Should I reduce/omit workouts this W30 to actually see fat loss?


Heidi Staddon

Recommended Posts

I'm asking fellow athletes for input:

I've done a handful of rounds, each time with limited fat loss. I workout always during them. You think I'm working out too much thereby foiling my fat loss goals?

(Yes, I'm being honest here... I WANT fat loss as many do. Not going to hide it.)

My average week is three days of strength training + HIIT (total duration 40-45min), three days of endurance running (training for my first half marathon next Feb, total 30-60min depending on specific day's scheduled goal), and one day rest.

I exercise mid-am, so do not do a pre-workout meal, as it falls about 1.5-2h after my morning meal. I eat a post-workout meal. Then lunch about an hour after that. And dinner after kids fed/cleaned, at about 7p.

I'm asking this because of a thread on FB the other day, regarding many of do a round with little to no fat loss. It got me wondering if I should experiment with NO or REDUCED exercise... What are your thoughts on this??

FTR, I've had this schedule for months. And prior to beginning the running element, I did the ST/HIIT "forever", ie years (with some time off every once and again for birthing babies).

Thanks in advance for any input

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I see it, you have two choices: either fuel and rest appropriately for the activity you are doing, or reduce activity to correspond with how you are fueling and resting.

 

My trainer and I have a deal. If I want to exercise every day, I have to "pay" for it with nutrition and recovery (more nutrient-dense food, foam rolling, sauna, massage, extra sleep, etc.). Are you paying your body back for the exercise you are doing? If you don't do that, cortisol levels will rise, body fat will remain (and accumulate around the abdomen).

 

All that said, I don't think this is an all-or-nothing proposition. You could drop the steady state cardio or you could drop the HIIT or you could cut back on strength training to 2 times per week or replace some of that exercise with something a little gentler (like yoga, or long walks). I would suggest one of those approaches rather then taking a completely sedentary whole30.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are working out shortly after a meal, your body may still be running on carbs from that meal for a workout. I know its not strictly recommended, but I would mess around with the meal template a bit eating more fat and less carbs in the meal before your workout, and tending the other way afterwards?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you thinking that if you lessen your work load, you'll be less hungry and will eat less calories?

No. To be honest, I am just frustrated that I don't see much reduction and I need it!! But I know too well that once I start monkeying with calories and counting and such, I have a breakdown

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I see it, you have two choices: either fuel and rest appropriately for the activity you are doing, or reduce activity to correspond with how you are fueling and resting.

 

My trainer and I have a deal. If I want to exercise every day, I have to "pay" for it with nutrition and recovery (more nutrient-dense food, foam rolling, sauna, massage, extra sleep, etc.). Are you paying your body back for the exercise you are doing? If you don't do that, cortisol levels will rise, body fat will remain (and accumulate around the abdomen).

 

All that said, I don't think this is an all-or-nothing proposition. You could drop the steady state cardio or you could drop the HIIT or you could cut back on strength training to 2 times per week or replace some of that exercise with something a little gentler (like yoga, or long walks). I would suggest one of those approaches rather then taking a completely sedentary whole30.

I do spend time with foam roller after nearly every workout. I will soak in hot tub maybe weekly. Gave up trying for massage because schedule just couldn't fit it in (and that caused stress in of itself). I try to sleep but that is one area that did not improve this past round.

I definitely do see the slowest progress, if at all around the belly, you are accurate there.

I am more keen to reducing as opposed to eliminating, truth be told, as a good swear is my one and only getaway. Even being away from it for two days makes me unhappy, and three days makes me frightful to be around ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dried fruit, nuts and nut butters will slow the show down to a crawl.. LaraBars, ditto. :lol:  

I know I have to stay away from dried fruits and Lara bars, for the most part, as the spike and crash hurt more than they help. Trial and error.

Nuts - I've learned they just don't make an impact on my hunger... Like chips, you know? Eat one or eat a few handfuls, makes no difference :(

Nut butter - I actually have learned how to do with the recommended serving (hurray!! A huge accomplishment) however I find my body feels sluggish afterwards. Which is not cool.

I appreciate the MeadowLily

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are working out shortly after a meal, your body may still be running on carbs from that meal for a workout. I know its not strictly recommended, but I would mess around with the meal template a bit eating more fat and less carbs in the meal before your workout, and tending the other way afterwards?

Leahcarn, this has never occurred to me... I literally this past round *finally* started eating a starchy carb with meals as I'd only ever done it PWO. (Yeah, that was a light going off, lol). So you think keeping it to only afterwards, and increasing the fat beforehand?

Hmmm... Does anyone else have input about this?

Thanks Leahcarn

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ya, missmary's point about cortisol might be worth considering.  And even if it's not specifically the cortisol, remember the line "There's no such thing as over-training, only under-recovery".

Kirkor, you and Missmary raise a good point. I need to go back into the archives and review W9's recovery materials. Thank you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

6 workouts a week is a lot (I'm in a very minimalist frame of mind ATM). Maybe drop one of the cardio sessions for now, and cut the strength sessions shorter - I'm in and out of the gym in 45 mins and that includes 10 mins of stretching/rolling, 2-3x per week. It's taken a couple of months of this before I've started seeing visible results though (strength improved quickly, but it took a while for my body to slowly decide to let go of some fat).

On the flip side my (non-Whole 30) friend did 3 half marathons, losing a tiny amount of fat each time, and it wasn't until she went straight from half marathon training in to training for a full that she started losing a lot of weight, while eating like a half-starved horse (her words). She has always had a very muscular frame, and she still has belt fat despite running 4-5x a week since Feb.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't keep it only to afterward, just not in the meal immediately before, so if you are doing meal 1, work out, post work out snack, m2, m3, then not in m1, but set what you would normally eat aside to have later so you don't short-change yourself overall.

From the research I've been doing, between meals your body basically burns carbs until all the free carbs are gone, then switches to fat burning until the next meal (this explains why people eating low fat high carb have huge energy crashes), therefore we are recommended to have pre-workout snacks of fat and protein, not carbs.

By logic then (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong) exercising shortly after a template meal is burning carbs and not helping fat loss? the idea would be to eat carbs afterwards to replenish muscle glycogen?

Link to post
Share on other sites

6 workouts a week is a lot (I'm in a very minimalist frame of mind ATM). Maybe drop one of the cardio sessions for now, and cut the strength sessions shorter - I'm in and out of the gym in 45 mins and that includes 10 mins of stretching/rolling, 2-3x per week. It's taken a couple of months of this before I've started seeing visible results though (strength improved quickly, but it took a while for my body to slowly decide to let go of some fat).

On the flip side my (non-Whole 30) friend did 3 half marathons, losing a tiny amount of fat each time, and it wasn't until she went straight from half marathon training in to training for a full that she started losing a lot of weight, while eating like a half-starved horse (her words). She has always had a very muscular frame, and she still has belt fat despite running 4-5x a week since Feb.

Gotta love her description!! That's how I feel some days for sure

I think dropping back on the HIIT and shortening my strength sessions is a good first step.

Also I will search other posts in this forum for fuelling for half training.

thanks GoJo09!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't keep it only to afterward, just not in the meal immediately before, so if you are doing meal 1, work out, post work out snack, m2, m3, then not in m1, but set what you would normally eat aside to have later so you don't short-change yourself overall.

From the research I've been doing, between meals your body basically burns carbs until all the free carbs are gone, then switches to fat burning until the next meal (this explains why people eating low fat high carb have huge energy crashes), therefore we are recommended to have pre-workout snacks of fat and protein, not carbs.

By logic then (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong) exercising shortly after a template meal is burning carbs and not helping fat loss? the idea would be to eat carbs afterwards to replenish muscle glycogen?

I think I def need to consider adding in even a tiny bit of a pre workout snack. All this discussion makes me realize it won't hurt to test this out too.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Andria

You didn't state how long are your strength training sessions.  As long as they are not excessive (i.e., over 45-60 min) I would NOT recommend cutting down on those, if you want to lose fat.  Cut down the cardio and rest more.  Lift the big compound lifts and lift heavy. If a HIIT workout is performed correctly, there is no way you could sustain 45-60 minutes. With that said, even if your HIIT session is taxing (as it should be) 45-60 minutes is way too long.  HIIT should only be 15-20 min max. 

 

Overall, with that amount of cardio/endurance training, in addition to strength training, you need to eat fuel those activities and it may be difficult to lose the fat.  Strength training with light cardio (i.e. walking) = best body recomposition. Yea, you could beat your body into submission by cranking up the cardio and cutting down the food intake, but we all know that is not a good thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You didn't state how long are your strength training sessions.  As long as they are not excessive (i.e., over 45-60 min) I would NOT recommend cutting down on those, if you want to lose fat.  Cut down the cardio and rest more.  Lift the big compound lifts and lift heavy. If a HIIT workout is performed correctly, there is no way you could sustain 45-60 minutes. With that said, even if your HIIT session is taxing (as it should be) 45-60 minutes is way too long.  HIIT should only be 15-20 min max. 

 

Overall, with that amount of cardio/endurance training, in addition to strength training, you need to eat fuel those activities and it may be difficult to lose the fat.  Strength training with light cardio (i.e. walking) = best body recomposition. Yea, you could beat your body into submission by cranking up the cardio and cutting down the food intake, but we all know that is not a good thing.

 

I agree that you need to be doing the heavy lifting, but I think that 45 mins is too long (just my current perspective - in the past I've done 1hr + sessions 5x/week plus a stretch session in the middle, and I lost fat and built muscle. And was worn out and constantly hurting).

 

If it were me, this is what I'd do:

2x heavy lifting sessions per week

2x HIIT/sprint session (15mins max) or 1x sprint + 1x short run (under an hour)

1x long run (over an hour)

 

That gives you 2 rest days per week, which you're going to need. There's been a lot of research showing that the sprint sessions are actually more effective than mid-range runs for building strength and power for your long runs. You have a bit of time to play around with things before it gets down to crunch time for the mara training.

 

You need to remember that you can't ride two horses at once - eating and training for a marathon is not the same as eating and training for weight loss. The marathon might lead to weight loss, but it's also a lot of stress on your body, which might make you hold on to fat. Make completing the marathon and being healthy your goal for now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm... Does anyone else have input about this?

Yes.  Try having a hearty breakfast of just protein, FAT, and non-starchy carbs (kale, spinach) before your workouts in the morning.

 

You have not mentioned what your breakfasts have usually looked like, but try this ^ and save your starchy carbs for post-workout.   

 

Also, know that if you are eating a lot of fruit throughout the day, you are still making it super easy for your body to be a sugar-burner, when what you want is to be a fat-burner.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You didn't state how long are your strength training sessions.  As long as they are not excessive (i.e., over 45-60 min) I would NOT recommend cutting down on those, if you want to lose fat.  Cut down the cardio and rest more.  Lift the big compound lifts and lift heavy. If a HIIT workout is performed correctly, there is no way you could sustain 45-60 minutes. With that said, even if your HIIT session is taxing (as it should be) 45-60 minutes is way too long.  HIIT should only be 15-20 min max. 

 

Overall, with that amount of cardio/endurance training, in addition to strength training, you need to eat fuel those activities and it may be difficult to lose the fat.  Strength training with light cardio (i.e. walking) = best body recomposition. Yea, you could beat your body into submission by cranking up the cardio and cutting down the food intake, but we all know that is not a good thing.

My strength portion is approx 20min in duration, and my HIIT is 15min (never longer). Add in warm up & cool down, I am approx 45min. My run training sessions are 30-45min for fast & moderate days (plus required warm up & cool down), and my longest 'long run day' has only been 65min.

Been there, tried that wtr cranking & cutting... Not looking to revisit by any means. Bad bad bad idea.

It's the question I'm asking myself, "what I've been doing isn't working, so what can I change?" that ultimately I've posed here. Any, and all responses are greatly appreciated

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

You have a bit of time to play around with things before it gets down to crunch time for the mara training.

 

You need to remember that you can't ride two horses at once - eating and training for a marathon is not the same as eating and training for weight loss. The marathon might lead to weight loss, but it's also a lot of stress on your body, which might make you hold on to fat. Make completing the marathon and being healthy your goal for now.

GoJo09, you are very right in that I have plenty of time. This is importance to remember, thank you.

I'm not doing the running for fat loss believe it or not, but rather to feel the satisfaction of tackling a major challenge and succeeding!! (I have always hated, hated, hated running unless I was chasing a ball.) I picked a race that requires me to mentally *grow* as well as physically train! as opposed to just 'jump in head first and get'er'done', ie a mud run. (Those are fun but I didn't need to change my outlook to succeed in.)

Does that make any sense, lol?

You hit the nail on the head by referring to my body's stress & holding onto the fat... Which is ultimately at the heart of my self-doubts... What have I been doing wrong so as to not see the losses I expect?

By talking it out with all of you patient and insightful friends, I'm seeing a few themes :

(1) I'm potentially not fuelling adequately. Pre workout meal has been missing. Add in to test.

(2) I'm eating starchy carb at meal 1 - tweak by omitting. Continue having it with PWO meal, as well as Meal 2. (Meal 3 too I'm assuming?? I have been hit or miss with that one)

(3) I'm overdoing it in the gym. Max HIIT sessions or run training, but can't do both.

(4) one rest day may not be enough - increase it to two. Re-evaluate.

(5) asking for help here makes a HUGE impact. Thank you very, very much. Please smile knowing you are helping.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes.  Try having a hearty breakfast of just protein, FAT, and non-starchy carbs (kale, spinach) before your workouts in the morning.

 

You have not mentioned what your breakfasts have usually looked like, but try this ^ and save your starchy carbs for post-workout.   

 

Also, know that if you are eating a lot of fruit throughout the day, you are still making it super easy for your body to be a sugar-burner, when what you want is to be a fat-burner.

Brewer5, you are right. I didn't get I to detailing meals, etc. I had been protein, fat, and non starchy (cukes are my fave!). Then with this lst round, I switched the veg to a sweet potato or a beet/squash combo. Felt fabbo during my wkt, can't lie. Ate about two hours before a wkt. Had sweet potato or beets plus protein for Post Wkt. A bout two servings per day of fruit, but bananas a a a a a a a LOT of that time!! Definitely had already decided those are my kryptonite :(. But very interesting insight you make... Maybe with me, at this stage of the game, even some fruit is confusing to my body??? You think so too?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.