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  1. Uncle Skippy is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/10/2009 6:24pm

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    'Threshold' in building muscle and losing weight?

    For the past 10 months, I've been doing pilates as part of my PT to recover from 2 back surgeries. The studio I go to uses the reformer machines (as opposed to 'mat pilates') so that things are much easier on my back and resistance is easier to adjust.

    The increase in flexibility has been very obvious, especially when I went back to BJJ; I am now up to 5-6 classes per week. Adductor and piriformis muscles have loosened up a ton and I am now able to *comfortably* work the beginnings of a rubber guard game.

    With the background info out of the way, here is the reason for this thread:

    For the past 4 months, I've wanted to focus on increasing strength so I increased the resistance on the machine. I know I won't bulk up on the machine, but thought it would be nice to work on some basic strength training and flexibility/PT at the same time. The first 2.5 months , I noticed that I was getting a bit stronger but there was no weight loss. For the past 1.5 months, I have dropped 14 pounds all of the sudden.

    I haven't changed my diet, nor my training regiment. My activity level has remained the same and my weight remained constant up until 1.5 months ago.

    Have I passed some sort of 'threshold' in which the muscle is helping to metabolize fuel faster or more efficiently?

    It just seems odd that there was no weight loss and then out of nowhere I'm dropping weight. To be completely honest, my first thought was illness (recent blood work for a yearly physical ruled out the biggies).

    Thanks in advance.
  2. TheRuss is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/10/2009 7:49pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Skippy View Post
    I am now up to 5-6 classes per week.
    How long ago was this?
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
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  3. Uncle Skippy is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/10/2009 8:10pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
    How long ago was this?
    I've been 5-6 classes per week since mid November so about the same time I ramped up the resistance.

    I started pilates 4 weeks before my surgery (which was in July of last year) and continued it 4 weeks after the date of surgery.
  4. TheRuss is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/10/2009 8:23pm

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    There's nothing thus far in this thread to suggest the cause of your weight loss. Body composition information would narrow things down somewhat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
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  5. Uncle Skippy is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/11/2009 10:18am

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    Here's a quick rundown of my weight history as I don't have any numbers regarding body fat % or muscle composition.

    Height: 6'4"

    Weight history:
    - 2000: weight 310lbs
    - 2001: Started MA's. Dropped to 235lbs over 8 months
    - 2002: Dropped to 210lbs (stress)
    - 2003: Stabilized at 225lbs
    - 2007/8: Back injuries (L4/5 and L5/S1 disc herniation/rupture, then L5/S1 again). Weight up to ~240lbs due to inactivity during recovery and stress.
    - 2008: Start easing back into training in October, reaching full training regiment in mid-November. 5-6 classes per week, Pilates 3x per week. Weight held steady at ~ 240lbs
    - 2009: Start dropping weight around beginning of Febuary. Current weight: ~225lbs

    Looking at this, I'm wondering if my body is gravitating back towards the weight I held for 3-4 years before being injured.

    The local university has a wellness program which will measure people's body composition using a tank and other means. It is really cheap so I'm thinking about having that done simply because I've never had it done before.

    If there isn't a simple or known reason for this sort of weight loss, I'll do some footwork and see if I can come up with more information and numbers. I was initially wondering if this was a known thing in weight training that others have experienced. I'm just really curious for both curiosity's sake and for health reasons at this point.

    Thanks so far TheRuss.
  6. Matt Phillips is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/11/2009 10:55am

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    The Pilates helped you train more frequently. That's where the weight loss is coming from.

    That said, if you keep losing more than 2 pounds a week, see a doctor.
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  7. TheRuss is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/11/2009 7:30pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Skippy View Post
    Here's a quick rundown of my weight history
    That's not really what I'm looking for.

    Your weight was stable from resuming "full training regiment" in... November, through strength training on the Pilates machines (?), up until the start of February. It's highly likely that something changed in between November and February. Dietary amounts or composition, metabolism, hydration, hormone levels... lots of possibilities.

    Without a differential to look at, though, we can't say what your lost weight was composed of (water? fat? muscle? bone?), whether your hormone levels have changed (for better or for worse) from where they were before, etc.

    How big were the strength gains?
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    Downstreet on the flip-flop, timepants.
  8. Uncle Skippy is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/11/2009 7:36pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
    Without a differential to look at, though, we can't say what your lost weight was composed of (water? fat? muscle? bone?), whether your hormone levels have changed (for better or for worse) from where they were before, etc.

    How big were the strength gains?
    Unfortunately, I lack information on both counts. I have never lifted seriously and therefore have no past baseline for strength.

    As for the gains, I can't put a hard number on that either. The reformer machines use color-coded springs which can not be likened to any sort of comparable weight. I can say that my tricep extensions went from a red and a blue spring to two reds and a yellow spring, but that is unfortunately completely relative :-P

    I can try to look up tension loads on each spring to see if I can get some sort of percentage increase, but that might just be futile.

    I think the big thing I'm getting out of this is that I need a better way to quantify my strength and body composition. Pilates has been great for rehab and continued PT, but if I'm going to get serious about building muscle, I need to change my routine.
  9. TheRuss is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/11/2009 7:40pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Skippy View Post
    I think the big thing I'm getting out of this is that I need a better way to quantify my strength and body composition.
    As a general rule, if you have goals re: something (even if that goal is to not lose any ground), it's helpful to have a good way of measuring that something.

    What bloodwork did you get done?
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    Downstreet on the flip-flop, timepants.
  10. Uncle Skippy is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/11/2009 7:52pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
    What bloodwork did you get done?
    He ran a general panel. I asked specifically about cholesterol levels as well as kidney function (peed in a cup) since I'm over 30 and diabetes and heart disease run in my family.

    I explained the weight loss and he said that it was probably due to my training, even though I mentioned there had been no change to my diet or training in the past 4 months. He wasn't concerned, but I was still very curious. They called and said everything was well within ranges and there were no red flags.
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