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Recomp without heavy weights possible?

niniundlapinniniundlapin Member Posts: 313 Member Member Posts: 313 Member
Sorry if this is a repetitive question. I’ve read some posts but nothing really related to what I wanna ask... Appreciate redirections to any existing post! :)

I’ve been maintaining my weight for a few years now (minus the time when I was pregnant & the first 14 months postpartum) and am not logging food as seriously as in the beginning when I started using MyFitnessPal. Now I only pay more attention to the amount of protein and sugar I have; otherwise I’m eating based on how I feel. I guess I’m eating ok in terms of maintenance.

Workout routine is the part I need some help. I don’t always get access to heavy weights, and for the current situation (pandemic plus childcare), all I have are a pair of BowFlex that goes up to 54-lb per side. What I’m wondering is, for the program I’m currently using (Les Mills Body Pump) the developers said they’re based on time-under-tension, and thus medium weights are sufficient since it’s high reps. I’ve been having very small but steady progress for the weights I’m using for the past 5-6 months. It’s definitely not a lot compared to when I started 5x5 years ago, but due to the high reps and frequency of training (3x per week) I really can’t go up too much. During the days I don’t do weight it’s mainly medium impact cardio (2x a week). And maybe high impact cardio once a week depends on my condition (how I sleep).

Progress-wise, I can see a little bit gain in overall strength (carrying my toddler doesn’t seem harder just because she’s gaining weight too), and maybe some definition on torso and arms while flexing. One other main indication I use is my waist measurement. It’s down to my pre-pregnancy number while nothing change with my hip measurement (which is good. I need my butt lol).

For those who are experienced, what do you think about this type of method for recomp? Am I sugarcoating the facts and was just exercising for a goal I wouldn’t be able to achieve?

Thank you so much in advance!
edited April 28

Replies

  • niniundlapinniniundlapin Member Posts: 313 Member Member Posts: 313 Member
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    The first is 9 months postpartum and the other two are about 12 months (close to how I look now at 19 months postpartum)
    Please ignore the flat top in the second photo... it’s a total mess over there... :(
    edited April 28
  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Member, Premium Posts: 2,317 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,317 Member
    Definitely. Your body will become leaner even if you don't lift at all, but instead take up jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, etc. All are low-weigh/high-rep activities.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member Posts: 15,075 Member Member Posts: 15,075 Member
    Yeah, it's possible to recomp doing high-rep lower-weight things, as long as there's some progressivity built in (more challenge, over time). We used to call it "getting in shape" (borrowing a good line from another user here).

    Heavy lifting will tend to be the fastest, most efficient route, but it isn't the only route.

    I lost a couple of sizes over a period of several years, back in my mid-40s to 50s (64 now), when I started rowing (on water by preference, machine when necessary), even though I stayed at about the same (obese) body weight, and did minimal actual lifting. That's recomp. :) (Rowing, done properly, is essentially like horizontally deadlifting much of your body weight and a share of boat weight & friction, around 1000+ times an hour. Low weight, very high rep. It's not a speedy way to recomp, but I guarantee it can work. ;) ).

    There are many paths up the mountain, some just get you to the top faster than others (and, of course, a few paths just lead off into a swampy wilderness :lol: ).

    I'd observe that strength is a different variable than mass, though they're related: Some of strength increase - often the majority of rapid, initial strength increase - comes from neuromuscular adaptation (NMA), essentially recruiting and using existing muscle fibers more effectively and efficiently. Actually adding new muscle fibers (mass) tends to be a slower process.

    That said, it looks like you're making progress, which is great . . . especially when lots of folks are struggling just to stay on track, or even maintain existing muscularity level. Nice work! :flowerforyou:
  • KHMcGKHMcG Member Posts: 508 Member Member Posts: 508 Member
    I agree with AnnPT77 it takes longer but is totally achievable. In fact you will likely respond quite quickly. Lots of light weight programs and also Calisthenics. I stumbled across Laura London Fitness today on YouTube. She had some good stuff to do at home.
  • cupcakesandproteinshakescupcakesandproteinshakes Member Posts: 696 Member Member Posts: 696 Member
    Maybe have a look at the dumbbells only programmes in the ‘which lifting programme is best for you’ thread.

    I have managed to adapt my programme with a similar set of adjustable dumbbells to yours. I’ve been recomping or extremely slow cutting like 7 to 10 pounds loss over 3 years. I look very different now to when I started but I put it down to following structured resistance training programmes and sufficient protein.

    So I personally wouldn’t bother with body pump but I know others love it. One of the dumbbell programmes in that thread would be a better use of ur time in my opinion. It’s hard to progress in any structured way in a pump class though it certainly has other benefits if you like group exercise.
  • niniundlapinniniundlapin Member Posts: 313 Member Member Posts: 313 Member
    Definitely. Your body will become leaner even if you don't lift at all, but instead take up jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, etc. All are low-weigh/high-rep activities.
    Thanks for the advice! Those seem to be good alternatives to my cardio day activities. I used to swim in the snowy days years ago & loved how I feel afterwards. Hopefully things will get back to normal soon so I can start trying different things!
  • niniundlapinniniundlapin Member Posts: 313 Member Member Posts: 313 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    Body pump is more a mix of cardio and light weights - yes you might get some hypertrophy and strength gains but it's not a designed as either a strength or hypertrophy program and that progress wont continue past a certain point.

    A bit like rowing or cycling will build a little strength and muscle at first if it's a novel training stress to a person....

    You are already lean, how lean are you aiming for?

    "Am I sugarcoating the facts and was just exercising for a goal I wouldn’t be able to achieve?"
    That's pretty harsh on yourself but it's more that your training isn't really aligned to your goal if you are intending to add muscle mass and lose fat while (roughly maintaining) weight. To me it's not the goal that's unrealistic but you aren't following anything like an optimal path to try and get there.
    Thanks for the words! Those photos were taken while flexing so I still have a layer of loose skin/ fat distributed evenly all over my body.

    Like what you said I do feel like pump is more cardio. I can tell the difference when I did got chance to actually lift heavy with barbells. It’s just hard to choose that path without the same resources... guess I was hoping to hear a different answer haha! Maybe what I can hope the best would be maintaining without the same expectation (gain or lose much), and when times come I’ll get to do what’s most efficient to achieve the goal. :)
  • KHMcGKHMcG Member Posts: 508 Member Member Posts: 508 Member
    I recomp at home with just a few dumbbells and bodyweight exercises. You can with some research make your own program if you don't want to follow a premade one.
  • niniundlapinniniundlapin Member Posts: 313 Member Member Posts: 313 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Yeah, it's possible to recomp doing high-rep lower-weight things, as long as there's some progressivity built in (more challenge, over time). We used to call it "getting in shape" (borrowing a good line from another user here).

    Heavy lifting will tend to be the fastest, most efficient route, but it isn't the only route.

    I lost a couple of sizes over a period of several years, back in my mid-40s to 50s (64 now), when I started rowing (on water by preference, machine when necessary), even though I stayed at about the same (obese) body weight, and did minimal actual lifting. That's recomp. :) (Rowing, done properly, is essentially like horizontally deadlifting much of your body weight and a share of boat weight & friction, around 1000+ times an hour. Low weight, very high rep. It's not a speedy way to recomp, but I guarantee it can work. ;) ).

    There are many paths up the mountain, some just get you to the top faster than others (and, of course, a few paths just lead off into a swampy wilderness :lol: ).

    I'd observe that strength is a different variable than mass, though they're related: Some of strength increase - often the majority of rapid, initial strength increase - comes from neuromuscular adaptation (NMA), essentially recruiting and using existing muscle fibers more effectively and efficiently. Actually adding new muscle fibers (mass) tends to be a slower process.

    That said, it looks like you're making progress, which is great . . . especially when lots of folks are struggling just to stay on track, or even maintain existing muscularity level. Nice work! :flowerforyou:

    Thank you so much for the words! (& cute emojis!)
    I guess what I want to know is like what you described, if there’s even other path to get to my destination. I know it might not be the best nor the most efficient one since I’ve experienced those for a short period of time, but it’d be at least mentally comforting to know if my direction is still correct and there’s that extra “unexpected” value to what I’m already doing. :tongue:

    Weight lifting for me was that “other path” for fat loss a few years ago when I started. Before that I was a die heart cardio-only person and refused to pick up weights for anything (the fear of getting bulky is quite poisonous :sweat_smile: ). Now it’s like I’ve entered a confusing stage compared to those days when all I wanted was just losing weight lol. The good thing I can say is I still enjoy what I’m doing now and don’t mind keep going for a while (maybe until I’m really reaching my personal limit). All I need to do is stop being lazy (following a group class video is easier for me cuz I don’t need to think too much lol) and start exploring more options when that time comes. :smiley:
  • niniundlapinniniundlapin Member Posts: 313 Member Member Posts: 313 Member
    KHMcG wrote: »
    I agree with AnnPT77 it takes longer but is totally achievable. In fact you will likely respond quite quickly. Lots of light weight programs and also Calisthenics. I stumbled across Laura London Fitness today on YouTube. She had some good stuff to do at home.
    KHMcG wrote: »
    I recomp at home with just a few dumbbells and bodyweight exercises. You can with some research make your own program if you don't want to follow a premade one.

    Maybe have a look at the dumbbells only programmes in the ‘which lifting programme is best for you’ thread.

    I have managed to adapt my programme with a similar set of adjustable dumbbells to yours. I’ve been recomping or extremely slow cutting like 7 to 10 pounds loss over 3 years. I look very different now to when I started but I put it down to following structured resistance training programmes and sufficient protein.

    So I personally wouldn’t bother with body pump but I know others love it. One of the dumbbell programmes in that thread would be a better use of ur time in my opinion. It’s hard to progress in any structured way in a pump class though it certainly has other benefits if you like group exercise.

    Thank you both for the suggestions I’ll check those out for sure!

    Now I realized I was probably trapping myself in my own head thinking I got to follow only one way to do it and even forgot about other resources. I’ve saved a few YouTube clips before and also that thread for dumbbells. Totally forgot to utilize them... :sweat_smile:
    (In other word, I better be more open minded and patient! :D )
  • KHMcGKHMcG Member Posts: 508 Member Member Posts: 508 Member
    KHMcG wrote: »
    I agree with AnnPT77 it takes longer but is totally achievable. In fact you will likely respond quite quickly. Lots of light weight programs and also Calisthenics. I stumbled across Laura London Fitness today on YouTube. She had some good stuff to do at home.
    KHMcG wrote: »
    I recomp at home with just a few dumbbells and bodyweight exercises. You can with some research make your own program if you don't want to follow a premade one.

    Maybe have a look at the dumbbells only programmes in the ‘which lifting programme is best for you’ thread.

    I have managed to adapt my programme with a similar set of adjustable dumbbells to yours. I’ve been recomping or extremely slow cutting like 7 to 10 pounds loss over 3 years. I look very different now to when I started but I put it down to following structured resistance training programmes and sufficient protein.

    So I personally wouldn’t bother with body pump but I know others love it. One of the dumbbell programmes in that thread would be a better use of ur time in my opinion. It’s hard to progress in any structured way in a pump class though it certainly has other benefits if you like group exercise.

    Thank you both for the suggestions I’ll check those out for sure!

    Now I realized I was probably trapping myself in my own head thinking I got to follow only one way to do it and even forgot about other resources. I’ve saved a few YouTube clips before and also that thread for dumbbells. Totally forgot to utilize them... :sweat_smile:
    (In other word, I better be more open minded and patient! :D )

    Glad to help. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions for me. I'm not going to follow this thread now. Good luck!
  • niniundlapinniniundlapin Member Posts: 313 Member Member Posts: 313 Member
    KHMcG wrote: »
    KHMcG wrote: »
    I agree with AnnPT77 it takes longer but is totally achievable. In fact you will likely respond quite quickly. Lots of light weight programs and also Calisthenics. I stumbled across Laura London Fitness today on YouTube. She had some good stuff to do at home.
    KHMcG wrote: »
    I recomp at home with just a few dumbbells and bodyweight exercises. You can with some research make your own program if you don't want to follow a premade one.

    Maybe have a look at the dumbbells only programmes in the ‘which lifting programme is best for you’ thread.

    I have managed to adapt my programme with a similar set of adjustable dumbbells to yours. I’ve been recomping or extremely slow cutting like 7 to 10 pounds loss over 3 years. I look very different now to when I started but I put it down to following structured resistance training programmes and sufficient protein.

    So I personally wouldn’t bother with body pump but I know others love it. One of the dumbbell programmes in that thread would be a better use of ur time in my opinion. It’s hard to progress in any structured way in a pump class though it certainly has other benefits if you like group exercise.

    Thank you both for the suggestions I’ll check those out for sure!

    Now I realized I was probably trapping myself in my own head thinking I got to follow only one way to do it and even forgot about other resources. I’ve saved a few YouTube clips before and also that thread for dumbbells. Totally forgot to utilize them... :sweat_smile:
    (In other word, I better be more open minded and patient! :D )

    Glad to help. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions for me. I'm not going to follow this thread now. Good luck!

    Thank you so much! See you around here :)
  • CeeBeeSlimCeeBeeSlim Member Posts: 609 Member Member Posts: 609 Member
    Fitness blender on YouTube has great dumbbell routines - FYI.

    @alexmose please share your strategy! #bodytwins #bodygoals! Did you gain or lose weight? Great job!
  • alexmosealexmose Member Posts: 509 Member Member Posts: 509 Member
    CeeBeeSlim wrote: »
    Fitness blender on YouTube has great dumbbell routines - FYI.

    @alexmose please share your strategy! #bodytwins #bodygoals! Did you gain or lose weight? Great job!

    Hey thanks! Are your stats just like mine?? Tbh I’ve never really done abs before the pandemic but now do a routine (20-30mins) 1-2 times a week. I also currently run an upper lower split, altho last week I took a break from lifting and resistance and did lots of biking. Weight is the same in both pics ;) I am reassessing at the end of next week as it will have been 1 month of an additional 100cals to see if I can up it again. I’m still getting pretty hungry in the middle of the night but next week my casein will show up so hopefully that will mitigate my nighttime snack.

    Both pics: 107lbs
  • CeeBeeSlimCeeBeeSlim Member Posts: 609 Member Member Posts: 609 Member
    @alexmose wow. Can’t believe you’re the same weight in both pics. And no heavy lifting! Great to know. I’m heavier - a goal weight of 127 with 4 lbs to go. Going sooooo slowly. But if I can get your abs I’d be set! 😀
  • alexmosealexmose Member Posts: 509 Member Member Posts: 509 Member
    CeeBeeSlim wrote: »
    @alexmose wow. Can’t believe you’re the same weight in both pics. And no heavy lifting! Great to know. I’m heavier - a goal weight of 127 with 4 lbs to go. Going sooooo slowly. But if I can get your abs I’d be set! 😀

    Confession: the first pic was right after a lower body workout. The second pic is right after I woke up, no breakfast. Even so, I think the progress is there. Summer is coming!

    I was in your position about a year and a half ago. To be totally honest, I went so slowly and it took me 12 months to lose 10 lbs.
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