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Some advice please : )

Leonie_M234Leonie_M234 Member Posts: 26 Member Member Posts: 26 Member
Hi Guys, some advice would be fab! I am a 5,9 female and weigh 165lbs, have lost 3 stone in the last 1.5years. I can lose on net calories of 1800 a day and my maintenance seems to be about 2300. I am lifting pretty heavy dumbells at home 4 days a week, do a 30 min walk most days, 1 15 mile bike ride a week and 2 20 min hiit workouts. I also am fairly active with a toddler.
I am getting frustrated with my lack of muscle definition.
My question is do you think there is still just too much fat over the muscles and I should carry on losing? or should I eat at maintenance to preserve muscle? I am trying to keep my protein up as I know this is key, there are just so many conflicting articles online.

Replies

  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,310 Member Member Posts: 24,310 Member
    Does "lifting pretty heavy" mean you're following a specific progressive lifting program?

  • Dogmom1978Dogmom1978 Member Posts: 1,300 Member Member Posts: 1,300 Member
    So question one: what type of PROGRESSIVE routine are you following to build muscle? If you say you aren’t doing anything progressive, you have your answer (or at least a likely answer).
  • Leonie_M234Leonie_M234 Member Posts: 26 Member Member Posts: 26 Member
    Thanks for replies, I am doing my own routines full body but making sure they include compounds so deadlifts, squats etc for about 45 mins. I lift 8 to 12 reps and always make sure the last two reps is near impossible. I will admit though sometimes I feel I could be more daring with the weight as some of the moves ive been on the same weight for ages and it still feels really tough on the last few reps. I do feel I am pushing myself however.
    Example of weights ive gone up in recently.. my RDL are 16kg dumbbell each side and overhead press 9kg each side. I get its not super heavy but its feeling very challenging
  • Dogmom1978Dogmom1978 Member Posts: 1,300 Member Member Posts: 1,300 Member
    How long have you been lifting for? On average, a female can gain UP TO 1 lb of muscle a month. Eating in a deficit makes that harder to do, not impossible, but harder.
  • Leonie_M234Leonie_M234 Member Posts: 26 Member Member Posts: 26 Member
    On and off for years but regular since March this year
  • Dogmom1978Dogmom1978 Member Posts: 1,300 Member Member Posts: 1,300 Member
    Well, perfect protein, perfect tracking etc, 7 lbs of muscle. Probably more realistic to say 5 lbs. Spread across your body you might not notice it.

    Sadly, muscle gain is a slow process just like weight loss. Also, try to keep cardio in the correct range for fat burn not high intensity (high intensity is more likely to burn muscle).
  • Leonie_M234Leonie_M234 Member Posts: 26 Member Member Posts: 26 Member
    Thanks so much for input @Dogmom1978 Do you think keep eating in a defecit?
  • Dogmom1978Dogmom1978 Member Posts: 1,300 Member Member Posts: 1,300 Member
    Thanks so much for input @Dogmom1978 Do you think keep eating in a defecit?

    That’s up to you. If you’ve been consistently in a deficit for an extended period without a break, some time at maintenance might be warranted. If you are still losing consistently and are happy with your progress, continue eating in a deficit.

    There’s a lot of back and forth about it if you read through the forums, but from my experience, I do about 3 months deficit and then a week at maintenance and repeat. It works well for me (almost halfway to goal), but everyone is an individual and needs to decide what will work best for them.
  • tgillies003tgillies003 Member, Premium Posts: 243 Member Member, Premium Posts: 243 Member
    Congratulations on losing over 40 pounds!
    Based on your BMI, you are on the high side of normal range. But BMI is only one measure and many people believe it is an outdated measure. It is especially inaccurate for particularly tall, short or muscular people.
    Try this (or find one you like) body fat calculator .. https://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/body-fat-percentage-calculator/
    I like this one because it gives four different results based on common algorithms and tables.
    I use these once per month plus I have a electronic body fat calculating scale. Then I take the average of the 5.
    Anyway, this will give you some idea of your body fat percentage and may help you determine if you should continue to cut or if you need to move into a bulk phase of your body recomposition.
    Take care,
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,085 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,085 Member
    FWIW, an overlying layer of subcutaneous fat can be a pretty effective hider of muscle, based on personal experience.

    Others have given you a good idea of how much muscle gain is realistic under what conditions. Sadly, it's slow.

    So, I'm commenting on the other side of things. As women, we tend to have an all-over layer of subcutaneous fat. As someone else observed, you're still on the higher side of normal BMI, so unless you've been quite athletic long term, it's unlikely that you have unusually high total muscle mass. (Depending on body configuration, you still could be at an ideal weight high in the normal BMI range for other reasons.)

    I'm not anything remotely close to a bodybuilder in muscularity, but I do have a little bit of athletic muscularity from various forms of exercise done consistently for around 15 years before weight loss. For my body configuration (broad shoulders & big hands/wrists, but narrow hips, no breasts), I needed to get down into the lower half of the normal BMI range to really begin seeing muscle definition. Even now, at BMI 20-point-something, muscle is more visible (where I have some 😆) in my upper body (where I'm pretty thin looking) than it is in my lower body (where I hold more residual body fat), even though my main activity is leg-strength-centric so I have decent leg muscle.

    You can work on muscle development to get more mass, or fat loss to unhide what you have, in order to *see* more development. If you have the development (in hiding), then fat loss is the faster route. If you don't have it yet, then eating at maintenance or a bit above will get you faster muscle gain (in conjunction with a good professionally-designed progressive program, good overall nutrition especially protein, etc.) . . . but it's still a fairly slow thing, as others have said.

    Whether you should keep eating in a deficit or not, depends on where you are currently, and what your priorities are.

    Some possibly helpful threads:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10332083/which-lifting-program-is-the-best-for-you/p1
    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10177803/recomposition-maintaining-weight-while-losing-fat

    Best wishes!
  • Leonie_M234Leonie_M234 Member Posts: 26 Member Member Posts: 26 Member
    @AnnPT77 Great advice Thank you!! I think I am going to lose another 10lbs at least with a mod defecit and keeping protein high, and then eat at maintenance next year possibly slowly pushing up the calories a few hundred very gradually and see what happens : )
  • msalicia07msalicia07 Member Posts: 318 Member Member Posts: 318 Member
    Thanks for replies, I am doing my own routines full body but making sure they include compounds so deadlifts, squats etc for about 45 mins. I lift 8 to 12 reps and always make sure the last two reps is near impossible. I will admit though sometimes I feel I could be more daring with the weight as some of the moves ive been on the same weight for ages and it still feels really tough on the last few reps. I do feel I am pushing myself however.
    Example of weights ive gone up in recently.. my RDL are 16kg dumbbell each side and overhead press 9kg each side. I get its not super heavy but its feeling very challenging

    Instead of doing so many reps, why not increase weight and do 4-5 reps?

    @Dogmom1978, or other lifters, do you have any feedback regarding this?
    edited November 21
  • Dogmom1978Dogmom1978 Member Posts: 1,300 Member Member Posts: 1,300 Member
    msalicia07 wrote: »
    Thanks for replies, I am doing my own routines full body but making sure they include compounds so deadlifts, squats etc for about 45 mins. I lift 8 to 12 reps and always make sure the last two reps is near impossible. I will admit though sometimes I feel I could be more daring with the weight as some of the moves ive been on the same weight for ages and it still feels really tough on the last few reps. I do feel I am pushing myself however.
    Example of weights ive gone up in recently.. my RDL are 16kg dumbbell each side and overhead press 9kg each side. I get its not super heavy but its feeling very challenging

    Instead of doing so many reps, why not increase weight and do 4-5 reps?

    @Dogmom1978, or other lifters, do you have any feedback regarding this?

    Depends on your goals honestly.

    Just like weight loss, there is no one size fits all.

    https://levelsusa.com/blogs/training/high-reps-vs-low-reps

    https://builtwithscience.com/high-reps-vs-low-reps/

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