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Started to workout, losing muscles

by (105)
Updated about 18 hours ago
Created September 02, 2013 at 8:40 AM

I'm 31 y/o, 176 cm / 5.9 tall, 5 months on paleo (first 4 months VLC), lost 25 kg / 55 lbs (was 102 kg / 225 lbs) since then, started with functional training twice a week (monday and thursday) a month ago. I just find out that I lost another 3 kg / 6 lbs while my workouts are strictly bodyweight focused on core muscles. Everyone noticed the change, my legs, shoulders and arms grown up, no more mud-like ass, and so on. Yet, the body fat is still 20 % (55 % of body water) and muscle weight went down.

My typical daily diet is following:

Day 1

  • Two blueberry almond flour muffins, cup of white tea
  • Vegetable salad with some meat - pork, turkey, chicken and generous amount of olive oil
  • Fruit or veggies - banana, apple, kohlrabi
  • Pork neck steak with grilled carrot and zucchini

Day 2

  • 4 scrambled eggs, 4 stripes of bacon, handful of tomatoes
  • Salmon filet with green beans with mushrooms on generous amount of lard
  • Fruit or veggies
  • Sauteed chicken breast with balsamic tomatoes

I drink generous amount of water during the day and that's it.

Where, in your opinion, I'm doing the mistake?

EDIT: Typical workout is following:

  • 5 minutes on threadmill (fast walk)
  • TRX T or Y Pulls (20 reps)
  • Plank (5 reps, 15 seconds each)
  • TRX Standing Oblique Twist (20 reps)
  • Overhead squat w/ Aquabag (20 reps)
  • Front / reverse lunge twist with Aquabag (20 reps)
  • 5 minutes on threadmill to cool down (walk)

Between each excercise running up and down on set of 10 stairs (3 reps) or box jumps (15 reps). The Aquabag is unstable cylinder half-filled with water, so I have to mantain stability of my body.

After such workout I have min. 3 resting days.

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 03, 2013 at 7:27 AM

@SUSTAINEDfitness What makes you so surprised? I was on VLC paleo for first four months and the weightloss was like 6-7 kg per month without a sweat while my only activity was strolling with my twin toddlers 5-10 kilometers a day. I'm going to excercise for a month by now, the weightloss slowed down, which is good I guess, because I become kinda thin so muscle weightloss is something that I don't want to experience :)

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 03, 2013 at 7:24 AM

I'd say I have human servings, each plate 50 % veggies (side dish) and 50 % meat with generous amount of healthy fat. I don't eat just chicken or pork, beef and other meats as well are on my chart. One or two pieces of fruit a day and that's it. I just started to cook with sweet potatoes and squash so there hopefully will be some progress visible. I don't want to build muscles like bodybuilder, I'd be happy to maintain current muscle weight. I am thinking about the loss a whole day, now I am suspecting lack of sleep - usually 7-8 hours, which is maybe not enough for me.

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26072 · September 02, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Calipers can be precise -- they are not accurate. Bioimpedance scales assume intracellular water at 55% (which is probably an ok assumption, hamans typically range within 1% of that range). But the extra-cellular water (how much you drink) makes a big difference in the measurements. In this way bioimpedance are neither precise nor are they accurate. Most studies I have read show a variance of 5% - 7% with these scales. In my opinion, go by look and the feel of your clothing.

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 02, 2013 at 4:07 PM

That's a good point, thanks.

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7292 · September 02, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Doing a 20 rep set, and only one set will not give you the stimulus to make the muscles grow. As to the planks, instead of 5 reps of 15 seconds, do one rep of 75 seconds. The core is mostly slow twitch muscles and as such should be worked for endurance more so than power.

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7292 · September 02, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Yes, the handheld devices are junk. Calipers can be an accurate judge of progress, if you become constistent with taking the measurements.

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 02, 2013 at 2:28 PM

That's true, but I would be happy with keeping my current muscles, ergo I don't need to lose weight anymore.

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 02, 2013 at 2:13 PM

It's bioelectrical impedance scale with the handheld. So you're telling me that the results can be far from truth and I shouldn't worry about that since I can feel great?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · September 02, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Scan not scam ...

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · September 02, 2013 at 1:53 PM

How are you going to measure? If not a DEXA scam, then don't waste your time.

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 02, 2013 at 1:52 PM

That came up on my mind as well. I'm going to get another measurement this week just to check this option. Thanks for the answer.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · September 02, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Agreed. The remark about % body water makes me think he's using that for hi measurements though.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · September 02, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Bio-impedance is a waste of money, and anyone that trusts those scales that are supposed to measure bodyfat is an idiot. With calipers, the key is consistency.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · September 02, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Doing sets of low weight high reps will not incite hypertrophy, and will aid in lowering some of the fat within the muscles.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · September 02, 2013 at 1:43 PM

How does a muscle become leaner? Do you just mean loose body fat?

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · September 02, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Give a little more detail about your bodyweight functional exercises.

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3 Answers

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26072 · September 02, 2013 at 1:42 PM

The simple answer here is measurement error. Even calipers have associated errors.

My guess is that you are using bio-impedance method and this your measurements are bunk.

If your workouts are progressing, and people are noticing a positive body comp changes. Don't worry about what a silly bf scale says. Keep up what you are doing

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · September 02, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Calipers can be precise -- they are not accurate. Bioimpedance scales assume intracellular water at 55% (which is probably an ok assumption, hamans typically range within 1% of that range). But the extra-cellular water (how much you drink) makes a big difference in the measurements. In this way bioimpedance are neither precise nor are they accurate. Most studies I have read show a variance of 5% - 7% with these scales. In my opinion, go by look and the feel of your clothing.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · September 02, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Yes, the handheld devices are junk. Calipers can be an accurate judge of progress, if you become constistent with taking the measurements.

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 02, 2013 at 2:13 PM

It's bioelectrical impedance scale with the handheld. So you're telling me that the results can be far from truth and I shouldn't worry about that since I can feel great?

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · September 02, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Scan not scam ...

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · September 02, 2013 at 1:53 PM

How are you going to measure? If not a DEXA scam, then don't waste your time.

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 02, 2013 at 1:52 PM

That came up on my mind as well. I'm going to get another measurement this week just to check this option. Thanks for the answer.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · September 02, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Agreed. The remark about % body water makes me think he's using that for hi measurements though.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · September 02, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Bio-impedance is a waste of money, and anyone that trusts those scales that are supposed to measure bodyfat is an idiot. With calipers, the key is consistency.

3013d1b44fd7f65b4c8412f229d1d00e
1
354 · September 02, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Iceman, You've told us what you eat, but not how much you eat; that would be helpful. What are your daily macronutrients and calories?

And this may seem like an odd suggestion (as your original goal was losing weight), but I wonder if you are eating enough of the right food. What and how you are eating (apart from the issue of fat loss measurement--I'm not touching that!) has helped you lose weight, so changing your food up--stepping away from the chicken and pork and eating some lamb and beef--might be the way to go (only for a while--30 days?--to see if it makes a difference). Also--oh, HORRORS!--you may not be eating enough carbs. You've lost the weight, so staying low carb while trying to build muscle may not work without enough sustenance (or the right type). I'm not suggesting slamming donuts, but consider some yam chunks immediately after your workouts.

Finally, if you want stabilizing and core strength--barbell squats (especially front squats) will get you there, and also boost muscle.

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 03, 2013 at 7:24 AM

I'd say I have human servings, each plate 50 % veggies (side dish) and 50 % meat with generous amount of healthy fat. I don't eat just chicken or pork, beef and other meats as well are on my chart. One or two pieces of fruit a day and that's it. I just started to cook with sweet potatoes and squash so there hopefully will be some progress visible. I don't want to build muscles like bodybuilder, I'd be happy to maintain current muscle weight. I am thinking about the loss a whole day, now I am suspecting lack of sleep - usually 7-8 hours, which is maybe not enough for me.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
1
7292 · September 02, 2013 at 1:31 PM

In all honesty, given what you discribe as your eating and activity, I am surprised you are losing weight at all. As to functional bodyweight exercises, depending on how they are done, they can build muscle, but the way most do them, you will just make your muscles leaner. Pullups are a (moderately) heavy weight lift, but most other bodyweight exercises are not. Doing a thousand body squats will not make your legs grow muscle(hypertrophy).

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 03, 2013 at 7:27 AM

@SUSTAINEDfitness What makes you so surprised? I was on VLC paleo for first four months and the weightloss was like 6-7 kg per month without a sweat while my only activity was strolling with my twin toddlers 5-10 kilometers a day. I'm going to excercise for a month by now, the weightloss slowed down, which is good I guess, because I become kinda thin so muscle weightloss is something that I don't want to experience :)

Cb707cb9ab8a4ad743638a0c43c3f278
105 · September 02, 2013 at 2:28 PM

That's true, but I would be happy with keeping my current muscles, ergo I don't need to lose weight anymore.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86
7292 · September 02, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Doing sets of low weight high reps will not incite hypertrophy, and will aid in lowering some of the fat within the muscles.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7
26072 · September 02, 2013 at 1:43 PM

How does a muscle become leaner? Do you just mean loose body fat?

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