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  • When to load vs. push through

    I suppose this is something that comes with time but I notice that sometimes even now I really can have a hard time deciding between these 2 options. In the case of no time limit one can just try the a skipload/carb-load and if that doesn't work try lowering calories or adding cardio, but what about for those with a strict time limit?

    For example I lost fat well with not too much effort for about a month and a half, then the last month I have pretty much stalled out. As for my waistline my lowest of each week seemed to get a little lower over the last month but not much. So last Saturday I have a ~10 hour cheat day followed by a fast day (just low protein, a cup of cottage cheese in the evening). The day after my cheat day my weight is up about 5lb and waistline up only about 1/2in, the day after my fast I get to my previous low and then I do keto for a couple days (which I hadn't been doing, and don't generally like keto). The day after first day of keto I hit an all time low for waistline for this cut. Suddenly after that and since then even though calories throughout the week are 200 less than previously (because I added the cheat day) my waist is back up 1/2in and pretty much staying there (where it was first a month ago). Now here I was thinking the load was really helpful getting things going then inexplicably I'm back up. so

    1. Any explanation for that? I'm pretty stumped as my waist and weight tend to be fairly consistent day to day so a 1/2in increase that stayed up is certainly a shock

    2. How do you personally, and if you have clients, determine when in a cut stalling fat loss means a load is necessary vs. more cardio and less calories?

    Personally I'm only around 14% so it seems like things shouldn't be stalling but everyone is different I suppose. Strength gains are slowing to a halt which is part of why I decided on the load. Now I figure I'll add 30min of cardio every day low intensity for the next week and keep calories lowered without a load the next week to see how it goes but for all I know my metabolism could be stalled. Anyway though I don't mean for this thread to just be about my situation, I'd love to hear others' thoughts on how to make the decision.

  • #2
    Hm, I thought this would spark some interesting discussion

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    • #3
      i personally think a 10 hour cheat day is a bit much for 14% bfat, but it all depends on how depleted you are....do you have pics to post up?

      i have noticed, the higher the bfat, the lower the refeed needs to be, the leaner you are the longer it can be.
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      • #4
        It sort of sounds to me like you are trying to many different approaches (10hr cheat meal, all day fast, and keto). Keto wouldn't even really work that great for a 2 day period as it typically will take 1-3 days just for your body to get into ketosis...

        If you like doing the fast (as I personally use them, and find them to work well), and who doesn't like a cheat day :-) then I would keep your calories the same on the rest of the week, keep the fast day, scale the cheat day back to 6 hours, and see what happens. I would keep calories the same, but scrap the 2 days of "keto". Don't freak out and do a bunch of drastic stuff, because you may just keep your wheels spinning, and make yourself suffer more for no good reason.

        If after those small changes you are still in the same boat, then maybe add 3 20min cardio sessions/wk.
        -2013 USAPL Michigan State Championships 198lb Raw Mens Open, 1st Place (1217 total)
        -2013 USAPL Texas State Championships
        198 Raw Mens Open, 2nd place (1216 total)
        -2012 USAPL Longhorn Open
        198 Raw Mens Open, 1st place (1177 total)
        -2012 USAPL Aggie Showdown
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        • #5
          Originally posted by bbjeff86 View Post
          It sort of sounds to me like you are trying to many different approaches (10hr cheat meal, all day fast, and keto). Keto wouldn't even really work that great for a 2 day period as it typically will take 1-3 days just for your body to get into ketosis...

          If you like doing the fast (as I personally use them, and find them to work well), and who doesn't like a cheat day :-) then I would keep your calories the same on the rest of the week, keep the fast day, scale the cheat day back to 6 hours, and see what happens. I would keep calories the same, but scrap the 2 days of "keto". Don't freak out and do a bunch of drastic stuff, because you may just keep your wheels spinning, and make yourself suffer more for no good reason.

          If after those small changes you are still in the same boat, then maybe add 3 20min cardio sessions/wk.
          I agree, I kind of wish I didn't add in the 3 days of keto so I could have had a better idea of what was the change specifically from the cheat day. My waistline is about back at that low again this morning so I'm happy to see that, I'm going to have a high carb day today rather than another cheat and see how that with the cardio goes this week.

          How do you like to incorporate fasts during a fat loss phase for you?

          And regarding the original post to everyone, off topic from my own situation, what do you guys factor in to decide whether you need to spike your metabolism vs. add in cardio/take calories away?


          Originally posted by johngorman View Post
          i personally think a 10 hour cheat day is a bit much for 14% bfat, but it all depends on how depleted you are....do you have pics to post up?

          i have noticed, the higher the bfat, the lower the refeed needs to be, the leaner you are the longer it can be.
          Its funny, I'd agree with that but during my "off season" I have a 12-14 hour cheat day every saturday followed by 1000 calorie day and my results were never better. Last saturday's cheat day was my first of this cut though so who knows (that is in part though why I "reduced" it to 10 hours).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pumped340 View Post
            How do you like to incorporate fasts during a fat loss phase for you?

            And regarding the original post to everyone, off topic from my own situation, what do you guys factor in to decide whether you need to spike your metabolism vs. add in cardio/take calories away?
            I haven't used them during a "cut" as I don't have any plans on competing anytime in the future, so i'm following more of a recomp type approach with an emphasis on increasing my stretngth and size... The way I do things now is that I will have high (clean) calories on my training days (Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri), Wednesday will be a low calorie/carb day, Sunday will be a complete fast (drinking about 36g worth of BCAA throughout the day), and I will eat whatever I want Friday evening-Saturday evening...

            As far as what to factor in for increasing a refeed or increasing cardio/decreasing weekly calories I look for how the individual is feeling. If you are feeling weak, lethargic, and are flat most of the week then I would increase the "refeed", however if you don't have those issues, but simply are not dropping weight I would decrease calories or add cardio.
            -2013 USAPL Michigan State Championships 198lb Raw Mens Open, 1st Place (1217 total)
            -2013 USAPL Texas State Championships
            198 Raw Mens Open, 2nd place (1216 total)
            -2012 USAPL Longhorn Open
            198 Raw Mens Open, 1st place (1177 total)
            -2012 USAPL Aggie Showdown
            198lb Raw Mens Open, 2nd place (1137 total)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bbjeff86 View Post
              I haven't used them during a "cut" as I don't have any plans on competing anytime in the future, so i'm following more of a recomp type approach with an emphasis on increasing my stretngth and size... The way I do things now is that I will have high (clean) calories on my training days (Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri), Wednesday will be a low calorie/carb day, Sunday will be a complete fast (drinking about 36g worth of BCAA throughout the day), and I will eat whatever I want Friday evening-Saturday evening...

              As far as what to factor in for increasing a refeed or increasing cardio/decreasing weekly calories I look for how the individual is feeling. If you are feeling weak, lethargic, and are flat most of the week then I would increase the "refeed", however if you don't have those issues, but simply are not dropping weight I would decrease calories or add cardio.
              Interesting and seemingly sound approach, about where do the calories fall on friday night - saturday night in terms of total amount? How do you incorporate cardio for this recomp?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Pumped340 View Post
                Interesting and seemingly sound approach, about where do the calories fall on friday night - saturday night in terms of total amount? How do you incorporate cardio for this recomp?
                Honestly I have no idea where the calories fall... I would guess from Friday night-Saturday night I hit 5,000-7,000.... could be less on rare occasion could be more. I basically eat whatever me and my wife feel like, and it varies depending on what we are doing. I typically eat much crappier "dirty" food during this time, but the meals are also much less frequent. Here is an example of what this weekend is looking like.

                Last night (Friday)
                -IHOP for late dinner- Colorado Omelet, and chocolate chip pancakes with lots of syrup
                -4 hours later before bed I had 1 cup lf cottage cheese with chocolate (calorie free) flavoring mixed in.

                Today (Saturday)
                -When I get out of work here I will go home and eat 6 eggs with some shredded cheese.
                -After running errands we will grab some fast food or a pizza to eat while watching a movie we rented. After that meal is finnished I bought some movie sized whoppers and a box of caramel corn w/nuts to eat :-).
                -Before bed I will probably have another cup of the cottage cheese... then the fast tomorrow.

                Cardio:
                -Sat & Sun= no cardio, family and church time.
                -Training days (M, T, Th, F)= 5-10 min of GPP work or HIIT (Eliptical, stepper, box jumps, battling ropes, treadmill, KB swings, etc.)
                -Wed= 45-60min of low-moderate intensity cardio. (walking on an incline at a brisk pace, jogging, or a combination).
                -2013 USAPL Michigan State Championships 198lb Raw Mens Open, 1st Place (1217 total)
                -2013 USAPL Texas State Championships
                198 Raw Mens Open, 2nd place (1216 total)
                -2012 USAPL Longhorn Open
                198 Raw Mens Open, 1st place (1177 total)
                -2012 USAPL Aggie Showdown
                198lb Raw Mens Open, 2nd place (1137 total)

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                • #9
                  the only way i ever got lean was a ton of cardio and just keep dropping the calories. if i stall, add cardio, or drop cals. have you tried adding a fat burner? it sounds like your not doing too much cardio, i know i couldnt get lean till i was doing cardio 5x35 min a week. it was hell but it is old school proven and works. i have tried many different approaches but keeping it simple has worked best for me....mostly protein/carbs, very little fat. good luck!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bbjeff86 View Post
                    Honestly I have no idea where the calories fall... I would guess from Friday night-Saturday night I hit 5,000-7,000.... could be less on rare occasion could be more. I basically eat whatever me and my wife feel like, and it varies depending on what we are doing. I typically eat much crappier "dirty" food during this time, but the meals are also much less frequent. Here is an example of what this weekend is looking like.

                    Last night (Friday)
                    -IHOP for late dinner- Colorado Omelet, and chocolate chip pancakes with lots of syrup
                    -4 hours later before bed I had 1 cup lf cottage cheese with chocolate (calorie free) flavoring mixed in.

                    Today (Saturday)
                    -When I get out of work here I will go home and eat 6 eggs with some shredded cheese.
                    -After running errands we will grab some fast food or a pizza to eat while watching a movie we rented. After that meal is finnished I bought some movie sized whoppers and a box of caramel corn w/nuts to eat :-).
                    -Before bed I will probably have another cup of the cottage cheese... then the fast tomorrow.

                    Cardio:
                    -Sat & Sun= no cardio, family and church time.
                    -Training days (M, T, Th, F)= 5-10 min of GPP work or HIIT (Eliptical, stepper, box jumps, battling ropes, treadmill, KB swings, etc.)
                    -Wed= 45-60min of low-moderate intensity cardio. (walking on an incline at a brisk pace, jogging, or a combination).
                    Seems like a solid and thought out approach, not too much cardio, and also not too crazy with the eating whatever you want (certainly less than my cheat days lol but also a longer period and when not cutting I hardly want a ton of food anyway).

                    Originally posted by qbkilla View Post
                    the only way i ever got lean was a ton of cardio and just keep dropping the calories. if i stall, add cardio, or drop cals. have you tried adding a fat burner? it sounds like your not doing too much cardio, i know i couldnt get lean till i was doing cardio 5x35 min a week. it was hell but it is old school proven and works. i have tried many different approaches but keeping it simple has worked best for me....mostly protein/carbs, very little fat. good luck!
                    Would you mind posting your stats? How was muscle loss with that approach? I haven't done cardio until recently, we'll see how it goes.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pumped340 View Post
                      Seems like a solid and thought out approach, not too much cardio, and also not too crazy with the eating whatever you want (certainly less than my cheat days lol but also a longer period and when not cutting I hardly want a ton of food anyway).



                      Would you mind posting your stats? How was muscle loss with that approach? I haven't done cardio until recently, we'll see how it goes.
                      5'10'' 175-180ish first thing in the morning dry.
                      to be honest I have gained muscle, i dropped weight from about 190 and much much fatter. i didnt realize how fat i was at 190 until i look at the pics of me now compared to then. i thought too much cardio would be catabolic too but im finding that not to be the case for me, maybe a muscle myth. 3x a week on the elliptical HR about 150 and 2x a week on the stair master as hard as i can go, heart rate 160-170. which kills me.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by qbkilla View Post
                        5'10'' 175-180ish first thing in the morning dry.
                        to be honest I have gained muscle, i dropped weight from about 190 and much much fatter. i didnt realize how fat i was at 190 until i look at the pics of me now compared to then. i thought too much cardio would be catabolic too but im finding that not to be the case for me, maybe a muscle myth. 3x a week on the elliptical HR about 150 and 2x a week on the stair master as hard as i can go, heart rate 160-170. which kills me.
                        It definitely sounds like it would be good for fat loss, but I'm surprised you don't have any muscle loss, with no refeeds at all? What level are your calories at?

                        post pictures if you can

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                        • #13
                          Waist circumference can alter drastically hour to hour. I find skinfolds a much better predictor in the fat change progress.

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                          • #14
                            BBJeff86- what bcaas are you using, the reason I ask is bc I use them aswell and 36g/day w the products I've used and found would be done in literally 4-5 days. I'm looking for the cheapest most effective bcaa product I can find.
                            2010 USPF Push/Pull 198 Winner
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                            2010 USPF State Championships- Open 2nd place 198
                            2011 USPF Region 7 198 Open Champion
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NZ RABBIT View Post
                              Waist circumference can alter drastically hour to hour. I find skinfolds a much better predictor in the fat change progress.
                              When eating sure, but for me morning waistline tends to be fairly consistent. I agree calipers can be a better judge (well, not just can be, they generally are lol) but if I go from morning waistline of 35 to 32 I'm sure thats from plenty of fat loss (assuming one morning isn't after a 10000 calorie binge while the other is after a fast)

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