I am trying to lose weight and at the same time build strength. I am 6'2" and 33 years old. I started out at 258 lb about 5 months ago. Now I am at 205 lb, mostly due to switching to a modified Keto diet (bit less fat and a bit more protein). A healthy weight for my body type would be around 190 lb as I am right now, 200 lb with some muscle. I mostly have been doing calisthenics, but I am just not progressing very much at all. Still after about 3 months of trying I can only do one pullup and about 6 pushups. Not really progressing in other areas as well.

It feels like I am working hard, but I am just not really see any real progress. I want to train for strength rather than hypertrophy, but at this point I would take any progress.

Am I not progressing because I am not eating enough? I generally love my current diet and don't feel hungry usually. Should I just weight until I hit my 190 lb goal and then eat more and try to build muscle. Is there a good way for me to build muscle and more importantly strength while continuing to lose weight?

Any suggestions? Thanks!


2 Answers 2


There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to progress on low carb and a caloric deficit if done right.

We can't say that you are eating not enough if we don't know how much you are eating. Try not to go lower than 20% of your daily needs or your body will start to punish you. Not being hungry is a good indicator that you can't be doing it that terribly. Are you tired all the time? That could mean amongst other things that you don't eat enough (of the right stuff). Getting weaker? Another possible indicator. The only way to be sure is to count calories. That has gotten very painless thanks to smartphone apps, consider start doing it if you haven't already.

I'm not the biggest fan of low carb because:

  1. Carbs are great, especially for sport
  2. Low carb is made for short-term weight loss. You still have 40 years of life ahead of you, can you not eat carbs for 40 years? That sounds unnecessary hard for almost 0 benefits.
  3. You have to sacrifice great (sometimes called healthy, but I hate that word) food but still are allowed to eat garbage if it's low carb instead of learning how to eat a balanced diet. Anything that tells you to not eat lentils is doing something wrong if you ask me. Also, a lot of carb stuff tastes great!

But I wouldn't agree with those that say you absolutely have to eat carbs. You have been doing great so far regarding your weight loss goals, why not continue? I'm just saying if you have a good reason to do it, do it. If you're just doing it because it's the latest fad, ask yourself if another option might be better suited and leave you with more energy. You have to keep in mind what happens once you have reached your target weight.

One cannot also say if you work hard enough (or maybe too hard) because that information is also missing from your post. Do you do 6 pushups and then collapse on the floor and can do no more 3 times a week or more?

You're not that heavy, but still you have to start lifting a lot of weight with exercises designed for guys ~25 pounds lighter and 15 years younger than you. Also, remember, as a kid, you would be doing all kinds of athletic stuff all day. Those muscles might have been inactive for a decade. The same is true for your coordination and your nervous system might also have forgotten a couple of things. The great thing is that you started using all of that again.

The problem with bodyweight training is that there is of not a clear progression as there would be with weights.

However, you can still do a progression, you just have to use your head a bit: Instead of pushups, do inclined pushups for example. The larger the angle, the easier it gets. Try to get ~ 3x12 done maybe 3 times a week. If you have to almost stand up, do it. Decrease the angle until you get better at it and at one point you'll be doing standard push ups or better. You will find such progressions for basically any exercise.

Btw, I assume that you have made a good training plan and train your entire body, avoiding imbalances and so on. Oh, and btw you are > 30 = you might have a job and so on. If being cheap is the reason why you are doing bodyweight stuff (as I said, as an heavier and out of shape person, dumbbells and so on might be a better idea. You can more easily progress) - don't be cheap. But if you have better reason, stick with it.

  • Thanks for all the info. I like the low carb diet because it means eating same stuff I love eating normally. I also eat green vegetables. Pretty much the only things I cut out was bread and refined sugar, and I'm good with that. Since cutting out those things my energy has increased significantly. Once at my goal, I would add more fruits and vegetables. I found on YouTube standard exercise progressions, and I think I just need to start with modified versions and build up, like you suggested. Probably would have been better if I decided to do this 10 years ago, but better late than never.
    – Bogdan
    Sep 14, 2017 at 2:23
  • Oh, and forgot to say, the reason I do calisthenics is because I like the kind of body type that guys who do calisthenics have. Kind of lean, long muscles, kind of wiry. Just a personal preference. I am not sure if that's the right approach though. My logic is monkey see, monkey do. But now I know that I have to start with modified exercises
    – Bogdan
    Sep 14, 2017 at 3:02
  • @Bogdan I think both are great reasons (for low carb and bodyweight) to do it! Are there other ways? Yes. But who cares ;). Just had to make sure you were doing it for the right reasons.
    – Raditz_35
    Sep 14, 2017 at 6:24

"Maybe You Should GAIN Weight". 205 lb at 6'2" is thin.

Note that, generally, one can either build muscle (that is, strength) and some bodyfat or lose bodyfat and some muscle. Only in rare cases, if at all, can one both build muscle and lose bodyfat at the same time.

Consider using barbell-based strength training (with a caloric surplus instead of a deficit) instead of bodyweight-based exercises to build strength.

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