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Losing weight and strength

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  • Losing weight and strength


    After an 8 week summer holiday (53yr old Teacher) I returned to school some 3 weeks ago. Training had been going well, weights going up and progress being made. However, the last week or so has been awful. I’ve felt tired and weak and my squat in particular has gone backwards significantly-very dispiriting.
    I teach on a split site which involves lots of walking between classrooms and up and down several flights of stairs. I decided to weigh myself and discovered I’d lost 10lbs since returning to work! (260 to 250lbs) I guess my lethargy and poor gym performance is no surprise at all!
    So, Im assuming the solution is to simply consume more calories or will I adapt and be able to regain the lost strength?

  • #2
    What's your waist measurement, training age and goals?

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    • #3
      Waist 40”. I’m not familiar with ‘training age’ but I’ve been training on and off for 20 years but more consistently this year.
      My goals are strength related; I’d like to beat my pb’s: Squat 210kg, Bench 160kg, Dead 250kg. I’m a loooong way from these at the moment!

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      • #4
        With a 40" waist losing weight is a good idea for numerous health reasons. Aiming for anywhere between 1lb-3lbs a week seems reasonable as your bodyfat % and total bodyweight are probably high enough to support even the more aggressive end of that spectrum (greg nuckols suggests losing weight no faster than your % bf/20 to get percentage of bodyweight loss a week, martin macdonald is more aggressive with dividing your bf% by 15). I have noticed minor losses in absolute strength when i lose weight at about 2-2.5lbs a week at the beginning and tapering to 1.5lbs a week as I lean out (~20%bf to ~14%bf). However my strength relative to bodyweight usually stays the same or increases slightly. I suspect that the deficit itself is what interferes with absolute strength and if you were to spend a few days at maintenece on a "refeed" your lifts would go up slightly.

        so for example if you use Greg Nuckols more conservative rate of weight loss at 30%BF and 250lbs that would be 1.5% total bodyweight lost a week or about 3.7lbs a week Max before you begin to lose muscle mass (note: muscle mass not lean mass more generally, you will lose some lean mass). So basically you can lose weight at whatever rate up to whatever your specific values would be without much issue regarding retaining muscle mass. Obviously losing weight at 3lbs a week (a daily deficit of about 1500) is probably gonna suck alot more than losing just a pound a week (a daily deficit of 500) but as long as you are consistantly losing weight it really doesn't matter much. Generally the reccomendation is to bring your waist circumfrence to <33 before you begin to put on much weight again.

        Edit: Also depending on how long you have been training since your last significant amount of time off and how aggressively you choose to lose weight I expect you can still make some forward progress regarding weight on the bar and definately will in regards to %BW of your lifts.

        Also I should probably add that to find your BF% we generally use the navy body fat calculator which uses Waist Circumfrence and Neck Circumfrence to approximate BF%. This is just to get a rough estimate to work with as it can easily be off a couple %
        Last edited by JoshA; 09-26-2019, 12:34 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JoshA View Post
          With a 40" waist losing weight is a good idea for numerous health reasons. Aiming for anywhere between 1lb-3lbs a week seems reasonable as your bodyfat % and total bodyweight are probably high enough to support even the more aggressive end of that spectrum (greg nuckols suggests losing weight no faster than your % bf/20 to get percentage of bodyweight loss a week, martin macdonald is more aggressive with dividing your bf% by 15). I have noticed minor losses in absolute strength when i lose weight at about 2-2.5lbs a week at the beginning and tapering to 1.5lbs a week as I lean out (~20%bf to ~14%bf). However my strength relative to bodyweight usually stays the same or increases slightly. I suspect that the deficit itself is what interferes with absolute strength and if you were to spend a few days at maintenece on a "refeed" your lifts would go up slightly.

          so for example if you use Greg Nuckols more conservative rate of weight loss at 30%BF and 250lbs that would be 1.5% total bodyweight lost a week or about 3.7lbs a week Max before you begin to lose muscle mass (note: muscle mass not lean mass more generally, you will lose some lean mass). So basically you can lose weight at whatever rate up to whatever your specific values would be without much issue regarding retaining muscle mass. Obviously losing weight at 3lbs a week (a daily deficit of about 1500) is probably gonna suck alot more than losing just a pound a week (a daily deficit of 500) but as long as you are consistantly losing weight it really doesn't matter much. Generally the reccomendation is to bring your waist circumfrence to <33 before you begin to put on much weight again.

          Edit: Also depending on how long you have been training since your last significant amount of time off and how aggressively you choose to lose weight I expect you can still make some forward progress regarding weight on the bar and definately will in regards to %BW of your lifts.

          Also I should probably add that to find your BF% we generally use the navy body fat calculator which uses Waist Circumfrence and Neck Circumfrence to approximate BF%. This is just to get a rough estimate to work with as it can easily be off a couple %
          Thank you for this. Whilst I appreciate your detailed response and advice I am not intending to lose weight, I am prioritising strength gains.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sparksy66 View Post
            Waist 40”. I’m not familiar with ‘training age’ but I’ve been training on and off for 20 years but more consistently this year.
            My goals are strength related; I’d like to beat my pb’s: Squat 210kg, Bench 160kg, Dead 250kg. I’m a loooong way from these at the moment!
            I see your response above regarding weight loss. Being the barbel medicine board you're going to get responses that are biased towards the more healthy alternatives..

            Given that you're not intending to lose weight, it's very likely you'll be able to recover your strength loss and much more with intelligent programming and weight maintenance. If you were determined to prioritise strength gains regardless of weight then eating at a surplus would be aligned with that goal and you'll likely realise strength gains faster. You may know from your own history over the last 20 years how weight gain has correlated with your performance, though your response may be different now as you've aged. It's also possible that you could beat your old PBs at a 32" waist.

            There is no definite answer here as your personal results will vary. Good luck and I hope I'm still training at 53!

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            • #7
              If you are currently training notably below your previous training levels (indicated by your note that you're a long way off from your previous PBs), and your waist is 40in, this indicates that you have room to continue training and re-building your training capacity and see progress WiTHOUT gaining weight. A 10lb loss is not particularly concerning here. You might simply be adjusting to your new schedule, overall activity levels and likely increased daily stress. I'd suggest carrying on for a bit before thinking about change anything! It's that consistency now that's going to pay off.

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