The question this week comes from Andrea:
I have started following Jim Wendler’s weight training program and I am on my second four-week block. I have noticed increases in muscle mass as promised but I so far have not seen an equal amount of fat loss. I am unable to fit into jeans and tight shirts I wore one year ago because my legs and arms are so much larger. My question is, is this a normal phenomenon that occurs at the beginning of a protocol that is usually followed by leaning out? Or am I doing something else wrong? My diet and sleep are dialed in (Paleo diet, lots of sleep); and I lift three days per week with some walking in between. I do no chronic cardio.
First of all, awesome question. Many of us have noticed that making gains with our lifts is not always concurrent with fat loss. Here a few thoughts:
- Genetics: Although it is difficult for most women to achieve serious gains in muscle mass (without specific hypertrophy training, strict dieting protocols or pharmaceutical intervention), there are some gals who are just blessed with the ability to put on “good” weight. Jim has worked with these clients in the past and alters their workouts accordingly to keep all training in a VERY low rep range, i.e. no more than 3 reps in a set and will consider dialing down to training at a lower percentage of their max (60-65% as opposed to 80%).
- Conditioning: although you are not a chronic cardio gal, if you train like us, when you’re doing the heavy lifting during a 5-3-1 cycle, the conditioning part of our program is cut back. So if this is true for you, consider implementing some conditioning into your workouts after this lifting cycle. We really like: medicine ball slams, rope slams and all variations of sled push/pulls.
- Diet: Jim will contend that he thinks that most women then to not eat enough, especially when training heavily, which can alter your metabolism. I know most of the Miss Fits can and usually do put back quite a bit of food daily. Also, even with eating the appropriate amount, most of us tend to notice being leaner with limited carbohydrate intake. Although the Paleo diet is definitely lower in carbs than your typical Standard American diet, things like root vegetables, fruits, honey and Paleo “treats” can definitely add up. (Personally, I’m cranky on low-carb and my training tends to suffer, so be mindful that if may affect your mood and performance and adjust accordingly).
- Hormones: If all else fails, consider seeking out a healthcare professional. Women of all ages struggle with hormonal imbalances that can impede fat loss. I’m a huge advocate of functional/integrative medicine practitioners.
Hope this helps!! And as always, if you have a question, send it over to us at email@example.com