Would you be expecting me to lose weight going to the gym 3 x per week?

(45 Posts)

Starting at the beginning of July (after falling off the wagon a bit in June) I have tightened up my regime, and now have three days per week which look a bit like this:

- Eat breakfast and lunch totalling 400-500 calories
- Go to gym and burn 600 calories (450-500 on a bad day)
- Have small snack (about 100 calories)
- Have light dinner (chicken & veg, salmon salad, etc)

This means at least 2 x per week my Net calories tot in at about 600 (always less than 1,000).

I've also kicked some seriously bad cheese-and-wine habits on the days when I'm not excessively counting and don't go to the gym.

Consequently I'm about to go into my third week of this routine and feeling much fitter and better, but in the first week I actually gained three pounds (which I'd somehow lost whilst being off the wagon, so the gain put me squarely back on Square One) and I haven't lost a sausage since then confused

Would you expect this sort of regime to pay off, or am I wasting my time?

Thanks Chieftains wink

Talkinpeace Mon 15-Jul-13 14:07:29

what is your TDEE - which takes into account the gym time
just that chances are that you are still over your TDEE so will not lose weight.

mrscog Mon 15-Jul-13 14:11:23

What's your sugar/refined carb intake like? Some people struggle to lose if there's too much insulin floating around at regular intervals.

Also, the calorie counters at the gym aren't that accurate - they don't take in to account your BMR - so the calories you would have burnt if you'd just slept instead of going to the gym - I tend to minus about 80 calories off a gym workout to take this in to account.

Are you definitely being accurate with your calorie counting?

Depends what exercise you are doing - if you are doing exercise that will bulk you up it is unlikely that you will lose weight.

I don't know how to calculate that Talk - any ideas? I'm a desk-worker so it's a possibility.

mrs I'm using MFP, I generally x-ref against the back of the box so I think it's pretty accurate.

Madame just cardio - treadmill, crosstrainer, exercise bike, rowing machine.

Interesting about the machines being inaccurate, I'll bear that in mind!

Talkinpeace Mon 15-Jul-13 14:24:29

Here you go ....
and yes, when I used to "allow" for the calories I was burning I put on weight

Thank you Talk

So, sorry - what do I do with these numbers? <thicko>

milktraylady Mon 15-Jul-13 14:30:48

Have you tried using my fitness pal? It calculates everything for you.

If you are eating healthily & doing exercise then I say keep at it!

You will see the difference in your clothes & you will feel better too.

Have you tried the trx thingy in the gym? It is great, I got great results using it.

Talkinpeace Mon 15-Jul-13 14:32:03

put your height, age, weight and exercise level in
the TDEE tells you how many calories you need to stay the same weight

so those of us doing 5:2 do 2 days of 500, 4 days of at or under our TDEE and 1 day of splurge
and it seems to work

But the TDEE said I should eat 1859 calories a day, and that's me on "Lightly Active"! confused

I am indeed mlktray but I've never used the TRX thing, I'll look into it!

I mean, my TDEE was 1859, if I understood you correctly that should be my maintenance calorie weight...

Talkinpeace Mon 15-Jul-13 14:52:34

If your TDEE is 1859, staying within that (no allowance for exercise calories) should get you to lose weight.

And if you are not losing, chances are you are underestimating what you consume

the common errors are
- drinks - calories in tea and fruit juice etc
- crossing old WW points into calories and not realising that zero points foods are NOT zero calories
- portion control
- snacks - the 5:2 poster who wanted to believe a small pakora was around 100 calories, rather than the deep fried 300 it probably was!

DayOldCheesecake Mon 15-Jul-13 14:53:18

Consider doing Fartlek or HIIT.

Only fatties use cardio machines.

bigTillyMint Mon 15-Jul-13 14:56:09

What's Fartlek or HIIT?

I use the cardio machines and I am not fat. Nor are the majority of gym users on cardio when I go inconfused

milktraylady Mon 15-Jul-13 15:01:59

Yes if you do a mini circuits on the trx it's great.
You need 3 or 4 different exercises.
Repeat 3 times as perfectly & quickly as possible. Superb stomach coming your way!

Ask the gym staff to show you some trx exercises.

I like it because its difficult to injure yourself- unlike kettle bells/ machine weights.

Those numbers for calories burnt sound very high.

Bonsoir Mon 15-Jul-13 15:07:15

No. The gym won't make you lose weight. Eating less/better will help you lose weight.

Thistledew Mon 15-Jul-13 15:10:17

Give it time. The body stores energy in the muscles and liver and when you exercise, these are depleted. Most people store around 500 - 600 accessible calories in this way. As fat is quite hard to break down, your body will replenish its energy from the next meal that you eat. If you eat less than you burn through daily maintenance and exercise, then your body will start to deplete your fat reserves to make up the difference. This does not happen quickly, and will depend to a large extent on your metabolism, which also takes a while to properly adjust to your exercise regime.

That is not to say that is is not possible to burn fat solely through exercise. I am losing around half a kilo a week just through exercise alone, but that is because I am doing around 8 hours of cardio work a week, and burning around 5000 calories (I am eating more than 2000 calories though).

Do keep it up though. Once you are fitter, you will be able to sustain a high intensity cardio for longer, so that you will be able to get into a proper fat burning zone.

HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training and Fartlek is a system of training whereby in your training session you work as hard as you possibly can for as long as you can, then work at a lower pace until you have recovered, and then work hard again. Both depend on your fitness level as to how hard you will actually be able to work and how many calories you can burn.

I do approximately 10 hours a week cardio and i never lose any weight, though it does make you look and feel better. Weight training and a low carb/high protein diet is the way to go really

milktraylady Mon 15-Jul-13 15:15:19

Yes there's a lot about your body type & how you burn energy.

Eating healthy, not drinking, then productive exercise WILL make a difference to your body. Stick at it, at least 4 weeks.

Your metabolism will slowly change to adjust to operating with the new conditions you are giving it.

Thistledew Mon 15-Jul-13 15:15:24

Sorry, maybe not half a kilo a week, more like a fortnight.

ohforfoxsake Mon 15-Jul-13 15:29:41

Rather than going by weight go by your measurements. I'm sure you'll see a difference in your shape before you do on the scales.

Oh and before anyone says it you won't be gaining muscle by going to the gym, and fat doesn't weigh less than muscle! But you might be retaining wat as your muscles repair themselves.


But Talkinpeace I have never eaten anything like 1859 calories on a daily basis! On my three "good" days I come in at under 1100 (gross, not net) and on a "bad" day (i.e. cheesey lunch, pub and no exercise) I'll maybe get to 1800 confused

milktray wanna be MFP buddies? I need more friends!

Ehric what makes you say that? I have a few MNers on MFP and 500-600 calories for an hour's workout seems to be pretty standard. I aim for 600 and spread it over the exercise bike, eliptical trainer, rowing machine and treadmill.

Rosa Mon 15-Jul-13 17:30:06

If you are like me ...Eat more than what you are extra fruit and veg keep up the exercise and it might shift. Good luck .. its taken me a year to find out why the 'f' its not shifting and I am not eating enough!!!!,

Talkinpeace Mon 15-Jul-13 17:57:55

If your TDEE is 1859 and you are under 5'5" then I'm afraid you have been eating more than that amount
I am 5'5" and my TDEE is 1500

what we have learned from the 5:2 threads is that peoples estimates of how many calories are in their meals are out by up to 40%
their guess as to how many grammes their portions are - ditto

a pub ploughmans / pie / main course is around 1000 calories on its own
a large glass of wine is 200 calories

if you WERE eating 1100 calories in a day, you would have a BMI under 20

Thanks TIP! My BMI is actually 21 - I'm 5ft6. Doubtless I am wrong about my calorie intake to some degree, but on the days where I count and gym I use MFP so I reckon I have quite a good idea. I could be wildly off about my non-gym-MFP days and have been shocked by a few things since I started counting, such as the impact of olive oil.

Oh, meant to say I only manage <1100 calories 2-3 times a week, and although I've been MFPing and gymming for about 5 months my regime was scatty until a few weeks ago when I decided to buy some scales and be more organised.

Mintyy Mon 15-Jul-13 20:08:02

Talkin - how come your tdee is 1500?

milktraylady Mon 15-Jul-13 20:40:05

Ooooh what's MFP?

Talkinpeace Mon 15-Jul-13 21:39:01

because my BMI just went under 20 ....
Also I always calculate my TDEE on light exercise because when I'm working I sit the whole time

MFP = Myfitnesspal

Mermaid : it is definitely the hidden sugars and the TEENY allowances of fats that catch people out!

Mintyy Mon 15-Jul-13 21:44:24

No wonder you've lost so much weight!

NoelHeadbands Mon 15-Jul-13 21:57:53

Why oh why would they name it Fartlek confused. There wasn't a better name?

milktraylady Tue 16-Jul-13 08:10:59

Mermaid that would be great, but I'm not currently using it- as I have a 13 week old baby & I am giving myself lots of time to recover!

I really want to get started on the wobbly tummy but just don't have the energy or bf going well enough yet to leave her. (She doesn't really nap)

I can't believe I do actually miss exercising!

During her birth I worked out I did 3000 squats (in the water pool pushing on the side for a few hours).
I figured this out because I couldn't walk for the first week & had the most amazingly shaped bum! And all cellulite gone!

However I don't think I will be doing 3000 squats ever again!

talkinpeace is talkin sense as usual smile. Bear in mind when looking at all these figures that you need a 3,500 calorie deficit to lose 1lb of weight.

Sorry but unless you are working very very hard it is highly unlikely you are burning 600 calories between those machines, if you stayed on one machine you may have a chance but just the time lost changing between them would mean you are probably only actually working for 50 minutes or so. To do that and burn 600 calories is pretty intense work for someone who, I am guessing, is around 9 stone. The elliptical machine is particularly notorious for over-estimating calorie burn btw.

It is also likely that you are underestimating calories consumed and if you are, even by, say 200 calories a day (not much) then that would be cancelling out the calories burnt through exercise.

Having said all this...if your BMI is 21 then you probably don't really need to lose weight, although you may need to lose fat smile. Have you thought about weight training? This, using heavy weights, with some HIiT added in, will change your shape to one you much prefer, sculpting (not bulking) muscles and you will shrink, even if you don't lose weight. Do this alongside avoiding sugar and processed food, aiming for lowish carb, lots of lean protein and you will probably get better results more easily than calorie counting.

Also, more muscle means the opposite result to calorie restriction, calorie restriction over time means your body will adapt to working on less calories, leading to a constant battle with your appetite to keep your weight down - this gets even harder as you age and lose muscle tissue due to hormonal changes. Muscles built and maintained through weight training burn more calories, so you can eat more (within reason wink) without gaining lbs. win win!

BIWI Tue 16-Jul-13 09:13:30

At 5ft 6in, and a BMI of 21, that means you probably weigh around 9 stone 4lbs. Is this right?

You are at the low end of desirable, which means you don't have much weight to lose!

Exercise only counts for 15-20% of weight loss, and diet is much more important.

This is an interesting blog about fat and exercise

The muscle idea sounds very sensible - that's exactly how much I weigh BIWI. I felt pudgy and wibbly early this year so joined the gym and started MFPing, but it wasn't until June that I got a real shock when I went to the doctor and got weighed. I only ever get weighed at the doctor and I'd gained 5/6kg in 9 months! So I figured I needed to lose it all again to stop feeling wibbly but it was only a few weeks ago I really tightened up the regime, bought a set of scales and decided to be more serious about it.

Is there a better way of calculating calories burned than the machine estimate? I'm a bit confused at all the people telling me it seems too high, as it roughly adds up to the MFP estimates - e.g. it takes me just over 25 minutes on an exercise bike to burn 200 calories (according to the machine and when I try and enter those into MFP, 26 minutes equates to 202 calories. I'm quite aware that neither MFP nor the machine display are an exact science, but is there a better way? I assumed between them they'd be giving me a pretty good idea.

Sleep Obviously I don't count the time between machines in the hour! It's roughly

25 minutes on bike = 200 calories
20 minutes on elliptical trainer = 200 calories
10 minutes on rowing machine = 100 calories
10 minute run + fast-walk-cooldown on treadmill = 100 calories

Or so the machines reckon.

Also Noel I sniggered at Fartlek. I really do think they could do better!

Sounds like my strategy actually, although I'd never heard the name. I power like crazy for about 5 minutes until I run out of steam, then let myself recover for about 1.5 minutes then go crazy again.

BIWI that article is fascinating.

Sorry mermaid, thought you meant 1 hr total. What you describe isn't so much calorie wise then. I still think it is a very poor use of time at the gym though. You would do better using your hour with a five min jog or row to warm up, 20-30 mins weights (free weights best, get some instruction if you need it) then 12-20 mins high intensity intervals, not using the effort you can sustain for 5 mins but harder, you should be desperate for one minute to end...then recover for 1-2 mins and repeat. Shorten the recovery time to one min and increase the total time spent as you get fitter. Then do 5-10 mins doing some core strength stuff-planks etc and stretching.

3-4 times a week of this plus good diet made up mainly of lots of lean protein and veg should make a difference. Try it for a month or so....

another interesting article there are lots in same vein if you google something like cardio vs weight training smile

milktraylady Tue 16-Jul-13 13:18:06

I started using weights after reading this book- smart girls do dumbbells.

Lots of research backed up info & how to lift properly so you don't do any damage.

A great plan in it to get you started.

Although I still think trx is a better workout as you are using all your body weight to some degree.

So it's really easy to make exercises harder or easier. Plus you don't need to remember what kg each exercise you are at, like you need to with free weighs or machine weights. (I have appalling memory & have to walk round the gym with my workout card every time!)

I agree with pp (on phone, told you my memory was rubbish!) that cardio isn't great for losing weight. I think it is good for your cardiovascular health ie your heart, circulation, getting the blood moving in all parts of your body.

But to tone up and be more lean- healthy eating & weights will give you much better results.

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