Love the website and your crusade against the BS “fitness” industry; truly commendable.
I cannot seem to lose body fat and gain strength simultaneously. I am an endomorph (5’9″, 230 lbs, 23% body fat), and I seem to be particularly sensitive to carbohydrates. If I restrict my carbohydrate intake too much, I do not recover quickly enough. If I am more lax with my carbohydrate intake, I seem to balloon up.
I believe the problem is with my diet. I strength train and perform cardio in the gym three days a week, I captain my rugby team and have practices or games three days a week, and I perform plenty of non-exercise physical activity at work each day (I load trucks for UPS).
I’ve tweaked with my macronutrient ratios and the right ratio to help me shed body fat while gaining strength evades me. Really, I am seeking your advice on the situation since I have failed to actually ask a question!
Hey Dan, how are you?
I’m really glad you’re enjoying the site. Okay, I have to say that the first thing that jumps out at me is your amount of activity – it’s very high. Workouts, rugby, and being on your feet all day at work loading boxes burns a lot of calories. So I’m wondering what your daily caloric intake is? I also have to say that your body type sounds more like a mix of mesomorph and endomorph; at 5’9” & 230lbs, you’re stout!
If your calories aren’t high enough, your body will hold on to body fat and slow your metabolism down to meet what your feeding it. And if it’s too high, well you just get fat! Since it sounds like you have just hit a plateau, I’m suggesting you’re either eating for maintenance or too little calories. Of course the macronutrients are important, but ultimately it’s your calorie count that dictates whether you lose, maintain, or gain weight. The fact that nothing is changing means something is wrong in your calorie count, not your carbohydrate intake.
Here’s what you have to do – know what you’re eating daily, weekly and if possibly monthly. Yes, I’m asking you to write it down for a few weeks and monitor your weight and body composition. If after 3 weeks the scale and your body-fat haven’t budged, you can then look at your diet diary and make adjustments. Unless you’re eating like a horse, I’m going to guess you need to eat more food to lose weight. Then start the process again for another 2-3 weeks and see your results. With just a bit of planning and tracking of calories you can plan to lose body-fat.
A good rule of thumb is 10 times your bodyweight to lose, 12 to maintain, and 15 to gain. Those are just guidelines and provide you with a start point. With your level of activity, I’d probably start you around 2,500 – 2,800 calories and see what happens. As for carbs, protein, and fats, I believe in a ratio similar to the Zone, with a bit less fat; something along the lines of 45/35/25 or around there. Just remember once again, it’s total calories that count.
As for losing body-fat while gaining muscle and strength; sure it can be done, but is usually seen as a phenomenon seen in new trainees with little experience. You sound like you’ve been in the gym for a while and I’m sure you’re quite strong. Strength is not necessarily a function of calories as much as muscle growth is. And no, bigger muscles don’t necessarily mean stronger muscles. Is your program geared towards strength? Are you using Olympic power movements? Are you on a program to increase your bench in 6 weeks? Is your main rep range 4-6 with the occasional single max lifts? These are all things you need to be doing to reach your goals. You need a plan.
There are tons of strength programs on the web for increasing your bench, squat, vertical jump and all sorts of other athletic improvements. Have a search around, chose a program and follow it. When applied correctly these types of programs almost always deliver results for one simple reason – people follow the plan.
You didn’t tell me how old you are, or how long you’ve been at the iron game. And it doesn’t really matter. The tips I’ve given you will help regardless, and if you chose to try them I’m sure you’ll see some results. It takes a fair bit of work to really get to know your body and what’s best for you. But it’s all worth it. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Good luck!
Let me know how it goes and if any of you out there would like to book a more in-depth consultation with me – just drop me a line via the How To Book button in the sidebar.
And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!
All information contained within this site, Angry Trainer Fitness.com, is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed within this website. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.