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29 Mar 2007

Lean muscle loss and resistance training

Fitness Doc,

A quick question on muscle loss. I have started incorporating resistance training on my training. I used to largely focus on cardio training (running swimming and cycling); exercising 5-7 x week; including weekend long races cycling and/or running. I am currently been training for Oceans next month.
My body stats when I started the program (four weeks ago) were 25% body fat, lean mass 75%; female 1.64m and 60 kg. Four weeks later body fat% remained the same; lean mass % dropped to 73 %, weight almost the same 59kg. I have been advised to include protein shakes in my diet. Will this be a good way to go or could there be another aspect in my training I may be overlooking? Although I do include proteins in my diet(white meat, dont eat red meat) I have an affinity towards carbs. I feel like eating them, only them all the time. I do however try to follow the Body for life diet plan principle (dont do the supplements). Does this loss of lean muscles call for concern? I know that it takes time to finally see results I was thinking there should be some differences observed already especially with the body fat at least, since I got from maybe 1x week resistance training to up to 6x a week. Please advice.

Answer 415 views

01 Jan 0001

Hi Joey

My first question is how you measured this lean muscle mass and body fat percentage. Because the reality is that we do not have devices that are accurate enough to measure the change in amounts as small as 1 or 2%, and so for all practical purposes, your value of 73% is actually not different from the value of 75%. We just can't measure those small differences - once you start hitting 4 or 5% differences, then perhaps it is possible, but the big doubt in my mind is that this measurement is not accurate or precise enough.

So with that said, there is no need to change anything, including the addition of protein shakes. I would wait at least another 2 months before even considering that. Give your body time to adapt to your new training programme, and to build up to 6 days a week.

One final word of advice - no more weight training this week. Two Oceans is only 7 days away and if you do weight training now, your muscles will feel it on the race day, and the distance can suddenly feel a lot longer if you start with tired muscles. So stay out of the gym this week, rest well before the race and then I'm sure that two weeks after the race, you will feel up to the resistance training again.

Good luck
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