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Diet+LP+Bridge vs. Diet+Cardio for Significant Weight Loss?

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  • Diet+LP+Bridge vs. Diet+Cardio for Significant Weight Loss?

    First, thanks to Jordan, Austin and the whole Barbell Medicine Crew. You guys are absolutely the best, and I really appreciate everything you do.

    I'm writing to ask for some advice for my wife Tracey, who is 44 years old.

    Here is the (nuanced?) background:

    In May 2018 Tracey started the novice LP (Starting Strength but with Pendlay Rows instead of Power Cleans). She was not doing any cardio except for a little walking one or two days per week. She was also counting macros and dieting. For her diet, we would get an InBody analysis done, and then take her BMR and multiply it by 1.35 (based on her activity level) to reach her TDEE, then we would set her target daily calories at a 20% deficit from that TDEE. We used a 40/30/30 split for those calories (the 40% being protein).

    The month of May was not great for consistency or compliance, for various reasons. However, we really got serious starting June 10th. On June 10th, Tracey's weight was 224 lbs., SMS was 67.9 lbs and PBF was 46.1%. Between June 10th and July 6th--about a 4-week period--Tracey's weight dropped to 222.2 lbs., SMS increased to 76.7 lbs. and her PBF dropped to 38.6%.

    Now, of course, she was frustrated that her body weight had only dropped 1.8 lbs. in 4 weeks of lifting and dieting--but of course I pointed out the tremendous (to me) increase in muscle and loss of body fat in those 4 weeks.

    For various reasons, Tracey fell out of diet and training after that. Skip ahead to January 2019: she started back on the same novice LP. (We basically took the weights back to the beginning as she had to get reacquainted with form, etc.). In a few weeks of training she has progressed her lifts nicely, and is now close to her PR weights from last summer. After a few weeks of training, Tracey is now starting back with dieting---we had an InBody analysis done, and have calculated target daily calories, protein, carbs and fat for her using the same method as last summer. (To start out we have set her at a 15% daily deficit, and the same 40/30/30 macros split with 40% being protein as we used before).

    Now, to my question--Tracey's question, really. Basically, she is wondering whether she should (1) continue then eventually complete the LP then move on to the Bridge (with cardio) or (2) put off weight training entirely for now, and instead diet and do cardio only.

    (I should note that I have read Jordan's excellent To Be a Beast article. And I am also aware of the note in the Bridge program that "For a very overweight person who is seeking to lose a significant amount of body fat quickly, this likely isn't the best program," and I have read the other forum posts that posit questions about weight loss given that statement. However, in those other forum posts (at least the ones I found) the poster always seemed to be someone who had completed the novice LP. Whereas, in Tracey's case, she has only just really started the LP.

    Tracey's #1 goal at this point is significant fat and weight loss, and she'd like to see that progress quickly if she's putting it the work (diet and exercise). She does enjoy barbell lifting, and is progressing nicely with her lifts in the LP. BUT, she's wondering whether the best thing for her in the short term would be to focus on diet and cardio only in order to lose fat and weight as quickly as possible. As she herself has put it, she didn't gain the weight overnight and doesn't expect to lose it overnight---but she would like to have that positive feedback of regular weight and fat loss if she's complying with her diet and training regularly.

    What would you recommend for Tracey--that she (1) finish the LP/graduate to Bridge (with cardio) or (2) focus on diet and a lot of cardio for now?

    If option #1, during the LP phase what cardio would you recommend for Tracey? We've read the Matt Reynolds article Death By Prowler, and planned going to just add up to 10 minutes of Prowler sprints per week, after lifting.

    Likewise, if we went with option #2--diet + cardio only for now--what cardio would you recommend?

    Thank you so much in advance for any advice you can provide!!

    -Jim

  • #2
    Originally posted by livesay View Post

    Now, to my question--Tracey's question, really. Basically, she is wondering whether she should (1) continue then eventually complete the LP then move on to the Bridge (with cardio) or (2) put off weight training entirely for now, and instead diet and do cardio only.
    Jim,

    Thanks for the post and I hope you and your wife are doing well.

    To answer your question, I do not think there is likely to be a significant difference between the LP or Bridge in terms of weight loss if we ignore the conditioning recommendations of the Bridge. In short, LP + the cardio rec's I make below vs. The Bridge + Cardio Rec's I make below will likely produce the same amount weight loss provided that compliance with the program is similar for both.

    That said, the Bridge has a number of advantages over LP for this application that may be useful:

    1) It uses subjective feedback to determine the load so that strength performance is compromised for any reason, your wife can still train productively.
    Strength performance is highly variable in ALL cases. Humans are not machines. Significantly increasing activity levels (e.g. cardio during weight loss phases when not previously adapted), large calorie deficits, psychological stress, fatigue, etc. all influence strength performance and having a flexible approach may be helpful for controlling the training stress.

    2) It has increased movement variation.
    *Increased movement variation tends to produce improved rates of motor learning, i.e. develop better technique and capacity to learn new complex motor tasks with increased variety. May also reduce risk of getting bored.

    3) It recommends and allows for conditioning.
    LP does not recommend any conditioning be done as a general rule, as this may compromise recovery and performance during the "very important" novice phase. We feel differently, as the failure of developing a conditioning base portends worse outcomes for being able to tolerate the more fatiguing training of the future. There is also a large body of evidence suggesting a certain threshold of cardiorespiratory fitness needs to be met for health purposes. To the extent additional conditioning may compromise acute strength performance, it would be beneficial to have a more flexible loading scheme to deal with this. RPE can be useful in this context.

    4) It has higher volume
    Training volume and fat loss have somewhat of a dose dependent relationship, where more training= more fat loss provided dietary components are in check. The higher training volume- including conditioning- of The Bridge is likely beneficial here compared to LP.

    There are other reasons as well, but I think we can leave those to another post.

    In short, I would prefer she does the Bridge with 2-3x/wk conditioning (assuming she can comply with this) with the biggest calorie deficit she can handle consistently right now. T I would 100% stop using any of the InBody analysis recommendations, as they are not accurate enough to justify their cost and do no appear to be improving her compliance. Avoiding resistance training in favor of just diet and cardio would be a viable solution if she could not be compliant with resistance training + cardio + dieting, though I hope that is not the case given the benefits of resistance training in her demographic.

    The article, Death by Prowler, is not a resource I would use for programming conditioning, reviewing energy systems, or as an educational piece for your friends or wife whom you're trying to get to train.

    I would recommend 2-3x/wk steady state conditioning for your wife at 25-30 minutes long at first using an intensity that keeps her heart rate at about 60-70% or RPE 6-7 on 1 -10 scale. If she is more likely to be compliant with HIIT, then that is a viable option in place of the steady state, but there aren't better outcomes using one over the other and my suspicion is she'd get more benefit out of the steady state.
    Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
    ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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    • #3
      Jordan: thanks so much for the response! That is terrific information, and we really appreciate it. Is there any particular version of the Bridge that you would recommend for Tracey? (We would just go with 3.0 unless there's a reason to do one of the other versions).

      Thanks again!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by livesay View Post
        Jordan: thanks so much for the response! That is terrific information, and we really appreciate it. Is there any particular version of the Bridge that you would recommend for Tracey? (We would just go with 3.0 unless there's a reason to do one of the other versions).

        Thanks again!
        I would just do the free version, version 1.0.
        Barbell Medicine "With you from bench to bedside"
        ///Website /// Instagram /// Peri™ Rx /// Whey Rx /// Barbell Medicine Podcast/// Newsletter /// Seminars ///

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        • #5
          Thank you, Jordan!!!

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