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Hey All,

             I used to weigh around 282 pounds but after having been weight training along with cardio since almost 6 months, I have come down to 268 pounds. Now the problem starts here. I've been weighing myself every week and also have been taking measurements of my body once a month. Though the weight has been shifting from 268-273 and back to 268 this week, I've been experiencing this "shift'' since almost 2 months now. The measurements have been of little motivation and have reduced slightly. I know I shouldn't be concerned so much about the scale but its been bringing me down and de-motivating me. I'm trying hard to control my portion sizes. I have been weight-training regularly but have recently ignored cardio workouts since they've been boring the crap out of me and I decided I couldn't take them any longer. So this is how my weight-training plan pretty much looks like now :

Workout frequency-3 days a week

Monday-Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

1.Dumbbell Incline bench press - 25.0 pounds x 8 reps 4 sets

2.Dumbbell Incline fly - 20 pounds x 15 reps 4 sets

3.Dumbbell Front Raise - 15 pounds x 15 reps 4 sets

4.Dumbbell seated triceps press - 15 pounds x 8 reps 4 sets

5.Dumbbell Shoulder press- 20 pounds x 8 reps 4 sets

6.Machine triceps extension- 28.5 pounds x 8 reps 3 sets

 

Tuesday-Rest (Note: Previously cardio day but have laid of that since 2 weeks)

 

Wednesday-Back, Lats, Biceps

1.Hyperextension - 18 reps 3 sets

2.Dumbbell Alternate Hammer Curl - 15 pounds x 8 reps 4 sets

3.Dumbbell One arm row - 35 pounds x 13 reps 4 sets

4.Cable rope straight arm pulldown - 5 pounds x 14 reps 4 sets

5.Preacher Curl Machine - 23.5 pounds x 8 reps 4 sets

 

Thursday-Rest ( See Note above)

 

Friday-Quads, Hamstrings, Legs, Abs, Glutes

1.Machine prone leg curls - 37.5 pounds x 8 reps 3 sets

2.Standing Calf raise (machine) - 59.5 pounds x 8 reps 3 sets

3.Thigh Adductor - 23.5 pounds x 8 reps 4 sets

4.Dumbbell Step ups - 20 pounds x 8 reps 4 sets

5.Dumbbell side bend - 20 pounds x 8 reps 4 sets

6.Crunches with legs on an exercise ball - 18 reps 4 sets

7.Planks - 3 minutes 3 sets of 1 minute each

8.Air bike - 8 reps 3 sets

Note: I've been increasing reps by 1 for each set every week and when I hit 15 reps, I increase my weight in each set. Applicable to all exercises.

 

P.S. Note: Also I've been shuffling my exercises every time I feel they've been becoming little less challenging and are too monotonous. But this has been my workout since August.

 

I know the battle of fat loss is waged in the kitchen and I've been trying my best to cut wherever possible and control my cravings and also eating healthy, but my main concern is whether what I'm doing now is:

1.Good, continue controlling diet, and need to be more patient enough.

2.Not enough.

3.Good but also concentrate on cardio.

4.Good, don't need cardio, control diet and have to be more patient.

5.Any suggestions that I can consider to improve my workouts.

 

Help would be appreciated!! Thanks and have a nice day!! :)

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Without knowing how much you're eating it's hard to tell you if you're on the right track. It's entirely possible (and not that difficult) to eat enough to totally negate any calorie burn you're attaining with your exercise.

 

Watching portions, controlling cravings, eating healthy, etc. all those mean different things to different people.

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Hey man I admire your spirit, but the approach is wrong.

 

I've lost around 20 kg or 45 lbs of fat in 12 months, most of it using calorie control and cardio.

 

Maintained weight at 122-123 lbs for over 6 months now, reducing fat while adding muscle.

 

For fat loss:

 

1. Eat according to your next target weight. If it is 250 pounds, eat around 3500 calories. If it is 240 eat 3300 etc.

 

2. More protein + less starch + more monounsat fat + polyunsat fat (coconut, olive, nuts, fish etc)

 

3. Lift around your bodyweight for max benefit. Drop the easy lifts like curls, flyes etc. Do deadlifts, squats, rows and overhead presses.

 

4. Climb stairs if you can.

 

5. Practise kickboxing for fun cardio

 

I'm 122 lbs and lift 120+ lbs regularly mostly using deadlifts. Next best is squats - bodyweight: double leg, single leg, jump, wide, narrow and so on. Squats can be used for cardio as well as strength training.

 

As far as I can tell, you are not lifting heavy enough. Right now your best weapon is your own weight - walk, squat and climb for max fat loss.

M/ 24 /122 lbs /168 cm /BF 14% 

 

Diet - Legumes + Dairy + Fish + Poultry + Fruits + Veggies

 

Activities - Punching Bag, Push Ups, Planks, Squats, 360 Twist Jumps, Sprints,

 

Overhead Presses, Deadlifts, Hanging Leg Raises, Rows, Inverted Rows, Curls,

 

Swings, Pull Ups, Soccer, Basketball

 

Short Term Goal: 10% BF + MORE Pull Ups 

 

Starting Off: Heavy Lifting

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I think the catch might be 'trying hard to control my portion sizes'.  It is really tough to determine how much you are actually eating.  I would suggest you jump on one of the calorie counting apps for a couple of months so that you can shore up this aspect of your fat loss.  This is a good link that explains how just being off by a bit can add up.  One of the first few responses has a link to a youtube video that really reinforces that point.

 

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/872212-you-re-probably-eating-more-than-you-think

 

Also Waldo has a good article on his site about calorie tracking.  It is five minutes a day that can really help you achieve a lot.  At the very least you will have a better idea of portion control after a couple of months.  I put all my calorie info into a spreadsheet along with a daily weigh in so I have information to go on when I need it.

 

As for cardio, I would try to do something small on your off days.  I don't really do cardio (only some tabata circuits after my workouts), but I do try to go for a long walk on my off days.  This helps to get you moving more and reinforces that this is the time that I workout, creating a habit.  Eventually you may build back up to do more and you are already used to do something at that time. 

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
--Douglas Adams

 

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Thanks for the replies. And as all of you said that it's hard to determine the portion control part, specifically mine, I do log my food daily on myfitnesspal and constantly monitor it. I've kept my daily calorie goal to 2500 and I usually don't end up hitting that goal on a daily basis so according to samir125 I guess keeping it to 3500 would be beneficial and give me a better idea. Also as cyclone suggested I too am considering walking and would very soon start it on my off days since its much better compared to just jogging or walking in one place on a boring treadmill. And once again samir125 I guess its time to start doing the real deal stuff like deadlifts but squats hurt my knee joints a lot since I used to do bodyweight squats earlier. But the one thing I'm skeptical about is using barbells. I know form, posture and everything is important so I've started firstly with dumbbells but I don't know whether I can proceed to barbells. I do love the idea of working out with regular barbells as well as EZ bar. So I guess I can start adding a few easy barbell workouts here and there replacing them with their dumbbell counterparts if its okay to do so. 

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This isn't the only way, but it's well worth saying, and an alternative to counting calories. I started out about the same weight as you.  I cut out most carbs 6 days a week and ate whatever I wanted on the 7th day. I ate a lot of veg and meat. Lost 70 pounds. Lost the first 40 without stepping in the gym. Counting calories isn't a bad way to develop a realistic idea of what is an appropriate amount of food. It's not necessary to count calories to lose fat, be healthy and change your body. For me the mechanics of it were very simple. I still got/get cravings, but I haven't really been exceptionally hungry or felt super restricted the entire time.

 

Fat loss is 90% diet. It can be 100% diet if you don't mind being less fit and healthy. The work you're doing in the gym is great.

Lifting is cardio-vascular training. It does all the same stuff traditional "cardio" does for your body. The only thing it won't help you do is run longer distances (not entirely accurate - it does help generalized performance to a degree). I can't distance imagine running at 265. That's just brutal on the body. If you like running, go ahead -  it's good for you. But not really any more effective at helping you lose fat than lifting or sprints. You're not giving up anything by not running - except swollen knees.

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Thank you wovercast and DerekP. That is some good advice. As wovercast said I guess I have to restrict calories accordingly to my goals. And when I seem to have hit a plateau on weight-loss i.e scale doesn't seem to keep changing I can try and concentrate on measuring my inches as the scale can really bog you down. And DerekP that's a great success story man! As you say, running on treadmills, cycling on the stationary bikes and all that regular cardio exercises give me shin-splints!! I cant bear that man! And I don't like running!! Not now atleast with all this weight I carry. But thanks for clearing the cardio vs weights conflict for me. Have a good day!!

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In the end, your goal is to lose fat and keep muscle. There are only the three things you must do.

1) Eat 500-1000 less calories than your TDEE

2) Eat enough protein (probaly approx. 180g for you)

3) Strength train

That's it! If you want to do cardio to increase your TDEE and eat more then go ahead. If you want to count calories to ensure you aren't under or overeating, do it. If you do it by feel, there is a chance you could stagnate (like you are now) or undereat and lose weight too quickly. Even if your are doing steps 2 and 3, you will lose more muscle if you undereat.

Also, I've lost 115 lbs myself.

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Ok, I am no expert here but based on your routines I'd say you're doing many reps at low weight. That is a recipe for building endurance and not necessarily for losing fat. At least, in my experience that has been true. Until I began working primarily on strength, I saw little to no fat loss after I plateaued 3-4 months in. The reason muscle is great is that it burns more calories at rest, which is honestly where a large portion of your calories are burned anyway supporting your bodily functions especially during higher-stress situations like Olympic lifts.

To build strength you have to progressively increase the resistance on the muscle while varying the direction of the resistance and thereby the accompanying musculature (to the primary movers). Also try more compound (think Olympic) exercises. The more muscles you involve at the same time the better. Men's Fitness released a great book on powerlifting that helps break down all the complex lifts into two to four steps and has you practice each individually. Almost all the lifts can be done with dumbbells but if you go to a gym barbells should be available too. Resistance bands also work but you cannot do complete lifts with them, only the individual steps.

To avoid stagnating try switching up 8 to 10 week programs. You probably have built up a fair amount of endurance so try strength training.

Try some bodyweight exercises and really push yourself, less sets (I tend to do no more than 1-2 sets) and less reps but amp up the difficulty. Let's say you can barely do 10-20 standard push-ups. Try that number of push-ups with four variations back to back, hardest first and easiest last (knee push-ups for me). Obviously listen to your body and do not push your joints too hard and fast. One of my workouts is basically that for my upper body. Pushups, pullups, handstand or pike pushups and vertical rows. Rest less between sets (use a cheap timer) and that should help push your metabolism as well. I rest about 2-5 seconds during the transition between the variations and about 15-20 seconds between the major exercise groups. Add instability (within reason) now and again to keep your postural/abdominal muscles involved.

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Ok, I am no expert here but based on your routines I'd say you're doing many reps at low weight. That is a recipe for building endurance and not necessarily for losing fat. At least, in my experience that has been true. Until I began working primarily on strength, I saw little to no fat loss after I plateaued 3-4 months in. The reason muscle is great is that it burns more calories at rest, which is honestly where a large portion of your calories are burned anyway supporting your bodily functions especially during higher-stress situations like Olympic lifts.

To build strength you have to progressively increase the resistance on the muscle while varying the direction of the resistance and thereby the accompanying musculature (to the primary movers). Also try more compound (think Olympic) exercises. The more muscles you involve at the same time the better. Men's Fitness released a great book on powerlifting that helps break down all the complex lifts into two to four steps and has you practice each individually. Almost all the lifts can be done with dumbbells but if you go to a gym barbells should be available too. Resistance bands also work but you cannot do complete lifts with them, only the individual steps.

To avoid stagnating try switching up 8 to 10 week programs. You probably have built up a fair amount of endurance so try strength training.

Try some bodyweight exercises and really push yourself, less sets (I tend to do no more than 1-2 sets) and less reps but amp up the difficulty. Let's say you can barely do 10-20 standard push-ups. Try that number of push-ups with four variations back to back, hardest first and easiest last (knee push-ups for me). Obviously listen to your body and do not push your joints too hard and fast. One of my workouts is basically that for my upper body. Pushups, pullups, handstand or pike pushups and vertical rows. Rest less between sets (use a cheap timer) and that should help push your metabolism as well. I rest about 2-5 seconds during the transition between the variations and about 15-20 seconds between the major exercise groups. Add instability (within reason) now and again to keep your postural/abdominal muscles involved.

 

I would say that an average rep range of 8 is not considered "many". Don't worry about complex lifts, while they are helpful that isn't the root of your problem. If you are going to break your week into body part related exercises than full body exercises don't fit. 

 

Yes muscle costs more calories to maintain then fat so building strength is a good idea. As well switching up the program after a few months or so is also a good idea.

 

I also suggest adding in some body weight exercises. But do not drop the number of sets.

 

You can get cardio benefits by lifting. Look into HIIT. You need to get your heart rate elevated and keep it there. That is what cardio is. This will greatly help your weight loss.

 

Don't focus on changing what you eat right now, just how much of it you eat.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Currently Posting in -->Battle Log | The Return Arc - [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] 

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Actually a fair amount of his exercises he lists 15 to 20 reps. And if you are really into building strength and overall conditioning HIIT is the way to go but might be too much for now. Hence the emphasis on bodyweight and Olympic lifting (doing each stage separately). And again, for strength training, you are putting more stress on the joints and muscles so less sets and lower reps are better. Not saying 5RM but around there is actually a good place to be. I consider 6-8 ideal but then again, that is just my opinion.

Completely agreed on the food. As painful/inconvenient as it may be. Log all food intake in a small journal and based on that make small easy goals (eat two less pieces of KFC on Game of Thrones night was one of mine).

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Actually as senobdec mentioned earlier, the rep range I am in right now is not that much of a strain for me but I'm consistently improving/increasing the weight that I left by 5 pounds when I hit up to 15 reps in a particular exercise. And as both of you'll suggested I guess I can try adding some bodyweight exercises as well. Also I'm thinking of shuffling my regimen somewhere in October, hopefully by then my body will have woken up from its slumber. Till then I can only work on focusing how much I eat, although its pretty difficult. Yet totally worth it I guess!

 

Also I read this comment by an user in another forum to a guy who had a similar conflict of mine that is the cardio vs weightlifting:

"According to my opinion I guess weight training is by far the best option for fat loss. You want cardio then try lifting weights faster!"

that cracks me up every time I read it :D  have a nice day guys!!

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Lifting is cardio-vascular training. It does all the same stuff traditional "cardio" does for your body. The only thing it won't help you do is run longer distances (not entirely accurate - it does help generalized performance to a degree). I can't distance imagine running at 265. That's just brutal on the body. If you like running, go ahead -  it's good for you. But not really any more effective at helping you lose fat than lifting or sprints. You're not giving up anything by not running - except swollen knees.

I'll disagree with you on this point. There are established benefits for cardio exercise, and it's not established that weight training has those same benefits (it of course has others). Circuit style with mostly big movements, perhaps, but most of the exercises abhi2395 is doing are more isolated, nor does it sound like he's doing circuits.

Now, Cardio can be as simple as going out for a walk on your lunch break. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is another way to get in a quick burst.

"None of us can choose to be perfect, but all of us can choose to be better." - Lou Schuler, New Rules of Lifting for Women

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So Abhi, here's my take. If experts disagree maybe it doesn't really matter and you should do what works for you.

Your weight loss has stalled. Will tracking work? Will cleaning up your diet, which often unintentionally cuts calories, work? Will adding exercise work?

Based on my experience, I'd say add metabolic conditioning work at the end of your workouts. I used swinging sledgehammers and Kettlebells to lose 30 pounds, but had to cleanup my diet to keep it off.

Good luck finding what works for you.

“We might as well start where we are, use what we have and do what we can." – Caitlin Rivers

Sloth: The Man with the Hammer battle log

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I'll disagree with you on this point. There are established benefits for cardio exercise, and it's not established that weight training has those same benefits (it of course has others). Circuit style with mostly big movements, perhaps, but most of the exercises abhi2395 is doing are more isolated, nor does it sound like he's doing circuits.

Now, Cardio can be as simple as going out for a walk on your lunch break. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is another way to get in a quick burst.

 

Cardiovascular exercise is raising ones heart rate above a certain level for an extended period of time. This can be achieved by lifting weights. But not all weight lifting is cardio as you said. And I would argue that walking isn't the best "cardio" either. Unless you are out of shape and your heart rate gets pumping from a short walk during a break at work.

 

I am not saying that lifting weights with low reps/long rest periods wont improve strength, and that walking is not excellent for you. But cardiovascular exercise works the heart. 

 

Butgetting out and walking is always good for you.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." - J.R.R Tolkien

"Progress, not perfection."

"Persist, Pivot, or Concede." - Matthew McConaughey

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Currently Posting in -->Battle Log | The Return Arc - [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] 

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Kaylya,

 

There's a mountain of evidence that resistance training improves aerobic performance and general cardio-vascular health. It's huuuge. If a person doesn't want to do it, that's totally fine. There are many other tools in the bag. But saying that "it's not established that weight training has those same benefits" is wildly underinformed. In some ways weight training has been shown to have better aerobic effects on the body - for instance generalized aerobic and strength performance. Also, resistance training has a markedly better effect on muscle's cellular insulin sensitivity - again, supported by tons of research (Not cardio-vascular, but definitely fat-loss related). And improving the body's insulin sensitivity plays a key role in healthy fat loss. To compare walking favorably to weight training in terms of cardio-vascular effectiveness? Not really in the same ballpark. Walking is healthy, but not because of a superior cardio/aerobic workout. One of the main reasons it's suggested for heart health is because it's so much less taxing on the heart. And so easy to do. Easier and less taxing generally mean less effective for improving performance.

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I appreciate all of you writing in and replying to me and helping me give a new perspective on this quest of mine. Also we can go on and on about this weights vs cardio debate but I guess its all about comfort. If youre comfortable with cardio I guess you can continue with cardio along with cleaning up your diet. You like weight-lifting you can continue with that along with cleaning up your diet. And this is what is common in all of the replies above-"DIET". I now realize how difficult I'm finding it to maintain a clean diet day in and day out and to have that willpower to control temptations and stuff. But every day's a new day and I try harder each day to control my portion size like I did today!! Yay me!

 

Now my next doubt is since my training frequency's only 3 days a week with a little walking thrown in for fun/cardio on the rest days, I was hoping whether I could weight-train for 5 days of the week instead (Monday-Friday) and if it could be beneficial or whether what regimen I'm currently following is enough? Also if I plan on doing the 5-days-per-week-weight-training-regimen then how should I divide my muscles accordingly on each particular day? I hope you can help me out! Thanks in advance!

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I'd not suggest 5 days a week for weight training especially if you plan to start emphasizing on strength. Doesn't give enough time for the muscles to rebuild. Muscles aren't built during exercise, but during rest. If you insist on 5 consecutive days a week do what others have suggested. Go swimming, walking, etc. Enjoy outdoor physical activities but don't think of it as "exercise". Rest is equally as important as working out.

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You can go to 5 days a week if you really want to. It's unlikely to affect weight loss much either way. It's unlikely to affect strength gain much either way.

 

You're going to get stronger by lifting. If you lift 5 days a week it might slow your progress because you're not taking enough time to repair/recover. It might also increase your progress because you're doing more work. It depends a lot on your body, nutrition, sleep, etc. And the rate at which you might lower or increase your strength gain is variable.

 

If we talk about MED here (Minimum Effective Dose), you'll be looking at a decreasing return on investment by spending more time at the gym. So if you're currently working out 3 days a week, then changing to 5 days/week is a 40% increase in investment. There's no way that 40% time increase will add to a 40% increase in your rate of strength gain. You may increase the rate of your strength gain 5% or maybe even 10%. So you're spending more time, but seeing less improvement per hour you spend at the gym. It mostly comes down to priority. So if you're goal is to be a hulking monster ASAP then get as much time as possible at the gym and pay close attention to performance dips. When you're performance tapers, dial it back a bit. If you live in a small village that's constantly at war with the next small village down the road and your family's very survival depends on your being in peak physical strength and condition, then getting that extra 1% increase from an extra 20 hours of training a month could be enormously important. If you want to live longer and look better naked, then that extra work for minimal effect is probably less important in your life.

 

For a hypothetical; If all you did was bench press and you did it 2x weekly for 6 months and you add 50 lbs to your press if you're relatively new. But If you worked out 3x weekly you add 60 pounds to your press instead. Would that extra 50% time and effort be worth the extra 10 pounds in performance? It's a matter of your priority.

 

You'll probably want to ditch some of the overly specialized movements - unless they're specifically being done to strengthen a problem area.

Start linking some of your performance chains together by using bigger compound motions. Pull downs and rows instead of straight-arm pulldown, one-arm rows and preacher curls. You add a lot of back and ab activation you're not getting by doing the smaller, less challenging movements. You can pretty much leave out most ab work for the first 6 months in the gym. Maybe more - there's a lot of conjecture about the usefulness of it. If you aren't comfortable doing squats and deadlifts, get on the leg press machine. Rather than all the dumbell fly and press variations, do a bench and overhead press. After you've done these big movements you can do some smaller movements to blast some muscle groups if you want, but often it's not necessary. Instead of leg curls, try str8 leg deadlifts - it works your shoulders, back and hamstrings, and builds your strength base if you want to move into squats and DLs. You can probably cut your current time in the gym in half and increase your productivity.

 

You don't just lose weight because of the caloric deficit of the work done. Mitochondrial proliferation and metabolic health are major factors in healthy fat loss. Lifting heavier weights that affect larger muscle sets is key to improving metabolic improvement and mitochondrial proliferation.

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"DIET". I now realize how difficult I'm finding it to maintain a clean diet day in and day out and to have that willpower to control temptations and stuff. But every day's a new day and I try harder each day to control my portion size like I did today!! Yay me!

Willpower is just as trainable as muscles. Consider your diet woes a chance to exercise will power. Every time your tempted to eat something you shouldn't, don't think of it as "Ugh, rules, restrictions, lame!" but rather, reframe it to "Yes! A chance for me to do a willpower workout!".

"No-one tells a T-Rex when to go to sleep".

- Jim Wendler

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