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Losing Weight (including muscle) for Sport

This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Christian Thibaudeau 5 months, 1 week ago.

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    Hi Coach,

    After a few years lifting in the gym I am trying to get back into shape to play soccer. Over the last 6 weeks I have been running long intervals 3 times per week alongside following Jim Wendler’s Building the Monolith in an attempt to shed fat and maintain muscle. I am now in significantly better aesthetic shape than before but I am 6lbs heavier. 

    What training would you recommend in order to lose weight in order to increase speed and agility? 

    I know diet will play a part but I would like to know the best training methods to “sacrifice” muscle for the reasons highlighted.

    Thanks in advance for any knowledge you are able to share with me!




    Weight training makes muscle bigger and stronger. There isn’t a weight training program to make muscles smaller. If you do very low reps (1, 2, 3) per set and low volume you will not gain muscle,but it will not accelerate muscle loss. If you really want to lose muscle you need to stop lifting and do more cardio.

    BUT you will find that losing muscle will NOT make you faster or quicker. 

    Muscle is your motor, more muscle = bigger motor = more power.

    Being heavier WILL make you slower if it comes from fat. And maybe in some cases carrying too much muscle could make you less agile due to a loss in mobility, but we are talking bodybuilding big here.

    You likely feel less agile and slower because it’s been a while since you played. Give yourself a few weeks to relearn to use your body in an athletic manner and your speed will come back.

    You are also older,which can lead to a decrease in speed.

    So in recap you are not slower because you are too muscular. You are slower because you have not sprinted and played soccer for years and are older. 

    This article might interest you;





    Hi Coach,

    Many thanks for your quick and informative response. I have been following your work for a number of years now and have every confidence in what you say. I am happy to follow your advice without knowing the following answer but if I may…

    Given what you have just said about more muscle = more power -> more speed, why are there no top level soccer players in the UK above around 90kgs?

    (You have probably already figured out I am a Type 3 athlete!)

    Thanks again,




    I’m glad to hear this.


    why are there no top level soccer players in the UK above around 90kgs


    1. The state of strength & conditioning in soccer is horrible from what I’ve seen. It’s decades behind in terms of beliefs and applications. A lot of the people involved in soccer (even the strength coaches) believe that gaining muscle is a bad thing and they do mostly “functional” training and agility drills.
    2. When you practice soccer daily, you burn a ton of calories and activate AMPK a lot. Both of these things make it REALLY hard to build muscle even if you try to… and these guys aren’t trying to.
    3. The guys at the tops  are the most genetically gifted for soccer. Great natural skills/coordination, naturally fast and agile. Everywhere they went they were likely the fastest without even trying. These guys likely didn’t need effective strength & conditioning to reach the top because they had all the required athletic tools from the start. I could make a comparison between Usain Bolt who did little strength & conditioning and wasn’t that strong, and a guy like Ben Johnson (who was likely close to being as fast at his peak) who squatted over 280kg for reps and bench pressed 190kg. And many of the top sprinters squatted over 240kg.


    What do you suggest to still push heavy and getting leaner with condition aid ?


    What do you suggest to still push heavy and getting leaner with condition aid ?


    Well you will likely need to decrease the amount of strength training work if you are doing sport practices.

    You should train in the gym to increase strength. Which requires less volume than training for muscle growth.

    But more importantly you will need to do more agility work, jumps, sprints and playing soccer if you want to gain speed.

    Basically when you get more muscular and stronger it’s like if I give you a new, more powerful, car. You need to practice driving it if you are to learn to use it’s full potential.

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