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Not losing strength = not losing muscle mass?


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Excerpt: Now this is interesting: according to Lyle Macdonald in his 20-week BodyOpus odyssey, he took the fact that he was not losing strength on his lifts to mean that he was not losing muscle mass. Despite the fact that his calipers told him otherwise (slightly, within a the usual margins of error). People of the women's board: do you find this as unlikely as I do? All the anecdotal evidence I've heard points to MUSCLE LOSS for naturals on diets, no matter how much they lift. If I've not

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  1. #1
    Elite Bodybuilder SteelWeaver's Avatar
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    Not losing strength = not losing muscle mass?

    Now this is interesting: according to Lyle Macdonald in his 20-week BodyOpus odyssey, he took the fact that he was not losing strength on his lifts to mean that he was not losing muscle mass.

    Despite the fact that his calipers told him otherwise (slightly, within a the usual margins of error).

    People of the women's board: do you find this as unlikely as I do? All the anecdotal evidence I've heard points to MUSCLE LOSS for naturals on diets, no matter how much they lift.

    If I've not only not lost strength, but have, on the contrary, GAINED in many of my lifts, does this mean I have GAINED muscle mass whilst losing fat?

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Pro Bodybuilder Arioch's Avatar
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    It is next to impossible for a drug free lifter to not lose muscle mass in a catabolic state. I am not saying that it cannot be done, but . . .

    It can sometimes be easier for a person to lose size without a significant strength loss. I can generally manage this, but then I have had a lot of practice. Amazing how good you get at it when you first had to make weight in 1974. When my wife diets, strength and size losses seem to go hand in hand.

    IIRC, you have not been training that long. Many of your gains in strength can come from other factors, such as improved RFD, nervous system stimulous, etc. Some of these factors can be more important that muscle peak cross setional area. To say nothing of the fact that the changes you have made in your program can be providing a far more efficient system that your previous lifting schedule.

  3. #3
    Olympian NY Muscle's Avatar
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    Re: Not losing strength = not losing muscle mass?

    Originally posted by SteelWeaver
    Now this is interesting: according to Lyle Macdonald in his 20-week BodyOpus odyssey, he took the fact that he was not losing strength on his lifts to mean that he was not losing muscle mass.

    Despite the fact that his calipers told him otherwise (slightly, within a the usual margins of error).

    People of the women's board: do you find this as unlikely as I do? All the anecdotal evidence I've heard points to MUSCLE LOSS for naturals on diets, no matter how much they lift.

    If I've not only not lost strength, but have, on the contrary, GAINED in many of my lifts, does this mean I have GAINED muscle mass whilst losing fat?

    Any thoughts?
    Lyle wrote those diaries YEARSSS AGO..and has changed his thinking 10 times over on some of the statements he made.
    The easiest way to get his most current ideas is to either by his book, which was a GREAT book or subscribe to the low carb mailing list.

  4. #4
    Elite Mentor
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    Bwaaaaaahaahaaaahaaa. I'm glad to hear that's old thinking of his because it's just plain stupid. 1) Lyle has never had any appreciable muscle mass to begin with (oops, sorry, this isn't the physique assassination board), 2) Most of the world's top powerlifters (other than the open heavyweights) continue to increase their strength dramatically with minimal weight gain, ie they increase their power to weight ratio and 3) you can't easily measure LBM changes with calipers IMHO because of hydration factors. All you can realistically measure with calipers is the thickness of your skinfold (as a surrogate for subQ fat mass), and you can measure your total bodyweight which includes muscle, bones, fluid and your most recent meal and contents of your bowel and bladder...................

    Below a certain point (which is different for everyone) a natty will lose muscle on a calorie restricted diet. I think you haven't quite got to that point yet SteelWeaver. But neurological and training factors will also help you keep your strength up until maybe your last few weeks to month of dieting.

    However, I think strength loss is a very good indicator of when to eat more carbs if you're carb cycling. It's better to eat enough carbs to train with maximum intensity than to restrict your carbs to the point of glycogen depletion strength loss. Again, this is just an opinion.

  5. #5
    Olympian NY Muscle's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MS
    Bwaaaaaahaahaaaahaaa. I'm glad to hear that's old thinking of his because it's just plain stupid. 1) Lyle has never had any appreciable muscle mass to begin with (oops, sorry, this isn't the physique assassination board),
    lol YOU said it NOT me

    regardless, Lyle is one smart MOFO.

  6. #6
    Penguin Keeper PlateheadJim's Avatar
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    Post Strength = CNS

    Your strength is largely determined by your Central Nervous System and how "tuned" it is.. For example, when cutting I will ALWAYS maintain my strength even when dropping 20 lbs of fat & muscle (even unnatural there will be some muscle loss) as long as I lift heavy while cutting. For example if you lay off maxing you can guarantee strength loss - as long as you max once a week your body will adapt and keep what it gained.

    This has worked for me very well when going off a cycle like with Halo/Tren, I found I was able to maintain about 50-70% of my strength gains each time - NATURAL.
    "The more you live the faster you will die"


    "Don't ever quit your workout unless the building is on fire - AND then, for GODS SAKE, finish your last set before escaping!"

  7. #7
    Elite Bodybuilder SteelWeaver's Avatar
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    Just as I thought - so I wonder what he thought he was on about? He provides very interesting reading nonetheless - very easy to understand, lots to learn.

    Originally posted by MS
    3) you can't easily measure LBM changes with calipers IMHO because of hydration factors.
    Well, his thinking was that since he ate the same things in the same amounts every day, and carbed up the same every weekend, that his hydration would remain pretty much consistent. Pity his training was all over the place for the several weeks that I've read so far ... but at least he didn't have to deal with the fluctuating hydration that WOMEN have to cope with, lol!

    Originally posted by MS
    Below a certain point (which is different for everyone) a natty will lose muscle on a calorie restricted diet. I think you haven't quite got to that point yet SteelWeaver.
    Great! So everything I've lost is pure fat ... with some water Whatever it is, it sure looks nice to me. I was at the same weight last year this time, but I looked a WHOLE lot different. Whoo hoo!

    Do you mean below a certain point of leanness? Or below a certain point of calories? How come the body does that - I mean waits for a while before it REALLY starts chomping muscle tissue? And I assume this is only the case in people who are actually weight training, not couch slob dieters.

    Originally posted by MS
    However, I think strength loss is a very good indicator of when to eat more carbs if you're carb cycling.
    Oh, goody - so if I missed a couple of reps I can usually do, I can go home and chow down on cereal! Chink chink, I hear cutlery on crockery! Hahah haaa - just kidding - I'm not gonna do that ... well, not til Saturday, anyway.

    Arioch - very good point - this split feels much better - I like it a lot. What's RFD?

  8. #8
    Pro Bodybuilder Arioch's Avatar
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    Well, while powerlifters will generally be able to increase our lifts without getting too much bigger, there is a point where the difficulty in making weight eventually catapults one into the next higher weight class. Giving rise to the "eat big and get big to lift big" school of thought. And it is a very fulfilling thought.

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