Maintaining Muscle


nikki1973nikki

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I'm at the end of my first week of Whole 30 and while I feel good, my workouts have gone horribly. I mainly do strength training and I'm running at about 20% of my normal volume. Barely. This morning- deadlifts- I had programmed 3 sets of 6 reps x 200 which is an easy day for me. My results were set 1- 2 reps, set 2 - 2 reps, set 3- 1 rep. The rest of the week has been similar. It's like I just show up and nothing- I feel weak. It's almost like my brain isn't communicating with my muscles.

I'm eating plenty- 1600 calories a day (not restricting, just tracking)- macros are around 120 grams carbs, 100 protein, balance fat. (I usually eat anywhere from 75-180 carbs, 120 protein, balance fat, and TOO MANY of my carbs are straight up sugar!). This is a level I tend to eat around in normal training- carbs have dropped a little, but nothing major- just the change in carb type. My carbs now are a mix of fruit/potatoes/sweet potatoes/veggies like carrots. Seems like most days I have 2 servings of fruit and at least 1-2 servings of potatoes. I can't do the whole very low carb thing as my hair falls out. :) So I can't go to ketosis. 

I work out at 5am. I never eat anything pre-workout, though I use a calorie free pre-workout drink (caffeine!), which I have scrapped for Whole 30. One of the reasons for doing Whole 30 was I was concerned about all these random supplements. It's the Cellucor C-4. 

I am OK with dialing back my workouts for the next 30 days in the name of getting my eating back on track, but I really want to try and preserve muscle. Can I expect to feel better in the next couple weeks? Can anyone suggest a minimal short term lifting plan that can help preserve muscle? I'm not doing any cardio beyond basic walks. (I never do cardio in my training).

And I have been checking my weight- I'm [edited by moderator to remove weight reference]. Something in my old diet was bloating me. Horribly. All around I do feel much better already. I only had one day of "detox" feeling.

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Hey @nikki1973nikki & welcome to the forums.

First off stop tracking macros. Honestly, it's not something we encourage. At all. Part of the point of the program is to learn to listen to your body, and grow to understand what it needs. So long as your meals follow the template you're good - 1-2 palm sized pieces of protein, 1-3 cups of veg (which really means fill your plate), and a generous serving of a healthy fat. And please do not check your weight - this is as much a rule as not eating dairy, or not drinking alcohol. Weight loss is not linear. You could weigh more or less tomorrow depending on hormones, water inatke, sodium levels,  sleep quality and all kinds of other things. I've edited your post to remove your reference to your weight.

No preWO is fine if that's what you're used to but don't skimp on the postWO protein as this is to help the muscle repair, recover & grow.

It's common for WOs to suffer in the first 10-14 days as the body learns to become fat adapted, but so long as you are eating adequate protein & fat you will not lose muscle.

What do your meals look like?

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I'm tracking my macros and calories out of curiosity (maybe recording is a better word?). This is my 3rd Whole 30. I definitely eat what I am feeling like eating, THEN record it. I didn't track the first two times (which was fine), but this time I'm just curious. But I'm not eating to hit a certain # by any means.

Days have generally been:

breakfast- coffee with coconut milk, 2 eggs, 2 ounces ground turkey, small potato or a banana

lunch- protein (6-8 ounce portion- chicken thigh, beef, pork chop) some kind of veggie either in salad form with an olive oil dressing OR roasted in olive oil good 2 cup portion of veggies

Snack- egg or two

Dinner- same as lunch, but either fruit or small potato/sweet potato or carrots worked into the mix. (so a pork chop with sauteed apples and roasted brocolli OR chicken thigh with potato and a salad)

 

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2 hours ago, nikki1973nikki said:

I work out at 5am. I never eat anything pre-workout, though I use a calorie free pre-workout drink (caffeine!), which I have scrapped for Whole 30. One of the reasons for doing Whole 30 was I was concerned about all these random supplements. It's the Cellucor C-4. 

 

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^Yes, thank you - funny I was sure I'd read that first time around then for some reason didn't see it when I read it again.

So you're missing a postWO meal immediately after training & before breakfast. Your muscles have earned that food, and trying to combine the postWO meal with meal one is counter productive as the fat in the template meal will slow down absorption of the nutrients & prevent muscle protein synthesis.

If you're hungry enough for snacks is it possible that your meals aren't big enough? I'd try upping the protein & fat content in each meal to see if that makes a difference along side the postWO meal.

But as I said, some adjustment time is normal. I remember hitting a wall at the two week mark in my morning training sessions & having to have some preWO fat (I opted for nut butter - the only time I'd recommend eating nut butter from a spoon, or egg yolks). With the preWO protein/fats though remember that these are not providing fuel, but rather a signal to the body that it *can* burn fuel as there is no shortage of supply...

Let us know how you get on.

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I eat my breakfast immediately post workout- I come home and eat. There isn't really a practical way to fit in a snack + full breakfast before work (unfortunately).

 I'll try  a pre workout egg, then get home, eat an egg, then showering/getting ready have a real breakfast.

Oh, and I can't do nuts/nut butters. One of the things I learned from my first Whole 30. Nut butters and nuts make me crave sugar. Possibly more than anything.

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The post workout food is not a full meal, just a couple bites. I typically ate my 2-3 bites of chicken breast sitting in my car after the wod before driving home to have dinner. I batch cook for everything except breakfast during the work week so it was maybe 25 minutes between my post-workout food and my dinner. The couple bites of whatever won't make you too full for your breakfast. It's just a fast hit of protein for your muscles. Once you're eating enough, the workouts will pick up. 

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I used to never eat anything before working out (CrossFit) and then I started having Cellucor C-4 and half a banana.  That combo got me nowhere, I was getting stronger, but it seemed like I consistently had a layer of fluff!  I randomly read another post around week 2 of my W30 during January about pre-workout meals and that it really doesn't have to be anything major.  I took that post verbatim and have been eating an egg yolk from a hard boiled egg before my workouts and afterward, I eat the white and a few bites of sweet potato.  I have my actual breakfast at work, but my workouts are so much better now that my body has grown accustomed to my new way of eating.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cellucor C4 is what I used to use, on it's own. That fueled some amazing workouts and uh, I can't even describe. Basically I'd get up at 5am, guzzle a scoop of it in water and by the time I stepped into the gym, I could throw down. I managed days where my volume was 30,000+ lbs lifted in 60 minutes. I did a leg day and the trainer at the gym stopped me and was like "YOU ARE MY HERO". BOOM.

And then I'd get home and slam coffee to keep going. 

The weird thing about this Whole 30 has been the weightloss for me. I'm almost done and down 10 lbs. I know it is mainly water weight; I also knpw that I don't really have food sensitivities. I'm pretty generous with carbs too. I'm thinking that Cellucor was making me retain water. I'm sure there are other things- but my body doesn't drop 10lbs in basically 3 weeks...ever. And as soon as I started Cellucor I started packing on lbs and while yes, some was maybe muscle, most was clearly water. 

But it's like rocket fuel.

My solution was to step back from working out for a month and take it easy. So I get up and go if I want to, then do what I want to manage. I think I needed a break from the training anyway. I can't eat solid food at 5am. Post Whole 30, I'll go back to a mix of protein and carb smoothie, which is a nice medium between C4 and nothing. 

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