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  #1   ^
Old Wed, May-30-12, 07:27
mkelley mkelley is offline
New Member
Posts: 13
Plan: None
Stats: 231/163/167 Male 5' 8"
Progress: 106%
Default Did short but high intensity make the difference?

Hey, gals (and some guys:>) I have a question but you need some (boring) background first:

I lost nearly all my weight in about 9 months on a mostly clean diet (some whole wheat bread, dark chocolate, around 100 total grams of carbs a day) with lots of aerobic (playing tennis). That was three years ago, and it came off about two pounds a week. After that, for the next 2+ years I've weighed myself once a week at the same day and time (first thing in the morning) and my weight *never* fluctuates more than a pound a week since that first 9 months (when I did lose about 2 pounds a week).

I play about 20+ hours of very competitive tennis a week, and strength train about an hour three times a week. About a month ago I hurt my arm (tennis elbow) and had to stop but took up fast jogging. So at my advanced age I hurt my leg and for the last three weeks I've been unable to exercise at all.

Okay, so I was resigned to gaining a few pounds and that I did, about a pound a week. But I knew as soon as I got healthy again I'd get it off.

About a week ago my arm was well enough to start lifting again, but this time instead of an hour of moderate training I thought I'd switch to 15-20 minutes of high intensity, 80% maximum lift with 20 seconds of rest between sets. Hadn't felt pumped like that since 40 years ago, when I was in college.

Then this Memorial day my wife and I kind of went on a binge (it was a five day holiday week for us). We drank lots of alcohol (we're not drinkers) and ate copious amounts of food, much of it carbs (pies, crackers and chips, and even waffles drowning in powdered sugar and real maple syrup). A recipe for disaster but I was willing to live with another pound or two.

I weigh myself as usual and... I've lost over two pounds.

Okay, there are at least three possible explanations:

1) A total fluke in terms of the moon, sun and stars aligning. I'll weigh myself next week and have gained it all back. Except... I KNOW my weight, I've weighed myself a few hundred times now in the last three years and it just never does this. I can tell you within the tenth of a pound what I'll weigh in any given week depending on my diet and exercise -- just not this time.

2) A case of the "stuck in starvation mode and you eat enough to get your system thinking all is well". Except that I am NEVER in starvation mode, I always eat four or five times a day (including the very last thing before I go to bed - yep, that old myth is baloney) and my calorie count is within 100 calories of what I have eaten for three years straight (except for these kinds of blowouts, which happen about once every two months or so but have never resulted in weight loss before).

3) Changing to short but much higher intensity really did make a difference. This is the one I'm kinda voting for, even if it doesn't make a lot of sense.

I *have* been doing good strength training, making steady progress towards heavier weights and higher reps, so it's not like I'm slacking off the last two years. I've had direct evidence of my strength increase (I can now do about 40 pushups, real ones, compared to 10 when I first started, I can do 8 pullups compared to none when I started, etc.) so I thought all was good.

OTOH, I did not feel the "pump" like I did when I was younger, and just attributed it to old age. I DID feel it when I switched to this higher intensity and I'm wondering if that's the key.

Anyway, all might be back to "normal" next week, but I thought I'd share and see if any of you have had any similar experiences (or just ideas about the whole thing).

(Oh, and I'm supposed to start tennis back again tonight... and although I've missed it greatly I'm starting to worry that I might screw things up by doing it <bg>)
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  #2   ^
Old Mon, Jun-04-12, 18:24
Sam Knox's Avatar
Sam Knox Sam Knox is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 47
Plan: My own
Stats: 211/179/175 Male 6'3"
Progress: 89%
Location: Richland, Washington


There's some evidence that high-intensity exercise can have the effect you describe:
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  #3   ^
Old Tue, Jun-05-12, 05:52
mkelley mkelley is offline
New Member
Posts: 13
Plan: None
Stats: 231/163/167 Male 5' 8"
Progress: 106%

That's an interesting link. Thanks.

Now, however, I'm a *little* worried this may be more symptomatic of a medical problem. While I hate to be a hypochondriac, I do know that unexplained weight loss can be a sign of serious problems, so I'm going to take a cautious wait and see (weight and see?) attitude.

The real reason for concern is that while I've now played tennis a couple of times in the last week, and did indeed work out intensely for 15-20 minutes a couple of times, I also completely pigged out on donuts (hey, Friday was National Donut Day and donuts are my kryptonite. I made the mistake of visiting the best place within 30 miles of us, notorious for their goods, and basically bought enough to feed an army, which turned out to be an army of two including my wife). I *know* how my body reacts to high carbs, and was fully prepared to gain at least a pound or two and instead I lost *another* half pound.

I'm going to give it one more week and actually TRY and overload my carbs to see if I can gain a little. If that doesn't work then I'll see my doctor (while we ALL want to be a healthy weight, the operative word in that is "healthy").
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