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Old 08-27-2010, 04:42 PM   #1
David Palm
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Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight?

Hi everyone, I'm a first time poster but have been doing CF like workouts (unknowingly under the guidance of a martial arts instructor) for a few years.

I just recently discovered the crossfit community and found out that the workouts I am doing are actually not as obscure as the stares I get at the gym make me feel they are... to sum it up, I'm really excited to have found all you folks.

On to my question: Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight? My goal is not to lose weight actually, but over the last 2 weeks of implementing a strict paleo diet, I haven't been able to help it. I've lost close to 10lbs which sounds pretty drastic to me in just 2 weeks. Am I starving myself? No. I'm finding that I don't eat as many calories, but I'm also not hungry...or at least I don't have that ravenous insulin induced hunger anymore.

My current goal is to increase my squat, DL, and Olifts as I've neglected these for some time. I've only been working on them for a few months and have seen quick gains in my squat and DL numbers.

I suppose the real questions are: Do I really have to shove protein down my throat past the point where I'm full? Does paleo eating work for the big guys at the top of the games? I know that I can make quicker progress drinking a gallon of milk everyday, but will I severely stunt my potential just eating paleo to satisfaction. Thanks for your help! I can't express how psyched I am to have found so many like minded people.

Dave

Some info in case it matters:

24/6'1"/205lbs/405DL/405squat/200push press

PS If there are directly relevant thread already, I'd appreciate a link as I couldn't find them.

Last edited by David Palm : 08-27-2010 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:15 PM   #2
John Stone
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Re: Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight?

I've gained about 110 pounds on my CFT in the 12 weeks since I started CrossFit, and I've lost a few pounds, so I'd guess "Yes" is the answer. [note: I have not been trying to lose any weight, and I am nowhere near eating anything like "Paleo" -- in fact I've upped my daily calories significantly, but nonetheless I've still managed to lose a couple pounds]
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:18 PM   #3
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight?

It's possible, but not the preferred way to get stronger...especially seeing how your strength numbers are already fairly high. If someone is squatting or DLing 200lbs then yeah, they can make big strength gains while losing weight, but most people beyond the novice level will benefit from a calorie surplus and added mass.

If you can't get enough Paleo calories to keep your weight up where you want it you've got a few options--go with calorie-dense stuff like olive oil, coconut milk/oil, and nut butters, or do Paleo+milk if your body tolerates milk ok. If you can find it raw/organic/grassfed milk is the best way to go, but that may get a little expensive for you.

I don't know exactly what the bigger guys at the Games (Khalipa, Orlando, Wickham, Hackenbruck, etc.) eat but my guess is that they eat at least 90% Paleo, which is to say they probably avoid processed foods as much as possible.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:37 PM   #4
David Palm
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Re: Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight?

I actually gave up dairy in significant quantities about 4 months ago....When I drink a pint of milk last weeks, bad things happened. I've noticed lactose intolerance in the past, but now that I don't consume much dairy, I think it has gotten worse.
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Old 08-27-2010, 05:57 PM   #5
David Palm
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Re: Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight?

I wouldn't call myself an amateur, but I'm very undeveloped in the lower body....I seem to be able to do more weight every time I do squats or deadlift. But if eating this way stops my progress, I would be pretty upset as I feel awesome after just a couple weeks!
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:32 PM   #6
David Palm
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Re: Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight?

Really? No one else wants to comment? I thought this would be a popular question.

The reason I asked is because I have had two people tell me that you can't lose weight and gain strength and both of them have been involved in athletics since before I was born....so I respect their opinion
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:35 PM   #7
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight?

Depends on how much you weight to begin with and how weak you are. I would say under 20% body fat it would be very hard to do both at the same time. as that number drops, it gets more difficult until it is not possible. Where that point it will change based on many individual factors.
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:39 PM   #8
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Palm View Post
Really? No one else wants to comment? I thought this would be a popular question.

The reason I asked is because I have had two people tell me that you can't lose weight and gain strength and both of them have been involved in athletics since before I was born....so I respect their opinion
It's possible, but it's hard, and most people won't be able to do it for very long. As Jamie said, it depends on what your current strength and body composition are.

Katherine
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:49 PM   #9
David Palm
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Re: Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight?

Ok, this seems more reasonable than saying it is impossible for anyone. The information I got may have only pertained to developed, in-shape athletes.

Last edited by David Palm : 08-30-2010 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:04 PM   #10
Michael Petersen
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Re: Is it possible to gain strength while losing weight?

First time poster as well...I can only relay my own experience. I started CrossFit about 6 months ago. I started an 8 week Paleo challenge a couple of month's into Crossfit as well. I dropped 20lbs (220->200 at 6'6") and continued making significant strength gains.

In my case the gains were probably mostly neuromechanical and flexibility related.

If you (or any athlete) has excess weight and significant room for improvement in their lifting technique, I don't see any reason why you couldn't lose weight and gain strength.

If your lifts are already pretty solid (and looking at your numbers, you appear to have very solid lifts IMO), your weight loss+strength gain window is probably pretty small.
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