Training with a calorie deficit

Discussion in 'Other' started by cmb, May 16, 2018.

  1. cmb

    cmb Double-Digit Post Count


    I'm a male, 40 years old, no health issues, 20–25 lb overweight.

    This is about falling off the wagon and getting back on, losing weight, and trying to make gains with Simple & Sinister. I'm having a hard time reaching my target weight so it always seems to me that I'm training with a calorie deficit. When I'm training regularly, I'm also calorie counting. When I fall off and stop training, I stop calorie counting, too. The problem, then, is that I gain weight—and it's not lean muscle mass for sure.

    And I can't train hard with a calorie deficit, though I still train at least 3 days a week. I find if I try to train more than that my body doesn't recover sufficiently between sessions. So, what should I do? Just stay the course and don't fall off again, and when I reach my target weight, then start training harder? Should I try to train harder, increase weights, and do 5 days a week, or is cutting back on the training the right thing to do?

    I've been thinking I should get my weight to my target (target right now equals the lowest weight appropriate for my height), and then train hard and slowly let my weight go up under the assumption that it'd be mostly muscle mass gains. Another option would be to modify my target weight to be my lowest achievable weight PLUS some number of pounds (10 lb?) to account for muscle gains that I want and, when I reach that weight, then train hard and just maintain the same weight—trade fat for muscle and hold the line on the scale. What do you recommend?

    Sorry for the rambling, it's hard to put this on paper. Basically, I'm asking about training while at a calorie deficit and how I should pick a target weight. Hoping I might get some clarity here on the right path to take. Thanks for the help.
  2. Oscar

    Oscar Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    I have found S&S to be quite friendly to train either on caloric deficit or not, but that´s just my experience. Of course, everything is harder while dieting.

    My experience is that losing fat is easier if you are strong and fit. If you diet being weak, you will just get skinny fat.

    I dont mean to sound harsh, but if you are indeed in a caloric deficit, you will eventually lose the weight. There is no way arround it. Maybe you are not in a caloric deficit, you are just breaking even, and all this "training in a caloric deficit" is psychological.

    20-25 lbs excess is not too bad in my opinion. If you are enjoying S&S and its working well for you, I wouldnt try to lose weight immediately. You say you dont have health issues, so I guess you are not in a hurry to lose weight. Do S&S consistently for one year and maybe everything will fall into place by itself. If it doesnt, you can start dieting one year from now being a lot stronger and fitter.
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
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  3. mprevost

    mprevost Helping Make Others Stronger

    Simple and sinister is not really a muscle building program, though it can add muscle. A simple bodybuilding program, with a small caloric deficit (about 500 kcal per day), along with ensuring that you are getting about 1 gram protein per lb of bodyweight is what I would recommend. it is more aligned with your goals. Go over to Lyle McDonald's site (body recomposition) for a simple discussion on how to do this.
  4. cmb

    cmb Double-Digit Post Count

    Thanks for the reply, and sorry for not being more clear. When I am calorie counting I'm definitely losing weight, and that also happens to be when I'm consistent with training. Problem is I go for a few months, make good progress, then fall off the wagon for a month and gain weight back. Your idea of just training and forgetting about the weight loss for now is something I hadn't thought of doing.
    Oscar likes this.
  5. Matts

    Matts Helping Make Others Stronger

    speaking from personal experience, Simple & Sinister is great for body recomposition- assuming you lose the fixation with food. Probably what you perceive as calorie deprivation is low blood sugar combined with an impaired ability to use fat as a fuel. If you had that ability, your body would seamlessly switch to fat as a fuel and you wouldn't have an problem. People lose weight all the time without any exercise at all, or with walking a little. S&S is very good for the regulating the metabolism and will help a lot without overstimulating the appetite.
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  6. Ryan T

    Ryan T Strong Member of the Forum

    I am prone to trying to do too many things at once in the hopes of forcing progress. I can usually keep up the full scale assault on my excess fat for 3-6 weeks before quiting.

    Most recently, I am focusing on being consistent with my training three days per week. I've started a food log in the diet and nutrition forum. It certainly hasn't perfected my food choices yet, but it has helped me sometimes because I've committed to being real about what I eat.

    So I think keeping your training consistent (3 days per week for a couple months before changing anything else) and then just write down or log your food on a daily basis, you'll probably be able to make more lasting incremental changes. Perhaps don't even worry too much about what you eat yet but make it a consistent habit and become more and more aware of what you eat. Keep us posted on how you progress with a training and/or food logs.
  7. q.Hung

    q.Hung Triple-Digit Post Count

    i had exprience with training while having calories defitct. it will take time for body to adapt
  8. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    Fall off the wagon, intentionally, one day per week and not for an entire month.

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  9. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Director of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    Use a lighter weight, or do 50 swings instead of 100. Try taking your current training volume for 3 days and spreading it over 5-6 days.

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  10. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    I'd double check your diet plan. Even with a moderate caloric deficit you should have enough energy for training and recovery as long as your sessions are not too intense, which S&S shouldn't be.

    Is a lot easier to maintain discipline when you are seeing good results.

    recommendation from @mprevost, is probably the best advice given your goals and difficulties.
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  11. thegoldengod

    thegoldengod Double-Digit Post Count

    100% agree with this. IMO, consistency everyday is more important than a few good sessions throughout the week. The goal is to keep moving. Simple weight loss really is calorie in vs. calorie out if that is your goal. Moving more is an insurance policy that you are working on calories out, every day.
  12. cmb

    cmb Double-Digit Post Count

    Could you explain what you mean by this? S&S is a strength training and conditioning program, right?

    I am getting a lot of protein, perhaps not enough. So you're suggesting using a program other from S&S?

    It may be easiest for me to concentrate on the fat loss to get half-way or so there, and then concentrate more on training.

    I am using an app on my phone to log my calories. I'm already doing this consistently, thankfully.

    This is a great idea. Mon-Wen-Fri could maintain my standard weights and Tue-Thu-Sat could be with reduced weights. I'll switch to doing this.

    Exactly, it is easier when I see progress. I will post my diet plan in the food section, maybe I'm shooting myself in the foot with it.

    Thanks all for you replies, much appreciated.
  13. Matts

    Matts Helping Make Others Stronger

    Where's the calorie deficit? Assuming 20 lbs of adipose tissue, that's 70K kcal of energy readily available . It takes about 2,600 kcal to run a marathon- so there's enough stored energy to run 20 marathons! Goal is to access the 'storage tank' as fuel instead of current input, instead of adding to it periodically.

    Different people promote different ways to do this- more frequent, lower intensity exercise (as suggested above) will help develop the 'demand' side of the energy equation within the muscle cells, and eating only healthy fats, lean protein, and non-starchy vegetables will help with the 'supply' side- the insulin response.

    Spacing meals out so the body can complete the hormonal cycle associated with eating (leptin, etc) helps get on a healthier, sustainable way to maintain energy balance. This can range from 3 smaller meals/day with no snacking, to the various IF programs that promote using fat as a fuel, whatever works for you and becomes easily sustainable.
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  14. Oscar

    Oscar Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    I think there is a radical difference between diet and exercise: Exercising is a must. Not exercising is not an option. On the other hand, diet is completely optional. In fact, one of my goals is "not to diet": Keep a healthy bodyweight without effort.

    So my point is that you should try to find a way to prevent falling off the exercise wagon. About diet, hopefully you will eventually fall off that wagon never to return again.
  15. Matts

    Matts Helping Make Others Stronger

    S&S is easily scalable- using Steve's suggestion above- 60% of regular program every day for 5 days is the same volume as 100% 3/days/wk. Do this and you can gradually ramp up to the full workout 5 days/wk over time.
  16. cmb

    cmb Double-Digit Post Count

  17. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    Hmmm, at 6' and 172lbs how are you 25lbs overweight?

    Food log looks good.
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  18. Ryan T

    Ryan T Strong Member of the Forum

    I know everyone's different but I agree with @Matts here. I'm biased toward IF as I really like how it makes me feel and it's easy to maintain. Another reason I like intermittent fasting is it allows me to eat meals that are a bit larger which I find more satisfying.

    You food log looks good (as far as I'm concerned) regarding the quality of your food. Try an experiment and reduce your meal frequency and see if it helps. If the meal between lunch and dinner is pre-training snack, you may be inhibiting your body's ability to utilize fat for fuel during your training. If you try IF or change meal frequency, post it on your food log with your own observation on mood, energy levels, impacts to training, body comp etc...

    You are going to get a lot of advice from folks here, but as @Oscar said, ultimately keep your training consistent and your food will fall into place.
  19. mprevost

    mprevost Helping Make Others Stronger

    S&S is a strength and conditioning program, but it is a compromise, which is not a criticism. All programs are a compromise. If you want muscle building, try a bodybuilding program. If you want pure strength, try a powerlifting program. You could pound in a nail with a wrench, but why not use a hammer? However, if you goals are a hybrid, maybe a hybrid program is best. You seem to be asking about physique goals (but I could be reading you wrong). If so, do what the physique specialists do (bodybuilders).
    Antti likes this.
  20. cmb

    cmb Double-Digit Post Count

    Great points, I'm going to reduce my weights and do 5–6 sessions a week now. 3 times a week does make being consistent a bit more difficult. If I do it every day, then it's part of my regular pattern. Also, right, since I've got some fat to lose, this will use it up.

    I'd like to get to this point, but I'm not there now. Too little muscle on my body and not working with big enough weights to not worry about counting the calories. If I stop counting, the pounds come on.

    It's true, I'm not "overweight." What I mean is that I just want to get nearer to the bottom of the healthy weight range for my height since I don't have a lot of muscle at this point. Will probably aim for around 155–160 lb and just try to maintain that weight as a constant around there.

    I am basically spacing out my meals, just 3 a day, no snacking. I'm not sure where I should put the protein shake. Lately I've been doing it around 3pm to hold me over until dinner, I start itching for a snack around then. I should note that I train before breakfast.

    I wasn't communicating clearly. I understand what you're saying, thanks for explaining. I'm no body-builder. I have a bit of a gut that I want to get rid of, which is why I'm working with the calorie deficit. I was doing really well two years ago, was at a good weight and working up in the S&S program, then I fell off the wagon. I know the weight gain is fat since then because I wasn't exercising regularly as I should be.

    I'm already surprised with all the advice I've been given, thanks all! Yes, definitely need to work on consistency for the long haul.

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