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Thread: Does Lifting Help with Plateaus? page

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    MerryMac's Avatar
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    Does Lifting Help with Plateaus?

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    A few years ago I went to the gym religiously for months and didn't lose a pound. At the time I was told that exercise alone would not cause weight loss. In January of 2012, I cut out all refined foods, including seed oils and most grains, and began losing weight. During that time, I continued to do light exercise (walking, hand weights, a little floor work), and I lost a significant amount of weight. By around August 2012 my weight loss had stalled with about 30 lbs to go. I continued to exercise and eat a very clean diet until this winter, when I stopped exercising regularly. Over the holidays I indulged occassionally, but I watched my weight carefully and did not regain any weight. In January 2013, I started back pretty strict with my diet, but I have not yet begun an exercise regimen. So, my weight has not budged since August, despite my commitment to the eating plan and exercise--and in spite of indulgences and quitting the exercise. I am wondering what effect if any beginning a weight lifting program will have. Mark has written posts contridicting the muscle-burns-calories theory. What has been your experience?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MerryMac View Post
    At the time I was told that exercise alone would not cause weight loss. [...] I am wondering what effect if any beginning a weight lifting program will have.
    You do not have to exercise at all if losing weight is your ultimate goal. Resistance training and cardio serves mainly to improve your body composition and the cardiovascular system.

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    Hmm. Good to know. Well, diet alone is no longer helping. I don't want to eat fewer than 1,400 --1,600 calories. I don't think I could sustain that for the rest of my life. I understand that moving is important, and I intend to start walking again at least, but if lifting weights won't help me drop pounds, I'm really not that interested. My goal is not to be a hard body, but to fit comfortably in a size 12.

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    I have never met anyone who enjoyed being skinny-fat. And that is exactly where you are heading.

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    Lift some heavy weights and your BF% will certainly drop. The scale might not go down, but with 30lbs to lose I imagine it would.

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    I'm a fan of lifting. It does seem to help me lose weight. I'm also a fan of the fact that it gives me functional strength and builds bone strength. As a woman, reading all these articles that women lose muscle mass and bone mass every year after age 30 - unless they do resistance training- is sobering. I've seen older women in my family end up with osteoporosis, dowagers humps, hip fractures, etc. I want to do everything in my power to stay mobile and healthy into my old age. So looking good is a secondary goal, not my primary goal.
    High Weight: 225
    Weight at start of Primal: 189
    Current Weight: 174
    Goal Weight: 130

    Primal Start Date: 11/26/2012

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    My personal experience with weight lifting is that to maintain consistent progress, I must eat. And as I progress, my thighs are getting big. I'm wearing the pants I started this whole journey in and they are tight coming out of the drier. My experience isn't global, though. A lot of skinnier women than me can lift weights and stay skinny. I think for someone like me, doing that high impact interval crap is going to be what takes any more fat off. But right now, I really dig the added strength and too much intense exercise gets in the way of building the strength. Priorities, priorities.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 170 x 3. Current Deadlift: 220 x 3

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    Lifting weights- building muscle- can help you lose weight, but other techniques are more effective. The effects of muscle on metabolism are often way exaggerated. A pound of muscle contributes roughly 6 calories/day to your resting energy expenditure, while a pound of fat does only 2 (other things like your brain and heart take up the other calories). Taking me as an example, I have roughly 70 pounds of muscle, which causes my body to burn roughly 420 calories over 24 hours. If I were to work really hard and gain 2 pounds of muscle, I could eat 2 more all natural Blue Diamond almonds a day. The marginal benefit of gaining an extra pound of muscle is small. For a weaker, inexperienced lifter, however, gaining maybe 15-20 pounds of muscle is possible and significant (90-120 extra calories burned a day). Some people, mainly women are understandably not interested in gaining this amount of muscle or doing the things necessary to do so.

    Now, even if packing on muscle isn't your goal, moderate weight lifting can help you sustain your lean body mass while lowering your overall mass- not to mention it bettering your health in general.

    The act of lifting weights doesn't burn that many calories (unless done in a circuit compound workout style). Things like sprinting, and other HIIT workouts (burpees!) are far superior for using calories and shredding down the fat. However, performing relatively difficult compound movements with weights does wonders for things like your bones, hormone levels, etc. and of course can help build/sustain muscle. These combined with calorie burning exercises and walking for general health and extra fat burning should help you lose weight, provided your diet allows it.
    Last edited by mrhtower; 02-10-2013 at 01:17 PM. Reason: typos

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    sbhikes, your starting weight is my goal weight (approximately)! I'm 5'8", and know I probably should weigh less than that, but I'd be happy there. I'm very weak in my upper body, and lifting even light weights seems strenuous to me. I can't even do girl push-ups. I know this should motivate me, but I feel defeated by it. :-( And I keep thinking that everything would be easier if were lighter. Certainly body weight exercises would be!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MerryMac View Post
    sbhikes, your starting weight is my goal weight (approximately)! I'm 5'8", and know I probably should weigh less than that, but I'd be happy there. I'm very weak in my upper body, and lifting even light weights seems strenuous to me. I can't even do girl push-ups. I know this should motivate me, but I feel defeated by it. :-( And I keep thinking that everything would be easier if were lighter. Certainly body weight exercises would be!
    Last October I could not do a single real pushup. Now I can do them. I'm not sure how many, not a lot, maybe a little less than 10. I still do knee pushups and pushups against my desk just so I can do a lot of them. I still can't do any pullups.

    I find body weight exercises to be much harder than barbells and on barbells I'm still pretty piss-poor, but even what I can do amazes me and helps me in my regular life. The other day I picked up my bicycle and lifted it over a fence and gently set it down on the other side. My bike probably weighs 40lbs. I would have needed help to do that not too long ago.

    Just keep on working on it. Try barbells if the bodyweight stuff is frustrating. There's a lot of satisfaction seeing even tiny progress because it's measurable and tangible.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 170 x 3. Current Deadlift: 220 x 3

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