muscle loss

Post questions and tips on right foods and right balance of nutrients for long-duration events.

muscle loss

Postby Nitrobeach » Sep 19, 2006 01:35

I just finished reading the article on aerobic vs. anerobic exercise and was fascinated. I have been getting no weight loss results from increasing my "cardio" training to 2 hours a day (6 days a week) and reducing my calorie intake down to 1000-1200 kcal per day. I am on my last 10 pounds and am anxious to get it off. Any brilliant suggestions?

Can someone explain to me how/why the body would choose to burn muscle instead of fat? Trainers at the gym I go to keep telling me if my calorie intake is too low my body will start to lose muscle instead of fat. I am not following the logic here.....

Also, are there any particular vit/mineral deficiencies that would cause major heart rate fluxuations from the same workout day to day?

Thanks for any info!
Nitrobeach
 
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Postby mmeloon » Sep 23, 2006 17:40

Nitrobeach, I don't know how to say this without it sounding a tiny bit insulting (and for that, I apologize in advance), but I find it difficult to believe that you are doing two hours of moderate-intensity aerobic training six days a week and surviving on 1000-1200 kcal a day. That amount of calories is probably a little low even for a sedentary individual. My first comment is that I suspect your counting of calories may be off by quite a bit.

You don't really say what type of aerobic work you are doing. Since you're up to two hours, six days a week and not seeing any more results, I think it's time you change to another type(s) of aerobic activity. Your body has probably adapted to whatever your current routine is and gotten very efficient at it. You want to give it a new challenge.

As far as why your body would choose to break down muscle instead of fat as fuel, I'm sure someone else here (like Mr. Kurz) could give you a more scientific reason but here's a less-rigorous explanation: your body really just wants to survive. It has no knowledge of your personal goals of losing ten pounds of fat. It wants to hold some fat -- which is a very efficient way of storing energy -- in reserve in case of an emergency. If you have energy needs that aren't being met by food (e.g., you do 2 hours of cardio 6 times a week and only eat 1200 kcal a day), then it will elect to break down some of the "unnecessary" muscle tissue rather than cutting its fat reserves any more. Muscle is essentially just protein and at 4 kcal/g, it isn't a very efficient way of storing energy. Your body can store 9 kcal of energy for that same gram of bodyweight in the form of fat.

As far as your heart rate question, I'm not going to touch that with a ten-foot pole.

My advice is (1) double-check the accuracy of your calorie counting, (2) switch to a different set of aerobic exercises, and (3) boost your calorie intake a little first and then start gradually reducing calories a little each week.

-Mark
mmeloon
 
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Postby Nitrobeach » Sep 24, 2006 10:46

Thanks for your response Mark.
I appreciate your honesty and I rarely get insulted....so no worries there.

I was in perfect aggreement with you on the calorie counting thing...so about 3 months ago I took it a step further and bought a very good nutritional scale. I have been measuring everything I eat and I have been keeping a journal. There were few adjustments made and except for the occasional "slip," I am well within the calorie range I mentioned. My carb intake is on the low side and I only eat carbs about an hour or so before a workout.

At the gym I do a circuit of bike, treadmill (15.0 incline/4.1 mph), rowing machine, and weight training, usually lasting 1.5 hours or so. At night, I do a run/walk combination (1/2 mile run, 1/2 mile walk) for about 5-6 miles. I also (in my spare time) use boxing training DVD's to hit some of my core muscle groups.

I just can't get over how "smart" the human body is. I have learned some really amazing things about my body on this journey.....
Not sure WHAT I will change this time around, but eventually somethings gotta give! :O)
I am open for any and all suggestions......

Thanks again!
Nitrobeach
 
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Re: muscle loss

Postby DanBor » Sep 24, 2006 13:25

Nitrobeach wrote:I just finished reading the article on aerobic vs. anerobic exercise and was fascinated. I have been getting no weight loss results from increasing my "cardio" training to 2 hours a day (6 days a week) and reducing my calorie intake down to 1000-1200 kcal per day. I am on my last 10 pounds and am anxious to get it off. Any brilliant suggestions?

Can someone explain to me how/why the body would choose to burn muscle instead of fat? Trainers at the gym I go to keep telling me if my calorie intake is too low my body will start to lose muscle instead of fat. I am not following the logic here.....

Also, are there any particular vit/mineral deficiencies that would cause major heart rate fluxuations from the same workout day to day?

Thanks for any info!


I'm definetly no expert on the subject, but I want to share my opinion.

First of all you didn't mention anything about your weight, maintanance level, bodyfat .... but 1200 kcal per day with that kind of activity is too low. Your body could be in starvation mode in that case you will not burn any fat, instead you will be storing it.
Your carb intake is far too low (you mention you only it carbcs1 hour before training). It is a fact if carb intake is too low, muscle loss is inevitable.
And I also agree on what mmeloon said about body adaptation to exercise.

This is what would I do:

1. Increase carbs (good carbs) to at least 50 % of all your callories intake.
In fact you should increase your callories in general.
Try zig-zag method (decrease carbs for 3 days and on the 4th. day increase them again, to avoid starvation response).

2. Strenght training + enough proteins.
3. Change aerobic training.


I'm learning myself that burning fat is long proces.
Important thing is to not cut your calories too much.

I can give you my example: my maintance level is arround 2600 kcal per day, if I would want to burn fat, I would cut them to 2200 per day.
DanBor
 
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Postby Nitrobeach » Sep 26, 2006 18:17

Thanks DanBor....all great info and suggestions.

Based on a recommended 1800 calories per day, I didn't think 1000-1200 was too low....but everyone that has had an opinion, thinks it may be.....
(female, 118 lbs., 5'2", 21%)

I am going to try as you suggested and increase my calories consumed, which will be a trick in itself since I am rarely hungry. I may try shakes instead...they may go down easier.
I have been on a "weight-training" diet for the past few months.....a lot of eggs whites, veggies and fish, which are all things I love, so it's easy to do!!!

I am going to concentrate a little bit more on weight training at this point and try changing/cutting back on the amount of time now spent on cardio and see what happens. It has now been almost 6 months with no weight change...no reason not to try something new!

Thanks again!
Nitrobeach
 
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Joined: Sep 19, 2006 01:15

Postby DanBor » Sep 27, 2006 03:36

Hello Nitrobeach,

I didn't realise you are a female, I apologize. I thought you are a male on a 1000-1200 kcal per day diet. That changes things.

I think you must add some complex carbs to your diet, veggies alone are not enough. Then try zig-zag.

You must do something about cardio or you can end up doing it 7 days a week 2 times a day just to maintain your current body fat.

Good luck
DanBor
 
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Postby Dr.Harout » Mar 26, 2007 22:56

Greetings to all,

My intentions are not to start a debate..am enjoying the posts here on the forum, but to reduce bodyfat...cut the carbs to 60 grams per day...and yes...eat fat isntead....high fat/moderate protein/low carb

Although we learn that fat is 9Kcal/g...but this is a huge debate now...because ketones alone are 4kcal/g and they are eliminated from the body when we burn fat...so fat turns actually to 5kcal/g..knowing that our usual diet which is high carb...the excess carbs turn to fat.

Again my apologies, my intentions are not to start a debate
Dr.Harout
 
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