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Moderators: melkor

am I losing muscle?

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So between Oct 27 (when I got weighed at the gym) and Jan 8th (when I bought my own scale) I lost about 6lbs...from Jan 8th to Jan 21st I lost another 6lbs (though I'm up by 1.6lb since then as of today). I took my measurements today, I've lost a half inch off my calves...when I measured them at the beginning of the month, they hadn't budged in size in 2 months. My biceps are down half an inch too, and they didn't budge in size before either (I believe because I lost fat but gained muscle).

I had a 2 month gym membership that expired Jan 1st and I haven't gotten the chance to buy my own free weights yet. On one hand I'm happy to lose half inch on my calves because they're too big for my liking, but on the other hand I'm afraid it's a sign of muscle loss (they've always been pretty muscular).

I'm just worried it's muscle not fat that I'm losing now :( especially losing the same amount in 2 weeks that I did in 2 months....

btw I still work a physically active job 4 days a week, so I'm not completely sedentary without the gym membership.

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Probably, a bit - muscle loss due to underuse is generally a slow and gradual process though and usually doesn't really start until you've been away from lifting longer than 10-14 days.

 Now, due to you being in a calorie deficit it could be a bit faster but if you get those weights pretty soon and start working out with them it won't matter very much as your muscles will quickly regain their former strength/size.

 "Muscle memory" is a poorly-understood phenomenon as far as I know, but as long as it hasn't been too long since you lifted you'll see very rapid gains back to your former muscle size; and "too long" in this case is more like 3-5 years, not 3-5 weeks.

 If you're happy with your new calves, just don't do calf raises or other calf-heavy exercises and they'll stay their new size ;)

I actually avoided any of the calf exercises at the gym, not wanting to build them anymore. The only thing is going up and down stairs frequently and walking at work. And no I'm not happy with their size, still too big lol.

Anyways thanks, I don't feel so bad, I'll try to get those weights asap. :P 

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I'm 175lbs with 16 inch arms but my legs are kinda small, want to switch???

So!  Here's the deal.

It is inevitable that when you lose weight you will also be losing muscle.  However, the amount of fat to muscle ratio will change depending on 2 main things.

1: Resistance Training

 If you want to avoid building bulk but you don't want to lose muscle tone, you are like most females doing any sort of exercise routine.  The most efficient way of accomplising this is to do resistance training with high reps.  You should be doing 3 sets of 12-15 reps.  This will not build bulk but will be maintaining muscle tone.

 2: Protein intake

Every day you should be eating a certain amount of protein that is a function of your weight.  For example, I weigh 140 and I am supposed to be eating 70-80 grams of protein/day.  This ensures that I have enough of the right type of energy to rebuild my muscles and maintain their tone.

 That said, you will inevitably lose some muscle if you are losing weight.  However, following these 2 things should make sure you lose the maximum amount of fat with the minimum amount of muscle.

Calf muscles are kind of odd, they consist of small muscle and a lot of fibrous tendon tissue connecting it. This means that they take more effort to grow than other muscles. A common ratio used is 7 days off, you lose 10% in strength ( that doesn't mean you lose 10% in muscle, but as melkor said, it's gradual. Calf muscles ( or what we perceive, and biceps ) are usually half that ( tendons are stronger, mind you ). So, you may be witnessing a visual reduction in fat or maybe even vascularity. The simple fact that you haven't worked them could mean that they are less engorged with blood and seem smaller.

My suggestion, to increase you calf strength, do 10 sets of 10 with 30-50% of your body weight with a 10 second rest in between. Do this daily. This is possible with calf muscles because the muscle is small and repairs quickly and the tendons connected repair even faster. This is what works for me because I can't use most machines for calf raises to get a sufficient workout ( not enough weight; ours only goes to 600...4 sets of 10 doesn't get me as much as 10 sets w/ 120 ).  Doing this or any other raise won't really produce a huge size difference, but should produce a lean look, unless you have a lot of adipose tissue covering the muscle and tendons. In that case, losing weight will help.

  Resistance training in a calorie deficit with a weight that allows for more than 12 reps is a mistake I think. You're going into energy systems work territory there and not lifting heavy enough to convince your body to keep your exisiting muscle mass intact.

 A sensible rep scheme is 10x3,5x5, 3x6-8 or even 3x10-12, but 3x12-15 is too light.

 Building muscle in a calorie deficit mostly just doesn't happen - your body will not go into positive nitrogen balance without a calorie surplus. But you sure can lose the muscle you have by training with insufficiently challenging weights.

 You don't have to do exclusively heavy lifting while in a deficit though, and doing some metabolic work in the higher rep ranges is beneficial as well. But not lifting heavy for at least part of your workouts is a mistake that'll cost you muscle mass.
Original Post by bigeasy:

I'm 175lbs with 16 inch arms but my legs are kinda small, want to switch???

 My biceps are now 11 and my calves are 15, but I'll stick with that I think, 16" arms are a bit big for me :P

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