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Leangains is NOT working for me. Help?! :( 1month in

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  • Leangains is NOT working for me. Help?! :( 1month in

    So I have a good friend who swears by leangains.
    I can see why, he's dropped 20lbs in little over 2 months and looks like pure lean muscle (he was never fat to begin with. but he lost weight and leaned up, now is planning to bulk)
    Seeing his results my boyfriend (Ed) and I decided to hop on the wagon.
    I have a lot more experience with healthy dieting then my boyfriend. So molding into this diet was no challenge for me at all.
    I had to teach Ed a few things here and there but with the help of the food scale and being macro conscious, he got the hang of it in no time.

    We've been true to our macros and training for a month now. We eat the same meals (w/ the exception of my smaller meals than his to fit my macros)
    Ed lost 10lbs. I haven't lost ANY.
    What am I doing wrong?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Some specifics:
    (Our macros were calculated by out leangains fanatic friend)

    Ed- (naturally thin guy with a pot belly skinny/fat syndrome) Height 5'11 Started 167lbs, now down to 157.
    His macros are as follows:
    ((Rest)) Pro: 150g Carbs: 35.5g Fat: 92.8g 1577cals
    ((Training)) Pro: 150g Carbs: 430.4g Fat: 38.5g 2669cals
    Ed hasn't stalled on any lifts so far I believe.


    Me-
    OK Let me be a little more specific when it comes to me.
    I jumped into a healthy/fitness lifestyle at a very early age. I was 16 and I learned tons about different diets, workouts, and lifestyles. I suggest everyone read "In Defense Of Food" by far one of my favorite books. I've always been a thin and lanky girl.
    I did HIIT for 4 years and then my body plateaued during the same time I gained the "freshman 15". My skinnyfat body was back (potbelly, some celluite, main weight around buttocks and lower belly and upper thighs, really thin upper body and legs)
    HIIT was not working anymore so I decided to decrease my daily intake to 1,000 and never ate over 30g of carbs in grains.
    That didn't work. Now I'm 20 and I haven't had over 1700cals in over a year until Leangains.

    Oh I forgot to mention. I'm a model. (lets not have anorexic stereotype comments, I am FAR from it)
    I used to always weight about 110lbs naturally. My goal weight is to be 116lbs. So being this thin is NOT unnatural for me.

    Current stats:
    Heights 5'9.5 Weight 124.4lbs Bust 32in Waist: 25.5in Hips: 36in

    When I started leanings I was shifting between 122-123lbs (morning weight) My weight today was 124.4 I haven't noticed any difference in tone. According to my weight scale I have also gained bodyfat. Im not sure how accurate the scale is but anyway, I started at 17% bf now I am up to 19% .
    My leangains fanatic friend changed up my macros 2 weeks in when I was telling him that I was not seeing results. He "prescribed" more fats as women tend to need more fats. My macros didn't change much at all (about a 10g difference in fat and carbs)
    My macros as of last week:
    ((Rest)) Protein: 120g Carbs: 30.8g Fat: 70.6g 1239cals
    ((Training)) Protein: 120g Carbs: 309.7g Fat: 41.9g 2096cals

    Protein was a little tough at first, but now Im able to reach an easy 140-160 esp on training days.
    I went over my carbs on restday a little the first week in but I've been hitting my macros pretty close ever since.
    ALSO, it is difficult for me to even 300g of carbs for training. I havent gone higher than 270g so far.
    I'm not as active as I used to be (standing job) and I follow the 5x5 STRONG LIFTS workout like Ed.
    Except I stall often. Esp on over head press and bench press. My upper body is way behind compared to my lower body strength (80lbs on squats now versus 45lbs on overhead press)
    I've considered the possibility of me having bad form but I'm pretty spot on thanks to my previous years of proper bodyweight workout form. (I can do one legged squats mind you

    I am incredibly discouraged seeing Ed progress so much faster than I am...I mean I haven't shedded a single lb and all I want to lose is 7-10 lbs which Ed was able to do in one month.
    Maybe I calorie/carb restricted for too long prior leangains but thats the only thing I can think of.

    Please send me your second opinions, lovings, and advice.
    I really want this to work and I don't want to have to resort to extreme calorie depletion to lose at least 7lbs.
    I can post pics if any of you think that would help.
    Thank you sooooooo much for your time.


    -Nik

  • #2
    First off, chuck the scale. Or I should say, reframe your goal. Do you want to be thinner (in inches)? Or do you want to hit a specific scale weight? Or a specific body weight? While all are body comp goals, they aren't necessarily the same thing.

    How long have you been doing 5x5? Since even at +5# on squat a workout, it adds up very fast. What are your numbers on the deadlift? What other activity do you do? Any cardio or walking on the other days?

    And since you offered, sure, throw some pics up.
    turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS

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    • #3
      You can't compare yourself to a guy. In general, a lot easier for guys to lose weight and get stronger faster then women.

      The thing about your body- it WANTS you to have a certain level of body fat and 17% is getting into a range where it's not conducive for reproduction. Your body wants you to have babies, not look leaner and those last 7 lbs you lose, the body thinks are just fine.

      I would think if you want to cut that fat and are struggling that the better advice would come from experienced female bodybuilders than a male into strength training. If I had a dollar for everyone here trying to lose that last bit of vanity weight to get really lean that could not do it by simple/healthy methods, I'd be rich.

      ANd out of curiosity- how do you look in the mirror? Maybe you are putting on muscle and losing cellulite and fat, but the losses are offset by muscle gain?

      http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
      Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Grafter View Post
        First off, chuck the scale. Or I should say, reframe your goal. Do you want to be thinner (in inches)? Or do you want to hit a specific scale weight? Or a specific body weight? While all are body comp goals, they aren't necessarily the same thing.
        Both?
        I guess I am more measurement oriented.
        I want to an inch around my waist and hips and thigh. No more than an inch.

        H
        Originally posted by Grafter View Post
        How long have you been doing 5x5? Since even at +5# on squat a workout, it adds up very fast. What are your numbers on the deadlift? What other activity do you do? Any cardio or walking on the other days?

        And since you offered, sure, throw some pics up
        5x5 has been 3x a week for a month. I have abandoned HIIT, I do light jump roping (5min) and maybe a 3-4 mile run once a week. (I used to be a distance runner I love long runs). I stalled on my deadlift for the first time today at 105lbs (rep 3)

        I'm a student so Im mainly sitting around studying. Otherwise I'm posing and walking a few blocks through out NYC for my modeling job but I usually take the subway. A typical work day is 7 hours for me mainly standing.
        Last edited by NikkiQuu; 08-23-2013, 03:53 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
          You can't compare yourself to a guy. In general, a lot easier for guys to lose weight and get stronger faster then women.

          The thing about your body- it WANTS you to have a certain level of body fat and 17% is getting into a range where it's not conducive for reproduction. Your body wants you to have babies, not look leaner and those last 7 lbs you lose, the body thinks are just fine.

          I would think if you want to cut that fat and are struggling that the better advice would come from experienced female bodybuilders than a male into strength training. If I had a dollar for everyone here trying to lose that last bit of vanity weight to get really lean that could not do it by simple/healthy methods, I'd be rich.

          ANd out of curiosity- how do you look in the mirror? Maybe you are putting on muscle and losing cellulite and fat, but the losses are offset by muscle gain?
          Thank you for your input.
          I don't feel that 17-19% is too little. I remember I was 17 and my doctor measured me to be 11% bf.
          I was very scrawny. I am happy to look a little more appetizing now but for the sake of my work field I would be more successful with smaller measurements and less flab on the thigh for my, already naturally, small frame.

          About the mirror...I don't really see much of a difference. My boyfriend says he sees some more tone but eh. Difficult to say, I'm a bit of a harsh self critic.
          But its definitely discouraging to see him lose 10lbs so quick and I practically went up 1.

          PS: I have ovarian issues and intense cysts that grow in multiples. For this reason (amongst various) I'm not thinking of children. I am starting to think that maybe hormones may be the culprit to my lack of results?
          Last edited by NikkiQuu; 08-23-2013, 03:38 PM. Reason: typo

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          • #6
            Yeah.... you might like 17% body fat, but you have to overcome your body's desire to hold onto it which seems to get stronger the older we get.

            I think if you want to gain strength and lose your last bit of weight, it's just going to be really hard. Out of curiosity, why did you drop HIIT? That is what so often just burns the fat off.

            http://maggiesfeast.wordpress.com/
            Check out my blog. Hope to share lots of great recipes and ideas!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by magnolia1973 View Post
              Yeah.... you might like 17% body fat, but you have to overcome your body's desire to hold onto it which seems to get stronger the older we get.

              I think if you want to gain strength and lose your last bit of weight, it's just going to be really hard. Out of curiosity, why did you drop HIIT? That is what so often just burns the fat off.
              I started HIIT when it was a still a very underground thing. I did it to fix my posture and at least be able to be strong with my own bodyweight because it is essentially a high intensity bodyweight training. I think HIIT is what actually made my BF that low but I was stronger at the same time. I didnt do anything special to my diet my family always ate healthy, I just incorporated more raw foods. So HIIT was....from age 16-20 (up until now) and at 18 my results just halted and I slowly started gaining for the next two years. I gained in both muscle and fat. When I was incorporating weights with my HIIT (medicine balls, sand bags, ankle weights) at age 18, I think that was what prevented the "freshmen 15" to be total fat.
              So I still look fairly thin to those who don't know me.
              But yeah I saw no slimming results for about 8months up until I turned 20 and quit (This July)

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              • #8
                Or, you might say, this forum is for Primal Blueprint; if you're frustrated with Leangains and want to troubleshoot it, perhaps go to a Leangains site/forum.

                Since you're here and asking for help, read through the Primal Blueprint "start here" and the like, and then start asking questions about that.

                There's a lot of cross-over, but if your problem is with Leangains, first read through what's here about Primal Blueprint (on the primary Mark's Daily Apple site, not here on the forums).

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                • #9
                  Scales are accurate for weight but not for body fat calculation.
                  ----
                  Men carry more muscle and testosterone and can loose fat quicker and build muscle quicker.
                  ---
                  Your daily average calories.
                  You : 1638 Cal
                  Him : 2123 Cal

                  You said you were under 1700 before - maybe you were taking in about 1638 before - in any case it sounds very low.

                  For him at 5'11 and now active then he is in deficit at 2123 Cal and is losing.
                  ---
                  Leangains may not be ideal for women - don't know
                  ---
                  Maybe the stress of Leangains is making it hard for you to lose - but he may have much lower stress on it.
                  ---

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                  • #10
                    If you aren't losing weight it's because your calories on average are too high. Decrease the calories and you will see the weight come off. Without a doubt.

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                    • #11
                      By my calc you should be 1200 on non lift days and 1800 on lift days. The lack of a big cal deficit is why only lifting programs take much longer to see results for women. Also you don't need that many carbs.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by EatMoveSleep View Post
                        Scales are accurate for weight but not for body fat calculation.
                        ----
                        Men carry more muscle and testosterone and can loose fat quicker and build muscle quicker.
                        ---
                        Your daily average calories.
                        You : 1638 Cal
                        Him : 2123 Cal

                        You said you were under 1700 before - maybe you were taking in about 1638 before - in any case it sounds very low.

                        For him at 5'11 and now active then he is in deficit at 2123 Cal and is losing.
                        ---
                        Leangains may not be ideal for women - don't know
                        ---
                        Maybe the stress of Leangains is making it hard for you to lose - but he may have much lower stress on it.
                        ---
                        On average before leangains I was eating btwn 1200 and 1600 (and then about 8 months of eating 1000 in hopes of losing weight)

                        Also, leangains is not stressful for my at all. As mentioned before Ive gone through quite a few fitness regimes and diets
                        Last edited by NikkiQuu; 08-23-2013, 08:21 PM.

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                        • #13
                          There is a lot of debate online regarding Leangains and whether it is the best protocol for women specifically to follow. It seems very well suited to most guys, but women have much more mixed results. Also, for the women who have been successful (from before/afters I've seen) they come away looking very muscular- not a bad thing by any means, but perhaps not the right look for a model (I don't know what type of modeling you do).

                          I know you are still very young, but even into your early twenties your body composition starts to change from that teenage "coltish" very slender look that seems to be the model ideal. This is also why they try to get models so young- because bodies do change and many girls age out by their early twenties. Magnolia is right, female bodies will fight hard to stay at a minimum of 20% body fat to always be ready if you get a case of the babies. Doesn't matter what you want- biology is a bitch! Some things to look at:

                          Hormones- Are you on hormonal birth control? Many women find that hormonal birth control makes it harder to lose fat/recomp. If you and your BF are in a committed relationship, try non-hormonal methods of birth control for a few months, see if that helps.
                          Your macros- Personally, I have to keep my fats lower on a daily basis or else I gain. Again, it seems to me that men have an easier time with the higher fat intake.
                          Water retention- Heavy weightlifting makes me retain water like a mofo. When I take a week off I generally lose about 5 pounds of water weight. Not a big deal for me, but I'm not a model.
                          Muscle mass- It weighs more than fat. How are you measuring your body fat percentage? From my understanding, there are only a couple methods that are truly accurate, I believe the BodyPod is one of them.
                          Regarding your lifts- Yep, sounds about right. Most women are far stronger in their lower bodies than their upper. Just keep working at it, and remember that percentages matter. Adding 5lb to an 80lb squat is the same % as adding 2.5lb to a 40lb press. Love those little baby plates!

                          For your specific purposes you may need more cardio, especially HIIT, combined with a lower-fat, lower-cal diet. There is a diet/exercise system called Visual Impact for Women that I have seen mentioned, from what I know of it the goals in that system are more in line with what you are trying to do. I have not actually paid for the ebook so I cannot vouch for it personally, but it is a different avenue to look into.

                          Best of luck to you!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NikkiQuu View Post
                            On average before leangains I was eating btwn 1200 and 1600 (and then about 8 months of eating 1000 in hopes of losing weight)
                            Simple math - if your weight is staying the same then your absorbed calories equals your burn calories.

                            You have increased your eaten calories ( and presumably your absorbed calories) and you have balanced that out with increased burn calories.

                            Originally posted by NikkiQuu View Post
                            Also, leangains is not stressful for my at all. As mentioned before Ive gone through quite a few fitness regimes and diets
                            I mean stress in a broader sense.
                            Eating more is a stresser as is eating less, as is excercise, as is gaining or losing weight, as is changing diets, as is being frustrated that things arnt going as expected.

                            Any change is a stresser.
                            Last edited by EatMoveSleep; 08-23-2013, 08:46 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Like EatMoveSleep points out there are multiple types of stress, some of that you may not be conscious of. There is the physiology stress (such as the reaction to working out and changes in diet) and the psychological type (such as feeling under pressure or in distress).

                              So, while you may not be feeling pressured under Leangains, who knows what exactly your body is doing in response to the protocol (other than not what you want it to do). And yes, some stress reactions can inhibit weight loss, due to inflammation. In addition, like other posters have stated, since your resting metabolism is lower than guys (in general), you generally will not loss at nearly the speed that your bf will, as a 20% reduction in calories is substantially larger for him than you. Other than that, I would suggest experimenting with your calorie ranges some more.

                              Speaking, what all are you measuring and tracking? Are you tracking and writing your food input, measurements, and work out results? Since doing all of that will give you concrete facts of what is occurring, which is much better than subjective guesses of where you are at. Mind you, I generally don't recommend doing such, unless you have specific goals in mind (as otherwise, it can lead to very neurotic behavior and potentially mess up how people view their relationship with working out and eating).
                              turquoisepassion - I MUST KNOW ALL THE THINGS

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