Losing fat vs gaining muscle

  • crewdude1

    Posts: 27

    Feb 02, 2010 12:14 AM GMT
    Hi all, I've just discovered this website and joined up so I have a lot
    of questions, but I don't want to flood the boards, so I'll just start
    with a basic workout regimen question.

    I'm 6'4, medium-to-broad build, currently at 220lbs and 19% body fat.
    What I'm trying to do is basically stay at the same weight while I lose
    fat and gain muscle and am aiming to get myself down to around 11-12% body fat. I've been working on this for a month now and it's been slow
    going. Or at least it feels like it has been. I started the year off at
    20.2% body fat, so I've come down a percentage point - that's cool, I
    started off at 223.2 lbs and have lost 3.6 lbs of body fat, which is
    also cool, but I've lost 1.0 lb of lean body mass in the process which
    is a bit frustrating. I'm eating a lot of protein - over 220g a day -
    and I'm taking in about the right amount of calories each day (yeah, I'm
    being obsessive and counting/tracking them all). But I'm still losing
    lean body mass. So I'm wondering if I am going about this the wrong way
    and if it might be better for me to beef up the cardio, concentrate on
    just losing the fat and get my body fat percentage down to where I want
    it to be first, and then ease up on the cardio and beef up the weight
    training and calories to try to gain the pounds back in muscle while
    trying to keep my fat percentage more or less the same (sounds like a
    tall order). My big concern about losing the fat first is that I fear I
    will lose a lot of lean body mass in the process, and I find it a
    helluva lot harder to get the muscle back then to lose the fat. So what
    do you all think?

    Here is my current workout regimen .

    Day 1
    10 minutes warm-up on elliptical machine
    Weight training: Chest - Four different exercises (usually bench,
    incline, decline and flies), three sets at moderately heavy weight,
    increasing the weight with each set (enough that I can do 12 reps first
    set, 10 reps second set, and can barely get 8 reps out on a third set)
    Weight training: Back - Also four exercises, three sets at moderately
    heavy weight - basically all my weight training follows that routine.
    Finish off with crunches

    Day 2
    Cardio - Treadmill, elliptical machine, or, if it's nice out, jog in the
    park. 30 minutes

    Day 3
    10 minutes warm-up on elliptical machine
    Weight training: Arms (4 exercises of three sets each for biceps, and 4
    exercises of three sets each for triceps)
    Finish off with crunches

    Day 4
    Cardio - Try to do something different from whatever I did on Day 2. 30
    minutes

    Day 5
    10 minutes warm-up on elliptical machine
    Weight training: Shoulders (4 exercises, three sets each) and Legs (4
    exercises, three set each)
    Finish off with crunches

    Day 6
    Bikram Yoga class ("Hot" yoga). 90 minutes.

    Day 7
    Rest

    And then I start it all over again.

    Thoughts?
  • jc_online

    Posts: 487

    Feb 02, 2010 1:43 AM GMT
    Welcome to the site! There are some great workout plans on the site (check the tabs at the top of the home page). Some for strength training and some for dropping weight.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Feb 02, 2010 4:55 AM GMT
    hey man first of all welcome.

    about your post. you really have to change your diet first. believe me that is the BIGGEST step you need to take in order to lose fat. your muslce definitely uses fat as a source of energy, but only to an extent. changing your diet to take in less fat is the key. you have to be eating about 5-6 meals a day so your never hungry and refrain from eating crappy foods. here is the basics of what i do for my diet:

    Meal 1: Carbs and Protein
    Meal 2: Protein shake and some healthy fat (nuts, olive oil etc.)
    Meal 3: High protein, mod carbs, veggies
    Meal 4: Either protein shake and banana or chicken, baked potatoe, veggies
    Meal 5: Lean ground meat
    Meal 6: Lean ground meat and some healthy fat

    i eat about every 3 hrs begining at 6am. there are a lot of diets out there. check out the ones on this site they are pretty good. im no nutritionist but this has worked for me.

    as for the weights, higher reps, lower weight tend to burn fat quicker. you want to get the reps in to trigger a faster metabolism response from your muscles.

    hope this helps! good luck!
  • Celticmusl

    Posts: 4330

    Feb 02, 2010 5:16 AM GMT
    I like Pittsteel's diet/nutrition tips, and the workout's look great. I would highly suggest more cardio, like an hour 5 days a week. I finally started doing an hour of cardio 5 days a week at the beginning of this year and the time is worth it. It really does seem like the last piece of the puzzle for me to continue to build muscle while leaning out. I do most of my cardio after the workout so I have the strength for some heavy lifts. I want to get into beach shape at some point, possibly before April. May I'm heading to Florida.
  • crewdude1

    Posts: 27

    Feb 02, 2010 5:37 AM GMT
    Hey Pittsteel, thanks for your response. I think my diet is in fairly good shape. I eat pretty much all day with small meals and snacks, and about 15% to 25% of my calories are from fat. My breakfast is usually an egg, a banana and Fiber One, my lunch a roast beef sandwich on wheat bread with lots of veggies, my dinner, baked chicken, salmon, or pasta with meat sauce, stuff like that. I also drink two to three protein shakes throughout the day, nosh on Fiber One and have an orange in the afternoon as a snack.

    I've heard that higher-rep- lower-weight burns fat quicker so maybe that is the route to go for now. Is the loss of lean body mass kept to a minimum when you train that way? And I guess my main question still remains. Do I continue to try to do it all at once, or should I just concentrate on losing the fat now and then gaining the muscle later?

    Celtic, I actually used to do that much cardio – well, close to it (it was more like 45 minutes 6 days a week) – and I lost a lot of weight doing it (I used to weigh 265 – yikes!) But once I got down to around 220 and wanted to sort of put the brakes on my weight loss and stabilize my weight by gaining muscle as I continued to lose fat, I read some articles that recommended no more that 30 minutes of cardio at a time – that if you go beyond that, the body starts to store fat and burn off protein out of your muscles for energy, which is why I went down to 30 minute cardio sessions. I made them only two days a week (if you don’t count the yoga) when I read some other articles about building muscle and that is what they recommended. But it sounds like the heavier cardio time really worked for you, and since I seem to be making really slow progress with my current routine, maybe I should go back to my old one. My fear again though would be that I’d end up losing as much muscle as fat in the long run.