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  1. #1
    Registered User diamonddavel's Avatar
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    Trying to drop body fat without losing muscle mass...stuck!

    A little background on me first. Been working out all my life. I'm 49 now and I'm pretty happy with the muscle I've put on but need to lose body fat. I'm very confused because it seems there is conflicting info out there about the best way to lose body fat but keep lean muscle. I'm taking protein powder twice a day (Pro JYM), pre-workout(Pre-Kaged), eating very little carbs (good carbs like brown rice and quinoa, green veggies), eating chicken, etc. (small portions) but I am stuck and can't lose any weight or fat it seems. When I tried to drop weight last year I did so pretty easily although I did lose some muscle mass in the process. I don't know what the problem is. I eat multiple small meals throughout the day so I shouldn't be going into "starvation" mode. You have to eat protein to keep and build muscle but you also get extra calories. I'm doing cardio 5 times a week in addition to weight training 4 days a week. I have put on muscle in my legs so I know the scale won't show a big drop but I can't seem to lose the body fat like I did last year.

    Please give me some advice. I'm curious as to what everyone will say. You can read about one thing one place then somewhere else it will say not to do that. It was a lot easier when I was in my 20's and I'll I had to worry about was lifting weights!

    Thanks for the help!
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  2. #2
    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    If you have been doing this for 49 years you should have a pretty good handle on it really.

    To lose fat you need to eat less calories than you burn, keeping your protein at a minimum of 1g per lb, fats .5g per lb. To retain muscle while doing this you need to train with weights like you did while you were gaining all the muscle in the first place. Lift heavy, as frequently as you can recover from. If your not losing weight it's not witchcraft, your just eating too much. If it looks like your losing "mass" it's because fat takes up a lot space than we think it should, and we all carry more fat than we think.

    Good luck.
    A bigger back will make a bigger waist look a little smaller....

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=161385603
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  3. #3
    Registered User PiperBill's Avatar
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    You could try using whey only post workout and otherwise get your proteins from whole foods.

    Speaking only from my own experience I found it harder to lose weight when I was using a lot of whey to reach my daily protein goal. I have read that it spikes insulin pretty much like sugar does and I know if I take a whey shake without any carbs added I get pretty nauseous until I eat some carbs.

    It could be that if you are not in a post workout mode then the whey you take metabolizes so fast that it does not get used to build/repair muscle but gets stored as fat (or hinders fat burn).

    Of course all the above is pure speculation on my part based on what I have experienced. YMMV :-)
    Anybody can workout for an hour but controlling what you eat the next 23 hours is the real task.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Shadowman82's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PiperBill View Post
    Speaking only from my own experience I found it harder to lose weight when I was using a lot of whey to reach my daily protein goal. I have read that it spikes insulin pretty much like sugar does
    If you use a whey like a high quality isolate which has very little carbs there is no reason why that would spike your insulin like sugar does .
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  5. #5
    Registered User Drudge's Avatar
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    Unfortunately I've always experienced muscle loss with extreme cuts but what i found works best for me is upping my protein intake and for piece of mind added BCAAs, Glutamine and a good Multi.
    PWA
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  6. #6
    on probation weiss1967's Avatar
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    ^^^ I agree with Drudge, BCAA's-Glutamine-Creatine cocktail makes difference for me, especially when I am cutting. Especially on low carb diet, like CKD/zig-zag etc.
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    Registered User Plateauplower's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Shadowman82 View Post
    If you use a whey like a high quality isolate which has very little carbs there is no reason why that would spike your insulin like sugar does .
    Not necessarily. Some Amino acids have a significant insulin response. I think BCAAs do actually.
    A bigger back will make a bigger waist look a little smaller....

    http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=161385603
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  8. #8
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    Depends how lean you are starting out OP. What study there is on weight loss and muscle retention in trained folks shows that slower rates of loss result in less muscle loss. But obviously if one has excessive body fat, faster loss at the start is manageable. .5-1% of body weight per week is pretty reasonable. With a taper to loss rate as fat stores diminish. Fat loss tends to taper usually as one gets leaner anyway.

    As for supplements I'd consider creatine, and look at a high quality multi, perhaps some EFA/DHA like fish oil, consider vit D if you think you need it. Beyond that a lot depends on your diet. Pre-workout is really neither here nor there beyond preference. Diet pills are for the most part laughable.

    If one doesn't lose any weight for 3-4 weeks it's general time to take an incremental reduction to calories, or increase to activity depending on preference. At the start of a diet if no losses are occurring one is generally just eating too much.
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  9. #9
    Registered User diamonddavel's Avatar
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    The last time I used a lot of whey protein isolate (3 to 4 times a day) I put on muscle but I was heavier too. The problem I have is they say you need 1g of protein per body pound. In order to get this you eat a lot of calories. How do I lose body fat if I'm not in a calorie deficit? I can certainly cut the amount I'm eating and the calorie intake. I just don't want to lose the muscle I've put on. When I lost weight/body fat last year the only difference in my eating was not as much protein and I had a cheat day once a week. That being said, I don't think I was as muscular as I am now. My legs are definitely bigger now than last year.
    Do I need to go to hitting each body part twice a week instead of one? Being that I'm getting older I just thought once a week would be better for recovery and I think I have more muscle than with twice a week.
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  10. #10
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    1g of protein per lb is not a lot of calories. 200x4=800, if you weigh 200.

    Try getting more accurate with your tracking method.
    Where the mind goes the body follows.

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  11. #11
    Registered User fontyyy's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by diamonddavel View Post
    they say you need 1g of protein per body pound.
    Indeed they do, but there is zero (and I mean zero) scientific evidence to suggest you need that much.
    Also it depends how fat you are, 1g per lb lean body mass is plenty.

    But from my experience, I cannot get under (what I think is) around 15% BF without losing strength, not possible (I'm 47). And of course whenever anyone loses weight whether they lose muscle or not they do get smaller, chest, shoulders, arms, thighs..they all shrink as they lose subcutaneous and intramuscular fat.

    There's an old Starting Strength vid, Rip says something along the lines of "gaining muscle is inextricably linked to a calorie surplus, thus a calorie deficit is inextricably linked to losing muscle" and to a degree I think that's very true.
    I couldn't wait for success so I went ahead without it
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  12. #12
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    My two cents worth.
    You are trying to do one of the hardest things bodybuilders have been trying to get down for ever,losing fat without loosing muscle.
    Regardless in weight loss you will always loose some muscle but the key is to try to make it more fat loss and less muscle.
    What kind of cardio?
    You should be mixing in interval type cardio with study pace cardio IMO.
    As mentioned above calories in,calories out is tried and true.
    You want to try rotating calories in three day cycles,say your eating 2000 calories try 1500 day one,2000 day two and 2500 day three and start over.You can also do this on two day cycles staying on the same calories for two days for a six day total.
    Keep protein constant only lower carbs and fats.
    All this keeps the body from getting use to the same intake from day to day.
    The other thing is at least for me is the slower you can bring your weight down the less loss of muscle you will experience.
    You have to be very patient and have a long term plan,six months and maybe up to a year.
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    Originally Posted by diamonddavel View Post
    The last time I used a lot of whey protein isolate (3 to 4 times a day) I put on muscle but I was heavier too. The problem I have is they say you need 1g of protein per body pound. In order to get this you eat a lot of calories. How do I lose body fat if I'm not in a calorie deficit? I can certainly cut the amount I'm eating and the calorie intake. I just don't want to lose the muscle I've put on. When I lost weight/body fat last year the only difference in my eating was not as much protein and I had a cheat day once a week. That being said, I don't think I was as muscular as I am now. My legs are definitely bigger now than last year.
    Do I need to go to hitting each body part twice a week instead of one? Being that I'm getting older I just thought once a week would be better for recovery and I think I have more muscle than with twice a week.
    You have to calorie count. Plan all your meals out and count the calorie content, if you're just guessing you're wasting your time whether your objective is to gain muscle or burn fat.
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  14. #14
    Registered User diamonddavel's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your advice. You are correct and I'm an idiot.
    My wife and I sat down today and counted all the calories I have been eating. To say I was shocked is an understatement! Even though I thought I wasn't eating much my calorie intake is way to high. I need to reduce it by about 800-1000 a day!
    I did it today and already feel thinner! Ha!
    Thanks everyone. I will post again in a few months on my progress.
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  15. #15
    Registered User gbk56's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by diamonddavel View Post
    The last time I used a lot of whey protein isolate (3 to 4 times a day) I put on muscle but I was heavier too. The problem I have is they say you need 1g of protein per body pound. In order to get this you eat a lot of calories. How do I lose body fat if I'm not in a calorie deficit? I can certainly cut the amount I'm eating and the calorie intake. I just don't want to lose the muscle I've put on. When I lost weight/body fat last year the only difference in my eating was not as much protein and I had a cheat day once a week. That being said, I don't think I was as muscular as I am now. My legs are definitely bigger now than last year.
    Do I need to go to hitting each body part twice a week instead of one? Being that I'm getting older I just thought once a week would be better for recovery and I think I have more muscle than with twice a week.
    Like already stated, if you want to lose fat then change your diet. You have to keep your protein the same and reduce other calories, like your carbs. Continue lifting to keep the muscle mass.

    It is an easy concept but hard to put into practice. Nothing magical about it.
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  16. #16
    Cybergenics...it's bomb! lucia316's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Plateauplower View Post
    Not necessarily. Some Amino acids have a significant insulin response. I think BCAAs do actually.
    And 6 calories per gram. If you're meeting your macro, there is zero benefit to supplementing freeform aminos. You're getting plenty in your diet.
    MAN Sports Forum Rep

    Disclaimer: The statement above reflects that of my own opinion & in no way that of MAN Sports. MAN products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
    Disclaimer 2: I still think BCAAs are not necessary
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  17. #17
    Registered User TJC85's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by diamonddavel View Post
    Thank you all for your advice. You are correct and I'm an idiot.
    My wife and I sat down today and counted all the calories I have been eating. To say I was shocked is an understatement! Even though I thought I wasn't eating much my calorie intake is way to high. I need to reduce it by about 800-1000 a day!
    I did it today and already feel thinner! Ha!
    Thanks everyone. I will post again in a few months on my progress.
    Don't feel bad. I think most of us have been exactly where you were. I've found that using MyFitnessPal.com (I use it on my phone) for everything I eat is a great way to cut. It helps keep you honest.

    BTW, as others have mentioned above, every time I go on a cut, I lose strength (presumably meaning muscle mass too). It seems to be inevitable at least for natural bodybuilding (I've never tried non-natural). For me, it's most noticeable in leg strength...it plummets whenever I cut (example: weight that I could do 12 reps normally, I can barely get 5 or 6 by the time I'm near my BF goal). I always eat 1.0 g protein per lb. of bodyweight and during a cut, I use BCAA's during the workouts.
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by diamonddavel View Post
    Thank you all for your advice. You are correct and I'm an idiot.
    My wife and I sat down today and counted all the calories I have been eating. To say I was shocked is an understatement! Even though I thought I wasn't eating much my calorie intake is way to high. I need to reduce it by about 800-1000 a day!
    I did it today and already feel thinner! Ha!
    Thanks everyone. I will post again in a few months on my progress.
    I'm just interested. Were you underestimating the calories in specific foods/dishes, or not accounting for items like coffee creamer, mayo on a sandwhich, etc.?
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  19. #19
    Registered User diamonddavel's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TJC85 View Post
    Don't feel bad. I think most of us have been exactly where you were. I've found that using MyFitnessPal.com (I use it on my phone) for everything I eat is a great way to cut. It helps keep you honest.

    BTW, as others have mentioned above, every time I go on a cut, I lose strength (presumably meaning muscle mass too). It seems to be inevitable at least for natural bodybuilding (I've never tried non-natural). For me, it's most noticeable in leg strength...it plummets whenever I cut (example: weight that I could do 12 reps normally, I can barely get 5 or 6 by the time I'm near my BF goal). I always eat 1.0 g protein per lb. of bodyweight and during a cut, I use BCAA's during the workouts.
    Thanks man!
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  20. #20
    Registered User diamonddavel's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CommitmentRulz View Post
    I'm just interested. Were you underestimating the calories in specific foods/dishes, or not accounting for items like coffee creamer, mayo on a sandwhich, etc.?
    Yes! I underestimated the calorie count in everything I was eating except the protein powder! My wife and I sat down and looked everything up and the portions we were eating. I was shocked to say the least because we really weren't eating that much food. Since we corrected that I have lost 3 pounds already. My advice to anyone trying to lose weight or fat is to add up what they are eating and be realistic about it.
    Thanks for all the advice and tips!
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  21. #21
    Registered User diamonddavel's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the help and advice. Update on things...I've lost 3 pounds already. Let this be a lesson to anyone trying to cut or lose weight. You need to take a hard look at what you are eating and be realistic about it. You are only cheating yourself if you don't add up everything and be accurate with your portions or amount of food you are taking in.
    Yes, you will lose strength too. I have noticed that and that is one drawback. I have added more protein to try and keep as much lean muscle as possible. My problem was I kind of let myself go over the holidays and packed on the weight/fat because I like to eat. Not doing that again next year. Takes too long to get it back off!
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