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    Registered User sbilyeu75's Avatar
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    Calories to gain strength

    I weight 172 lbs. and sit at about 35% BF at this moment. I've struggled getting consistent with both diet and exercise since I've had my son via c-section two years ago. I know I have plenty of BF to lose, but I don't want to necessarily focus on that. I would like to get stronger. My theory is that I've been big and fat long enough. I would really like to be strong. The question is, do I need to be in a surplus of calories to gain strength (not mass)? Can I gain strength eating in a caloric deficit? Please help me refocus, two years inconsistency is two years to many.
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    Registered User oregonchick76's Avatar
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    As a newbie you can eat at maintenance and gain strength for about 6 months or so. But at your stats, I'm not sure I would take your approach. You can eat in a pretty solid deficit and still lift heavy. You are at a pretty unhealthy weight at this point so it behooves you to start shedding it, even if you are wanting to get strong. I'd do a full body compound routine 3 x per week and eat to lose around 1 lb per week. You can afford to put more emphasis on building muscle later. But yeah, so you know, gaining strength does = gaining muscle mass, after the initial CNS adaptation that causes rapid improvements in lifts initially.
    "Start where you are. It's never too late to change your life."
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    Registered User AmyleeD's Avatar
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    AmyleeD is offline
    Originally Posted by sbilyeu75 View Post
    I weight 172 lbs. and sit at about 35% BF at this moment. I've struggled getting consistent with both diet and exercise since I've had my son via c-section two years ago. I know I have plenty of BF to lose, but I don't want to necessarily focus on that. I would like to get stronger. My theory is that I've been big and fat long enough. I would really like to be strong. The question is, do I need to be in a surplus of calories to gain strength (not mass)? Can I gain strength eating in a caloric deficit? Please help me refocus, two years inconsistency is two years to many.
    I am no professional, but I can attest to what worked for me recently. I started at just 3 lbs less than you in mid-October and have lost quite a bit of weight through calorie deficit, and quite a bit of strength through weight training. So yes, it can be done. I used the MyFitnessPal app on my Kindle to track my calories, fat, carbs, protein, etc. (they are mostly close approximations, so don't get too crazy with it if you do it). What I realized, for the first time in my life, is that I was WAY friggin' off on how many calories I eat per day. And I have always eaten healthy! Just not a healthy amount of calories, obviously. Be careful though. Don't pay attention to the values they assign you on that app. Use the stickies here to decide how much you need of everything, and just use the app to track and do the math for you. So that's the food.

    When I first started (a few months ago), I NEVER went in to a gym, and I certainly had no idea about exercise. I basically was just trying to get accustomed to the gym, so I grabbed my 50 Shades books and spent 30 minutes on the elliptical going fast enough to make me sweat (5-7 mph). I had no strict schedule and I did not force myself, but it was almost everyday. About a month later, after I lost 10 lbs, felt lighter, and happier I started looking into weight training. The weight comes off slower now, but I keep going down, and only weigh myself and take my measurements every three weeks or so. I also eat a little more, simply because I am working out harder and I am more hungry. I do not eat back exercise calories.

    I don't know if any of that helps, but that's what I have to offer. I eat at a deficit to maintain the muscle that I do have, keep enough energy for my workout (and the rest of the day), recover the muscles that I am shredding with my workout, and lose weight (because, after all, I am obese, so fat loss is THE most important goal right now, strength training is how I am choosing to get there). I keep going up in weights, sometimes surprisingly easy, so I know that I am taking care of my muscles (and they are taking care of me by cooperating with my goals!). I don't know how long this will work for me, but I will just reevaluate when the time comes and change as necessary. Lurking on these forums is helpful.

    Buena suerte amiga! Looks like we have similar starting stats and goals!! Go get 'em!
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