Weight loss vs. weight training (vs. cardio?) - any help?

So I’ve decided to really “get healthy” and for the past month or so have been on a pretty strict diet/exercise program - albeit self-guided. And I realized that what I may be doing to my body may not be healthy, or at least optimal for how I’d like to end up (sooner rather than later). So where better to ask than here (except for, say, a doctor :slight_smile: )

I’m 6’ 3.5", 237 lbs and all jiggly. In the past month, I’ve lost about 15 pounds, dropping from a size 42 to about a 40 (I used to be, many moons ago, a 34) through the following manner:

[li]3x per week 45-60 min walk at a pretty good clip[/li][li]3x per week (alternating with the above), 30 min weight lifting (standard nautilus cycle) plus 30 min on elliptical trainer[/li][li]1 day off[/li][/ul]
[li]No alcohol or non-diet soda[/li][li]More water than Lake Huron[/li][li]Breakfast - instant oatmeal[/li][li]Snack - piece o’ fruit[/li][li]Lunch - salad (usually one of the McDonalds’ salads[/li][li]Snack - fruit[/li][li]Dinner - Lean Cuisine or occasionally I’ll cook some salmon/broccoli[/li][/ul]

My goals are, in priority (although who wouldn’t want all three simultaneously?)

  1. Lose fat
  2. Gain cardio
  3. Gain muscle

So, basically, I’m wondering if I’m doing things wrong. For instance, way I calculate it, I’m probably taking in 1,500 - 2,000 calories per day. I’d like to keep gaining muscle mass while I do this regimen.

Should I be eating more? Is my exercise regimen ok, or should I change it? Is weight-lifting worth it right now? Should I be eating more protein or carbs? Are my diet/goals/muscle-desire at cross-purposes currently?

Would love any advice - or encouragement :slight_smile:

thanks in advance

I’m not a registered dietician (IANARD? :smiley: ), but I have done a lot of reading about nutrition, diet, exercise, etc. I rather doubt you are getting enough protein in your diet for a male person your size. I’d suggest you add some milk or yogurt to one or two of your earlier meals/snacks, and maybe a handful of almonds to another, just for a start. I also suspect that McDonald’s salads are made from iceburg lettuce, which adds negligible nutrients, and that the dressing is high in fat.

I see nothing to criticize in your exercise regimen, as long as you are using the right form/technique on those Nautilus machines, and are lifting enough weight to fatigue your muscles in no more than 12 reps. Add more sets before you add more weight, and you should see progress without overdoing it.

Good for you! :slight_smile:

Take a look around JohnBerardi.com for some of the best advice out there.

YaWanna, thanks for the tip, makes sense, added a glass of milk to dinner tonite :slight_smile:

Interesting. Do you subscribe to his theories, or have you taken his course/purchased his products? Results? Comments?

I’m not a doctor, or physical trainer, or dietician, but I used to work out - and I think that qualifies me to post on an anonymous message board.

**Should I be eating more? **
It doesnt sound like you are eating nearly enough. As a rough guess, I’d put that meal plan at about 1000 calories. (300 oatmeal+fruit, 300 salad, 3-400 dinner) You should go through and count them out exactly.
I’m guessing you’re about 35, which would put your BMR at ~2300 calories, so shoot for 1800 calories a day. The 500calories cut plus the 500+calories burnt at the gym will put you on the healthy 2-3 lbs a week. What worked for me was eating small meals (~300 calories aiming for 40% protein/carb, 20% good fat) every three hours or 6 times a day. The funny thing is, after a few weeks of that you actually have to start forcing yourself to eat.

**Is my exercise regimen ok, or should I change it? Is weight-lifting worth it right now? **
Weightlifting is the most undervalued weightloss exercise. Not only do the metabolic effects of a weight training session last longer that of cardio, but the muscle mass added by weight training helps to burn calories 24/7. Shoot for 3 sets of 6 exercises; add more resistance if you can do 12 reps, decrease resistance if you cannot do 6 reps. If you do this at a decent/sweaty pace, it should take about 45 minutes.

**Should I be eating more protein or carbs? **
As above shoot for a 40/40/20 split. When in doubt, err on the side of lean protein, then complex carbs.

Are my diet/goals/muscle-desire at cross-purposes currently?
Not that I am aware of. Now, once you get to the level of body building, you will find it incredibly difficult to add muscle mass while losing fat, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Above all else, pay more attention to what your body says than anything else. If you’re hungry, eat a healthy snack. If you’re sore, don’t exercise that muscle.

Keep it up! You’re doing great.

If the aim is to add more protein, adding milk or yogurt is a highly inefficient way to do it IMHO. The slight benefit of milk (some protein, a little calcium) doesn’t really justify the drawbacks. A much, much better alternative would be the stuff that is variously called cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese or… actually, it has several names around the world but it’s basically this stuff. Or lean white meat. Or pulses. But not milk. Milk is good if you are a baby cow that wants to become a bigger cow. And that’s about all.