How can I play tennis, lose fat, and build muscle all at the same time?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by limitup, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    OK I know it's almost impossible to lose fat and build muscle at the same time ... and I'm sure the ~16 hours of intense tennis/cardio a week isn't great for trying to build up muscle either ... but I'm looking for some expert guidance on how to best achieve my goals, which are:

    1. Lose about 5-10 more lbs of fat
    2. Get stronger and gain some size
    3. Continue to play competitive tennis

    The problem is that I live and play in sunny so cal, and I have no offseason when it comes to tennis. When I'm not playing in leagues and tournaments, I'm still playing competitive matches against friends, practicing, etc.

    Right now I'm trying to do everything at the same time and as you can imagine it's not going great lol.

    I've pretty much maintained my current weight of 178 for the past month. I assume I'm still losing a little fat and maybe building a tiny build of muscle, but maybe not. The big problem is my recovery from both tennis and lifting too. I'm constantly sore, and after a good leg day it really screws up my tennis the next 1-2 days.

    I don't NEED to lose another 10 lbs of fat, so I guess at this point that's the lowest priority. If I lose 10 lbs I'd be pretty "ripped" so even losing another 5 lbs would be awesome (I've lost about 25 in the past year).

    I do need to work on getting stronger and "beefing up" a bit. I just need to get a little stronger overall to help stay injury free as I take my game to the next level ... and a little more strength and size is always welcome too.

    Do I just need to focus 110% on losing the weight first (if I really want to) over the next month or so, and then once I'm at my target weight just start lifting again and eat whatever I figure out is my maintenance calories at that point?

    Or I could obviously say screw it and start eating a little more now and not worry about these last 5-10 lbs (which have proven to be hard to get rid of).

    In the long run, do I need to force myself to have some kind of offseason, use periodization, etc. to do this stuff right?

    (FYI I'm a 39 yr old male, 5'11" @ 178 lbs in relatively good shape)
     
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  2. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    Do you pay attention to your nutrition? I had an epiphany last year in fitness when I learned to manipulate my weight and strength by controlling my "macro nutrient" ratios: fat, carb, protein intake based on my activities for the day ie strength training vs aerobic vs rest. I use myfitnesspal app to track the ratios. I am about your age and always been in decent shape too but shaved my love handles and added a lot of lean muscle quickly this way. BTW, I did NOT "diet." I ate a lot of everything I like, mostly added protein to my diet and ate more frequently than I used too to stoke the metabolism.
     
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  3. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    Thanks for the reply. I eat relatively "healthy", very little sugar or crap, and I try to limit carbs on days I'm not playing tennis, but other than that no. I have a very basic understanding of macros, but I don't see myself using some app to keep track of what I eat.

    I'd love to hear more details about what worked for you though in terms of balancing tennis, weight training, rest and eating...
     
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  4. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I also have the same "problem" :) I like such problems.
     
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  5. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I have a program for sale designed to do all that AND make you a millionaire. Just send me 4 easy installments of $29.99. If you act now, I'll make the first payment for you and double the offer.
     
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  6. peoplespeace

    peoplespeace Semi-Pro

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    As far as i know the jury has come back re the matabolic effect of eating 5-6 meals a day: The verdict is that is is/was a myth that this increases the matabolic rate in comparison o eating just 3 meals a day.

    OP, when u are 10 lbs from being from being super ripped u drop the last fat by eating 500 to 700 cal less than u burn a day for 3 days and then on the fourth day u eat 500-700 cal more than u burn. In one month that will give u a deficit of about 10000 cal or 3 lbs, so in 3 months ull be superripped. I was super ripped for 6 month two yr ago until i binge ate congolese coco coocies one day! From the it was down hill and now im about 10-12 lbs from super ripped. Dont do this diet while lifting. U can lose fat and build muscle aqt the same time only if ur overweight.

    Then when ur ripped u start lifting once a week when u lift like crazy, upper body and legs.
     
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  7. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Pick 2 of 3 - at least if the tennis is a few hours a day. If you are only playing a couple of hours a couple times a week, you should be able to build muscle just fine.
     
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  8. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    Thanks for the replies. Yeah that's what I'm learning - with this much cardio/tennis it's hard or impossible to build muscle.

    I guess the next question is ... assuming I don't really care about BIGGER muscles ... can I still get STRONGER or is it really the same situation?

    I think getting stronger comes from not only more muscle fibers but also the type of muscle fibers that makeup any given muscle. I believe it's possible to "re-train" the muscle you already have to be stronger, without actually making it bigger??
     
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  9. boramiNYC

    boramiNYC Hall of Fame

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    try to play much better tennis than just for fun. do tournaments and try to win them too. on the way to realizing that goal you'll realize your fat is gone and you'll have full of lean strong muscles. everything you wanted. now are you up for the challenge?..
     
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  10. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    Would love to hear about what ratios you shoot for on strength training vs aerobic vs rest days. Maybe I'll have to get more serious about this. Checking out the myfitnesspal site now ...
     
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  11. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    Over the winter I lifted heavy weights twice a week, did plyometrics and HIIT once a week and hot yoga once a week. Most weeks played tennis one night indoors and outdoors a few times as weather permitted, rest one or two days. I did not lose any weight but transferred all my midsection flab into muscle and am so much faster now. Despite the jury comment above, I attribute a lot to the meal plan recommended to me, which was 3 meals and 3 snacks per day and timing the nutrient intake (eat immediately after weight training, eat protein snack before bed etc). We'll see how things change now that tennis season is starting. Good luck with your plan.
     
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  12. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    Were you just doing full body workouts or ?

    Can you share what macro ratios you were shooting for on strength training vs tennis vs rest days?

    Do you lift and play tennis on the same day or generally try to avoid it?

    Anything else you can share would be much appreciated. Thanks!
     
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  13. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    Best thing about myfitnesspal is how easy it is. Most "meals" are already in there and when you eat anything with a bar code you just scan it with your phone. I never was the type to track my food but I am a gadget junkie and this made it fun for me. When you input excercise it will adjust your calories,myou can also change your goals to see the ratios. Only change I make manually is to up the protein intake a lot on weight days per a trainers advice.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
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  14. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    No, only one type of workout per day in general. Mostly followed this routine:
    http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/tennis-strength-training.html
     
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  15. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    Thanks for the reply. That's interesting about the macros. It makes sense to add more protein on workout days, but I would imagine the ideal macros would be totally different on a rest day vs. a tennis day for example. You're saying you just aimed for whatever macros myfitnesspal give you? As far as I can tell these are just generic "recommended" macros and it's the same every day i.e. the recommend macros don't change based on what you're doing that day. Maybe I need to play around with it some more...
     
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  16. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I'm older then you, 6'2" @ 220 lbs, in so and so shape (but with endurance) and with a new minor meniscus tear (plus similar injuries from my past basketball matches as a power forward).

    I do try to play 5-6 times a week, 2 hours at a time, indoors in the winter alas (and that takes a toll on me knees, see above) as I move aggressively, although I do tend to keep the points shorter. In the summer I go for clay.

    I try to do some light workout even in the days I play, especially for the core: push-ups, crunches, planks. Plus I use the chest expander (the ones with 5 bands) and some light lifting. Spinning also on some days on my exercise bike and jumps (without a rope, but similar).

    I stay away from carbs and eat lots of fruits (and some veggies) daily, like literally tons + fish preferably and or chicken soup. I do binge occasionally in dark chocolate and I also hike often or walk days in a row (tourism). I stay away from fast foods, sodas and so forth.

    One of my biggest mistakes is making my own red wine; albeit healthy in some ways, I tend to eat more with it (and finish with some hazelnuts and such).

    For recovery do you do any kind of massaging of your large muscles, while taking a hot shower (ideally no later then 5-10 minutes after you've finished exercising as per USTA and my former basketball coach)?
     
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  17. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    Accomplish the weight/fat loss through dietary changes. But I would NOT have you drop weight lifting during this process. I wouldn't focus on trying to put up big numbers or do sessions with tons of volume, but keep it up in general. When it comes to cutting weight, you'd want to "encourage" your body to not use muscle as fuel, which is probably best accomplished with adequate protein intake and continued resistance training
     
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  18. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    I am intrigued by this assertion and concept. I estimate I am 5 pounds from being "ripped" as you put it, the last tiny bit of love handles hiding the core that I know is my beer habit despite all the training. What is the point of the super caloric intake day? Versus just reducing the calories?
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
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  19. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    I actually got my original ratios from reading a book called "The Testosterone Advantage Plan" which i also recommend. The super fast results inspired me to keep going. After a few months I developed a feel for ratios day by day depending on exertion level. I actually don't pay much attention to the ratios in the app anymore, but it taught me which foods and ratios gave me different energy levels.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
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  20. Itagaki

    Itagaki Semi-Pro

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    Caloric cycling (and often carb cycling) is sometimes useful for those that at lower bodyfat levels trying to get lower. Also works for everyone else, but the closer you get to single digit bf the harder it is to keep losing.

    Diets like Cyclical Keto and Carb Nite use a similar principle

    General idea I think is keeping hormone levels in check? In the case of CKD and Carb Nite it enables one to use up their glycogen stores and then refill them with a cheat day. So essentially you remain in a caloric deficit most of the time and then have a single window of surplus, also keeps you sane.
     
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  21. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    Just ordered the book. While I'm waiting to read it, can you share what your original ratios were that you learned from the book, and what you changed?

    You sound like you successfully went through exactly what I'm trying to do so I'm super curious to hear anything and everything about what you did. :)
     
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  22. peoplespeace

    peoplespeace Semi-Pro

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    The main reason for the super caloric day is not so much to be able to cheat and stay sane, but instead to prevent the body to go into starvation mode, whereby the body, believing that u are in a starvation situation (normal in the stone age!) reduces the matabolic rate to keep the (last) body fat for when the situation gets really serious. So to fool ur body to not go into starvation mode u have one super caloric day every 4 days so that the body knows that ur not in a crisis situation. This way u slowly but surely and without losing lbm cut the rest of ur bodyfat. However if u still have visible lovehandles i think ur more than 5 lbs from being ripped! :twisted:
     
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  23. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    Glad you ordered the book, hope you like it! When I started my calculated calorie intake was 2500 per day. There is a worksheet to figure this out based on your age, weight, activity level etc. My "profile goal" was weight maintenance, not weight gain or loss, just redistribution! :). The beginning ratio was 24% calories from protein, 38% calories from carbs and 38% calories from fat. This was my base/generic regular diet requirement with a low level of activity but included some weight training in the formula. From there I used the app to add activity and amount of calories required but the calories I added were specific to the activity (or on rest days slight reduction). For example on killer cardio days add 1000 calories, most of them carbs, so the ratio would jump to something like 55% carbs, 15% protein and 30% fat. On weight training days do the opposite, add tons of protein, all way up to 1 gram per lb body weight and redistribute the other nutrients. The app will help you know how many calories to add and track the ratio and adjust with every meal or snack. Also, the timing of the meals/nutrients and glycemic properties of food are important, but you will have to read that in the book lest I write a novel here! The one thing I don't remember the book mentioning that the trainer said was to drink a LOT of water everyday all day. I am up to about a gallon a day, which is tough to maintain and seems like I have to pee every 20 minutes. But I think that is an important component too. I will be very curious to hear how your program design goes, please keep the thread alive as you progress!
     
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  24. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    That is interesting and helpful to know, thanks. The love handles are gone, but can't see the six pack yet! :). Doubt I will go down this road though, would rather keep up with the weights to prevent injury than be intense about the last bit of body fat.
     
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  25. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    Oh, one more thing. There is a whole thread and debate about this here also, but just want to get another plug in for the combination of weight training and yoga as a perfect complement for tennis training. No sense in bulking up with muscle that constricts your court movement. Regular yoga intensive stretching will keep you flexibale, limber and fast.
     
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  26. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    When you are in a caloric deficit, it's much easier to lose muscle than fat. When you are in a caloric surplus, it's much easier to gain fat than muscle. You want to gain muscle and lose bodyfat at the same time? Not gonna happen. This is why bodybuilders use the 2 step approach. Bulk up during the offseason and trim down later, hoping to keep as much muscle as possible with the knowledge they won't gain any more muscle mass while dieting.
     
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  27. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    Agreed. Although I swear when I first started working out I did gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Something about "newbie gains" they call it? But yeah, in general you're obviously right. My thread title was really just meant to attract the attention of smart folks like you. :)

    I'm taking 3-4 weeks off of tennis to hopefully nip this tennis elbow in the bud, so I'll use this time to hopefully lose ~5 lbs. I'll continue my strength training so hopefully most of it will be fat.

    Then in a month I'll come back strong, adjust my diet one more time, and focus on strength training and tennis ...
     
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  28. peoplespeace

    peoplespeace Semi-Pro

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    Re protein intake, u have to eat up to 1g pr lbs/day not only on workout days but at least for the next 48h which is when the repair work and thus muscle growth happens. What i would like some expert advise is if, lets say i lift only on monday on which weekday can i go back to "normal" protein intake ie around 1g pr 2 lbs and still be sure my body wont lack protein for muscle growth??
     
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  29. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    I would like that expert advice too. I figured out pretty quick how to tell when I am eating too much protein :shock: but have not learned how to tell when not getting enough for the day/session/goal.
     
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  30. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

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    Hopefully, for purposes of our forum here, this wisdon can be translated to gaining strength and mass during winter and converting this new strength into speed and endurance for tennis season?!
     
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  31. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    I was just about to create a similar thread but will just use this one instead. I am 5-9 and currently at around 200 pounds. I started 9 months ago at 250 and would like to get down to about 170. It was a huge effort to lose this weight which involved massively cutting down the carbs along with massive exercise (1 hours cardio, 30 minutes weights) per day along with 2 hours of tennis 4 days per week.

    The issue I have now is that it is very difficult to eat properly to achieve weight loss in parallel with playing decent tennis. If I push it too hard, I end up completely crashing on the court which is what happened today. I felt great when I got there, but after 1 set it was obvious I needed to eat, and at this point there is nothing that can be done.

    I guess what I am looking for is a diet which will continue my weight loss without the crashes. My weight loss recently flat-lined so I went to a no carb diet to accelerate the process. It definitely was effective as I dumped 4 pounds over the week, but there is no way I can be competitive in tennis at the same time.

    I guess what I am looking for is a low carb diet for athletes. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
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  32. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    Low carb diets do not work for active people or athletes. Every now and then you'll come across someone who claims to do it, but the overwhelming number of people who try it will tell you it just doesn't work. You can search the net and find tons of people talking about this. As active as you are, you NEED carbs.

    To continue to lose weight you simply need to eat less calories than you are burning each day. So the easiest thing to do is figure out roughly what you're burning, and work backwards from there. Aim for a 500 calorie per day deficit, and you'll lose about a pound a week if you stick to it. Keep up with the weight training to help preserve the muscle you have and hopefully most of what you lose will be fat.

    You can get into more advanced things like macro ratios, nutrient timing, and that type of thing but really the start is to just eat less calories than your body is burning ...
     
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  33. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    I beg to differ.

    I think that you can:

    a) Increase your endurance in time.

    b) Increase your skill. Maybe even change your style a bit and go more for dictating shots with power for example.

    c) One other question is, what type of muscles are you building?

    I'm 6'2" and 220 LBs. In the summer I can get bellow 210 LBs if I also hike and travel.

    GL!
     
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  34. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    The problem is that on about the 4th day of the diet, I really end up crashing and don't have the energy to play any type of game. When I get fatigued I am not capable of thinking and make poor shot selection. I wish my issue was with dictating shots. I am trying to do just the opposite. I tend to overhit on occasion so I spend the majority of the match holding myself back. This strategy worked well when I was at 230 against weaker opponents, but isn't cutting it now.

    I'm not trying to build muscle at all, in fact I wouldn't mind losing some bulk. I lift mainly to help in the weight loss process so am doing a really fast circuit training which seems to be toning more than anything else.
     
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  35. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    GL then! Anyhow, for all of us, we can only hope to increase our skill and endurance...
     
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  36. asimple

    asimple Semi-Pro

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    Thanks, I am going to do a bit of research on sports nutrition after reading this thread.

    In terms of my game, I am sadly past my prime and am more looking to regain skills rather than learn new ones. As I lose weight, I realize my real problem is almost 100% footwork. Every pound I lose makes things a bit easier. My endurance is actually surprisingly good if I am eating properly at least at the level I am playing.
     
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  37. tbln

    tbln New User

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    limitup, you posted a complicated question. :) IMHO, the most effective way to reach your goals is to probably have some kind of off season where you play enough tennis to maintain your skills but really focus on your fitness first.

    Its already very difficult to lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously if you're past your twenties and its even more difficult to do so while playing competitive tennis. For instance, losing fat requires you to go on a calorie deficit, but this will severely affect your energy levels when playing competitively. And, like you said, weight training fatigues the muscle and requires recovery time.

    If you can modify your play schedule, you might be able to reach some of your goals but I think the fastest way is probably to play enough tennis to maintain your skills while focusing on your fitness at the gym and in the kitchen.
     
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  38. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Before I became a cop, I was a personal trainer. During my time as a trainer, I've never seen anyone gain any muscle mass while dieting although I've seen what appeared to be muscle gains, but it was just the muscles showing more from lowered bodyfat. How do I know this? I measured their bf and according to the numbers, their muscle mass had not gone up at all.
     
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  39. Fintft

    Fintft Hall of Fame

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    Exactly my thoughts on the matter (although I'm still learning tennis, as I'm relatively new to it, compared to having been played basketball before).

    So on one hand we work to have better footwork, in order to stay in rallies longer (and execute a couple of quality shots in row), while on the other hand I was thinking that maybe we can just learn to hit winners on the first chance we get :)

    Maybe you are trying to loose too much weight in one year? Could it be that our bodies have some kind of natural balance/equilibrium/weight?

    Also are you alternating your 4 days (if I'm not mistaken) days of playing tennis with rest days/other activities?

    B/c I also tend to get tired at times for playing too many days in row and on the contrary, when I had to take 3 days off tennis (due to knee injury last week), but did other exercising- I've managed to rest.

    My final though being that were I to give something up, I would probably give some of the extra training (or at least try to use other muscles mainly).

    Personally I eat kilograms of fruits daily, veggies, fish, started to drink green tea and try to stay away from carbs (most often then not I can give up bread completely and I never eat pasta, nor fast food).

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
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  40. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    If you go running uphill, and do it relatively slow (in the "fat burning zone"), wouldn't you be losing fat and building up some leg muscle at the same time?
     
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  41. tbln

    tbln New User

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    You would think yes but for most adults past the age ~25 the answer is no as Raul_SJ said.

    I'm a med student with a keen interest in sports medicine and fitness and from what I understand the principle issue preventing simultaneous fat loss and muscle building is a metabolic and hormonal one.

    The so-called fat burning zone is controversial and likely a myth. The reason is because if you're in a caloric deficit, your body enters a catabolic/starved state that burns BOTH fat and muscle. When you are in a starved-state, your body releases hormones such as glucagon and adrenaline which bind to liver cell receptors and stimulate gluconeogenesis, the formation of glucose from protein and fat substrates. Unfortunately, both protein and fat feed into the gluconeogenesis pathway and you cannot selectively decide which does and doesn't feed into it.

    In fact, studies have shown that high intensity training, which was previously though to cause more muscle breakdown than fat loss, is in fact equally as effective as low intensity ("fat burning zone") in weight loss without significant difference in loss of lean muscle mass at the same measured caloric deficit. The only difference was that high intensity training takes a shorter amount of time to meet the target caloric expenditure.

    The reason why young athletes are much more successful in simultaneous fat loss and muscle building is because they are blessed with an increased level of growth hormone which has the magical ability to promote muscle growth and block fat storage. Unfortunately the release of growth hormone tapers off as we age but some people cheat through doping and injecting it.
     
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  42. tbln

    tbln New User

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    Oops "as Raul_SJ said" should be "as Rickson said" :oops:
     
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  43. limitup

    limitup Professional

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    You sound like you know a helluva lot more than me, but I think in this case it's a lot simpler than that. The simple fact is that you can't build muscle if you're in a calorie deficit. The only way to add mass to your body - whether that be fat or muscle - is to eat a surplus of calories. If you don't, your body simply doesn't have anything "extra" to build new mass with.
     
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  44. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    The only pro wrestler who seemingly gained muscle while losing weight, was Rocky Johnson, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's dad. Rocky Johnson dropped 20 lbs. while showing enormous muscles, but then again, steroids can do that kind of thing.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocky_Johnson
     
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  45. peoplespeace

    peoplespeace Semi-Pro

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    I have without any reasonable doubt gained lbs and lost fat at the same time. Two yrs ago i trained for 9 month without periodization and in that time i became ripped (i estimate i lost around 10-12 lbs fat) and at the same time my weight went up by about 4 lbs from about 204 lbs to 208 lbs. This was also the first time in my life (at 41) that is lifted for anything longer than one or two weeks. Im not saying that u can continue to produce those stats, but as a novice lifter many people have genes that allow this.
     
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  46. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    I said caloric deficit, not surplus. If you went up in weight, you were in a surplus. I'm not talking about gaining muscle while losing 1 or 2 lbs.. I mean I've never seen anyone gain muscle while losing 20 or more lbs. except for steroid abusers and even then, muscle gain is difficult.
     
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  47. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

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    "If you went up in weight, you were in a surplus."

    I like this tautology.
     
    #47
  48. comeback

    comeback Professional

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
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    Hi Pbarrow, i am interested in this book.I also saw the author has 2 other books..the hard body workout plan and new rules..I am 62, 5'9" 175lbs and do resistance training for upper 2 days a week and occasional squats without weights.i stopped doing cardio last year.i am in good shape though I would like to be better but am afraid too much weightlifting will hurt my tennis/lower back history among some other things..Do you think it's good for my age..my email is comeback@safe-mail.net if you can give me some detailed info,,thanks
     
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  49. peoplespeace

    peoplespeace Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2009
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    I believe the issue was whether u can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. I my case, which u are not refuting, i lost 10-12 lbs of fat and gained 2-4 lbs of weight in the same period. This means that i gained 12-14 lbs of muscle (plus maybe a bit of water i) in the same period of losing 10-12 lbs of fat. I believe this is an example of losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time. It makes no sense to say that it was possible becus i was in a caloric surplus, becus that would mean that u are accepting that is it possible to lose 20 lbs of fat and gain 30 lbs of lbs at the same time since that person will be in a caloric surplus of 10 lbs for the period???
     
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  50. colowhisper

    colowhisper Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
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    Hi comeback. Not familiar with the other books but I will look them up, thanks. I can only speak from personal experience, but the weight lifting has helped my tennis and fitness a lot and I feel great. I am hoping the training will keep me injury free this season. My back is healthy so I have no experience there. I do have shoulder and knee problems from my past, and the weight letting seems to have improved not degraded those issues (I am very careful, for example I only do assisted pull-ups). I think it would be an excellent idea to hire a trainer for a session or two to help you design a lifting program that is suitable for your age and back condition. I hope you get the same results, let me know if you have any specific questions.
     
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