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Old 02-03-2014, 12:05 AM   #1
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I want to work out with the boys ...

Well, the men, I guess. I'm not a girl.

I really don't care about being the only woman (I'm far too old for that) in the weight area, but it's going to take awhile to feel comfortable as I am a total noob. But this is what I want to do (dead lifts, squats, "old school" kind of free weights). I think this is the best way to do it rather than all machines. I plan to have a walk through and maybe a session or two to get familiarized.

I'd really love it if I could get some encouragement. I wish more women did it, then it wouldn't be as intimidating.
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Old 02-06-2014, 09:29 AM   #2
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This is exactly what I do! It's great because of how functional it feels.

I've been utilizing an aerobic and anaerobic combination (resistance) training routine for about 2 years now. I started by taking aerobics and weight lifting classes at my local rec center, which I still do now. However, after googling, reading, and researching on my own, I can now do my own weight lifting routines at home or in the rec center's weight-room.

I am thrilled you want to try it, too. It truly is the healthiest routine for your body.

My reccomendations are to have light cardio (walking uphill, etc) daily or as often as possible combined with toning and strength 2-4x a week. I try to get 45-60 min of muscle work in per "lift" day., after at least a 10 minute cardio warmup. Either elliptical, jumping jacks, jogging, treadmill, stationary bike, etc. I also like high kicks and shuffles for warming up.

Always exhale on the "effort" (lift motion when using weights, the "up" of a push-up, the "up" of a crunch or situp.) and keep breathing regularly. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Make sure you stretch well AFTER you're done lifting. Make sure your vitamin B1 intake is good, too. I had horrible soreness before I realized that cutting out bread and enriched flours from my diet left me with no dietary B1. Also recommended is a foam muscle roller if you have extensive soreness. These serve as a DIY deep tissue massage. Look for one on amazon with 6" diameter and 12-18" length. Another great accessory is a cheap pair of weight lifting gloves, as many gyms only have the harsh, sharp metal kind of dumbbells and barbells. I invested in neoprene coated ones for my home workouts, but they are expensive.

Make sure you start out slow and low, find your maximum weight capacity for each muscle group and do either upper or lower body plus abs on each weight training day. Try to superset complimentary muscle groups like squats combined with leg extensions and lifts, inner thighs with outer thighs, biceps with triceps, etc. Women's health magazine and FitnessRx both have great workout routines in their magazines and on their websites.

Pay attention to form much more than speed. If you want to ramp up your intensity, try combining a stationary lunge with moves like tricep kickbacks or lat raises, etc. A move like a deadlift is great because it's incorporating many muscle groups and working on balance.

I try to do unilateral (1-legged) training for balance when I can, as well as focusing heavily on my abdominal strength to improve my speed and balance. Planks and supported situps/crunches with a squishy ball beneath your lower back are a great place to start for core work. Attempt 12 reps and 3 sets for everything. lower to 8-10 and/or use only one arm or leg if you are increasing to a new heavy weight for that muscle. Up to 15 or even 18 if you find you can keep going.

Enjoy! Make sure to look up proper form for squats and muscle groups, google images can be the best resource for that. Keep your back straight.

The best leg stretches are (google images for reference):

quadricep (top of thigh muscle) stretch: balance on one leg, hold one foot in hand, bend supporting knee slightly and pull your held leg back behind you. hold 15 seconds or more. Breathe out slowly as you extend your stretches.

hamstring stretch (back of thigh muscle): find an elevated surface or bench, extend one leg straight out, resting your heel on the surface, bending supporting knee but keeping extended leg as straight as possible. start with less stretch and again extend slowly on the exhale. lean forward from your core and touch your toes if you can with your opposite arm. Hold.

Glute stretch: hold onto a sturdy object or surface in front of you. Carefully cross one leg over the other knee and bend into a squat, careful not to have your knees go beyond your ankles and keep your core tight. Sink as deep as you can while holding and exhaling.

Runner's lunge or calf stretch is great for sore calves. Either lunge forward and dig your back heel into the floor until you feel the calf become pulled, or put your toe up against an elevated surface or wall/slope and lean back until you feel the muscle pull. The latter can be done for both legs at one time. you can do the opposite (heel up against something, toes down) to stretch your shins.

Arm stretches are boxer's hugs, (arms wide, then cross over to hug your chest, back and forth.)

bicep stretch: arm out in front of you, elbow straight. pull the fingers of that hand down with your opposite, hold. switch and pull the fingers up and back. hold.

tricep stretch: you can do the "greeting the sun" yoga movement where you hold your hands behind your back, but it requires arm flexibility. Otherwise, hold your arm straight up above your shoulder, then bend at the elbow so your fingers touch the back of your shoulderblade (your upper and lower arm should be aligned, your elbow should never rotate out. in a mirror straight on you should see only your lower arm and your upper would be hidden by it, being held down your back. Hold and gradually stretch your hand to reach as far down your back/spine as possible while maintaining form. This is the same form you would use for a tricep extension with weight, bending the upper arm back up and down while holding a dumbbell.

My favorite moves (google image search these terms) are axemen, headbangers, tricep dips and tricep kick-backs, bicep open-closes, bicep curls, chest presses (can use smith machine or barbell), shoulder presses, chest flies, lat pull-downs (machine), and lat raises / arm extensions (use a very light or no weight for these at first), single arm rowbacks or machine rowbacks, etc. Squats and lunges can be applied during many upper body motions to increase intensity and help with balance. I finish up with a combo of abdominal exercises and then stretching.

Warning: you will be addicted! I find myself challening myself during my work days and leisure time now, too. It sounds ridiculous but if a toilet is low enough, I don't even sit! I squat over it! I do wall-sits when I can (stationary squat against a wall), plank while waiting for the bus, appointments, etc. I even bought a 6" inflatable resistance ball (squishy) and do inner-thigh presses while sitting at work ^_^;

Let me know how your first few sessions go and if you have questions or issues! I'd be pleased to share. Your metabolism will be shocked, believe me!
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Old 02-06-2014, 03:00 PM   #3
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Thank you, Em! I'm going to a Butt Lift class right now so I'll have to read your whole post of tips later so I can digest it all!! Was looking some things up last night so that I know terminology (flys, rows, etc.). It's a lot to keep straight in my head. But I have to start somewhere to get a regular routine worked out that will work for me. For instance, I know I should do crunches; but I know if I start out with dropping and doing a bunch of crunches, it won't work. There's hate, Oh, I hate doing those but I do them; and then there's, If I have to do another 10 of these, it'll kill my soul.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:11 PM   #4
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Okay. I've ventured into the free weights side of the room but still doing primarily machines as I get my feet wet. I am having trouble on squats form, so I've decided to work on that with stability ball and then dumbbells making sure I stay on my heels before moving back to the bar bell. And the bench press machine with so little weight was such a disaster I am going to stick with that and work up on weight for now.

I do love the dead lift, tho. So just walking over to do that should make me feel better when I move to more free weights.
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Old 02-14-2014, 09:58 AM   #5
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A mirror is truly your best friend, I still wish I had a big one in my house, it makes everything much easier until you get your body awareness and confidence in your form solidified

If you can deadlift, you should be doing a squat for part of the motion, and when you get to the point of dropping your arms/weight close to your toes, make sure your back is flat, butt up more than a normal squat, and knees bent.

An easy safety rule is always bend your knees no matter what you are doing, even slightly, to protect your back. Careful with deadlifts not to hurt your lower back.

Squats can be difficult at first, I suggest trying wallsits for 10 seconds to start, and working up. Having your back against the wall, or a stability ball against the wall, will help your form and body awareness, plus provide some assistance on getting the right angle. When doing normal squats, just don't drop as low until you can maintain proper knee alignment. Do as many reps at whatever height you can manage.

I find tricking myself daily into doing planks, squats, wallsits, and walking lunges during free moments can really help your progess along. even 8-10 reps while at home or work or in the bathroom can really make a difference in you resting metabolism and muscle strength!

So glad you're enjoying it so far. Definitely do crunches using a stability ball, too - I could not complete a single sit up until I used the ball religiously. Your bones will thank you, too - with all the calcium and magnesium and iron in a low carb diet, your muscles and bones will grow easily because they have all the right nutrients!
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:57 PM   #6
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EmitA-- sounds like we have the same regimen. I love working out and trying to get my routine with real low carb and ketosis. Sometimes I struggle within eating too much protein.. Does that happen to you?

I see you were 117 and now 100. Do you mind if I ask how tall you are?
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Old 02-15-2014, 06:31 PM   #7
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@peace: I do eat a lot of protein most days, but usually not "too much." around 70-100g daily. I hear this is reasonable, but maybe not since my ketostix have never shown positive results. (only used them about thrice)

I'm actually hovering between 95-98lb these days (Did I get the order wrong?) but haven't weighed myself in a month or so. things fit the same. my waist still gets slowly smaller and my calves and quads larger! Trying not to indulge the eating disorder by weighing or thinking too much. I had some nut butter binges at night lately.
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:48 PM   #8
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hi Emita

Thanks for the reply. I think I am around 90 g usually. I hear you... the eating disorder stuff can kick in if I analyze too much especially when working out a lot.

Maybe it is with age.. that I am not able to lose the weight but, how old are you? I think my waist needs to go down! Good for you regarding the nutrition interests, by the way.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:21 PM   #9
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ugh I have youth on my side for sure! I'll be 23 next month. I'm glad though, as my body was better able to repair my bones, heart, muscles, and liver from when I was far underweight. Still trying to gain a couple pounds, but I think my BMI is safe for now because I am very lean due to my diet and activity, but take in more than enough calories lately and of course lots of fat, protein, and vitamins thanks to low-carbing - kind of saved my life when I look back on it. I must be doing something right if I keep being able to lift heavier.

I do a lot of abdominal exercises, especially the last few weeks since my legs have been burnt out and sore from walking and cycling, and my arms burnt out and sore from shoveling! That plus avoiding carbs really cuts the belly fat to nothing.
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Old 02-16-2014, 09:31 PM   #10
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ugh I have youth on my side for sure! I'll be 23 next month. I'm glad though, as my body was better able to repair my bones, heart, muscles, and liver from when I was far underweight. Still trying to gain a couple pounds, but I think my BMI is safe for now because I am very lean due to my diet and activity, but take in more than enough calories lately and of course lots of fat, protein, and vitamins thanks to low-carbing - kind of saved my life when I look back on it. I must be doing something right if I keep being able to lift heavier.

I do a lot of abdominal exercises, especially the last few weeks since my legs have been burnt out and sore from walking and cycling, and my arms burnt out and sore from shoveling! That plus avoiding carbs really cuts the belly fat to nothing.

Nice. Good for you! I can easily gain weight if I overeat. So, you mentioned you were underweight before? Wait... dont tell me you were less than 97? As long as you feel good now, that is what matters.

I keep trying to avoid the scale cuz it goes up but my clothes fit ok so, I guess it is muscle. Still think I could work on portions though!

Love low carb..would not be the same or doing what I am doing without it. It seriously helped me to get through my diagnose of celiac, and now moving on to help others in health promotion.

Stay warm and shoveling definitely can burn those calories.

thanks for your replies.
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:22 PM   #11
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Yes, I nearly was hospitalized after going cold turkey off antidepressants (created an eating disorder slippery slope with an obsession with exercise and cutting calories) a few years ago - had to binge my way back to health but was filled with guilt and fat gain due to sugar cravings before discovering low carb. It seriously helped both my mental and physical health immensely.

I seem to stay about the same weight but my calves and other muscles have gotten bulkier - I think the LC diet has replaced all the fat I've burned with muscle.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:05 PM   #12
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@marsha: I took a day off today, and walked in the city! My legs were so sore. Have you been OK with the DOMF? (delayed onset muscle fatigue) Definitely make sure you have a b1 and even b2 supplement.

I've been trying to do more lunges and planks while at work or when waiting for things to download. Sometimes I drop and do 10 pushups when waiting for things, too. I reccomend trying to fit in small sets like this whenever you're "idling" as it really makes a difference, surprisingly. Nowadays I get excited to pick stuff up off the floor, too - I make sure to get a squat in when doing so It helps your form and serves as great practice.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:58 PM   #13
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@marsha: I took a day off today, and walked in the city! My legs were so sore. Have you been OK with the DOMF? (delayed onset muscle fatigue).

I reccomend trying to fit in small sets like this whenever you're "idling" as it really makes a difference, surprisingly.
I have had no problem with DOMS ... which makes me think I'm doing something wrong.

I have begun to throw squats in there when I can. Not as often as I should but sometimes.
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Old 02-17-2014, 08:27 PM   #14
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Emita

Thanks for sharing your experience. I understand this can be difficult, so kudos to you for being honest with yourself and moving forward.

I appreciate all of the comments and feedback on this journey... because that is what it really is about "a journey".

on a side note, I think as I age, I do not require as many calories as I thought and definitely not as much fat, but that is just me
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:59 AM   #15
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Great post and great info. Thanks
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:42 AM   #16
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Great post and great info! I would also recommend "New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women." If for no other reason than to give yourself confidence that you - no, WE - DO belong in the grunt room.
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Old 02-22-2014, 05:08 PM   #17
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I was all set to get NRoWLFW. But what about "Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body (The Women's Fitness Series)" by Michael Matthews? I don't want to get both because, for me, that's overcomplicating something I'm trying to simplify. I want the right information but not information overload.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:01 AM   #18
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Not sure, I haven't read that one. I will try to find it.
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Old 02-23-2014, 10:20 AM   #19
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I finally decided just to get the Michael Matthews one. If I have any comments about it, I'll post after I go through it.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:33 AM   #20
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Thanks! I've never read any of these books so I'm curious what they say
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Old 02-25-2014, 01:58 PM   #21
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Em, I actually understand most of your first awesome post now!!

Are headbangers the same as skull crushers?
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:43 AM   #22
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Em, I actually understand most of your first awesome post now!!

Are headbangers the same as skull crushers?
The ones I'm referring to are completely different exercises, but I may have their conventional names wrong.

To me, a headbanger is a tricep exercise you perform laying down, lowering a weight held in both hands backward, beginning with arms extended and elbows straight forward, lowering it back and down by only moving your forearm, til it is right above your forehead.

A Skullcrusher is an abdominal combo move that incorporates balance, hamstring/quadricep, and cardio work. you begin with bent knees and abs contracted, leaning forward slightly to get them to engage. Start without a weight, but you can add a held hand weight as your balance improves. Hold your arms out straight and lift one knee, powering it upand pulling it towards your abs like a crunch, repeating. (at the same time you can pull your arms in to assist with balance and timing and further increase your heart rate)

Do as many as you can at a controlled but steady and relatively fast speed, you will get your heart rate and breathing up as well as work your legs, abs, and balance.

If you're not getting DOMF/DOMS I wouldn't worry, but usually this is due to simply not completing enough reps or sets of reps to "burn out" your muscles.

I try to complete at least 3 sets of each exercise. As for amount of reps, I go by how heavy I am working. If the weight you are using seems easy, do at least 15 reps per set, if not 20. if it seems moderately hard, I try to complete 12, if not 10. 8-10 for very difficult, or just as many as you can handle and then drop down to lighter.

I usually start with as heavy as I can handle and work down, "pyramid" training.

An easy way to burn out your muscles faster is to focus on a family of muscles and alternate working sets of each. Muscles like tricpes/biceps and quads/hams/glutes inner thigh/outer thigh are complimentary and therefore if you alternate working such pairs of muscle groups, both end up working harder to compensate for how tired the other is already. (basically, these muscles assist each other normally. if one is tired already, the other has to work harder. So working both consecutively increases the strain and fatigue.)

So, for example:
Do chest presses then rows.
Do bicep curls then tricep dips.
Do abductors and then adductors on the machine.
Do lat pull downs or shoulder presses, and then raises.

If you do 3 sets of 15 of any of these in reasonably fast succession (helps keep heart rate up if you only wait 30 seconds or so between sets, more if needed of course.) you will definitely feel it a day or two later.

Lately I've been using adjustable ankleweights for outer thigh lifts and leg extensions (glute exercise). I also wear them and walk over to the reverse crunch stand machine (where you hold on with your arms and lift both legs up to your abs) and do weighted reverse crunches there. It's REALLY increased my work and results.

TRX training has also increased my bicep capacity from 8lb for each arm to 15 lb in less than 3 months!
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Old 02-26-2014, 05:29 PM   #23
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Thanks, Em. A routine is shaping up but it's still haphazard. I will have to work on grouping them better.
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:51 AM   #24
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That's the hardest part, Mary! I tend to plan my cardio days and work whatever isn't sore on non-cardio days.

Lately I've been doubling up for even more insulin resistance and fat burn by doing rows or adductor/abductors and squats for 15-25 minutes before an hour of cycling (my usual cardio day activity). It seems to make a big difference, and the exercise science literature I've read has suggested that doing muscle before cardio is the best practice because it uses any stored glycogen. Then, as soon as you begin the high-intensity cardio, your body starts burning fat instead of using any glycogen.

If you're in ketosis this shouldn't be necessary for obvious reasons, but since I'm in maintenance my strategy is to eat a higher carb pre-workout snack (like a low carb applesauce cake I made, some berries and cream, or sweet potato or winter squash with butter or cream cheese plus some cinnamon for glucose control) then go burn out my muscles before my cardio. I usually have a smaller serving of the carby snack post workout after my low-carb dinner.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:46 PM   #25
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That's the hardest part, Mary! I tend to plan my cardio days and work whatever isn't sore on non-cardio days.

Lately I've been doubling up for even more insulin resistance and fat burn by doing rows or adductor/abductors and squats for 15-25 minutes before an hour of cycling (my usual cardio day activity). It seems to make a big difference, and the exercise science literature I've read has suggested that doing muscle before cardio is the best practice because it uses any stored glycogen. Then, as soon as you begin the high-intensity cardio, your body starts burning fat instead of using any glycogen.

If you're in ketosis this shouldn't be necessary for obvious reasons, but since I'm in maintenance my strategy is to eat a higher carb pre-workout snack (like a low carb applesauce cake I made, some berries and cream, or sweet potato or winter squash with butter or cream cheese plus some cinnamon for glucose control) then go burn out my muscles before my cardio. I usually have a smaller serving of the carby snack post workout after my low-carb dinner.
Hey Em

Thanks so much for sharing. I am really starting to think that maybe I am actually going to low on carbs which is impacting my workout and why I am gaining? I have a similar workout but I eat alot more protein... hardly any carbs ( sweet pot, berries, )

I will post on another spot as well. Would be interested in hearing thoughts about increasing carbs or not a good idea?
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:23 AM   #26
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@peace:

you said earlier you have been overdoing protein, right? Are you gaining fat, or lean muscle? If the former is the case, gluconeogenesis is to blame (too much protein turning into glucose). If the latter is the case, you're good!

If you're an omnivore on LC diet it's easy to overdo protein, especially post workout. I suggest plating your food carefully so that you get less meat, and add some low carb veg (green beans, salad greens, zucchini, broccoli, etc) slathered in the fat of your choice (butter, oil) to avoid eating too much protein due to excess hunger. Cheese is also a culprit for high protein intake.

You might want to start using an online diet tracker to get percentage breakdowns of your macronutrients and target the 60/20/10 (fat/prot./carb) or whatever your WOE suggests for macro ratios.

If you're an omnivore, you'll not have a hard time consuming enough protein on a low carb diet to gain muscle. And don't forget to have the majority of your protein 30-60 minutes after your workout, no later, to have as much of it as possible go to your muscle.

As far as increasing carbs, I find I benefit from having a small serving of starchy veg with fat or berries/nuts pre and post workout, but I am in maintenance so I cannot speak to the effects this may have on ketosis.
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Old 02-28-2014, 09:46 PM   #27
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WOE: stillmans
Hi Emita

Thanks for your suggestions. Honestly, I am not sure if it is lean muscle or fat, just taking is slowly now.. I think I was adding in too many calories all of a sudden. I always have a ton of veggies, so I don't think I am gaining fat. I just think the sluggish feeling might be from the heavy protein.

I am much better today, ebb and flow, right? I appreciate your thoughts. Yep, I def eat enough, just have to watch out for eating too much of anything.

I also am focusing on health and portions now. Eat when hungry, stop when full. No more emotional eating.

Hope you are doing well! Thanks.
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