Steady but slow progress

Zodger

New member
Hello,

I am a bit confused about some of the information I came across regarding the rate at which I should be losing weight, I'd be really grateful for some insight.

Here's some info about my current state:
I'm 31 male
79 kg
174 cm
25% body fat

Currently, I'm eating as much protein as I can while trying to remain in a caloric deficit.
I'm eating a lot of chicken, pork, and fish at least once a week. Most of the dishes are with vegetables that are low carb (no rice or potato)
Fruits at least once a day, and 8g of sugar with my coffee each day(I really dislike other sweeteners)
As far as macros go my targets are 156g of protein, 54g of fat and the rest is carbs, around 50g. I got the calculations for these from a book.
That being said, I rarely eat that much protein, I'm around 120g/day and I overshoot the fat and carbs by the remaining amount of calories missing from protein.
However, I'm really paying attention to the total calories in, and rarely eat more than I should, and even if I do it's by a small margin. I weigh everything I eat.

I'm exercising 3-4 times a week, bodyweight + dumbbell exercises in a push/pull/legs split.
I'm trying to increase volume each time and go to failure in the last set.
And recently I incorporated some cardio as well.

I have an hourglass shape which would be super nice if I were female. most of my excess weight is in love handles.
According to my research losing, 1% of body weight/week should be reasonable, but I can't reach that marker.

First I tried lowering my calorie intake which worked fine for a while but now I reached around 1100 calories/day with barely any weight loss.
It wouldn't be a problem to further decrease my calorie intake but I'm afraid that I might mess up my metabolism (more than it already is)

To increase the calories I burn daily I started doing more low-intensity cardio, like cycling for 45-60 minutes at 60%-70% HRMAX.
So far this seemingly did the trick, as I started losing weight again.

I don't know how to reach that loss of 1%/week.
I thought the next step would be turning to pharmacology, with something reasonable like l-carnitine, and rauwolscine. I don't know if I should reserve this step for later, when I reach a lower-bodyfat percentage, or should try to boost the weight loss process now since it isn't going as fast.

Any thoughts?
 

Llama

Well-known member
Hi Zodger and welcome to the forum. First off: losing 1% of your body weight is on the high end of healthy/normal. Second: 156g of protein, 54g of fat and 50g of carbs looks like closer to 1310 kcal to me than 1100. That´s a detail though: you should be losing weight regardless because even 1300 kcal/day is very low for an active young man who is slightly overweight. How much weight a week have you been losing in the past 6 weeks? It´s quite normal to plateau for a while sometimes. More so when you´re adding exercise volume, intensity, or even just changing up the kind of exercises you do so you´re more sore again.
 

Zodger

New member
Hi!

Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate it!
Indeed I was aiming for the higher end of weight loss but it seems that was too much.
I was just hoping I could do it faster.

This is how much I lost in the past 6 weeks.
I cut the calories at week 2, but that boost didn't last too long, or my expectations are too high which is a strong possibility.

Week 1: 0.7%
Week 2: 2%
Week 3: 0.2%
Week 4: 0.8%
Week 5: 0.9%
Week 6: 0.36%
 

Llama

Well-known member
Ok, so that's something like 0.8% a week on average, right? That's great! Week three was a little lower but it was after a very high loss week so it probably just means you were dehydrated on your second week weigh-in. Meaning only your latest weigh-in was less than amazing. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you and definitely wouldn't drop more calories or add more exercise at this point. You're close to a healthy weight and bodyfat percentage already; at that point losing weight is almost always a slower process.
 

alligatorob

Respected Member
Hey Zodger, welcome to the forum!

I agree with LaMa, your rate of weight loss looks pretty good to me. I also think its as consistent as it gets, there is always a lot of variability in weight loss, much of it often water based. Just losing something every week is pretty good, I think you are doing fine.

Look forward to following your progress.
 

Trusylver

Sport and Exercise Coach
Staff member
The other members have covered most of the relevant info so I will be looking at some of the finer detail

At 25% you are only just in the above average range for men of your age.

Protein - 1.6 grams per kg of lean mass = 95 grams so your target is a bit high but current intake is ok

BMR - 1649.8 (Katch-McArdle)
TDEE - BMR X 1.4 (Sedentary-Maintenance) 2309 calories

Any calorie intake under TDEE should result in weight loss, the further under you are, the faster the weight loss and the greater the muscle loss.

Exercise not included in calculations as lifting burns far less calories than most people believe and cardio calories can be calculated on days cardio has been done.

Numbers are always just an estimate and starting point unless measured in a lab.

Losing bodyfat % is not just about cutting calories to speed up total weight loss, it is also about maintaining as much lean muscle as possible through the process.

Working Out

PPL is not a bad split for general training, however increasing volume at this point is not going to push you towards your goals, volume is good for building size in a calorie surplus, but you're not going to be building size in a deficit, You need to be increasing intensity to maintain existing muscle, training in the strength range rather than the higher volume hypertrophy range.

Long slow cardio is good for general weight loss but again a lot of it will reduce your muscle mass which is counter productive to improving your bodyfat %

I do not know what your general fitness levels are like so doing actual HIIT may be beyond your current fitness levels however the short intense training will use more calories and will help maintain your muscle mass better than long slow cardio.

Drugs

Almost all supplements are simply hype, there are only a few that have good scientific backing, the rest may have shown some hint of promise in a lab but due to a lot of different reasons that does not transfer to the hyped up products you can buy.

Caffeine and Creatine are 2 of the few scientifically backed supplements. Creatine is only of benefit if you have a diet very low in meat, if you have a high meat diet then you are consuming plenty of creatine naturally.

In addition to this, supplementation of medically diagnosed deficiencies are also ok, as an example I take high doses of Vit D because my body does not produce it and I have regular bloodwork done to check my levels.

If you get very detailed in your tracking of micro nutrients then there are a few others that may show up as lacking in your amino acid profile. Cronometer is good for tracking this level of detail.
 

Zodger

New member
Thanks for the encouragement LaMaria, Alligatorob! Looking back at the data I don't know what I was worried about.

Wow, I didn't expect such a detailed response, thank you for taking the time!

I stopped increasing the calorie deficit, to minimize the loss of lean mass, that is why I was a bit clueless as to what else I could do to reach that 1%/week since a larger deficit would just be detrimental. I'm not concerned about going at a faster pace anymore though.
Like you pointed out losing fat while maintaining lean mass is more important than just losing total mass at a faster rate.

Working out

Since I'm a newbie at lifting and have relatively high body fat compared to the muscle mass (twig-like arms) I was hoping I could achieve recomposition, but in the end, I lost around 0.5 kg of lean mass in the last 68 days. Despite this, I'm definitely stronger than I was before.
I'll try what you said and switch to higher intensity going forward and see how that goes.

I really like cycling, and the increased blood flow, in theory, should help with recovery as long as I'm not overdoing it. Do you think 1 hour rides are too long? I could try increasing the speed I'm going with to increase intensity but so far I tried to stay in the aerobic zone. Based on what I heard this should maximize the usage of fat as fuel, I didn't know it comes at the cost of increased lean mass loss as well. This is interesting, it's not something I thought of, thanks for bringing it to my attention, I'll take this into consideration before going on 3-4 hour or even longer rides.
As far as HIIT goes I should give it a shot. I tried it in the past but it's something that I couldn't stay consistent with because it pushed me to the brink of vomiting and I was really not looking forward to it, but if it yields superior results compared to slow cardio that might be enough motivation.

Supplementation

Until recently I 100% shared your opinion regarding hype fat loss pills, and I think you are right about the wast majority of them being just hyped-up bull****. But I also think there bound to be exceptions, which are hard to find since they are associated with trash miracle fat loss pills, and are labeled as such, and discarded.

I found a guy on youtube(MorePlatesMoreDates) who talks in-depth about pharmacology in bodybuilding, supplementation, steroids, and hormones in a sincere manner, without bull****. He talks about what kind of gear he took and paints a realistic picture of what is possible to achieve naturally vs when somebody is "juiced"
It was quite fascinating to watch his take on Hollywood celebrity transformations and how they skew reality since these celebrities claim they are 100% natural when in reality they are taking steroids. I think his videos are very informative and were kind of an eye-opener for me.

For example, one of the supplements he talked about is Rauwolscine a.k.a. Alpha-Yohimbine. This is a stimulant, which in theory should increase lipid mobilization during exercise, and increases adrenaline and focus. I haven't tried it myself but I thought it might be worth checking out.
 

Err2

New member
Zone 1 or 2 cycling shouldn't be eating away too much from lean mass - it is essentially the intensity of a slow to moderate walk. What (lots of) it will do is require some extra rest & recovery time, which is time your body could be spending rebuilding larger muscles if you were frequently lifting. Essentially you won't be able to be quite as big, but as long as you are doing some resistance training you shouldn't really be losing muscle at that intensity unless you're already at your maximum.

Long efforts at higher intensities will definitely hinder muscle growth/mass. You've probably noticed that a lot of amateur endurance athletes aren't very lean - it is generally because they spend far too much time in heart rate zone 3 (that and most don't lift weights). The pros are lean and they usually spend ~80% of their time in zone 1 or 2 and 20% in zone 4 & 5. They're just so strong & efficient enough that their zone 2 pace is more like someone else's zone 3 or 4, but they can still chat comfortably while the amateur is between breaths.

There is an increasing trend to do both endurance & body building - if you search youtube for "hybrid athlete" you'll get lots of results. Like hybrid anything, you won't be as good at either discipline as a true specialist, but you can still be pretty good in both. You can also eat a lot more, which I personally like ;)


PS: Lean mass encompasses everything but fat. Blood, water, bone, organs, undigested food, etc are all lean mass. You can lose lean mass without actually losing muscle mass, it can just be hard to get good data as you progress. But it is always a good sign when you're stronger.
 
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