emilyelowe

Weight Training and Muscle Gain

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Hi Whole30 friends!

I've cruised around the forum and found some really interesting information on gaining muscle while eating clean, but it seems a lot of it is focused on people who call themselves "hard gainers," which is not me. I also read Dallas' Clean Mass Gain article, so I understand I'm not magically going to turn into a body builder in the next 30 days. However, I am still wondering if anyone out there has similar goals and advice to go with it, so I hope this post isn't too much of a repeat. :) 

Basically, I feel like I've hit a bit of a plateau in my training. Today is Day 14 of my fifth? Whole30. I lift 3 days a week, focusing on heavy, compound movements, and generally do low-intensity cardio on other days (StairMaster) or, even if I don't, I walk the dog almost every day and sometimes use a walkstation at work. My goal is to gain visible muscle, which means adding muscle and reducing body fat. I am only 4'11'' and about 112 pounds (when I weighed myself on Day 0, obviously), so not a large person, but my body fat is probably around 25% so I guess I'd consider myself "skinny fat." I sometimes say "I'm soft, like a baby." :lol: During my last Whole30, I found myself having increased stamina and power almost overnight - I couldn't believe it. I was adding weight to my lifts each week and seeing visual results, but now I'm feeling kind of weak and stuck. I'm not sure if I am doing something different or if my body is just getting more used to the training? I think I am following the meal template better/more closely this time than I ever have (mayo = game changer), so I guess I expected BETTER results. 

I'm trying really hard to follow the meal template and am obviously concerned about over-eating (my basal metabolic rate is incredibly low), so I'm nervous to do anything too crazy. I have a vacation coming up in September that I obviously want to look AND feel my best for, so I don't feel like I have a ton of time to experiment. I know Whole30 isn't intended to be a weight loss or muscle gaining program and I am committed to eating well because I feel so much better. I am just wondering if anyone has any advice about adding a little extra oomph to my results. At my size, is it appropriate to eat two palm-sized protein portions instead of just one? Any suggestions on how to make sure it doesn't push the vegetables off my plate? Any nutrition or training experience that you've found successful in a fairly short period of time? 

I try really hard to get 8 hours of sleep and already am going to bed while the sun is still up, so I feel like if I go to bed any earlier, my husband is going to have to get a girlfriend. Haha. 

Any advice or encouragement is appreciated. :) Thanks!

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What lifting protocol are you following? Does it utilize linear progression or periodization?  Either way, it may be time to deload.  

With your weight training and cardio, you can definitely eat at the larger end of the meal template.  Even though you are small in stature, your palm size is still *your* palm size, so the rec stands.  As far as not letting larger amounts of protein and fat push veggies off your plate, well, don't let it. I mean, sounds simplistic, but with your weight training experience you know that sometimes you just have to get it done.

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Oh, I guess it would probably be helpful to review what I'm eating.

Pre-WO: HB egg sometimes with additional fat, sometimes without

Post-WO: HB egg white

M1 (typically 45 mins after Post-WO): roasted sweet potatoes + another veg + 3 fried eggs + avocado or ranch

M2 and M3 vary but generally a mix of either chicken or beef, 2-3 other veg options, and typically I end up having another serving or some sweet or white potato variation. For example, today M2 was a burger with avocado, a white potato everything muffin, arugula, strawberries and olive oil and M3 will be spicy asian beef with veggies and cauliflower rice. 

So, generally, potatoes of some kind anywhere from 1-3 times per day mixed in with meat, other veg, and either mayo, avocado, or dressing as my primary fats.

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Thanks, @kirkor. I just recently went through a deload, actually, but feel like maybe I didn't do it right. I followed a plan for 8 weeks and then took a week off and just did some steady-state cardio. However, the week I was supposed to be back "on," ended up being super busy and so I didn't actually end up lifting again until later in the week. <_< So basically, I had almost two whole weeks away from lifting.

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You should look into "Thinner, Leaner Stronger "by Mike Matthews. My feel for you after reading your post is that your diet is probably fine. Mike's book talks a lot about diet and macros but I think you may benefit from the weight program alone. I have been following his 5 day split for 2 years. I hit a plateau and just recently have been making gains again after starting whole30. His philosophy is HEAVY compound lifting preferably 5x a week with HIIT- like workouts. Check it out. You may just need to shake up the gym routine. You can get his book on amazon.

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Hey Emily! Try changing up the timing of your carbs- ideally, the majority of your carbohydrates should be eaten before and after your workout. Right now it seems you are getting in protein before and after which is great, but ideally your pre and post meal should be equal parts carbohydrate and protein. Little to no fat after your workout. Post workout we have depleted our muscle glycogen, so our muscles are begging for carbs in order to grow!! Because fat digests slower, it slows down the glycogen restoration process. And if you're trying to gain muscle and have a small frame, you pretty much can't go wrong with more whole protein sources. Gaining muscles requires a lot, like ALOT of protein especially for women. If you want to "hard gain", you should be eating around 1.3g-1.8g of protein per pound of body weight. so you have to really consciously choose to consume more protein every time you eat. 

Also, someone mentioned heavy lifting- they are right!! One word- hypertrophy! dont be afraid to go heavy. Try finishing each muscle group with a set to failure (til you literally give out and can't lift the weight) 

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18 minutes ago, ErinOliver said:

Hey Emily! Try changing up the timing of your carbs- ideally, the majority of your carbohydrates should be eaten before and after your workout. Right now it seems you are getting in protein before and after which is great, but ideally your pre and post meal should be equal parts carbohydrate and protein. Little to no fat after your workout. Post workout we have depleted our muscle glycogen, so our muscles are begging for carbs in order to grow!! Because fat digests slower, it slows down the glycogen restoration process. And if you're trying to gain muscle and have a small frame, you pretty much can't go wrong with more whole protein sources. Gaining muscles requires a lot, like ALOT of protein especially for women. If you want to "hard gain", you should be eating around 1.3g-1.8g of protein per pound of body weight. so you have to really consciously choose to consume more protein every time you eat. 

Also, someone mentioned heavy lifting- they are right!! One word- hypertrophy! dont be afraid to go heavy. Try finishing each muscle group with a set to failure (til you literally give out and can't lift the weight) 

The recommendation for pre workout is actually protein and fat.  We don't want to give the body easy fuel like carbs because it will burn that first and not your own body fat.  You can read up on the recommendations by googling 'Whole30 pre and post workout recommendations' or read It Starts With Food.

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