Strength workouts suffering after reducing calories

I started strength training last fall, before I started counting calories or attempting to eat at a deficit. When I started I was working with a personal trainer but now I am working on my own following the program in New Rules of Lifting for Women. I recently plateaued for about a month, so I reduced my calorie goal from about 1800 calories a day to about 1500 calories a day. I eat back some exercise calories. The scale is moving again, but I'm finding that I'm having a lot more difficulty with strength training than I was eating at the higher calorie amount (not being able to lift as much weight, getting fatigued sooner, etc).

I definitely don't want to stop strength training until I'm done losing weight, I still have 50 pounds to lose and I was getting a lot more out of the strength training than just burning calories. I'm not sure if I should do a simpler routine, something like Strong Lifts but without worrying about increasing weight so I'm preserving the strength I've already built. Has anybody dealt with this before and has advice to share? I'm a shorter woman with a small frame and sedentary job so I have very little wiggle room on my calories.

Replies

  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
    This is fairly inevitable.

    Most people in this situation either back off from progression and go with a maintenance lifting program, by either backing down the weight or the number of sets per exercise.
  • happytree923
    happytree923 Posts: 463 Member
    This is fairly inevitable.

    Most people in this situation either back off from progression and go with a maintenance lifting program, by either backing down the weight or the number of sets per exercise.

    I'm still very new to strength training- so would a maintenance program be the same lifts repeated, at the same weight, until I'm ready to work on progress again? Or should the lifts change like on a progressive program?
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
    This is fairly inevitable.

    Most people in this situation either back off from progression and go with a maintenance lifting program, by either backing down the weight or the number of sets per exercise.

    I'm still very new to strength training- so would a maintenance program be the same lifts repeated, at the same weight, until I'm ready to work on progress again? Or should the lifts change like on a progressive program?

    Do you mean should the weight(reps/sets) change? or the lifts(OHP/BP/DBell/Barbell)?

    For example If you're currently doing 3x5 BP @ 115, You could stay with 3x5 BP @ 115 You might go to 4x4 or 5x3 or you might go to 2x5. OR you could go with 3x5@105/110. Ultimately it's what works best for you, and what you're most comfortable with. And you don't want to alter/modify the program any more than is necessary.
  • happytree923
    happytree923 Posts: 463 Member
    This is fairly inevitable.

    Most people in this situation either back off from progression and go with a maintenance lifting program, by either backing down the weight or the number of sets per exercise.

    I'm still very new to strength training- so would a maintenance program be the same lifts repeated, at the same weight, until I'm ready to work on progress again? Or should the lifts change like on a progressive program?

    Do you mean should the weight(reps/sets) change? or the lifts(OHP/BP/DBell/Barbell)?

    For example If you're currently doing 3x5 BP @ 115, You could stay with 3x5 BP @ 115 You might go to 4x4 or 5x3 or you might go to 2x5. OR you could go with 3x5@105/110. Ultimately it's what works best for you, and what you're most comfortable with. And you don't want to alter/modify the program any more than is necessary.

    I meant should I change the lifts. I ask because with the program I'm doing now has me working through phases so I'm doing different lifts every month, ie, this month I'm doing barbell squats, next month I do front squats/push press. I'm wondering if I can keep working through the phases without increasing the weight.
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
    This is fairly inevitable.

    Most people in this situation either back off from progression and go with a maintenance lifting program, by either backing down the weight or the number of sets per exercise.

    I'm still very new to strength training- so would a maintenance program be the same lifts repeated, at the same weight, until I'm ready to work on progress again? Or should the lifts change like on a progressive program?

    Do you mean should the weight(reps/sets) change? or the lifts(OHP/BP/DBell/Barbell)?

    For example If you're currently doing 3x5 BP @ 115, You could stay with 3x5 BP @ 115 You might go to 4x4 or 5x3 or you might go to 2x5. OR you could go with 3x5@105/110. Ultimately it's what works best for you, and what you're most comfortable with. And you don't want to alter/modify the program any more than is necessary.

    I meant should I change the lifts. I ask because with the program I'm doing now has me working through phases so I'm doing different lifts every month, ie, this month I'm doing barbell squats, next month I do front squats/push press. I'm wondering if I can keep working through the phases without increasing the weight.

    You should probably go to a simpler program, especially since a weight that's appropriate for a back squat isn't necessarily appropriate for a Front squat/push press. As a beginner, using an overly complicated program may satisfy your workout ADD, but isn't going to allow you to develop the good form/groove that a simple program like Starting Strength will.
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,097 Member
    Did you up your volume at a slightly lower intensity?

    That alone will fix most strength loss or plateau while eating at a slight deficit. It lowers fatigue while driving progress.
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,464 Member
    I think you will still be able to increase your strength, but perhaps a bit more slowly than before. Keep lifting!
  • happytree923
    happytree923 Posts: 463 Member
    Chieflrg wrote: »
    Did you up your volume at a slightly lower intensity?

    That alone will fix most strength loss or plateau while eating at a slight deficit. It lowers fatigue while driving progress.

    Hadn't thought of trying that, thanks!