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    YogaBare's Avatar
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    Gaining and maintaining

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    I've been working out like crazy for the last six weeks (sprinting, swimming, lifting, various classes at the gym) and I can't believe the improvements that I'm seeing in my body! Dropping bf, gaining muscle, and feeling amazing

    However, I'm pretty new to the fitness thing, and I've never been stronger or fitter than this, so I have no idea what's ahead. Right now I have the time and flexibility to go to the gym 5 times a week, but in a few months I may not. I'm presuming that getting in shape is more difficult that maintaining it, but I have no idea. (I'm just basing this theory on the fact that I've been doing yoga for a few years, and all the core work I've done is really showing now, because it didn't take much to make my abs pop).

    My question is: after a period of working out, when you get your body to a place where you're happy with it, how much work does it take to maintain?
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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    People might disagree, but I think this is a pretty individual thing. I personally can "maintain" how my body looks on a relatively small amount of exercise, but my performance/max strength will suffer if I stop lifting really heavy for a while. That's kind of at the upper end of my strength spectrum, though. Like, even with a big layoff I'm still able to do pullups, pushups, dips, etc until I get bored, but my bench max might go from 275 to 235. But I'll look the same with my shirt off.

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    Thanks for the insight! I wonder how much of it is genes versus conditioning. Like, someone might be genetically predisposed to carry muscle, but maybe the level of athleticism you had as a child also contributes...
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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    Maintaining body composition is different than maintaining fitness. It's not hard to maintain body composition and remain only slightly fit. You can be lean and weak, lean and strong, a little fluffy and weak, a little fluffy and strong, etc.


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    Quote Originally Posted by YogaBare View Post
    Thanks for the insight! I wonder how much of it is genes versus conditioning. Like, someone might be genetically predisposed to carry muscle, but maybe the level of athleticism you had as a child also contributes...
    I think genetics is a big factor here, as well as upbringing. I was a gymnast growing up, and have always been strong. I took basically an entire year off from working out during law school, and was still lean and muscular. Not to the same degree I usually am in my workout "groove", but relative to the average person I was a Greek statue.

    I know a lot of gymnasts, including Olympians and former Olympians, and--especially males--those who started the sport early and continued it as their body underwent puberty tend to be very strong for life. Those who started the sport after puberty, or got out before they hit it, seem to not be as strong without serious dedication to being so.

    I think appearance is easy to maintain for most people, as long as they're not outliers (huge bodybuilders, easily obese, etc), but max strength and performance is a different story. That takes more effort and dedication.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Anthony View Post
    I think genetics is a big factor here, as well as upbringing. I was a gymnast growing up, and have always been strong. I took basically an entire year off from working out during law school, and was still lean and muscular. Not to the same degree I usually am in my workout "groove", but relative to the average person I was a Greek statue.

    I know a lot of gymnasts, including Olympians and former Olympians, and--especially males--those who started the sport early and continued it as their body underwent puberty tend to be very strong for life. Those who started the sport after puberty, or got out before they hit it, seem to not be as strong without serious dedication to being so.

    I think appearance is easy to maintain for most people, as long as they're not outliers (huge bodybuilders, easily obese, etc), but max strength and performance is a different story. That takes more effort and dedication.
    Interesting. I come from quite an athletic family (grandfather played professional football, grand aunt was on the Polish women's netball team), and I was picked up by a tennis scout when I was a kid. But hit late teens, got very decadent, and lost all my fitness. But I'm hoping that my genes (and previous conditioning) will stand to me now!

    Conversely, I spoke to someone recently who trained martial arts since he was a kid. He used to pound the gym lifting too. Eventually he got injured and had to back off, and he said that he lost all that muscle and fitness within a year. He still looks good, but is pretty slim. Maybe he has the skinny genes, and all that training pushed him to a place that was unnatural for his body to maintain...
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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    Quote Originally Posted by YogaBare View Post
    Conversely, I spoke to someone recently who trained martial arts since he was a kid. He used to pound the gym lifting too. Eventually he got injured and had to back off, and he said that he lost all that muscle and fitness within a year. He still looks good, but is pretty slim. Maybe he has the skinny genes, and all that training pushed him to a place that was unnatural for his body to maintain...
    You will definitely lose lean mass if injured, same if going through metabolic stress. What happens is your body catabolises functional tissue to fast track the recovery of non functional tissue/systems. This is evolutionary very clever....

    If a fully strong and fit grok body is given a functionality score of 100, if he injures his leg the resulting functionality score might go to 20 for this leg and therefore his whole body is sitting at 20 as well (your only as strong as your weakest muscle group). What happens is his body sacrifices its overall functionality (say from 100 to 90) to bring up the injured leg (say from 20 to 85 in a week), this is far better than having all your other muscles as strong and fit as they always where and have the leg recover through dietary nutrients only, which could take months instead of a week. The same happens with bodybuilders when cutting (its why there is such a big fear about losing strength quickly among their circles). They go into a big calorie deficit to cut fat and after a bit of a lag their body catabolises a bit of muscle to deal with the nutrient shortage.

    If you steer clear of things that engage the survival catabolism response, like injury and nutrient shortages, I can't see any reason why your body wouldn't hold onto it's lean mass. The only thing that would stop it holding it forever would be the atrophy response. This is where your body decides that spending resources running uneeded systems (like big strong muscles) is not worth it anymore if they are not being used, It's hard to tell when the body will start atrophying muscle because of un-use but I imagine your body will give you a couple of months grace if it is in good conditions.
    Last edited by dilberryhoundog; 08-08-2013 at 01:29 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dilberryhoundog View Post
    You will definitely lose lean mass if injured, same if going through metabolic stress. What happens is your body catabolises functional tissue to fast track the recovery of non functional tissue/systems. This is evolutionary very clever....

    If a fully strong and fit grok body is given a functionality score of 100, if he injures his leg the resulting functionality score might go to 20 for this leg and therefore his whole body is sitting at 20 as well (your only as strong as your weakest muscle group). What happens is his body sacrifices its overall functionality (say from 100 to 90) to bring up the injured leg (say from 20 to 85 in a week), this is far better than having all your other muscles as strong and fit as they always where and have the leg recover through dietary nutrients only, which could take months instead of a week. The same happens with bodybuilders when cutting (its why there is such a big fear about losing strength quickly among their circles). They go into a big calorie deficit to cut fat and after a bit of a lag their body catabolises a bit of muscle to deal with the nutrient shortage.

    If you steer clear of things that engage the survival catabolism response, like injury and nutrient shortages, I can't see any reason why your body wouldn't hold onto it's lean mass. The only thing that would stop it holding it forever would be the atrophy response. This is where your body decides that spending resources running uneeded systems (like big strong muscles) is not worth it anymore if they are not being used, It's hard to tell when the body will start atrophying muscle because of un-use but I imagine your body will give you a couple of months grace if it is in good conditions.
    Wow, very interesting... thanks for sharing that DH!
    "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

    In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

    - Ray Peat

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    Strength is a persistent adaptation.... cause Ripp says so! And he's right. I got strong once in the 80's and cruised on it ever since . I'm really not even joking. I got really strong at one point in life.... and even with no lifting for 5+ years it only took a few months in the gym to get back to close enough on all my maxes. Crazy stuff. Theories abound on building strength, but I think most will agree that maintaining it is pretty damn easy. Like between 1-4 strength workouts a month easy.

    Now I'm a HIT sort of guy....BUT, I'm not full on board with the "this is the only way" thing. I've seen far too many people do high volume work with excellent results to be that way. Its just that I don't see any reason to go the volume path if your goals are as mediocre as mine . Like I said I've been really strong and am still not that bad for a ... well now I'm 35 I guess.... year old guy. HIT may be optimal or it may not, but I'm already stronger than 99% of the population by my estimation (by weight anyhow... and fuck you RM... your in the 1%).

    One problem is that if you make weights your primary exercise (which I also do) then 1x/week or less really might not be enough for the old VO2 max. So if your goals include keeping your endurance gains then frequent training actually IS a requirement.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 08-08-2013 at 04:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neckhammer View Post
    One problem is that if you make weights your primary exercise (which I also do) then 1x/week or less really might not be enough for the old VO2 max. So if your goals include keeping your endurance gains then frequent training actually IS a requirement.
    This is really true. Lifting weights makes you strong but it doesn't do much to make endurance cardio stuff easier.

    However, if you do endurance cardio stuff and take a little time off, you lose your fitness really really fast. If you take some time off from lifting, it takes longer to loser your strength and muscles.
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