2 May 2008

Muscle loss - don't be distracted by it

In the comments to my previous post on reasons for lack of improvement, Ian asked:

“I understand how to lose weight, but is there any specific way to ensure that as you lose weight you reduce fat% and not just body mass?”

With a weight loss program there isn’t any way to guarantee you lose only body fat, but you would almost never want this anyway in climbing. Most climbers could do with losing a fair bit of lower body muscle as well.

You minimise the loss of muscle associated with general weight loss by training those muscle groups you need while losing weight on an athlete’s diet.

The only situation you really need worry about loss of muscle is if you diet the unhealthy way i.e. by reducing the proportion of carbohydrate you eat and/or dieting aggressively but then letting it go and putting on fat again.

7 comments:

Will said...

Greetings from SoCal, Dave.

A little off topic for this particular post, but...

11 days ago I incurred yet another ring finger A2 pulley injury. It's probably the 3rd one in that particular finger over the last 8 years. In fact, I've probably had the same injury roughly 3x in each middle and ring finger. The point being, I've had a good deal of experience with them and seem to be a prone to them.

So I want to ask for a bit of specific advice...I realize the inflammation process is necessary for the healing to start. So, I only iced it a couple of times on the day following the injury for short durations, and have taken no NSAIDs or other drugs. Swelling was fairly significant, in fact it was the worst swelling I've had in the course of 10+ A2 injuries.

At 11 days post-injury, there is still a small amount of residual swelling, but most of it has gone away. I intended to start the lewis-reaction water/ice protocol ASAP, but inferred from your writings that I should wait until the initial inflammatory response has taken place.

So the question I ask is:

At what point should I start with the lewis-reaction therapy without compromising the initial inflammatory response? Should all the swelling be gone, or is 2 weeks post injury with most swelling gone sufficient?

Dave MacLeod said...

If you have such bad swelling the injury must be quite bad - ususally there is very little or no swelling at all if it's a minor tear. Please go and get it scanned to find out the extent of the damage!!!

There is no definitive answer about when is the right moment to start encouraging blood flow. Try the lewis reaction therapy out - if it causes a recurrence of the pain and swelling, it's probably too early.

What is the reason for all these pulley injuries? Is it your technique, trainng practice, lifestyle or diet that is causing them? There's no need to keep getting these injuries.

Will said...

Thanks for the input Dave.

The reason I keep getting them? In the past it was clearly (in retrospect) improper training methods and technique. My training would typically consist of bouldering hard on plastic for 3 hours at a time, past the point of diminishing returns and being too tired, and I would use a full crimp alot. I didn't periodize, even though I knew I should.

Usually, about the time I would start feeling really strong again, after maybe 8 weeks of hard bouldering on plastic twice/week and routes outside once/week (right when I probably should have been moving to another periodization phase ) I'd get the injury.

Currently, I'd guess a combo of lifestyle and ???

Had a minor one over the summer that was quickly back to 100% (within maybe 8 weeks).Prior to that it has been several years since I last had one.

It's quite depressing because although I've been a little stronger in the past, I had been climbing the hardest trad routes I've ever done up to the injury. I also wasn't training on plastic until shortly before the injury, other than doing hangboarding (about 12 workouts over a 5 week period) as the strength phase of a periodized program.

This particular injury is developing interestingly. It almost feels like I did more damage to A1 than A2. There is,of course, the typical dull but ache type pain brought on by palpation near the base of the finger over the A2 area, but also point tenderness on palpation (a sharper pain) in the mid-palm area at the distal end of the A1 area just proximal to the MP joint.

My prior experience mirrors what you said re: swelling. It has always been very minor to non-existent. Health insurance is a bit of a jumble right now since I just changed jobs. A scan may or may not be in the picture.

I started the lewis bath treatments last night. I guess time will tell. Thanks again for the info.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave

In several of your posts about body composition, weightloss in relation to climbing performance you mention the importance of the athlete´s diet. Could you be more specific as to what diet to follow to 1) minimize body fat while retaining (nearly) all of your musclemass and thereby becomming a better climber?

Cheers,
Sune, Denmark

Dunx said...

Hi Dave,

you said that it is likely that you will lose muscle and fat if you consume an athletes diet and don't train these muscles.

i have pretty chunky legs as i used to do alot of walking etc, in fact they are out of sync with my upper body which is much skinnier!

I am desperatley trying to shed mass in my legs but am having trouble doing it!
what exactly is an athlete's diet and also how can i maintain cardiovascular fitness without training my leg muscles?? any suggestions would be great you are a massive inspiration to me as the level you climb at is just insane!

Dunx

Buy Viagra online said...

I think that an body fat is so dangerous because the men can have problems with the heart and other problems!

Thor said...

Hi Dave and thanks for a great site! I have so many articles to read here.

A note on muscle loss on diet. I am currently on a diet so I have been spending alot of time researching this and I am doing a super serious diet where I calculate all my macros and calories for everything I eat.

What I have learned is that in order to keep muscles and strenght a general guideline is to keep a high protein intake and muscle exercise. 2g protein per kg of bodyweight is recommended, above this is unnecessary. Hope this helps someone out there.