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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 10-08-05, 10:46 AM   #1
cheebahmunkey
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Losing Muscle, What to do?

Hey guys. I'll ask this question regarding me but I'm sure more people have had or are having similar problems. I've noticed over the past few weeks that (according to my scale) I seem to be losing muscle and "gaining" fat. My body fat % has gone from as low as 8% a few weeks ago to today where it read 12% ! It seems like a lot but I weigh around 135. So my question is what should I (and others with the same problem) do to gain that muscle back? Should I limit my carbs and up my protein? Thanks in advance for the help.
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Old 10-08-05, 11:10 AM   #2
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Have you reduced you work load?

12% is very low. Infact alot off body builders struggle to get down to 8% as thats silly low, and could limit you performance on the bike.

Why do you think your lose muscle, and not just putting some fat, on.
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Old 10-08-05, 11:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by russdaz
Have you reduced you work load?

12% is very low. Infact alot off body builders struggle to get down to 8% as thats silly low, and could limit you performance on the bike.

Why do you think your lose muscle, and not just putting some fat, on.
well it's been a somewhat eventful few weeks. There was a wedding and a few holidays so my eating habits have been kinda weird. But I may have overcompensated because I noticed I lost weight over that same 2-3 week period. I guess I got spoiled when my scale (it is rather crappy) read 8%
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Old 10-08-05, 11:56 AM   #4
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id say give it a few weeks to get back into you normal routine and see what happens, if theres a diffenant increase then reduce you callories intake. But you should eat 1.5g of protein per every 1kg of body weight.

Plus becareful with the scales, you should eat or drink around 30mins before weighting yourself. Plus try to do it the morning, the only real way to get a fully accurate body fat is with calipers.

heres a little table for you

Fat Level Men (%) Women (%)
Very Low 7-10 14-17
Low 10-13 17-20
Average 13-17 20-27
High 17-25 27-31
Very High above 25 above 31
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Old 10-08-05, 11:58 AM   #5
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First, Body fat scales are not all that accurate, but that being said. If you are loosing weight and not working to grow muscles, you most likely are canibalizing your muscles at the expense of weight loss. I would suggest that you start, or increase the amount of weights you are lifting. You need to retain muscle or you will loose muscle and fat equally. And as you get to that low of a number, your body will not want to give up any fat.
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Old 10-08-05, 12:26 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
...So my question is what should I (and others with the same problem) do to gain that muscle back? Should I limit my carbs and up my protein? ...
Can you post a couple weeks of your workout schedule? No amount of eating protein will add muscle to your body. It will only absorb as much protein as needed to repair muscular tears and damage from working out. And even the most strenuous weight-training workouts will not require that your body absorb more than 75-100gm of protein per day (about twice sedentary rate). Even then, that's not a lot of protein, so you're most likely not protein-deficient.

However, cutting back on carbs WILL cause muscle catabolism (disassembly) if you're working out hard. That's because carbs are the most favored energy-source, then protein, then fats. So if you're low on carbs when you work out, your body will take apart perfectly good muscle to burn for energy at the same time as fats. The most fat you'll burn is about 300 calories/hour, so if you work out harder than that, you'll need to supplement those calories from fat. If you don't have carbs available, your body will take apart muscles to burn.

Also the dunk-test is really the only accurate way of measuring body-fat. Changes in water-retention will throw off the pinch-test or the electrical-impedance test.
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Old 10-08-05, 08:33 PM   #7
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Well the thing is I don't work out very regularly because of my school schedule. If I'm lucky I can do a 30 mile ride three times a week. And I haven't been lifting at all either. The only other pure "exercise" I've been doing has been 200 crunches every day. I'm not too worried about it but I'd like ot see my % go back down. I fear I was overcompensating for eating so much and actually started to eat away at muscle by not eating enough afterwards. But you guys have good suggestions. I know I'll keep them in mind. Thanks again.
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Old 10-11-05, 07:30 AM   #8
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Be sure to have plenty of fuel in the tank for your bike rides and eat soon after you finish so your body burns carbs/fat and not muscle.

When you ride, are you pushing your heart rate to the max? Better to stay in the 60-70% heart rate max range for fat burning.


Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans are highly accurate for measuring % body fat. Also very expensive.
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Old 10-12-05, 01:41 PM   #9
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If you're losing muscle, like your body composition is actually changing (you're not just experiencing gained/lost water weight or daily fluctuations) then a good way to slow/prevent catabolism (muscle breakdown) is to A: increase your daily caloric intake and B: increase the percentage/quantity of protein in your diet.
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Old 10-12-05, 07:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palsdude
First, Body fat scales are not all that accurate
That's it in a nutshell. You can get the variation spoke of in the SAME DAY given different hydration levels. These scales are only useful if you weigh yourself @ the same time of the day, and then only for comparison sake - not for absolute numbers. For consistency sake, the best time to do your weighing is right when you get up in the morning. First, void your bladder, and then do your weight/measurement.

Do this once/week, and use the numbers for comparison sake only.
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