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Am I doing the right thing?

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For those of you that don't know my story, I have lost 89 lbs since last May.  I am still eating at a deficit and am currently 5'6" and 225 lbs.  I started SL5x5 and paleo six weeks ago.  I have lost 11 lbs during that time, but I have been trying to eat more carbs and calories on lifting days.  I finally failed on my squats yesterday at 140 lbs.  I know it is almost impossible to lose fat and gain muscle (strength), so I knew I would run into this eventually.  My question is, is this a big deal that I failed so early, (3x5 and 2x3 yesterday),?  Should I just keep on doing what I am doing until I lose what I want to lose?  I want to get to 200 by my birthday, and at that point I would consider bulking, but right now I have a lot of fat left.  Advise?

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The first failure can be discouraging, but it's normal to stall or even deload periodically. Nothing particular is even necessarily wrong; sometimes your recovery just doesn't keep up with adding weight to the bar every time. This is especially true in a calorie deficit. The best thing you can do is just keep at it.

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You can't push your limits without touching them.


Battle Log

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Never waver and never question your path. If your goal is to dump weight then do it and don't fuck with it. Your strength training is a side dish to the main course of weight loss. When you get yourself down where you want for bf% THEN start smashing the fucking weights. You can't do both at the same time forever. Focus and prevail.


In the beginning I wanted to lose weight and get strong, too. Then I said "fuck this diet" and started eating, a LOT. I got strong very quickly and gaine very little fat with the muscle. Now I'm on a cut, and my strength if suffering because I'm always depleted. It's a fact of life. I've thought about eating to get stronger again, but my six pack is waiting and I'm not willing to dedicate myself to strength again until I have it.


The answer to your question is, yes, you are doing the right thing. Making yourself a stronger person is always the right thing. Making yourself a leaner person is always the right thing. Whichever is a priority right now is the one that is rightest.

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My training log




Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (USS), April 16th Contest report


Hudson Valley Strongman presents Lift for Autism (NAS), April 18th Contest report

Eighth Annual Vis Vires Outdoor Strongman Competition (Unsanctioned), August 1st Contest report


"What's the difference between an injury that you train around and an injury that you train through?"

"A trip to the hospital"

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Man, those days suck, especially the first few times they happen. It happens. Get back in there and try it again. 


But there is a chance you've actually stalled. If so, deload, triple check technique, and work back up again. This would be pretty early to have major issues, but it's possible you're going to need to slow down your progression. Weight training while eating to drop weight isn't counter-productive or pointless, but you do have to do it with the knowledge that you're not eating to support rapid gains. 


I've been steadily losing for a little over a year now, but I've strength trained the whole time and I've never regretted it. Yeah, it's frustrating at times because I know my numbers would go up faster if I was eating at a surplus and training mostly or all strength, but overall the progress I've gotten in other areas (I'm faster, healthier, happier and I look better naked) has outweighed it and focusing on those has kept me motivated, even when I stopped being able to increase weight every time I picked up a bar. At some point I'll decide that I'm ready to let progress in those areas slow or pause so that I can pour more energy and resources into building muscle, and I'll change my tactics and expectations accordingly.


Oh, and I've found that keeping track of my bodyweight to weight lifted ratio has been helpful while losing weight. The other day I retested a 1RM on strict press for the first time in 3 months and it was exactly the same as it had been. It felt like zero progress and I was incredibly frustrated. Then a training partner threw a lacrosse ball at me to shut me up and said "And how much weight have you lost since then?" I first hit that 90# strict press when I was 165 lbs (I'm female and 5'3"), and now I'm 140. He had a point - actually several. Not only had the percentage of my bodyweight I was able to press increased, I had made huge progress in other areas. The weight training had done it's job of helping me retain muscle while I eat to lose fat, and when I switch to focusing on strength gains I've got the technique in place to use the new muscle effectively. Ego effectively soothed. 

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