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Can You Lose Weight But Not Inches? – Q&A

By Amanda Reck / August 24, 2018

Are you trying to get into shape but concerned with not seeing results? Maybe you’re just not measuring results in the right way: is it possible to lose weight without losing inches? How should you use a heart rate monitor, or train for a marathon?

If you’re looking for answers to any of those questions, this Q & A will give you some direction!

Here’s the short list of questions based on topic:

  • Can You Lose Weight But Not Inches?
  • Heart Rate Monitor & Calorie Burn
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Strength Training For A Marathon
  • Am I Too Old For the BuiltLean Program?
  • Question #1 | Can You Lose Weight But Not Inches?

    Hey guys, I have one question – can you lose weight but not inches? I was doing very well but now I am losing pounds but almost 0 inches off my waist! My workout routine was mostly HIIT and some weight lifting no legs exercises. Two weeks ago I began to exercise my legs and started losing pounds but inches not that much! Any suggestions? – Raymond

    Answer: It sounds like you are starting to make some progress. There are a couple things to consider about your question of how you seem to be losing weight without losing inches:

    1) If you only lost a couple pounds of fat, that amount of weight may not be discernible through body measurements. I usually do body measurements once every 1-2 months for that reason.

    2) If you lost water weight as opposed to fat weight, that may not change your body measurements as much.

    3) You may be losing fat from parts of your body other than your waist. Maybe it’s coming off your thighs, or your chest. Where fat is lost from as you lose it is genetically predetermined, and sometimes the last place you want to lose it (your waist) is the last place it starts coming off.

    At the end of the day, if you are losing fat weight, your body circumference should be going down over time.

    Hope that’s helpful!

    –Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #2 | Heart Rate Monitor & Calorie Burn

    Question: I am wondering if heart rate monitors truly give an accurate measure of calories burned? Some of my clients show numbers that just don’t make sense! – Dara

    Answer: @Dara Mazzie – That’s a great question, Dara! The short answer is that I would not trust a heart rate monitor to measure calorie burn at all. There are couple primary reasons:

    1) If you get excited, or nervous, your heart rate increases. Doesn’t mean you are burning many calories though, right?

    2) Calorie burn calculators based on heart rate do not take into account your lean body mass. They are usually based on the Harris Benedict method of body weight, age, and sex, not body fat percentage.

    I wrote an article on how to calculate calorie burn that goes into detail about some of the intricacies of calculating calorie burn, along with my preferred method, which is using the Katch & Mccardle method. I’ve personally never been concerned with how many calories I was burning during a workout, because I don’t think it makes much of a difference whether I burn 300, or 500 calories over the long term. The nutrition side, as I’m sure you know, is what makes more of an impact in creating a calorie deficit.

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #3 | Lactose Intolerance

    Question: Hey guys,

    How does one tell if they are lactose intolerant? I’m 20 now, and my whole life I’ve had around 2 glasses (500ml) of milk a day, along with (Greek) yoghurt with at least 1 meal a day (about a 1/4 of a pot). I have no trouble eating cheese pizza – essentially, I’ve never felt like I was sick or whatever after having dairy, and I never felt supercharged with energy on the few days that I skipped milk for one reason or the other.

    But I’m Indian (south Indian, and quite dark-skinned), and so it’s unlikely I’m descended from those Europeans who domesticated cattle – so am I lactose intolerant or not? (By the way, my whole family, as in including grandparents and further back, have had similar amounts of lactose in their diet). – Jai

    Answer: @Jai – Lactose is the sugar found in milk that some people are unable to digest. The signs you are lactose intolerant can include bloating, abdominal cramping, excessive gas, nausea, and/or diarrhea. These symptoms can occur after 30 minutes to 2 hours of ingestion. If you don’t have any of those issues, you may not be lactose intolerant, or you may be partially lactose intolerant, meaning that above a certain threshold of lactose will cause issues. You can get tested by your doctor for lactose intolerance by (1) blood test, which measures how well your body absorbs lactose and (2) hydrogen breath test. I became partially lactose intolerant in my 20’s, and I think it had to do with the fact I stopped drinking milk for a few years because I had a busy job and any milk I bought would spoil. For more information, you can check out this article => Lactose Intolerance 101.

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #4 | Strength Training For A Marathon

    Question: Hi, Marc. I have been doing full body w/o’s 3x weekly for 2-3 years now. At 45, I am at 20% BF, size 6, BMI 21, weight around 126. I started running last fall (5K’s, 10K’s) and am going a half marathon in January. How do I approach lifting to at the very least maintain my strength and body comp results, but accommodate more running? I’m prepared to back to 2 days if doing full body. It’s tricky to work lifting in around longer run days, etc. Suggestions? – Jennifer

    Answer: Hey Jennifer, congrats on all the hard work you are putting into maintaining your fitness! I wrote a long article with sample workout about strength training for runners. I definitely suggest reading through it. The key about strength training for runners is to increase hip and glute strength, because running long distances can create a muscle imbalance with the quads getting very strong. Then weak hips can lead to hip problems, knee problems, and ankle problems. I’m really happy to hear you appreciate the value of strength training while preparing for the marathon. Good luck!


    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)

    Question #5 | Am I Too Old For the BuiltLean Program?

    Question: Hi Marc, Been studying your site and videos. Great info. If I order your Built Lean Program, can I get the workout you designed for your 65 year old Father. I am also 65 years old and was totally sedentary until June 2012. I started on a campaign to get my health back and prolong my life. I have dropped about 9 lbs scale weight, not sure about BF% or muscle gain. I do home bodyweight and bodylastics and dumbbell workouts. Just got a stability ball. No gym membership and none planned. – Bobby

    Answer: Hi Bobby, thanks for your question! The program my Dad has is a modified version of my BuiltLean Program, so he basically does all the workouts and uses a heart rate monitor as a measure for how much rest he should take between exercises. In addition, instead of doing 3 workouts per week, he only does two. In terms of modifying it for yourself, you ultimately have to use your own best judgment. For a given exercise, I list easy to hard variations and it’s up to you to choose the one that works best for you. Let me know if you have any other questions!

    – Marc (Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT)


    • Thad says:

      A query on the opposite end of the spectrum (to Bobby): Is the BuiltLean program suitable for a15 year old boy? Do you provide information as to any changes that will need to be made by a teenager on account of a younger age?

      • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

        @Thad - That's a great question. While weight lifting is absolutely ok for a teenager, we don't have any modifications for those at your age. I think what's more important for someone your age is (1) fitness level and (2) exercise experience. If you have some experience and a good fitness level, than following the BuiltLean Program will not be an issue at all.

    • Pat Koch says:

      Wow great answers, very informative.

    • Rinchen says:

      Hi Marc,

      could you tell me how nutritious really is the meat used in the Subway Restaurant sandwiches, and the sandwiches themselves?


      • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

        @rinchen - I apologize for the late response to this question. I was hoping to include it in on of our Q&A weekly roundups, but we ended up choose other questions. In any event, evaluating the biochemistry of the meat is a task that is best reserved for a nutritional biochemist, but with that said, organic meat, or meat that is not organic still provides similar nutrients albeit sometimes in different ratios and amounts. The sandwiches are not that nutritious, because a big portion of the calories are in the bread, and subway bread is basically empty calories. So from a nutrition perspective, from 1 out of 10, I would probably rank it a 3 if you get veggies etc. on it. For a quick bite, a subway sandwich can certainly work.

    • Rinchen says:

      @Marc- Thankyou for your time and the response Marc.

      I then suppose preparing a healthy salad instead at home throwing in fresh or steamed veggies alongwith lean meat would be much better , right? you know that everything is fresh, there is no bread and you can control which and how much of seasoning you use.

      • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

        @Rinchen - well that's the ideal. Bread is ok here and there as long as it does not upset your stomach. Definitely a subject worthy of a separate post for sure, but generally bread has less nutrient density than other foods and even other grains. Eating lean meats, plenty of veggies, nuts/seeds, fruits and other whole foods is ideal.