Need Advice on Body Recomposition: I Can't Lose Body Fat and Gain Muscle - What am I Doing Wrong?

2

Replies

  • cupcakesandproteinshakes
    cupcakesandproteinshakes Posts: 968 Member
    edited October 2021
    Honestly u could do better than pay for 2 books. Muscle and strength training pyramid
    Muscle and strength nutrition pyramid.
    No need for a coach. IMO. If ur serious, U need some base line knowledge. From
    A trustworthy source. Worth the time investment to read these 2 books.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,759 Member
    Ditto to the surprise about 1350, especially even if it's before-exercise (though it sounds like OP's eating that amount, total, maybe?). At 5'5" and 125 pounds, I maintain around 2000 or so *plus* exercise calories, so 2200-2500 or so intake, depending on season. That's admittedly mysteriously high for my demographic (I'm 65), but OP is substantially younger. Standard BMR estimates for her, even at 29%BF, ought to be 1300ish +/- 50ish depending on estimating formula, and that's for being alive in a coma, basically. That's assuming accurate calorie logging as a context, of course.

    She's lost a lot of weight (good for her!) so possible there may be some adaptive thermogenesis. If that's so, it's beyond my pay grade to understand what impact that would have on recomposition, but it's hard to believe it wouldn't impair progress. So, maybe reverse diet? Dunno.

    OP, I agree with much of what was said, except for a couple of people (see the disagree count).

    Sijomial's point by point summary of advice/answers was very useful, IMO, and the only tiny quibble I have with it is that I think hitting a fat minimum is important (not for recomp, but general health/nutrition), especially for women. OP, for a woman like you (and me), I like 0.35-0.45g fats daily per pound of bodyweight, as a minimum. So, yeah, figure out a protein minimum in grams, a fat minimum in grams, get plenty of varied, colorful veggies/fruit for micros and fiber. Using percents is convenient, and fine for general health goals for average people at non-extreme calorie levels (high or low), but that's not your full story. You have specific body comp goals.

    This is a good evidence-based source for protein info:

    https://examine.com/nutrition/protein-intake-calculator/
    https://examine.com/guides/protein-intake/

    They're general regarded as neutral (they don't sell supplements, for example), and they cite their sources clearly (in the 2nd link, which is a guide/analysis).

    FWIW, OP, the recomposition thread I linked upthread goes into a lot of your questions in fair detail. The initial post is a pithy statement of key points, but what follows is Q&A, progress photos, useful videos, etc. - worth chipping away at reading, when you have time, if you haven't already done so.
  • LadyDaenerys
    LadyDaenerys Posts: 87 Member
    OT, but I’m a bit puzzled how you’re at 1350 calories. That seems awfully low. I’m only an inch taller and maintain at 2500.

    Yeah I see a lot of people who are around my size who are very lean instead of puffy and they eat thousands and thousands of more calories than me and I don't understand how they look thinner but they eat more and I also don't understand why I'm not losing more weight than I'm just sitting here maintaining and I work out everyday
  • LadyDaenerys
    LadyDaenerys Posts: 87 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Ditto to the surprise about 1350, especially even if it's before-exercise (though it sounds like OP's eating that amount, total, maybe?). At 5'5" and 125 pounds, I maintain around 2000 or so *plus* exercise calories, so 2200-2500 or so intake, depending on season. That's admittedly mysteriously high for my demographic (I'm 65), but OP is substantially younger. Standard BMR estimates for her, even at 29%BF, ought to be 1300ish +/- 50ish depending on estimating formula, and that's for being alive in a coma, basically. That's assuming accurate calorie logging as a context, of course.

    She's lost a lot of weight (good for her!) so possible there may be some adaptive thermogenesis. If that's so, it's beyond my pay grade to understand what impact that would have on recomposition, but it's hard to believe it wouldn't impair progress. So, maybe reverse diet? Dunno.

    OP, I agree with much of what was said, except for a couple of people (see the disagree count).

    Sijomial's point by point summary of advice/answers was very useful, IMO, and the only tiny quibble I have with it is that I think hitting a fat minimum is important (not for recomp, but general health/nutrition), especially for women. OP, for a woman like you (and me), I like 0.35-0.45g fats daily per pound of bodyweight, as a minimum. So, yeah, figure out a protein minimum in grams, a fat minimum in grams, get plenty of varied, colorful veggies/fruit for micros and fiber. Using percents is convenient, and fine for general health goals for average people at non-extreme calorie levels (high or low), but that's not your full story. You have specific body comp goals.

    This is a good evidence-based source for protein info:

    https://examine.com/nutrition/protein-intake-calculator/
    https://examine.com/guides/protein-intake/

    They're general regarded as neutral (they don't sell supplements, for example), and they cite their sources clearly (in the 2nd link, which is a guide/analysis).

    FWIW, OP, the recomposition thread I linked upthread goes into a lot of your questions in fair detail. The initial post is a pithy statement of key points, but what follows is Q&A, progress photos, useful videos, etc. - worth chipping away at reading, when you have time, if you haven't already done so.

    Thank you!! I'll deff be looking into that thread. And those links. I've always ate 1200 to 1400 calories that's how I lost the weight but I've hit a plateau. I have health anxiety and when I was younger I was told by a doctor all these scary things... I panicked... Cried... And changed my life.... Food I love scares me (pizza, bagels, Chinese food, sushi... anything with artificial anything, non natural sugar... I don't even take medication because of some other horror story regarding Cipro and waking up not being able to bend my legs one morning.. changed my life and mental health forever)

    Anyways! I'm scared to eat too much. And when I see others who are my size and are getting lean are eating soooooo much more blows mind... I know I've been psyched out .. but I'm afraid that if I try a plan.. eat more... But gain in fat again I'll never get back to where I'm at now.

    I prob sound silly.. lol

    I'll have a look at all this info and see what I can learn!

    Thanks again!
  • LadyDaenerys
    LadyDaenerys Posts: 87 Member
    What really annoys me is my boyfriend eats fast food every day doesn't work out at all and he lean and ripped! 😩
  • natasor1
    natasor1 Posts: 267 Member
    " I follow start off Monday chest and triceps Tuesday back and biceps Thursday shoulders Friday legs hit almost every day abs everyday...)"
    Now explain for what reason you going to do split? Imaging, that when you do chest and triceps day you can do only 4 exercises per workout. If you hit the same muscle time after time your capacity to lift will decrease dramatically unless you stay idle for 2-3 min. So much of the preciouse gym time you will stay idle. if you think this is optimally effective workout, you are in huge mistake. Man can do it, but Women workout has to be EVERY DAY LEGS WORKOUT. Try to do differently: Women have to train intense with smaller weight.
    Exercise should follow each other every 15-30 sec. no breaks of more than 30 sec between sets. How you can do it?- by switching from legs to arms every set. You hit your legs with dead lifts. Rest only 20 sec and you start arms on pule ups. You go between legs and arms 4 times and your legs muscles have rest while you doing arms pule ups. Very weak arms muscles need long rest, so while you doing your legs dead lifts, arms will have enough rest.
    When you done with one pare of legs/arms exercise, you choose another pare, for example leg pres and triceps dumbbells. Again perform 4 sets of both in turn (legs/arms)
    HIIT do not need to be included in the weight days. But the good news, that when you performing legs/arms without long rests, it becomes a HIRT = High Intensity Resistance Training, which even better then HIIT for re-composition purpose.
    If you complete 60 min weight training try not to finish it with cardio or HIIT. You actually kill all your 60 min effort for growing so much needed muscles. Better do your cardio, if you really need it do them on free of strength training days. But better, just stop doing cardio, they are almost not necessary exercise, to waist your time.
    If your goal heart strength, so be advised that strength exercise train your heart even faster and more efficiently than cardio.
    Looking at your pictures I can notice that you missing HGH pretty much. Your skin is loose and muscles are soft, like you doing only little dumbbell training or running/walking too much. Muscles are not gonna grow from walk in the park. For extra HGH release get more things promoting its release. It will be just few, but very important: you have to exercise on empty stomach, get in the bed on empty stomach, do exercise till you getting pink, short of breast and sweat, muscles have to burn or have to give up. That is al for today
  • natasor1
    natasor1 Posts: 267 Member
    You are 130 lb on the pics? You are on the stage of ideal women weight. If you really want to become chiseled, you need to loose on my estimate 10-12 lb. From ideal weight to reach skinny look you just need to eat less. On the pics you look like girl who eats as much as she wants. Very skinny girls on those pics with 15-18% fat had this weight only for short period of time for making shooting sessions. Very possible this is not sustainable, and they gain little fat later in season. Do not despair. Everything possible, you have good physique, good build. But after trying for 3 years unsuccessfully, you d better change something in training technique. Definitely, split training is not for you. Leave this technique for men with great muscles mass, good concentration due to huge influx of testosterone, adrenaline, epinephrine and HGH.
  • sheahughes
    sheahughes Posts: 130 Member
    I think you look great as you are, but understand you'd like to be leaner and able to show off your hard won muscles.
    Regarding your anxiety around food, weight, medicine etc, I'd like to gently suggest you see an accredited sports nutritionist, trainer and psychologist. I'm not having a go at you, I don't know any women who aren't insecure or anxious about their bodies at some point of life, and having accredited specialists on your side to hep with the nutrition, training and psychological components of body recomp would be really help (IMHO) if you can afford it, of course. Seeing them working would also help with your career plans :)
  • Retroguy2000
    Retroguy2000 Posts: 150 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    1. The Fitbit Aria scale is a bioimpedance scale, which may work for tracking trends over time, if you weigh under identical circumstances, including hydration level each time, but are notoriously inaccurate. So you may not be 29% BF. However, if you were close to your goal of 15%, you'd probably know it.

    Can you post some pictures? There are people here who are very good at estimating BF.

    https://www.builtlean.com/body-fat-percentage-men-women/

    cx91rrmvntez.png

    ...Body Fat Percentage Women 15-17%

    This is still considered a very low body fat for women, which is similar to the 6-7% body fat for range men. Many bikini and fitness models will reach this body fat level and some may not be able to menstruate. Muscle definition in the abs, legs, arms, and shoulders is apparent, there is some vascularity and some separation between muscles. Hips, buttocks, and thighs generally have a little less shape because of the low body fat.

    Body Fat Percentage Women 20-22%

    This is body fat percentage is usually in the “fit” category of most body fat charts and is typical of many female athletes. Some definition in the abs is apparent, there is body fat on the arms and legs, but it’s not too pronounced. There is minimal, but some separation between muscles.

    Body Fat Percentage Women 25%

    This is on the low end of what’s average for most women and is characterized by a shape that is neither too slim, nor overweight. Curves in the hips are usually more apparent along with more fat in the buttocks and thighs. A 5’4” women who weighs 130lb and has 97lb of lean body mass has 25% body fat.
    I'm confused about those pics.

    Various sites say 25%-30% BMI is overweight, and over 30% is obese. However, looking at those pics of women, the 25% and 30% pics don't look anywhere close to overweight or almost obese imo.
  • nay0meh
    nay0meh Posts: 85 Member
    @LadyDaenerys I am in a very similar place as you except I have much more muscle in my upper body and midsection which I have obtained from heavy lifting.

    I definitely think you need to eat more calories which will help you lift heavy which will help build muscle and shed more fat.

    I am SO SO hard on myself as well when thinking about where I want to be and how I envision my body looking but I compare my body to others and I am a different person. Be gentle with yourself!

    I love Mike Matthews and he has a program Thinner, Leaner, Stronger that may be good. My boyfriend has helped me design my training and I have designed my most recent training my self but I realize through much reading that I need to incorporate more leg and glute specific.

    You look awesome my dear and you can keep going but I do think you need to try eating more maybe in partnership with a dietitian and reevaluate your training.

    I am trying to figure things out for myself too right now but wanted to at least offer you this bit of info. <3 HUGS!
  • LadyDaenerys
    LadyDaenerys Posts: 87 Member
    natasor1 wrote: »
    " I follow start off Monday chest and triceps Tuesday back and biceps Thursday shoulders Friday legs hit almost every day abs everyday...)"
    Now explain for what reason you going to do split? Imaging, that when you do chest and triceps day you can do only 4 exercises per workout. If you hit the same muscle time after time your capacity to lift will decrease dramatically unless you stay idle for 2-3 min. So much of the preciouse gym time you will stay idle. if you think this is optimally effective workout, you are in huge mistake. Man can do it, but Women workout has to be EVERY DAY LEGS WORKOUT. Try to do differently: Women have to train intense with smaller weight.
    Exercise should follow each other every 15-30 sec. no breaks of more than 30 sec between sets. How you can do it?- by switching from legs to arms every set. You hit your legs with dead lifts. Rest only 20 sec and you start arms on pule ups. You go between legs and arms 4 times and your legs muscles have rest while you doing arms pule ups. Very weak arms muscles need long rest, so while you doing your legs dead lifts, arms will have enough rest.
    When you done with one pare of legs/arms exercise, you choose another pare, for example leg pres and triceps dumbbells. Again perform 4 sets of both in turn (legs/arms)
    HIIT do not need to be included in the weight days. But the good news, that when you performing legs/arms without long rests, it becomes a HIRT = High Intensity Resistance Training, which even better then HIIT for re-composition purpose.
    If you complete 60 min weight training try not to finish it with cardio or HIIT. You actually kill all your 60 min effort for growing so much needed muscles. Better do your cardio, if you really need it do them on free of strength training days. But better, just stop doing cardio, they are almost not necessary exercise, to waist your time.
    If your goal heart strength, so be advised that strength exercise train your heart even faster and more efficiently than cardio.
    Looking at your pictures I can notice that you missing HGH pretty much. Your skin is loose and muscles are soft, like you doing only little dumbbell training or running/walking too much. Muscles are not gonna grow from walk in the park. For extra HGH release get more things promoting its release. It will be just few, but very important: you have to exercise on empty stomach, get in the bed on empty stomach, do exercise till you getting pink, short of breast and sweat, muscles have to burn or have to give up. That is al for today

    I currently lift 15 to 25 lbs dumbbells in my arm and workouts and 30 for back and I only have a 40lbs dumbbell for legs. I only rest 30 seconds between sets no break between exercises in my super sets. I do HIIT 45/30/15 second on with 30 second rest. Afterwards, I do legs mostly in my second workout everyday after weight lifting. It's full body cardio with no weights but gives me more of a burn than a full blown leg day.
  • LadyDaenerys
    LadyDaenerys Posts: 87 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    Hello all!

    Let me just start this by telling you a bit about my health and fitness journey so far.

    I was 210 lbs at 5ft 6in and thanks to MFL, Fitbit, and Beachbody On Demand workouts (not a coach... I hate MLM) I'm now about 130lbs. (I did get down to 124, but I can't seem to get back.)

    Regardless... I have some loose skin and based on my Fitbit Aria scale I have a Body Fat percentage of about 29 percent.

    I want to have a lean body... 20-22 percent body fat... I feel all of my muscles under this layer of fat though and I love to lift... But, I feel like I LOOK skinny fat, not fit. I can't see all my hard work... and it breaks my heart... It makes me feel discouraged. As though all my hard work isn't worth it anymore.

    I've worked so hard to get to where I am now and I feel like I can't get any farther in my journey. I've been stuck at this stage for almost three years now and I feel like what I'm doing isn't working. My inches are going up, my weight went from 124 to 130, I heard to eat more calories, but that scares me. I'm afraid of being 210 again or even 140... It terrifies me.

    Stats:
    • 5ft6in
    • 130 lbs
    • 36-year-old female
    • 29% body fat percentage
    • I work out 30 to 60 mins a day (30 min of LIIFT4 and 30 min of Barre Blend for strength training and cardio) Some days I will walk 2.5 miles uphill if I can't get to a BBOD workout.
    • I eat about 1350 calories per day and burn about 200-300 calories a day on average.
    • my macros are 40 Carb 30 Fat 30 Protein
    • Chest: 35in
    • Waist: 28.5in
    • Hips: 39in
    • Arms: 11in
    • Legs: 22.5

    I don't eat gluten, grains, or dairy (unless I'm treating myself to pizza/bagel once a month and I do put some parmesan Romano cheese in my morning omelet). Other than that, I eat whole foods. (For medical reasons, I have autoimmune issues that concern GI and my nervous system, etc...)

    I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. I'm not gaining muscle or losing fat, just fluctuating in weight. I have muscle but it's not showing through my softer outer fat layers... I'm worn out and need some advice. Feel free to scour my diary. I fell off the wagon last week due to the frustration of seeing no changes, but I typically stay rather consistent. I'm actually more consistent than my diary, as sometimes I forget to log everything, but stick to my diet, etc...

    Anyways!

    Thank you for any help and advice you can share!

    Lily~

    Hey I’m not an expert but on this but I went through something similar where I ate low calories for years and long term it ruined my health. 1350 is waaaaay to low for that kind of activity so I think you’ve definitely got some adaptive thermogenesis which is what happened to me.

    You NEED to break through the mental fear of eating more! It took me ages to realise this. I used to eat 1000-1400 calories and I wondered why my metabolism was so slow even though I worked out like crazy. I did loads of research about ED recovery and the long term effects of undereating and speeding up your metabolism and I basically found out your body slows down it’s functions if you give it such little food over a long period of time through- cold hands and feet, hair loss, inability to lose fat or build muscle, fatigue, digestive issues, mood swings, irregular heartbeat and many more. Like this is all serious stuff!

    The good news is that I slowly reverse dieted out of it and it took me 6-7 months as I didn’t want rapid weight gain. I cut down on my intense workouts and just did 3 fullbody lifting sessions a week and I ATE MORE. I gradually added 100 calories per 2 weeks. Until I could eat a normal amount and not gain fat. I can easily maintain my weight on 2200-2400 calories a day and I’m not even crazy active. I just do my 3-4 workouts of lifting or callisthenics and walking. I don’t do any super intense exercise because it puts pressure on my adrenals.

    Recently I injured my knee and I’ve been pretty sedentary except for walking and physio exercises. I’ve been eating like normal and not restricting myself. I haven’t gained any weight either! It just makes me soooo happy to know that I can eat like a normal person and not gain weight! Right now I’m eating between 1700-2000 calories a day (and most days I’m super full!). Oh and I’m 5’ 4”, 160-165lbs (muscular) and 28 years old.

    You might not find my story helpful or anything but I just wanted to share it with you because of your history of fearing food and not wanting to eat more. Hope you manage to find peace with food ❤️

    Thank you for your insight. I've been having some major health issues too (GI and nervous system) I will look into reverse dieting. Hopefully I can get back on track!