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Ladies: I'm Gaining Weight w/ Strength Training. Suggestions?

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okay, so i started strength training like a month or so ago. it's been pretty sweet; i've started noticing some new muscle mounds. awesome! i've also upped my cardio to 60-90 minutes a day, from just 30 minutes (i'd gotten lazy over the summer). so i'm thinking i'll be able to keep losing weight, maybe slower, since i've made these changes.

NOT! i haven't increased my caloric intake (which maybe i should?), so i'm thinking i should be able to keep up with the weight loss i've had so far this year. uh uh. not only have i not lost an ounce since i amped up the workouts, i've gained like 3-5 pounds! wtf??? and i don't know if it was just my mind playing tricks on me, but i'm almost certain the arms of some tops feel tighter now.

have any suggestions on what i can do to get back to the weight loss side of things, instead of weight gain?

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Could be water retained in the muscles to heal them?  Could be you've gained muscle... or that you added to many calories.  How many did you add?

i didn't add any calories. i was thinking maybe that could be a problem.

Weird... probably just water retention in your muscles then.  How long has the scale said + pounds?  I would think that if it is just a day or two, it will go away.  Is it TTOM?  Maybe you could add a HIIT session or two a week?

it's been 4 weeks! well, 4 weeks of no weight loss. the scale started moving up 2 weeks ago.

Have you lost alot of weight?  Did you check your calorie intake versus the burn meter again?  Either eating too much or not enough could cause the problem.

yeah, i've lost a lot of weight. before this, i'd lost 94 pounds. i recalculate my caloric intake every week, as soon as i weigh myself, and aim for a 1000 calorie deficit. i'm still in the 220s, so a deficit that size shouldn't be detrimental. at least, that's what i thought.

You might be underestimating the burn from weight lifting, and so you deficit is too large?

If you haven't increased your calories, and you've started doing 2-3x more cardio AND weight lifting... seems like upping your calories would be a good idea.  It would appear that you had found a good deficit level back when you were doing 30min cardio per day (you were losing), but now that you are doing a lot more than that, you've exceeded whatever that optimal deficit level was, and so you've stopped losing.

Worth a shot.. Make sure you are getting enough protein - protein shakes can help, if you don't get a lot from your diet.

yeah, i think i might up the cals for a bit. i definitely get enough protein, though! i can't survive without it!

Have you taken your measurements?  If not, have someone take your measurements and then continue to do so every 3-4 weeks.  Muscle weighs more than fat, so while you may see your weight go up a bit in the beginning you'll notice that your clothes will start fitting better.  You're becoming a fat burning machine!  The more muscle you have on your body, the more fat you will burn even while resting.

So get that tape measure out now!  You've come a long way girl!  94 pounds in 2 years is awesome!  Keep it up!!!

I second taking measurements. I'm not good on the calorie intake portion, so I won't comment on that.

But, I have read where people have lost inches but not pounds.

As for muscle weighing more than fat, that is true and not true.

A pounds is a pound. 1 lb of fat weighs the same as 1 lb of muscle. However, it takes more fat to make a pound, than it does muscle.

However, if you were to get a piece of fat and a piece of muscle the same size, the muscle would weigh more.

Look at a person who weighs 200 lbs that has a high BF % and a person who weighs 200lbs with a very low BF %, both weigh the same but the one with less BF will appear much lighter than the other.


well if you started strength training and doubled or tripld your cardio workouts, you absolutely need to increase your cals. I've noticed that strength trainig has caused my weight to stall, but I know that I'm getting results. I will be doing my measurements so I can track my progress that way.

It's completely normal to gain weight when first embarking on a strength training routine.  Muscle weighs more than fat, so even though you may be losing fat, your replacement with muscle will make it seem as though you are gaining weight.

The key here is, don't quit.  Your body will eventually lose the fat on top of the muscle you are creating, but you must be doing the right things nutritionally to make that happen. 

Don't increase your calories like some are suggesting, but decrease your cardio.  You don't need to do the amount of cardio you are doing, you only need to do three cardio workouts a week, and they should only be about 30 minutes long at your target heart rate.  In this case, less is more.


Original Post by envisionfitness:

Don't increase your calories like some are suggesting, but decrease your cardio.  You don't need to do the amount of cardio you are doing, you only need to do three cardio workouts a week, and they should only be about 30 minutes long at your target heart rate.  In this case, less is more.

Decreasing cardio or increasing calories will have the same net effect - bringing the deficit down to a reasonable level. It's up to you which you do - if you enjoy your cardio, you can keep doing it, just eat more. If you hate it, don't do some of it.

But "target heart rate" is pretty much bs. The way people interpret it is that it you burn more fat in the "fat burn range" than if you worked harder. The truth is, while the percentage of calories from fat is higher, the overall calories you will burn (and the number of calories from fat) will be higher the harder you work. So (and these numbers are totally made up) - if you go slow, burn 300 cal/hour in the "fat burning range", and 80% calories are from fat, that's 240 cals from fat. If you go faster, burn 600 calories, but only 70% calories from fat, that's 420 calories from fat. Yeah, the percentages are less, but the total burned from fat is still more.

So ignore target heart rates, unless you need it to encourage you to get your heart rate UP, not to keep it "low enough"

i like the increasing calories idea. who wouldn't like to eat more? i would decrease the cardio, but i'd like to up my endurance, so i wanna keep it higher for a good while. thanks guys!

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