of resistance training. Your workouts can look like this: 2days xfit, 1 day lifting, 2 days sprints/push-ups/sit-ups, but play around and see what feels good in terms of intensity/recovery. Walking and light activities are always good. With that kind of intensity, you probably need to really make sure your sleep/sleep cycles are solid -- this is key. Keep hydrated as necessary. Seems like you're on the right track, just don't over do it. I found in my experience of personal training, my clients will lose body fat by sleeping, recovering, eating clean.

You don't tell us much about your diet, but I'm assuming you're avoiding the usual culprits (glutens, processed oils, etc). I don't think you need to go any lower calorie-wise, but make sure you're eating the highest nutritional quality foods you can manage. Iron, B-vitamins, calcium and omega-3s will be particularly important for breast-milk production. Also, omega-3s/DHA will be important for infant development, so this is good all around.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:02 PM

Sleep. W/an infant. hah. :) I co-sleep and am lucky if I get seven hours broken up with two wake-ups for feedings. But yes, I eat well. As for the workouts, I know 5x a week sounds like a lot but aside from the first week, I've felt great. I don't have too much muscle soreness and the workouts are all varied and there is always a strentch component so I don't worry too much about dedicating a day of resistance. Push ups are just muscle endurance and sit-ups/the run are technique. I just need to start doing them... I'm very wary of over-reaching/over-training. Thanks for your response.

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:50 PM

I'm not a calorie counter. If you are hungrier due to more activity then you should eat more to sustain said activity. BTW it seems quite logical to me that being a good fat burner would give you an edge. So training a bit carb restricted and then competing/testing fully loaded might be a good option. Should help you continue to lose weight and retain muscle mass up to that time.

1
Dc77df0e0b3a7643c94ce84eb0ae1fb4

on March 02, 2012
at 03:48 PM

the paleo diet for atheletes by Loren Cordain may intrest you

http://www.trainingbible.com/pdf/Paleo_for_Athletes_Cliff_Notes.pdf

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:22 PM

I'm ok with Robb Wolf, though he'd also disagree with my workout routines too. :( Plus, in his book/site, there is a dichotomy in his recommendations for how someone should eat while training and how someone should eat while losing weight. Which is why I came to paleohacks in the first place.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:06 PM

Thanks for the link. I'm just not a huge Cordain fan. I'm more of a Kurt Harris girl myself. Though he would not agree with my level of exercise.

Dc77df0e0b3a7643c94ce84eb0ae1fb4

(944)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:12 PM

what about some of mr wolfs stuff? (obviously similar to cordain however...)

0
5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on March 02, 2012
at 03:54 PM

I would think about scaling back the crossfit to 2-3x a week, doing some long walks, and doing interval sprints 1x a week. Overtraining can stall weightloss, and the intervals will help your two mile time. If you're finding you're lacking energy, add in some starchy tubers like sweet potatoes or yams. Given your level of activity, that should not make you stall imo.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:04 PM

It shouldn't, but it did last month when I tried it...

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:15 PM

If you were still doing CrossFit 5x a week, I would point to that as the culprit then. You could also try Dr. K's leptin reset. Has helped my energy levels a lot due to the back whack of protein in the am.

-1
E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 02, 2012
at 03:55 PM

The running is messing up your progress, not Paleo!

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:09 PM

The progress she's struggling with is improving her running time. 2 mile runs are not a long distance, but it's still hard to improve without actually, y'know, running.

Fb677d93955eb0fac597e3d94db92980

(1115)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:03 PM

What running? I haven't started it yet...

E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:21 PM

As Steve Martin would say..."exccuuuuseee meeeeeeee!" :) I took it that the following meant add MORE running. "...I will be weighed and take my physical fitness test. So, I need to add in two or three days of running workouts...." Sorry about that. My fault. English was my first language, so... BTW-I take it the people that haven't been that heavy don't know what it's like to get out there and run and find that it puts weight on!

Cfc7dee889a66db9cd76c4f348109294

(1652)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:03 PM

While I agree her workouts sound intense, I don't think unning in particular will mess up progress so long as she's smart about it. Plus, she said she needs to add it in to her current routine for her military tests. It sounds like she is focusing on short intervals and daily long runs - she should be fine with this.

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