Getting stronger but weight stays the same = losing fat?

  • JimJim

    Posts: 58

    Nov 19, 2013 9:36 PM GMT
    EDIT: I posted this in the General Fitness Forum but somehow it wound up in All Things Gay. How do I move it?

    So for the past 3 1/2 months I've been consistently working out (strength training/weight lifting + cardio).

    Over that period of time I've gotten pretty stronger. For instance, I went from only being able to bench press 120 lbs up to 175 lbs and bicep curls from 25lbs per arm to 45 lbs per arm. Additionally, I can now do up to 45-50 pushups in a row without stopping whereas before I could only get up to 20 (on a good day).

    However, over this time I have not gained or lost any real weight. My body does look overall a bit more muscular/toned especially in my arms, chest and shoulders but still the scale stays the same.

    So, my first question is would it be safe to assume that this means that any weight I should be gaining with increased muscle mass is being counteracted by fat loss? I haven't really been measuring my body fat percentage but it seems plausible. Should I just keep doing what I'm doing and just assume that I'm losing fat in the process?

    On a sort of related note, I've been having trouble trying to flatten out my stomach. I'm not necessarily looking for a 6-pac or anything but my stomach does protrude a bit now and I just want it to be "tighter." I've been trying to watch what I eat/drink -- I drink only water (and in large quantities throughout the day), eat a lot of protein (chicken, egg whites, fish) and salad/fruit and only a minimal amount of bread/cheese. In terms of exercise, I try to do a lot of crunches (maybe 300 or so on average per workout) as well as planking, leg lifts, etc. What else could I be doing to help with my stomach?
  • joxguy

    Posts: 247

    Nov 19, 2013 10:29 PM GMT
    It is true that muscle weights more than fat, but you don't actually exchange one for the other. The stomach needs special work. Remember you can eat good food, but eating too much doesn't help. You have to cut back on food intake, increase cardio way up and do a variety of crunch activities so you attack the different muscles in the abs area.

    Those who just do say sit ups only with their lets elevated miss the lower stomach muscles and get affected by doing sit ups with our legs down. ellipticals work certain parts, bike works another, and tread mill again another. Vary what you do and remember low weight high reps tone and flattens, high weight and low reps builds.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 19, 2013 10:33 PM GMT
    Measure your won't get bigger with muscle gain, but it will get relatively smaller with fat loss.

    Body fat measurements are very inaccurate despite what the trainers at the gym tell you, unless they're using calipers and I would bet my ass they aren't properly using them even if they are.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11634

    Nov 19, 2013 10:45 PM GMT
    Is it possible that all of those crunches are increasing the muscle mass in you stomach area?
  • JimJim

    Posts: 58

    Nov 19, 2013 11:10 PM GMT
    So I see what you guys are saying...but if I'm not necessarily losing fat currently, then how else does one explain my increased strength/size but stagnating weight?
  • tuffguyndc

    Posts: 4437

    Nov 19, 2013 11:17 PM GMT
    i hate to say it buddy but it may be your diet.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9225

    Nov 20, 2013 1:22 AM GMT
    Throw away the scales.
    Look in the mirror.
    That will tell you how well your workouts are going.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 20, 2013 1:36 AM GMT
    Webster666 saidThrow away the scales.
    Look in the mirror.
    That will tell you how well your workouts are going.

    I think that is the best advice.
  • GWriter

    Posts: 1451

    Nov 20, 2013 2:24 AM GMT
    I'll just respond to the question about strength gains.
    When someone begins resistance training the nervous system is the first to adapt. Your brain becomes more efficient at innervating (activating) the muscle fibers. So strength increases before the muscles begin to grow. That will happen next. Just keep at it!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 20, 2013 5:06 AM GMT
    Do you notice any difference in your waist size and do you feel your pants looser?

    Also, if you have access to a scale which can measure you body fat composition, that would help too. Weigh yourself on that scale regularly to track the progress of your body fat (which should be less and less).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 20, 2013 5:39 AM GMT
    You have probably built muscle, lost fat, and gotten more efficient at using your muscles (see the nervous system explanation above). This is especially true if you look more "toned."

    The waist measurement isn't completely accurate. If you build abs and lower back muscles, that will increase (or offset fat loss) your waist size.

    The only reliable way to measure fat is a dunk test or a DEXA scan, both of which are pricey. Calipers are difficult to master and are very difficult to repeat and get the same measurement. Body fat scales are laughably inaccurate.

    Unless you are pretty fat and need to slim down, you will need to slowly increase your caloric intake to continue gaining muscle.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 20, 2013 5:41 AM GMT
    Toss the scale. You'll notice your progress by how your clothes fit after a while. icon_biggrin.gif
  • JimJim

    Posts: 58

    Nov 21, 2013 7:17 AM GMT
    Thanks guys for the replies! I'll try to not focus too much on the numbers on the scale and keep a better eye on my diet. icon_biggrin.gif
  • blueandgold

    Posts: 407

    Nov 21, 2013 8:12 AM GMT
    I agree with throwing away your scale. I did this literally once. I was really mad with what it was telling me. Some utility worker guys found it in the woods a few months later. I probably shouldn't have thrown it over my fence. Did I mention I was mad?