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Old 02-20-2008, 07:55 PM   #1
Jeff Evans
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Eating too little for strength gains but remaining fat?

The title pretty much says it. Without getting too much into my personal situation... is it conceivable someone may be eating too much to burn any body fat, but at the same time, too little to allow noticeable strength gains, while following a strength program (like SS)?

Also note I don't mean to completely discount the macro-nutrient ratio as an important factor (of course it is), but I'm more interested in looking at total energy intake.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:19 PM   #2
Dennis Marshall
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Re: Eating too little for strength gains but remaining fat?

I would say it is perfectly conceivable, but to look at it from purely a caloric perspective leaves too many unanswered questions. The fact that it is conceivable should tell you that there are other, arguably more important, parts to the equation. First and foremost, quality of foods. As evidenced by the fact that millions of people in this country are both obese and suffering from malnutrition, quality of calories is of utmost importance. Also, sleep, hydration, recovery, stress, training, etc.

There are just too many other factors at play that will impact fat loss and strength gain to say with any certainty how quantity of calories alone with determine your results.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:20 PM   #3
David Wood
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Re: Eating too little for strength gains but remaining fat?

Not certain, but it would certainly suck if you were.

Seems like it would be possible, though, particularly if the strength program was not particularly intense, and if the macronutrient ratio was way out of kilter (high carb, low protein).
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:31 PM   #4
Daniel Washburn
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Re: Eating too little for strength gains but remaining fat?

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Originally Posted by Dennis Marshall View Post
Also, sleep, hydration, recovery, stress, training, etc.
exactly...strength gain and body fat do not have a negative correlation. i.e. you can gain strength and lose fat, gain strength add fat, lose strength add fat, lose strength and lose fat. One goes up, the other will not necessarily go down (or up for that matter).
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:33 PM   #5
Jeff Evans
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Re: Eating too little for strength gains but remaining fat?

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Originally Posted by Dennis Marshall View Post
There are just too many other factors at play that will impact fat loss and strength gain to say with any certainty how quantity of calories alone with determine your results.
You're absolutely right about all this, but I was (deliberately) over-simplifying with my question. Since it was personally motivated, let's just say that I'm confident my sleep, hydration, training frequency/intensity, etc. are all at least good enough that I would expect to see some progress above the "untrained" level. The fact that I'm not is making me think there is something I'm missing.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:40 PM   #6
Veronica Carpenter
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Re: Eating too little for strength gains but remaining fat?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Evans View Post
You're absolutely right about all this, but I was (deliberately) over-simplifying with my question. Since it was personally motivated, let's just say that I'm confident my sleep, hydration, training frequency/intensity, etc. are all at least good enough that I would expect to see some progress above the "untrained" level. The fact that I'm not is making me think there is something I'm missing.
I'm willing to bet what's missing, actually what's wrong, is your perception of "good enough" as it relates to your training. Or, possibly your time in training at your "good enough" level.
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:49 PM   #7
Craig Van De Walker
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Re: Eating too little for strength gains but remaining fat?

Jeff,
The answer to your question is sure it is! Macros do count! High carb low fat and low protein diets are great for starving muscle and putting on fat for example. Do you know specifically what your diet is made up of? Are you eating Paleo or Zone?

You did not really give enough information to get a helpful response. Please take this as an attempt to ask you questions that will help you to get good answers from the message board.

Are you getting roughly 0.7 to 1.0 grams of protein per lb of BW?

Are you getting enough fat and the right kind of fat with enough omega 3?

How many grams of processed carbs are you eating, none is the best answer?

What do you base your assumptions on sleep, hydration and training intensity/frequency being "enough". If you are currently at the untrained level where does your information base to assess this come from?
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:50 PM   #8
Dennis Marshall
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Re: Eating too little for strength gains but remaining fat?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Evans View Post
You're absolutely right about all this, but I was (deliberately) over-simplifying with my question. Since it was personally motivated, let's just say that I'm confident my sleep, hydration, training frequency/intensity, etc. are all at least good enough that I would expect to see some progress above the "untrained" level. The fact that I'm not is making me think there is something I'm missing.
I would guess that the "something" you're missing is not a give or take of a few hundred calories. Only one way to be sure - black box it.
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:10 PM   #9
Jeff Evans
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Re: Eating too little for strength gains but remaining fat?

Ahh fine, I'll completely abandon the notion this question was academic (or even relevant) to begin with. A few months ago I posted this (w/fs) thread, motivated by the same situation I'm currently facing. The resounding answer was "lift more". So for the past two months I have been following the Starting Strength program as outlined in the book minus the power cleans. Squat, bench, deadlift one day; squat and press the other, 3 days a week.

For diet, I'm strict Paleo with approx. 2 cheat meals per week. Mostly just eat frozen veggies or large salad with meat for lunch, and steamed veggies and meat for dinner (maybe a sweet potato every other night), with fruit and nuts thrown in at each. Egg/spinach/avocado/bacon omelet for weekend breakfast. Basically I eat until I feel a bit over-full. Not following Zone ratios but having done it in the past, I know my diet is nowhere near "carb-heavy". Definitely 0.7-1.0 g protein/lb per day and tbsp cod liver oil every day. Drink about 8x16oz cups of water throughout the day. Sleep 7-8 hours most weeknights, 9-11 hours on weekends.

Since my original post I'm basically at the same strength level, just with better form. Now, just as with everyone, I have plenty of room for improvement in my overall routine. However let me withdraw the original question (I really only asked it because I was toying with the "gallon of whole milk per day" idea), and just ask, "is it rational to feel completely frustrated and unsatisfied after making close to zero progress following this routine for two months?" If yes, then I'll just shut up now .

Anyway, thanks everyone as always.

Last edited by Jeff Evans : 02-20-2008 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 02-20-2008, 09:54 PM   #10
Kevin Hughes
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Re: Eating too little for strength gains but remaining fat?

Jeff;

How likely is it that you'd be able to put an extra 2x1lb. plates on the bar the next time you bench? Honest answer, for the sake of discussion.
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