ask our dietitian your question todaywork hard to lose weight and change body composition



My name is Kevin, and I am a fairly new member at LA Fitness. I have been working out for a little over two years at various gyms, and I became a member at LA Fitness in December 2014. I am a male, 24 years old, and I weigh 185 pounds. According to the handheld body fat analyzer at the gym, I am 17% body fat. My ultimate goal is to weigh 195 pounds at 10-12% body fat.

I have been doing a variety of exercise programs since my membership started at LA Fitness, but I am currently following a 12-week workout program I found online…It requires me to do weight training 4 days a week, and the other 3 days I perform 30-45 minutes of cardio.

Since December, I noticed strength gains in terms of how much I can lift, and cardio improvements in terms of time required for a certain distance. However, my weight and body fat have stayed approximately the same, and I physically look about the same, too.

This is just an example of one day, but I eat 6 meals a day with around 500 calories, 30 grams of protein, 70 grams of carbs, and 10 grams of fat.

I am emailing because I am wondering why I am not seeing any changes in my body composition. I know my workouts are challenging, and I keep a workout log to ensure I am adding more weight each week.

Do you have any insight or advice for my situation?

Thank you in advance for your help. – Kevin




Kevin, you might simply be eating too many calories. If you slightly curbed your intake by trimming 50 calories off each eating session, you’d be shaving off 300 calories per day. That’s as simple as leaving 2 forkfuls of food at each meal! Adjusted, each meal would be 450 calories, 27 gm protein, 63 gm carbohydrate and 10 grams fat. You can see I kept the fat as it was only 18% of your energy (now 20%) and is vital to strength building. Without sufficient dietary fat growth stimulating hormones like testosterone and androstenedione are suppressed.


Why haven’t I lost weight or belly fat after two months of working out?


Burning stored body fat requires an energy deficit while building lean tissue requires a surplus. This may not be news to you. Since these conflict, it makes sense to tackle them separately. Professional and collegiate athletes go at it by losing weight in the off-season and gaining lean during the pre-season or competition season. You could certainly adapt your intake to what type of training you are doing each day. If the goal of strength training is to stimulate muscle growth, then over feeding is needed. If the goal of cardio is drawing upon energy reserves, then under feeding is in order.


How would these potentially look for you?


Here are some examples:


Weight training days:  6 meals of 530 calories (30 gm protein, 75 gm carbohydrate, 12 gm fat) = 3180 Calories


Cardio days:  6 meals of 400 calories (20 gm Protein, 58 gm carbohydrate, 10 gm fat) = 2400 Calories


This two-fold approach would support your goals AND save you over 1000 calories per week than your current plan.

– Debbie J., MS, RD


Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition? Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below.

To learn how to follow the “Ask Our Dietitian” Q&A CLICK HERE!

Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.



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