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Posted: 2/6/2013 12:39:11 PM EDT
So I'm a fatbody that decided to try to get into better shape back in July, and wanted to focus and building muscle mass first, with the intent of "cutting fat" once I was satisfied with my strength level.

I've been doing the Stronglifts 5x5 routing, and even with not quite regularly getting in 3 workouts a week have still managed to put on a good amount of strength. Nothing to brag about, but I'm satisfied for now. While I want to get bigger some day, I want to spend some time focusing on cardio for my heart's sake, and work on getting onto a decent eating plan (my intent is to do something like the zone).

The problem is my schedule got all out of whack between the holidays and work, and since December I'm luck if I can hit the weights once every two weeks. So far I have not lost any strength and have even continued to make modest gains. I'm at a point where I can start getting to the gym more often again finally, but still want to focus on cardio.

So, if I can squeeze in one weight workout a week and take in plenty of protein can I reasonably expect to keep the muscle mass/strength I've gained? Or am I likely to start getting weaker?
Link Posted: 2/6/2013 12:50:31 PM EDT
Tag- This is relevant to my interest. I want to work up to a 1/2 marathon and while I am willing to trade strength gains for being able to run I don't want to throw away all of the weight work.
Link Posted: 2/6/2013 1:13:21 PM EDT
I've been able to consistently gain lifting 2 days a week, about 90 minutes each workout. Probably depends on the workout and what other training you do.
Link Posted: 2/6/2013 1:15:01 PM EDT
Originally Posted By HunterRose13:
Tag- This is relevant to my interest. I want to work up to a 1/2 marathon and while I am willing to trade strength gains for being able to run I don't want to throw away all of the weight work.


I did stronglifts 5x5 for about 2 months, then trained for about a month for a 1/2 mary. I'd say that I did not lose any strength as a result.

Now, after the 1/2, I completely stopped working out, and now two years later you see my progress in the weightloss challenge thread!

K

Link Posted: 2/6/2013 3:10:51 PM EDT
I've done a year or more of strength training at 2x per week and had progress.
Link Posted: 2/6/2013 4:25:38 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 6:05:34 PM EDT by RolandofGilead]
IMO I think that most people can retain a good amount of strength (you could really still GAIN strength on this IMO) just by hitting all the "big" lifts and some accessory lifts once a week- that means 2x a week sessions (maybe squat, cleans, and some accessory work on Monday and then deadlift, press and accessory work on Thursday for example).
Link Posted: 2/6/2013 5:48:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/6/2013 5:48:43 PM EDT by 007Kevin]
I would say 1/wk hitting the main lifts (squat, DL, Bench, Rows, Pull-ups) with a few sets (2-4) and low reps (3-6) lifting at 75-80% of 1RM would be enough to maintain, at least for a while. If you get a second day in at lighter weight with variation lifts, you could be doing really well.
Link Posted: 2/6/2013 7:09:16 PM EDT
I swear I've read up on this before.

Your body goes through a ton of effort to adapt to strength and size gains. So with that the body likes to hold on to those adaptaions. I want to say I've read that once every 2-4 weeks will maintain those.
Link Posted: 2/6/2013 8:26:58 PM EDT
Originally Posted By BillyDoubleU:
I swear I've read up on this before.

Your body goes through a ton of effort to adapt to strength and size gains. So with that the body likes to hold on to those adaptaions. I want to say I've read that once every 2-4 weeks will maintain those.


4 weeks would be pushing it IMO, 2 could be possible. It may depend on your level of fitness too. I know that people just starting to lift can lift once a week and make gains for a while.
Link Posted: 2/6/2013 9:08:54 PM EDT
Link Posted: 2/7/2013 5:36:41 AM EDT
Originally Posted By TREETOP:
If you're only interested in doing the minimum, rather than restructuring some things to make a worthwhile attempt, you're destined to remain a fatbody. Aim a little higher, try a little harder, you get one try at this life so give it a fighting chance.


I'm going to disagree, slightly. My goal isn't to always be gaining at some point but to maintain. I'll be satisfied at what I reach. I think maintenance will be huge. So it's a valid question. If I do a heavy workout once very 2 weeks and maintain strength and the rest of the time focus on cardio like running, I don't see a downside. My body will appreciate it. JMHO.
Link Posted: 2/7/2013 5:48:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/7/2013 5:51:03 AM EDT by H46Driver]
Why not just begin by paring back your training slowly, continuing to cut stuff, until you find yourself at steady-state? Drop from 3/week to 5/2 weeks, followed by 2/week, then 3/2 weeks, etc, until your find a steady-state. If that's too complicated, try just adding one additional no-lift day between your workouts until you hit steady state. If you're currently doing M-W-F, go to M-Thu-Sun-Wed-etc, then go to 3 days between sessions, increasing until you find a steady state.
Link Posted: 2/7/2013 7:25:57 AM EDT
Originally Posted By H46Driver:
Why not just begin by paring back your training slowly, continuing to cut stuff, until you find yourself at steady-state? Drop from 3/week to 5/2 weeks, followed by 2/week, then 3/2 weeks, etc, until your find a steady-state. If that's too complicated, try just adding one additional no-lift day between your workouts until you hit steady state. If you're currently doing M-W-F, go to M-Thu-Sun-Wed-etc, then go to 3 days between sessions, increasing until you find a steady state.


Well I had planned on doing a controlled scale back, but then my schedule cut out of control for a while and I was forced to cut back more sharply than I intended. Even then, only hitting the weight once evey two weeks for a whil I found that my squat has stalled, but I've continued to gain on all the other lifts (deads, bench, overhead press, rowing). Very small gains, but gains nonetheless.

So, I'm considering just going with it, and hitting the weights maybe once a week and working in a lot more cardio (I can go out the front door to jog easily, it's a much smaller slice of my time than gearing up to go to the gym). I just want to make sure I'm not going to fall flat on my face strength-wise. I want to retain as much muscle mass as possible because of the boost it should give to my metabolism (the old muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does).
Link Posted: 2/7/2013 8:18:27 AM EDT
Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:
IMO I think that most people can retain a good amount of strength (you could really still GAIN strength on this IMO) just by hitting all the "big" lifts and some accessory lifts once a week- that means 2x a week sessions (maybe squat, cleans, and some accessory work on Monday and then deadlift, press and accessory work on Thursday for example).


I will probably pursue this when I start up with a half marathon training group. 2 days of lifting that are not on long run days. The goal being to make small gains (or at the least maintain) with my lifts while working towards the half mary. Here is what I was thinking...

Day 1
Squat
Bench
Row
Pull ups

Day 2
Squat
OHP
Dealift
Pull up

Critiques?
Link Posted: 2/7/2013 8:19:26 AM EDT
Originally Posted By bigpappaferg:
Originally Posted By H46Driver:
Why not just begin by paring back your training slowly, continuing to cut stuff, until you find yourself at steady-state? Drop from 3/week to 5/2 weeks, followed by 2/week, then 3/2 weeks, etc, until your find a steady-state. If that's too complicated, try just adding one additional no-lift day between your workouts until you hit steady state. If you're currently doing M-W-F, go to M-Thu-Sun-Wed-etc, then go to 3 days between sessions, increasing until you find a steady state.


Well I had planned on doing a controlled scale back, but then my schedule cut out of control for a while and I was forced to cut back more sharply than I intended. Even then, only hitting the weight once evey two weeks for a whil I found that my squat has stalled, but I've continued to gain on all the other lifts (deads, bench, overhead press, rowing). Very small gains, but gains nonetheless.

So, I'm considering just going with it, and hitting the weights maybe once a week and working in a lot more cardio (I can go out the front door to jog easily, it's a much smaller slice of my time than gearing up to go to the gym). I just want to make sure I'm not going to fall flat on my face strength-wise. I want to retain as much muscle mass as possible because of the boost it should give to my metabolism (the old muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does).


Only one way to know for sure - keep records. All the opinions are great, but I'm an empiricist at heart.
Link Posted: 2/7/2013 9:59:31 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/7/2013 10:09:49 AM EDT by Tanren37]
Originally Posted By HunterRose13:
Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:
IMO I think that most people can retain a good amount of strength (you could really still GAIN strength on this IMO) just by hitting all the "big" lifts and some accessory lifts once a week- that means 2x a week sessions (maybe squat, cleans, and some accessory work on Monday and then deadlift, press and accessory work on Thursday for example).


I will probably pursue this when I start up with a half marathon training group. 2 days of lifting that are not on long run days. The goal being to make small gains (or at the least maintain) with my lifts while working towards the half mary. Here is what I was thinking...

Day 1
Squat
Bench
Row
Pull ups

Day 2
Squat
OHP
Dealift
Pull up

Critiques?


As long as your recovery is in check, that looks pretty solid.

I took 4 weeks off last year and lost 20-25% across all the big lifts. My biggest loss is always squatting. If I don't squat heavy twice a week, I'll be sore as hell come next workout, which depending on how bad will effect my next squat day. Anything over a week layoff from squatting and I'll have to deload 10%.
Link Posted: 2/7/2013 2:36:21 PM EDT

Originally Posted By HunterRose13:
Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:
IMO I think that most people can retain a good amount of strength (you could really still GAIN strength on this IMO) just by hitting all the "big" lifts and some accessory lifts once a week- that means 2x a week sessions (maybe squat, cleans, and some accessory work on Monday and then deadlift, press and accessory work on Thursday for example).


I will probably pursue this when I start up with a half marathon training group. 2 days of lifting that are not on long run days. The goal being to make small gains (or at the least maintain) with my lifts while working towards the half mary. Here is what I was thinking...

Day 1
Squat
Bench
Row
Pull ups

Day 2
Squat
OHP
Dealift
Pull up

Critiques?

That's almost the same workout I do, except I do power cleans instead of rows, and I do squats only on day 1. I've been making steady gains with this for over a year now.
Link Posted: 2/7/2013 6:08:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/7/2013 6:20:16 PM EDT by Thunder900]
You can maintain strength in two ways:

1. Do each strength move at least once a week. You can do this either in the 3x5 or 5x5 strength method, or

2. You can do these moves at 50-75% 1rm in a medium to heavy metcon WOD, and knock out your conditioning.


Now if you do Crossfit Endurance, you should be able to maintain your strength while preparing for your run race. Just minimize the longer runs (3-4 longer ones before race day, the rest only sprints as prescribed by CFE). Don't forget to do the actual CrossFit wod prescribed by CFE. That's what will allow you to maintain your strength and strength endurance.

For the OP, look into CrossFit. Do strength and heavy metcon work when you can get to the gym, and do the other metcons at home. Consider investing in a door pull up bar and some hand weights (at a minimum). With those items, you can do many different WOD's.

A good schedule would look like this:
Day 1-Squat, then Bench OR shoulder press (alternating weeks). Short but heavy metcon (if you want)
Day 2-Metcon at home (15-20 min)
Day 3- Off
Day 4- Deadlift or clean (alternating weeks). Short, intense, heavy metcon.
Day 5 -Heavy metcon in gym or skill based metcon at home (handstand pushups, L pullups, Muscleups (if you have rings),
Day 6- Long metcon at home or heavy metcon in gym. Can also do a third strength workout here (Cleans or DL, or a front squat or OHS)
Day 7- Off

Finally, you can consider accumulating equipment for your garage and do this at home. Then there are no excuses.


Link Posted: 2/8/2013 3:21:41 AM EDT
Jim Wendler has a 2 Day/Week template for 5/3/1 and says that anybody who thinks you can't get stronger on 2 days a week is just making excuses.
Link Posted: 2/8/2013 5:16:58 AM EDT
Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:
IMO I think that most people can retain a good amount of strength (you could really still GAIN strength on this IMO) just by hitting all the "big" lifts and some accessory lifts once a week- that means 2x a week sessions (maybe squat, cleans, and some accessory work on Monday and then deadlift, press and accessory work on Thursday for example).


I agree with this. Watch your diet though, OP, as you do not want to eat like you are lifting 5x a week.
Link Posted: 2/16/2013 7:20:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/16/2013 7:22:03 PM EDT by AR15fan]
Originally Posted By RolandofGilead:
IMO I think that most people can retain a good amount of strength (you could really still GAIN strength on this IMO) just by hitting all the "big" lifts and some accessory lifts once a week- that means 2x a week sessions (maybe squat, cleans, and some accessory work on Monday and then deadlift, press and accessory work on Thursday for example).


I only bench once a week, going on about 3-years now of only benching once a week. But I'm benching more than any other time in my life including highschool when i worked out 5 days a week or when i was in the Marines. It works for me. So my answer would be for some people, yes, stength training even once a week can improve your strength. Will it work to maintain strength in a conditioned athlete? I don't know.
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