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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 05-08-2006, 02:16 PM   #1
Eric Lester
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I've heard that the most you can lose in a week "safely" or without losing muscle mass is about 2 pounds. Is that true across the board or does it depend on your starting weight?

It seems like a guy trying to lose ten pounds and a guy trying to lose 200 would be able to drop different amounts in a week without sacrificing muscle.

But I'm a philosophy major - I could just be showing my ignorance of the human body :D
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Old 05-08-2006, 02:32 PM   #2
Lincoln Brigham
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Faster weight loss = larger percentage lost as muscle.
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Old 05-08-2006, 03:16 PM   #3
Steven Low
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The most you should probably try to lose per week is a pound. 500 calorie deficit per day will burn off 1 pound of fat in a week -- 3500 calories in a pound of fat. Any more than that and your body may start going into starvation mode where it tries to keep as much fat as it can whenever you get lazy with your diet. This will also help limit the amount of muscle mass you will lose while trying to drop weight.

Anyway, best way to lose weight is (a combination of some or all):
1. metcon workouts
2. HIIT cardio (more effective than regular cardio imo)
3. any kind of heavy lifting (ME workouts, DLs, squats, etc.)
4. maintenance or slightly below maintenance level calorie diet
5. #4 in 5-6 small meals per day

IMO the best way to lose weight is if you went with a maintanace level diet (with no exercising) and then adding exercise on top of that to jack up your metabolism to burn more calories. Shrug.
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Old 05-08-2006, 10:13 PM   #4
Craig Van De Walker
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Can you possibly lose more than 2 lbs a week yes, is it likely without losing muscle as well, no, but not impossible.

It is a risk benefit thing. If a person is in equilibrium and is just trying to lose fat I would shoot for say 1/2 to 1 lb a week per ~100 lbs of LBM (my make believe formula). I think that when you try for more things get out of whack. That 1 lb of fat equals a 500 Kcal a day deficit. Could you safely lose more, maybe, but the more you try to lose the more likely you will lose LBM and from what I understand one lb of muscle burns between 23-40 kcals per 24 hours at rest.

Starve yourself and lose 10 lbs of muscle and you have decreased your ability to burn calories by 230-400 per day. You now have dug yourself a big fat hole, the same big fat hole that a huge number of overweight females (and a growing number of males are in) are in right now.

The other issue is that quick losses are a bad habit! Healthy weight is a life long habit! Do you think a person is going to easily go from the crappy eating that got them overweight to starvation mode and then magically to maintainance mode? In the ideal program (I know not very likely, but possible) much better to gradually lose fat and increase muscle mass as fat is lost. Small appropriate changes can be made as desired weight is reached.

Granted this is just my feeling. A disciplined athlete with a lot of muscle could do much better eating very strictly and really burning up the cals with a good program, but they would be the extreme end of the curve of what is possible.
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Old 05-09-2006, 04:56 AM   #5
Larry Lindenman
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With respect Steven, the calorie in - calorie out thing has been proven invalid, so a deficit of 500 calories a day is not the answer (check the search engine for an explaination). Eric, yes a guy who needs to lose 200 lbs of fat will initially lose faster...more body fat, then the guy who needs to lose 20 pounds. I don't think you could lose more then 1 or 2 pounds of fat per week without radically effecting performance. The subsequent drop in preformance will effect the amount of calories you burn and you start to circle around the bowl. The saneist approach is to...eat quality "clean" foods at a level which will support muscle mass, but not fat mass...the Zone.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:59 AM   #6
Justin Algera
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Im in the boat now of trying to reach a good maintenance level. For me, losing was the easy part as there was clear, defined set of parameters to go by. I had a goal, and everything I did went to reaching that goal. Maintenance has been harder, especially now since Im in much better shape, and a bad day or two of eating doesnt mean much and it comes off a lot quicker if I do put on a few pounds. But being someone who when he was losing weight took of 8 pounds in one week, I would say try to strive for 1-2 at the most. Im now very leary of losing any weight just because I dont want to lose any of the muscle I have worked so hard to gain.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:14 PM   #7
Charlie Jackson
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With respect Steven, the calorie in - calorie out thing has been proven invalid

It hasn't been proven invalid because it is not invalid. Plenty of people lose weight simply by reducing their portion size. At best someone argued it was invalid.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:40 PM   #8
Bradford Green
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Here's what Sears says:
"Keep in mind the maximum fat loss you can expect is 1 to 1.5 pounds of fat per week. It is simply impossible to reduce excess body fat any faster."
The rest is muscle or water

Also, as far as "calorie in- calorie out" is concerned, Sears points to an English study in which patients were placed on a 90% carb diet and actually gained weight, though their caloric intake was greatly reduced. Merely reducing calories without paying proper attention to carb/protein/fat percentages, he says, will resuly in weight loss that will eventually plateau.

Craig, you make some excellent points
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Old 05-09-2006, 11:09 PM   #9
Lincoln Brigham
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The whole calorie in - calorie out method only works by brute force. As a method for losing bodyfat, it has a terrible track record. The bottom line is that counting calories - and you have to count both burned and eaten - is horribly inaccurate. It is much too inaccurate to depend on for small incremental weight changes.

"None of the methods used to assess dietary intakes is totally free from inherent errors, and none can provide a fully accurate measure (Beaton, Burema and Ritenbaugh, 1997; Bingham, 1987; Kaaks and Riboli, 1997).

Have you ever noticed that studies of food consumption never talk about the potential error % of their numbers? That's because they have no idea HOW far off their calorie calculations might be. That's scary, on so many levels.

With the errors inherent in calculating calorie consumption and calories burned, trying to use the calorie in/calorie out method to fine tune bodyweight would be like trying to play a violin concerto while wearing ski gloves. With a standard 2,000 calorie diet, if the calorie counting is off by only 10% then it's off by 20 lbs. per year. That's a lot of weight for a small error.

There was a recent WHI study where participants reported a reduction of 360 calories per day. After 7 years they lost - get this - less than 2 pounds on average. Do the math and you'll see that something is seriously wrong. According to the Calories In/Calories Out theory (aka the One Pound = 3,500 calories theory) they should have lost 262 pounds.
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Old 05-10-2006, 04:34 AM   #10
Larry Lindenman
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Charlie, reducing portion size is great. The Zone diet controls portion size. When you start telling people to eat a 500 calorie deficit, your being a little vague. It sort of falls into the a "calorie is a calorie camp". So you have a diet that only tells you to eat 1500 calories. Great, first off do we really know the exact calorie of most foods...the answer is no. Second, could I eat my 1500 calories from say...Mars bars. Will 1500 calories of candy effect the body differently than 1500 calories of fruit, vegetables, meat, and nuts...I think so. Will the fiber in a food reduce the amount of calories absorbed by the gut, yep. Could I actually eat more calories from protein and lose weight...yes, thermic effect of food. So it ain't that easy. I would re-post a article regarding the physics of a calorie is a calorie, but my cut and paste is broken.
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