Martial Arts and Weight Loss

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by mrt2, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    I recently changed my diet after training Tae Kwon Do for the last 18 months and I am now down almost 30 lbs from my pre diet change high. And I learned a few things from this experience.

    First, it was always my plan to lose weight when I started Tae Kwon Do a year ago last winter. But I was in denial about the importance of diet. When I first started, my teacher told me I needed to lose weight, though after that initial conversation, he never mentioned it to me again. And I was starting to lose weight, but somewhere along the way, I stopped losing weight and started putting it back on. In June, I had to go for a required wellness check for my health insurance. To my chagrin, I weighed in a good 15 lbs higher than I was this time last year. WTF? I train regularly, and I thought I was getting in better shape.

    So I took a hard look at myself, and my eating, and made some changes. I looked at my diet and found that I was eating starches and carbs with just about every meal. So I started with carbs. So, no more beer, bread, pasta, rice or potatoes. Or at the very least, very little, and the ones I now eat are from beans, legumes, and fruit. And no more sweets and salty snacks. Clearly, whatever calories I was burning doing TKD 3 or 4 times a week was offset by my poor diet.

    So, what are my future goals?
    1. To no longer be the fattest guy at my TKD school.
    2. Lose another 20 lbs before my next belt test in December, which is a big one as I am testing for probationary black belt.
    3 Lose another 30 to 40 lbs after that before I test for 1st Dan, which, health permitting, should be in late Spring 2020.
    That would be 80 or maybe 90 lbs total weight loss. If I could get there and maintain that into perpetuity, I would probably be satisfied, but time will tell. I have no illusions. The most weight I ever lost before was about 50 lbs, but I feel as if, to be successful and to advance in TKD at my current age, I cannot carry as much weight as I have been doing.
     
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  2. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    very well done, your probably not burning very many calories doing tkd a few times a week and your weight loss may be confused by the fact you are developing muscle mass they may account for some of your weight gain over 12 months.

    the issue with massively reducing carbs, is you will then start burning muscle mass, which then makes you fat loss look a lot better than it is.

    find a way to measure fat loss rather than weight loss, there are machines that do this or use calipers to measure fold of fat or use a mirror and a tape measure to measure your waist / chest, if your waist is smaller than your chest your going in the right direction
     
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  3. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Green Belt

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    Hey congratulations! 30 lbs. is a lot to lose, especially once you hit your 40's and 50's. I didn't really appreciate what a difference age made until I was about 45 but at that point it really felt like it changed from, "I have to do a few more things right if I want to lose fat" to "Wow! I almost can't do anything wrong if I want to lose fat!".

    Skip everything below the line if you aren't looking for unsolicited advice. Having struggled with fat loss a lot in my teen age years I just get excited to see people making progress towards these kinds of goals and like to help if I can...
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    I agree with Jobo that fat loss is what you're looking for and not just indiscriminate weight loss (which includes muscle, bone, nervous tissue, etc. as well as fat). Too many people get so focused on weight loss that they make bad decisions. I own a gym providing one on one, personal, strength training but of course a lot of clients start working out with weight loss as a primary goal. I tell them that they are likely to put on more weight in the form of muscle than they're going to take off in fat, especially in the beginning and especially if they don't change their eating habits. Still, people are so obsessed with losing weight without any consideration about what exactly they're losing that I have people quit when they gain a few pounds early on in the training. And they quit despite fairly strong objective evidence (their waist is shrinking, their shirts are tighter around the shoulders and looser around the belly, etc.) that they're losing fat.

    As you continue your fat loss journey it can be really valuable to have a good baseline snapshot of your body composition (what are your proportions of muscle, fat, and bone, etc.) to look at and then compare to new measurements as you progress. Especially as it sounds like you're roughly 1/3 of the way to your goals it would be worth while to get that good baseline of what your body composition looks like now.

    DEXA scans give the best and greatest amount of information, they're becoming much more available and they've come way down in price and level of radiation exposure, hydrostatic testing is frequently even cheaper and much more widely available though not as good, and calipers and the tape measure are the cheapest and most readily available of all though the least consistent. They're all great for your purpose but with calipers it's ideal if you have the same person perform the test with the same calipers as there can be some variation between how different people approach taking the measurements and not all calipers are of the same quality which can make it difficult to get consistent results.

    I think that if you went from a very sedentary lifestyle to doing TKD regularly and with some intensity that you've added a fair amount of muscle since you started so I wouldn't feel bad about putting on some weight in the beginning. Most people over 40 have lost so much muscle since they were teen agers that they could really use the extra muscle, frequently even more than they need to lose the fat.

    Doing some sort of regular but somewhat infrequent (once a month to maybe once a quarter) body composition testing can help to figure out how effective the changes you've made really are to your fat loss goals. If you've got a routine that allows you to put on muscle faster than you take off fat but you are still losing fat you don't want to mess that up! I also think that if you aren't already doing it, adding a high quality strength training workout to your routine would be great for both your body composition goals and your TKD performance. You don't have to dedicate much time to it to get a lot of benefit, 15 minutes of dedicated work a week spent doing a good high intensity strength training routine could get you huge results.
     
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  4. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    I'll admit, I've been struggling with diet. By "struggling" I mean, making a bunch of excuses. I really should. Jump kicks and agility are all about strength-to-weight ratio. Decreasing the weight is one way to improve them.
     
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  5. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    it is, but only if you dont take muscle mass away otherwise your strengh will decrease as your weight does and your no better off
     
  6. DocWard

    DocWard Purple Belt

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    So far you've received some decent advice. I hope you'll find the advice I'm about to give as sound. Don't go on "a diet." Modify your diet in such a way that it is one you can maintain over the long term.

    When I started trying to lose weight last year, I went from 246 lb. to 213 over the course of a number of weeks. I weighed myself this morning at 218, and that fluctuates a bit, but generally stays right around 215. I want to make a push to get back around 200 or a bit less. I came back from my final deployment ten years ago at 205 and was in great shape.

    The weight I lost, I did mostly through watching caloric intake, and avoiding simple carbs. I cut out white bread and table sugar entirely. I still eat other carbs, especially fruits, oats and the like. I try to get a good mix of protein, fats and carbs, but I focus on overall caloric intake. For me, that means no more than 500 calories per meal, with room for a small snack or two, staying under 1800-2000 calories. You may need to play with the numbers to figure out what works for you. I generally lost 1-2 pounds per week after the initial 3 weeks, where I saw large drops, probably in large part due to water weight. Oh, I also weigh myself at the same time every day, wearing the exact same thing (first thing in the morning and nothing), once a week, so I don't get frustrated by daily inconsistencies.

    Congrats on your success so far, and good luck!
     
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  7. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I am go in to say do go on a diet. And by that make a real commitment to eat a bunch of stuff you don't like.

    I think it is mostly a willpower game rather than inventing some clever calorie mathematics.

    I am the same. I like foods that will make me fat. But I eat foods that make me skinny. And I just keep doing that.

    There is no way weight loss doesn't suck in the same way cleaning the house sucks.
     
  8. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Not too sure about that. You have to watch out when you lose weight.

    Last year when my weight was down 6 lbs, it almost scared me to death. I had to eat a lot of nuts daily to regain my weight back (I'm a vegetarian but include fish - I don't eat anything that fly in the sky, or walk on land).

    Top 10 Warning Signs Of Cancer

    1. ...
    2. ...
    3. Loss of appetite and weight:
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
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  9. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Green Belt

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    Oh yeah absolutely, weight loss, especially big weight loss, without any explanation for why it's happening is usually a bad sign at any age. Any kind of prolonged loss of appetite isn't good either.

    Also as I mentioned in my post, a lot of people worry more about losing weight than they worry about gaining muscle or even keeping the muscle that they've already got. As people get older a lot of them really can't afford to lose any muscle at all if they want to stay healthy and functional. I'd rather carry a little more fat than was ideal and have a little more muscle if I had to choose. Obviously there are limits to that, way too much fat can have serious health consequences, but unfortunately a lot of people even as young as their 30's or 40's have that fat without the muscle.
     
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  10. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    All true. As I move up, there is an expectation of executing some of the more athletic kicks, like the tornado kick, or the 360 degree roundhouse kick. Improving my TKD performance is really only secondary to improving my health, but it still matters to me. It is one thing to surprise my instructors as a white belt or yellow belt. Because of my past experience, I moved up through the ranks quickly and now, I am a brown belt. So it isn't about getting through beginner or intermediate classes anymore. I reached that threshold. Now, I need to hang with the black belts, and preparing both physically and mentally for the first of my two black belt test, which is in December. Getting my weight down will help with that, as the BB test is physically rigorous, and I certainly don't want to let myself down when that day comes. Especially don't want to fail because I couldn't put down my fork, and push myself away from the dinner table.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
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  11. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    While it is possible I put on some muscle in the beginning, I have to face facts. Some of that 15 lbs must have been fat, and water. Now that I am close to 30 lbs down, I no longer need to make excuses for my high weight. I was putting in the time at the dojang, but unfortunately, I was also eating too much to lose much weight and in fact, at times was actually eating too much. Not necessarily all at once, but over the course of the week, those empty calories really add up.

    As for my current regimen, I do at least once, and sometimes twice a week, workout with weights to add or maintain muscle, and I am getting stronger, so there is that.

    I will look into body composition testing.
     
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  12. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    It does/will certainly suck in the beginning. If you always look at it as a monster that cannot be tamed it will always suck. I imagine you have come to enjoy many of the foods that make you skinny and don't miss some of the old foods that much. The OP, @mrt2 has made some huge moves forward. It sounds like he has his head on right and needs to keep working at it. The approach is paramount. Wanting to lose weight is not enough. A willingness to change other things in lifestyle and accepting it as part of his normal routine are absolute musts to sustain his newfound success. After a time it will get easier and become the new normal. It doesn't have to be revolutionary and doesn't happen all at once for most people. There will likely be a few setbacks. That is normal and ok but should never be "start overs".
    There have been several great suggestions on this thread. I hope the OP continues to finds support and encouragement here on the MT.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
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  13. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    you touch on the other complication with gauging weight loss, which 8s water retention, when people go " on a diet" they cut out processed foods, which means they drastically reduce their sodium intake and that has the effect of drastically reducing their water retention and therefore their weight, water is heavy.

    much of the early weight loss people get is say the first month when they loose 10 or more pounds is mostly water ,their fat store is largely untouched. similarly when people have a binge weekend and put on five pounds, that's mostly water as well

    that not to say that losing water isn't of value, it makes you lighter and feeling less bloated, just it's not fat
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
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  14. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    I see the effects of water retention every single week. I check my weight every morning, and notice that sometimes, my weight will jump up as much as 2 or 3 lbs in a day, only to drop off a couple of days later. The body is funny that way. The thing is, that 10 lbs or so of excess fluid an overweight body is carrying also counts. I notice, for example, that even with my current weight loss, my feet don't swell much anymore, which is surely the effect of losing excess water. But that matters. If you have ever had swollen feet, it is a miserable feeling, and its absence is a very good thing.
     
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  15. Orion Nebula

    Orion Nebula Green Belt

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    Hey man, congratulations on the weight loss! It's definitely hard and the body does stupid stuff. I'm at a weird plateau now after dropping 40 pounds, but my measurements are still decreasing. So I guess I'm building muscle at the moment, which seems odd because I don't think I'm doing anything drastically different than what I've been doing for the past 7 months. Although my knees are finally feeling better (tendonitis is maybe 90% gone), so I'm probably doing deeper stances, moving faster, kicking higher, etc., so that might explain it!

    We're actually having a weight loss challenge at my dojo. Our head instructor knows that another person and I are trying to lose weight, and he's also decided that he'd like to drop a few pounds. He initially came up with this crazy idea of having us shoot for 1% weight loss each week, but we informed him that was a bit unrealistic for me (I've definitely lost 3 pounds in a week before, but 2 is my usual max if I'm very strict about my diet). So far I'm winning the challenge, but it's only a few weeks along.

    I think your goals are totally doable, just be mindful that dropping weight too quickly can seriously backfire. As jobo pointed out, you can easily start losing muscle, but rapid weight loss can also seriously screw up your metabolism. I read an article last year about the winners of the biggest loser show and how most of them gained it all back plus some. The problem wasn't that they returned to poor eating habits, the problem was that their bodies became super efficient at squeezing out calories from food - a sandwich that might be 300 calories for you or 320 calories for me would be like 500 calories for them. That probably wouldn't happen because you're not trying to lose 200 pounds in a few months, but it does highlight that many people have issues with weight loss maintenance due to metabolism issues when they lose a lot of weight.
     
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  16. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    I read that article and it is no joke. I also recently watched a pod cast where a former contestant on the show, who went all the way up to 500 lbs after competing on the show, said that they had him on a strict diet and had him working out 12 to 14 hours a day, but sent him home with no plan for how to deal with the inevitable weight gain when he went back to his regular life and, you know, drastic decrease in physical activity.
     
  17. mrt2

    mrt2 Purple Belt

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    Update. So it is December and two things happened. I reached my goal of 50 lbs down by December. Also, I passed the first black belt test. and, losing 50 lbs helped a lot with my endurance, which was my concern. But I was fine, made it through every aspect of the test without running out of energy.

    Future goals. Get as much weight off by the end of the year, then start training for my next belt test, which will be 1st Dan. At least 25 lbs by the spring is the goal, hopefully 35 to 40 lbs by the belt test which is in May. If I succeed, that will be 85 to 90 lbs down from where I was in June, 2019.
     
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  18. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    If you could PM me your diet/meal plans that would be great.
     
  19. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    that's really really good, 50 lb in six months is quite outstanding

    well done
     
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  20. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    Excellent! Don't eliminate carbs completely, you do need them. And make sure your protein stays consistent.123
     

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