Most of the gym members know that I hired a trainer in Dec. last year. But I haven’t shared with all of you that since that time I have gained 3/4 of an inch around my waist and 3/4 inch on my hips, plus 5 pounds.
What the Hell??! I’m wanted to lean out, not gain in size. I’d like to share my story of what happened and how I’m leaning out. I’m honestly not bothered by the 5 pound weight gain, but the inches & feeling uncomfortable in my cloths sucks!
First of all, let me start by saying I truly love having a trainer and learned a lot. He pushed me out of my comfort zone, my increase in strength is over the top (he may not agree with me btw) & I’m training harder – yes, he’s kicking my ass and I love that!. The only issue – size is up as well!
The biggest changes to my training program was the removal of all cardio and doing high rep work. My training prescription was 4 days of strength work, followed by 1 day off. Then repeat the cycle: 4 days of strength training, 1 day off. Because I wanted to lean out, a lot of the work was done in a 15 or 20-rep range. In the past, 90% of my training was done in the 8-10 rep range. Plus I did 2-3 days of interval work.
I’m getting back on track and have lost 2 lbs and 1/2 inch from the waist in the last 4 weeks. This is what I did.
- I adjusted my training schedule & added 2-3 days of metabolic work per week. The first 3-4 months with my trainer I did no cardio at all. PLEASE don’t get me wrong: I am absolutely not advocating steady state cardio as a means to getting the body composition you want. Studies have proven metabolic, interval training will burn fat far more effectively than steady state, and in particular belly fat.
- To lean out, my trainer prescribed a lot of high rep work in the 15-20 rep range. I now believe this type of training increased my size. As luck would have it my last phase was low rep range, so I’ve been training 6-8 rep range for the past 4 weeks. No need to modify current strength workouts.
- The universe works in mysterious ways. Last week, 2 articles crossed my desk both addressing high rep work and both from respected sources: Mike Boyle and Craig Ballyntyne. The articles said that there’s a misconception in the fitness world that high reps, low weight will lean you out. Ballyntne (body transformation expert) trains his clients with an 8 rep range and Boyle states: “… fat-free mass is best developed with heavier weights and lower reps. There’s a misconception in the training literature that lighter weights and higher reps should be used when you don’t want to gain size. The reality is that lighter weights and higher reps will cause more size gain than heavier weights and lower reps”
My trainer insisted my calories were too low and encouraged me to add more. The advice was based on an educated guess of my caloric intake. I had assumed I took in about 1500 calories a day.
Before increasing calories I decided I should measure and track to get an accurate picture of calories in. Opps, my guess sucked (pretty common actually), I actually ate closer to 2000/day. And weekends a whopping 2500-3000. Ummm Based on my current weight, my goal to lose fat and my training schedule, I should have about 1800 calories in order to lose fat.
A good scientist only changes 1 thing at a time. So I’m starting with my workouts. Adding back metabolic work and changing the rep range back to heavier weights and lower reps. I’ve seen some change in girth and now I will start eating 1800 calories a day.
I’ll continue to share with you guys as I learn more.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE:
If you have plateaued and you want to lose more fat:
- Do your metabolic, interval workouts
- Stick to lower reps & higher weight when lifting
- Track your calories for a couple of days to confirm you’re eating what you think you’re eating!
Good Luck and Let me know how it goes!