weight loss while maintaining strength-based performance

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weight loss while maintaining strength-based performance

#1 Postby circusgirl » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:06 am

Hi folks!

I'm a strength based athlete and am looking for some advice. Due to my other work I recently had to take some time more or less off from my regular training, and also had an extended period of having to eat out a lot/eat badly etc. During this time I gained 10lbs. I assumed this weight would fall off as soon as I resumed my regular routine, but I'm now 4wks in and while my strength has more or less returned (at least the weights I am lifting at the gym are back to the same they were before the break), the extra weight remains (in fact if anything I've gained a couple more pounds). While I'm obviously not thrilled with this for aesthetic reasons, I'm also really struggling with the bodyweight-based exercises that are most important to my performance--max chinups, pullups etc. are all down a few reps--and I don't think the two are unrelated. I have a whole-foods based, vegan diet with plenty of protein and healthy fats, and generally follow an eat whatever I like philosophy with food.

I haven't had to worry about losing weight since I began seriously training aerial work several years ago, and previous efforts involved unhealthily severe calorie restriction which I don't think will jive well with training. So I am looking for some tips/advice/articles/books etc. about how to lose extra fat without compromising strength and performance.

Thanks for your help!
Last edited by circusgirl on Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: weight loss while maintaining strength-based performance

#2 Postby VeganBadass_CO » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:49 pm


Putting on the extra lbs may have a plus side on your strength training as fighters often will weight-gain prior to getting into intensive traiining/condition prior to making weight cut.

SO, I might surmise that actually gaining a few lbs now that you've returned to gym training is probably muscle growth (how's things looking in the mirror, both just before you got back to training and now? Probably the before was a bit more softness around the middle and maybe overall bodyfat increase. Now that you're back to it, increased muscle growth may be masked by having a higher % bodyfat.

Use the mirror as tool in addition to the scale and tracking your strength (lbs lifted, # of reps, etc.).

I might expect your reps of max bodyweight exercises to drop a bit both due to overall muscle atrophy and given you have and extra 10lbs to hoist up.

Keeping most things the same, might think you'll need to work in some cardio temporarily to help burn off that extra non-functional weight. Maybe pair it up with a 3-week lean eating diet. Can still stick with 'eat what you want' from the plant-based options, but skip on any processed carbs (bread, rice, fries, etc.). Just that should cut down your overall caloric intake and help with leaning up your body. Then re-introduce (in moderation of course) once you're back to your preferred weight. Can't cut them out 100% as you need carbs for energy and recovery. Maybe limit intake after workout and beyond say 5-6pm.

DO NOT skip meals or whatever. Try to eat something every 2-3 hours based on what you just did or are going to do. Don't eat till your full, eat till your satisfied....

Got stuff to do, but will think about this one some more.

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Re: weight loss while maintaining strength-based performance

#3 Postby circusgirl » Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:20 pm

Thanks for the advice. I am assuming (hoping) that the extra few pounds since I've been back to my normal routine are muscle. The changes aren't major appearance wise, but there is definitely extra softness around my belly and less definition in my arms. I'm already back to a whole-foods based diet with minimal to no processed food, so that on its own doesn't seem to be enough. But I will take your advice and up my cardio--this is definitely where I skimp and it would probably be good for me to do this anyway. I have heard though, that with cardio you are often more likely to lose muscle as well as fat? Let me know if you have thoughts on how to avoid this...

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Re: weight loss while maintaining strength-based performance

#4 Postby C.O. » Tue Sep 02, 2014 5:47 pm

Yeah I wouldn't over do the cardio. It might just take a little longer than you hoped to get back to the firmness that you had before. Its crazy how a short vacation from a healthy lifestyle can take a extended time to get back to peak performance. I like the runners analogy. It takes 7 weeks to get in shape and only 4 days to lose it.

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Re: weight loss while maintaining strength-based performance

#5 Postby elisestevenson » Tue Sep 27, 2016 6:08 am

Eating at a caloric deficit is the tried and true method for losing body fat. However, it is significant to understand that caloric control should be done in restraint if you want to prevent losing muscle mass in the process. If you have medical, hormonal, or gut issues, you should seek supervision from a physician before embarking on a fat-loss journey.
Another critical component to losing fat and not muscle is to follow a high-protein diet. Protein is the most vital macro nutrient in a weight-loss diet. You need to be keenly aware of moderating your protein-intake when you’re trying to retain lean muscle mass on a fat-loss journey.

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