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Losing fat, gaining muscle. Confused.

(11 Posts)
coldfingerscoldheart Fri 27-Jul-18 14:38:48


Was unsure whether this was the right topic to post in, as it is, in part, weight (fat) loss related. Hope I’ve not made a mistake.

I’m in a real quandary about how much I should be eating.

I started strength training four months ago (so still v v new to it all) and I am HOOKED. I’m steadily becoming more lean. My weight is about the same, maybe half a stone lighter (I weigh 7st 11lbs), but I’ve gone from 22.4% body fat, to 20.3% and 39.2% muscle mass to 41.2%. I workout 6 times a week (3 x PT, 3 x gym). I don’t do any cardio, it’s all body weight/weight stuff.

I would really like to get really lean (visible abs is the dream!) and I know to achieve that my body fat neea to be more like 16% (correct me if I’m wrong).

I currently eat 1,300 calories a day and try to stick to 45% carbs, 40% protein, 15% fat. According to my Fitbit, I burn about 2,500 a day (I walk a lot).

So on the one hand, I need to lose 4% body fat which means I need to be in a calorie deficit. On the other hand, I want to build muscle, which means calorie surplus.

Which do I do first??? Is my strength training redundant on the amount I’m currently eating?? If I focus on losing that 4% body fat, do I carry on strength training to try and retain muscle. Is it possible to lose fat and build muscle because I’m so new to it all (previously didn’t exercise).

Any advice would be much appreciated (be harsh with me if needed), as I’m so confused.

Again, sorry if this is in the wrong section. I just thought it differed from your average ‘how do I lose weight thread’.

Thank you.

RJnomore1 Sat 28-Jul-18 19:48:22

You are eating way too few calories for strength training.

As you build muscle it burns more fat so if you want to see muscle eat more and better. Once you've built the muscle a brief "cut"'of low cal diet should expose it. But ongoing you need to eat protein to build the muscle.

The most toned strongest women I know eat loads compared to my flabby always on a diet pals.

It's such fun strength training though isn't it!

coldfingerscoldheart Sat 28-Jul-18 20:30:17

Yes, I think I knew that I was eating too little... I have a very long history of pretty extreme calorie restriction/disordered eating (15yrs), so choosing to eat more is a massive change for me. I’ve upped it to 1,500 today (a little scary but I feel great for it) and will keep gradually increasing over the coming weeks.

YES!! So fun!!!! It’s addictive and has given me a much healthier, positive outlook on my body and life in general.

Thank you for replying!

RJnomore1 Sat 28-Jul-18 20:46:22

I'm glad you're enjoying it!

I'd honestly recommend about 1800 calories but you can work your way there. If you've had issues with eating it must be scary to suddenly "need" to be eating to get where you want to be.

Good luck and keep going!

FrangipaniBlue Sat 28-Jul-18 20:47:36

The brief I have my PT was that I don't want to be a smaller dress size but I wanted to reduce my body fat and build muscle.

He's got my diet 50% carbs 15% fat and 35% protein and 1600 NET calories (so if I do 1000 calories of exercise I can eat 2600 calories)

coldfingerscoldheart Sat 28-Jul-18 20:58:23

Yes, RJ pretty scary. Everything I thought I knew has been flipped on it’s head. Exciting at the same time too though. Will definitely try to get up to 1,800 in the next month or so. Thank you for your advice and encouragement.

Interesting Frangipani... I’ve never actually thought about counting NET calories before... In the past, I saw eating calories I’d burnt off in exercise as cheating... Strength training is really turning my world upside down (in a good way). Thank you for your advice.

FrangipaniBlue Sat 28-Jul-18 21:33:26

If you don't count net you'll never eat enough and won't build muscle - feed the muscle gringrin

nellly Sat 28-Jul-18 21:38:12

Try reverse dieting! I do a lot of strength training and the only
Time I ever saw my abs was reverse dieting grin

SmiledWithTheRisingSun Sat 09-Mar-19 11:13:28

What's reverse dieting?

FartnissEverbeans Wed 08-May-19 16:35:53

I’m in the same boat! I’ve also had disordered eating in the past (a bit of bulimia if I’m honest in my teens and twenties, maybe a few episodes since I turned 30, as well as restricted eating etc) and recently I’ve been doing strength training 3x per week (have also been running). I lost 20kg last year without dieting as such - just watching what I eat - but I’m not losing any more and it’s freaking me out. I don’t think I can bring myself to eat more calories?! It’s too ingrained in me to diet...

I’m a healthy weight now and so much stronger but I want to be lean and I want to be able to do pull ups and rope climbs for my next Spartan race. When I eat more I do notice strength gains but I need structure.

LiliesAndChocolate Mon 13-May-19 23:23:53

You don’t need to be at 16% fat to have visible muscle. I am at roughly 19-20 and pretty ripped, some body parts more than other as fat distribution is not even, so I have extremely defined arms shoulders and abs but no matter how many squads lunges or anything I do, I can’t reach the same level of definition in my legs, but I am ok. I don’t feed my muscles as I want to stay lean, I don’t want bigger muscles. I am on a calorie restricted low protein diet for health reason so eat roughly 0.6 gr protein x kg so about 32 gr protein per day . Despite low calories and low protein I have very good muscles .

This is just to point that there is not one rule that fits all.

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