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Lose weight while building muscle

mvcf3215mvcf3215 Posts: 1Member, Premium Member Posts: 1Member, Premium Member
Good afternoon - I have been doing weights for about 6 months now. I am 5'4 and weight 125 lbs. I am a 41 year old female. My arms, legs and thighs are slender and toning up nicely. However, my lower stomach and lower back have al little bit of fat. I've read a lot of articles that say I either have to cut to see my abs or tone up and build muscle but both is not possible at the same time. My trainer has me on about 2k calories as he claims that I can build muscle and burn my small amount of stomach fat at the same time since I have no other places to lose fat. Is this so? Can you burn stomach fat while each the amount of calories I'm eating. I am seeing results all over my both as far as toning and tightening up by I feel like my stomach is still not losing weight. I know it takes years to see results but I feel like I should be focusing on either cutting or building muscle. Thank you.

Replies

  • biddrafterbiddrafter Posts: 3Member Member Posts: 3Member Member
    I've never seen a definitive study on this question. There are certainly plenty of articles saying yes and plenty saying no. My experience, for whatever it is worth, is a definite no. My guess is that, since you've been lifting for 6 months, you will have trouble gaining muscle while losing fat. The only way I was ever successful was improving the muscle/fat ratio. Eat fewer calories, lose the fat, maintain more muscle mass than fat mass by continuing hard workouts. You'll lose muscle but can lose the fat faster. Once you've reached your idea fat level, then work on muscle mass build-up.

    I'd love to hear from others who have had success at gaining muscle while losing fat, however!
  • wiigelecwiigelec Posts: 81Member Member Posts: 81Member Member
    General consensus is losing weight and gaining weight at the same time is unfeasible.

    Can we clear up a few terms first? Please be more specific with the following:

    "doing weights"
    "small amount of stomach fat"
    "tone up"


  • CahgetsfitCahgetsfit Posts: 1,838Member Member Posts: 1,838Member Member
    Hello! I am 43 and 168 cm (which is more than 5'4" i just googled and you're 162 cm )

    2000 for me is roughly my maintenance. I lift properly on average 4x week (if I have a good week I do 5 days, if I have a *kitten* week because of life/work, it can be less). I swim on Saturdays for like 25mins. That's about it. And aevrage 10-12k steps a day.

    So... perhaps you need to reduce your calories a little bit for a while? Just do a little cut, a bit more aggressive, just to lose the stomach fat (that's also my last place to lose), and once that is reduced, go back up to 2000?

  • RJBFieroRJBFiero Posts: 2Member, Premium Member Posts: 2Member, Premium Member
    I’m glad I found this post. I am wanting to start building muscle after loosing 103 pounds. However it seems getting the protein and carbs you need without going overboard on calories is a little tricky. I almost want to reach my goal of 175 lbs before building muscle.
  • acedawg96acedawg96 Posts: 2Member Member Posts: 2Member Member
    @Cahgetsfit if you don't mind me asking, how much do you weigh?
  • quiksylver296quiksylver296 Posts: 25,473Member Member Posts: 25,473Member Member
    It sounds like your trainer has you recomping, which seems like a good option.
  • CahgetsfitCahgetsfit Posts: 1,838Member Member Posts: 1,838Member Member
    acedawg96 wrote: »
    @Cahgetsfit if you don't mind me asking, how much do you weigh?

    This minute 63.7kg. I'm currently cutting after a bulk which had me at my highest 68kg.

    My "sweet spot" is usually around the 60kg mark.
  • tlpina82tlpina82 Posts: 210Member Member Posts: 210Member Member
    Cahgetsfit wrote: »
    acedawg96 wrote: »
    @Cahgetsfit if you don't mind me asking, how much do you weigh?

    This minute 63.7kg. I'm currently cutting after a bulk which had me at my highest 68kg.

    My "sweet spot" is usually around the 60kg mark.

    Key Phrase here... "Currently cutting after a bulk" is the best explanation here.

    When you're sedentary, your muscles are not being used, size is reduced by the lack of stimulus.
    Per your description, you've been lifting for 6+ months, so you are not sedentary.
    That means you will not see that initial inflammation and fiber swelling we all usually see in the beginning.

    Now that that's out of the way... No, you cannot build muscle and cut weight at the same time.
    There are not enough building block to sustain muscle growth.
    That does not mean you will get weaker. Fiber adapts.
    But you do not have enough nutrients to take care of organ functions and muscle growth at the same time.

    It's an old phrase, but it's the best description: "You cannot build a new wall with half of the bricks"

    To build muscle, you need a surplus of calories. That's not up for debate.
    It's actually never been up for debate, until fad diets and shady celebrity trainers that promised miracles with "The Gazelle" by Tony Little and the Ab Cruncher that caused more spinal injuries than the WWE.
  • tlpina82tlpina82 Posts: 210Member Member Posts: 210Member Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    tlpina82 wrote: »
    Cahgetsfit wrote: »
    acedawg96 wrote: »
    @Cahgetsfit if you don't mind me asking, how much do you weigh?

    This minute 63.7kg. I'm currently cutting after a bulk which had me at my highest 68kg.

    My "sweet spot" is usually around the 60kg mark.

    Key Phrase here... "Currently cutting after a bulk" is the best explanation here.

    When you're sedentary, your muscles are not being used, size is reduced by the lack of stimulus.
    Per your description, you've been lifting for 6+ months, so you are not sedentary.
    That means you will not see that initial inflammation and fiber swelling we all usually see in the beginning.

    Now that that's out of the way... No, you cannot build muscle and cut weight at the same time.
    There are not enough building block to sustain muscle growth.
    That does not mean you will get weaker. Fiber adapts.
    But you do not have enough nutrients to take care of organ functions and muscle growth at the same time.

    It's an old phrase, but it's the best description: "You cannot build a new wall with half of the bricks"

    To build muscle, you need a surplus of calories. That's not up for debate.
    It's actually never been up for debate, until fad diets and shady celebrity trainers that promised miracles with "The Gazelle" by Tony Little and the Ab Cruncher that caused more spinal injuries than the WWE.

    To build muscle, you need a surplus of calories. That's not up for debate.

    Correct because it's absolutely not true, apart from the millions of people who add muscle while eating at maintenance there's also plenty of studies where people in a deficit did indeed add muscle. Especially the under-trained, new to training or returning to training.
    Most people are carrying around a considerable energy store remember - it's not "half the bricks" if people are maintaining or cutting sensibly.

    It's only the elite and highly advanced few that might NEED a surplus although many non-elite people may choose to bulk to make the process more optimal.

    Yes... and 1+1 equals 3

    Take a person with fat to lose in her mid section and that has been lifting for 6 months and at least part of that time with a trainer (According to the description of the original post which implies she is NOT undertrained) and tell her to eat maintenance to make gains.

    In What Planet?

    And BTW... Her trainer told her to eat 2000 calories and she's not losing weight.

    Formula for BMR (Harris-Benedict equation)
    Adult female: 655 + (4.3 x weight in lbs.) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years) = BMR
    655 + 537.5 + 304 - 192.7 = 1303.8
    The revised formula puts the threshold even lower.

    With exercise, if she's over 2000 calories she should be losing weight.
    Since she's not losing weight, her 2000 calories are 1 of 2 options.

    1 - They found the exact/absolute maintenance threshold.
    or
    2 - She's in a surplus and muscle will grow or she will get fatter from a combination of workout intensity + nutrition.

    @MVCS3215 - Want to test the miracle formula from sijomial, Cut 400 calories from your diet for 1 month, maintain the same exercise level and see if you gain muscle or lose fat.
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 5,782Member Member Posts: 5,782Member Member
    tlpina82 wrote: »
    To build muscle, you need a surplus of calories. That's not up for debate.

    Do I still have that DXA scan Menno Henselmans probably posted when responding to a similar issue? Why yes, I do! https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_eMvzqz85R_a0ZmSUltc2dWMnc/view?usp=sharing

    But that's not dramatic--it's just recomp.

    Let's see.... how about "43 yo Wonder Woman", a fellow client at BodyComp Imaging who allowed her anonymized scan results to be shared! -21lbs fat, +9lbs lean mass, -12.1lbs total mass, 3.3 months over New Year's no less! https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5ivy2PKgcqcUFRJbHJ6UWZKXzZJelVMYkpPcUc4a0RFalQ4/view?usp=sharing

    By the way I would never "recommend" something this drastic, nor do I think that it would be sustainable for most. I have no idea if it was for her. I've never met the lady in person. Just heard of her success at that point of time. Still, it goes to show you how amazing people can be!

    It is a continuum.

    The more trained, more lean, the larger the deficit, the less male and the more old you are... the less your chances of increasing lean mass while decreasing fat in a deficit.
    edited August 7
  • tlpina82tlpina82 Posts: 210Member Member Posts: 210Member Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    tlpina82 wrote: »
    To build muscle, you need a surplus of calories. That's not up for debate.

    Do I still have that DXA scan Menno Henselmans probably posted when responding to a similar issue? Why yes, I do! https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_eMvzqz85R_a0ZmSUltc2dWMnc/view?usp=sharing

    But that's not dramatic.

    How about "43 yo Wonder Woman", a fellow client at BodyComp Imaging who allowed her anonymized scan results to be shared: -21lbs fat, +9lbs lean mass, -12.1lbs total mass, 3.3 months over New Year's no less! https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5ivy2PKgcqcUFRJbHJ6UWZKXzZJelVMYkpPcUc4a0RFalQ4/view?usp=sharing

    By the way I would never "recommend" something this drastic, nor do I think that it would be sustainable for most. I have no idea if it was for her. I've never met the lady in person. Just heard of her success at that point of time. Still, it goes to show you how amazing people can be!

    It is a continuum.

    The more trained, more lean, the larger the deficit, the less male and the more old you are... the less your chances of increasing lean mass while decreasing fat in a deficit.

    Yes... But then again, you're talking about a severely overweight, Sedentary person which is not the case we're dealing with here.

    Severely overweight people have calories stored in them. Again... Not the case here...

    But since you like Dr. Menno Henselman's findings, here's a little article.
    https://mennohenselmans.com/gain-muscle-and-lose-fat-at-the-same-time/

    From his article:

    So what do we need to build muscle mass?

    - Lots of water (H2O). You can drink plenty of that during a cut, so no problems there.
    - Several kinds of protein. Again you can eat enough protein on a cut, so no problems here either. For the DNA and RNA we also need nitrogen and phosphate, but those can be derived from dietary protein.
    - Glycogen and triglycerides. This basically just comes down to energy, because glucose and fat are non-essential nutrients that can be created by the body itself. We need a lot more energy too, because the protein synthesis for the muscle building process is an energy costly process itself.

    Hence, an overweight person can build muscle while cutting because the energy is there... But again... NOT the case here.
  • sijomialsijomial Posts: 15,264Member Member Posts: 15,264Member Member
    From Menno Henselman's article quoted....
    • "To build muscle, you must store energy. To lose fat, you must burn energy.
    • When you are in energy surplus, your body stores energy. When you are in a deficit, your body loses energy.
    • Therefore, you must be in energy surplus to gain muscle and in a deficit to lose fat.

    The first two points, the premises, are true. They refer to the first law of thermodynamics (‘movement of energy’), also called the law of the conversion of energy. This law means energy cannot just disappear. It has to go somewhere. Building new fat or muscle cells requires energy and breaking them down releases energy. However, point three, the conclusion, is false."
    edited August 7
  • PAV8888PAV8888 Posts: 5,782Member Member Posts: 5,782Member Member
    tlpina82 wrote: »
    But since you like Dr. Menno Henselman's findings, here's a little article.
    https://mennohenselmans.com/gain-muscle-and-lose-fat-at-the-same-time/
    From his article:

    Did you actually read the article you quoted back to me?

    This is the conclusion of the article you quoted to me... had you bothered reading it:

    "Gaining muscle on a weight loss diet is not only possible, it should be expected for most people on a serious program. As long as the stimulus for muscle growth is carefully designed and customized, your body will find a way to get bigger. Your body is not the enemy. It is a miraculous survival machine that adapts to the stress you impose on it. When you understand it, you can control it."
    edited August 7
  • tlpina82tlpina82 Posts: 210Member Member Posts: 210Member Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    tlpina82 wrote: »
    But since you like Dr. Menno Henselman's findings, here's a little article.
    https://mennohenselmans.com/gain-muscle-and-lose-fat-at-the-same-time/
    From his article:

    Did you actually read the article you quoted back to me?

    This is the conclusion of the article you quoted to me... had you bothered reading it:

    "Gaining muscle on a weight loss diet is not only possible, it should be expected for most people on a serious program. As long as the stimulus for muscle growth is carefully designed and customized, your body will find a way to get bigger. Your body is not the enemy. It is a miraculous survival machine that adapts to the stress you impose on it. When you understand it, you can control it."

    Again... Apples and Oranges.

    A few things about this incredible case of an 18kg (39.68lbs) swing in 3 months.
    I'm not going to argue the point of sale of his "method".
    But I can't ignore the fact that the body scans were taken 17 months apart.
    And the fact that it is so simple that we see it happening all the time. Oh no wait, we don't.
    So, we're taking their numbers on faith and ignoring Henselmans advice that her program is designed for her and not a generic program.

    However, He also cites the laws of thermodynamics.

    If there's not enough fat to provide the additional fuel, there's no growth.
    You cannot put in 2000 units of energy, spend 2000 and expect storage.
    Either in fat or muscle, it does not matter.

    Assuming the original poster is an average person(Not a performance athlete), she is in the mid to lower end of the body fat range for an average person at 5.4-125lbs, early 40s.
    Where do you expect her to get the energy? And lets not forget that the body will prioritize survival over growth, EVERY TIME.

    At around 21% body fat, she does not have the available energy stored in her body and under 15% BF for a woman in her early 40s, unless she has the proper guidance on nutrition and intensity of her workouts, she is risking damage to her metabolism.

    So again, this does NOT apply here.

    I won't argue this point any longer as it has become moot.
    I won't agree with you guys and you won't agree with me.
  • CahgetsfitCahgetsfit Posts: 1,838Member Member Posts: 1,838Member Member
    Wow this has gone on a bit. I'm not going to quote any studies or papers or anything now, but will give you my personal experience:

    I have been lifting for coming up to 6 years.

    My first year of lifting I was fat had had to lose weight. Fat for me. I only needed to lose like 8-10kgs in reality to become 'normal weight' again. I was still in the "healthy weight range" according to the chart thingies, not obese, but I certainly FELT obese and was not performing anywhere like my usual normal pre-baby and depression self.

    So, I was in a deficit and lifting with a trainer for a full year. I don't know whether I had newbie gainz or anything at the time - I had no idea I didn't even really know anything about anything. I did what I was told. I ate what I was told, I did the workouts I was told. I very slowly lost the weight, and most importantly, my body shape changed A LOT. According to my trainer I already had a good muscle base from my years of martial arts in the past, so I wasn't like a plain old blob or anything.

    After time when I became leaner and started to actually pay attention and learn from both the trainer and further research by myself, I decided I wanted to try competing in figure division. I was then put on a lean gain phase by my trainer before cutting for the comp.

    Fast forward a bunch of time and the comp that never happened (changed trainers, new trainer wasn't all that, things fell to the *kitten*) anyway - I came to see that I was teeny tiny. I started to actively chase the gainz to turn into a brick shithouse. I started to look into different training strategies blah blah, ran cuts and bulks, etc...

    Can I just say it's almost *kitten* impossible for an old lady like me to make any significant gainz??? Yeah I made some, but by Crom they were small and barely visible.

    My last bulk was the most successful and I have seen more obvious gainz through a combination of better training (after attending Muscle Mechanics workshop and learning a bunch of stuff) and also running a cycle of PEDs. I am NOT condoning drug use, but I am also just being honest because hey - why not.

    So yeah... can you gain muscle in a deficit? Perhaps. Most likely if you are a noob. If you are an old lady in your 5th + year of solid working out? Doubt it. You can preserve what you made in the bulk cycle, but I don't think you can really GAIN anything when eating 1500 freaking calories and being starving all day long.
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