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Understanding Exercise-Induced Weight Gain

It is common knowledge that exercise burns calories and helps you to shed extra pounds. 

Armed with this knowledge, many people think that losing weight should be easy with enough exercise. You may take this as bad news, but the truth is that for those who aren't used to exercising and are out of shape, beginning an exercise program may actually lead to weight gain. 

This fact, however, shouldn't stop you from exercising, as you'll eventually turn the weight corner and start losing. 

What is it about exercise that may cause some people to gain instead of lose weight? 

Muscle Mass: One of the main reasons exercising can lead to weight gain is that it promotes the growth of muscle mass. 

If you are not used to working out and haven't used certain muscles regularly, after exercising your muscles will be sore and will increase in size. While you may burn off fat, muscle is denser than fat. Therefore, the weight you gain is in your muscles. 

And take heart. Since muscles take up less space than fat, your extra weight doesn't necessarily translate to larger size. In fact, once you start working out, you'll probably become thinner, even if you maintain your previous weight. Instead of using a scale to determine if you are slimming down, have your body fat tested regularly or measure your body at certain areas. 

If you see that you're losing inches, then you know you're on the right track. 

Cardiovascular activities like walking, running, or swimming will encourage the growth of lean, toned muscles. Other activities such as weight lifting promote the growth of larger, stronger muscles that contribute to weight gain. 

But there is good news in this. If you stick with the exercise program, your muscles will soon stabilize in size and after a time, become toned. After your muscles are strong and able to handle more strenuous workouts, you will be able to burn calories faster. 

While it may be frustrating and disappointing to see the scale go up after starting an exercise routine, it shouldn't stop you from exercising. You may just be building muscle faster than losing body fat. This can be especially true if you're genetically prone to building muscle fast. The key is to incorporate plenty of cardio exercise in addition to strength training. That way you will burn plenty of calories during your routine and be more able to shed pounds. 

Eating Habits: When you work out and burn calories, your body will feel the need to replace those burned calories. 

This may make you feel hungrier than usual, which can cause you to eat more than normal - sometimes without knowing it. A good idea is to keep a food journal to track of the actual number of calories you are consuming. 

You may also end up eating more calories and justifying their consumption since you're exercising. After a good workout, you may see an ice cream sundae as a reward for the calories you burned. Just be careful. If you're interested in losing weight, you can't simply break even with your caloric intake and the amount of calories you burn. 

At the same time, eating too few calories can be counterproductive and slow your weight loss. Without enough calories, your body may slow its metabolism. So eat plenty to keep your body well fueled, but choose healthy calories that will help your body recover after a workout and grow stronger. 

Hydration: Depending on the time of day you weigh yourself, the scale may read differently. Your weight can fluctuate as much as five pounds depending on the amount of water or food you have recently consumed or the amount of water you have shed in sweat. It is therefore important to weigh yourself at the same time each day. 

I'm sure most of you who are clients and reading this are thinking: I've heard this before. It's a hard consept for some to grasp but, we must remember that weight/fat loss is a process and it's important to understand how the process can be affected. 





Transform From "Before" to "After"

Have you ever seen a really impressive "before" and "after" photo on a weight loss product?

Well, there's something that the diet industry doesn't want you to know. There is more involved than just the diet product, and it's the same across the board.

Look into the eyes of any person in their "before" picture and you'll see that they are deeply disturbed. The body they have is no longer in sync with the body they are able to accept.

They changed the body that they accept, and became disturbed.

Now look into their eyes in the "after" picture – see the sweet satisfaction? They now live in the body that they decided they could accept.What an amazing feeling that is.

Why are you still living life in your "before" body?

Sure, you have obstacles that get in your way – your schedule, your job, your kids, the weather, your knee injury from college…but ultimately you have the body that you accept.

I'm going to repeat that so it will really sink in.

You have the body that you accept.

Transform from "Before" to "After"
You may not realize it, but you already posses everything you need to transform your body, and it all starts with taking responsibility for the body that you have today.

You are in your current shape because, until this moment, you've been OK with it.

Oh I know you aren't thrilled with it, and you even talk about losing weight and getting fit - but you haven't changed what you'll accept.

Here's how to transform your body in 3 steps:

Step One: Feel Disturbed
It has been said that emotion creates motion. This is essential when it comes to personal transformation. Just like those folks in the "before" pictures, to transform your body you must first decide that you can't live another day in the body you currently have.

Get your emotions stirred up. Make a list of all the reasons that you're ready to lose weight and get fit. Get disturbed.

Step Two: Decide What You Want
Without clarity you'll never get where you want to go. Now that you're disturbed with the body you have, decide what the body you can accept looks like.

Think in concrete and specific terms. Just like the captions under ‘before" and "after" pictures - "Shannon lost 50 lbs," "Matt lost 8 inches from his waist," "Catherine went from a size 20 to a size 4."

Get a clear picture in your mind of what you'll look like in your "after" picture and decide what the caption will read.

Step Three: Take Action
The time spent between your inspiration (now) and taking action determines whether you will succeed or fail. Don't allow yourself to get stuck between inspiration and action - there is always something that you can do immediately.

Take action by emailing or calling me now to set up a fitness consultation. With either personalized sessions or group sessions myself and my great team are here for you.

We are here to take you from your "before" picture to your "after" picture. What will your "after" caption read? 






4 Ways To Burn More Fat

There is nothing quite as frustrating as seeing your results fizzle out. 

This is a common place to end up, usually after a few months on the same exercise routine. In the beginning your body responds to your routine with lost pounds and gained muscle tone, then one day all results screech to a stop. 

Why does this happen? And, more importantly, how can you prevent it? 

Your muscles adapt quickly to any repetitive routine. Remember that the definition of 'insanity' is to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. This holds true for your workouts. 

When your results stop, it's time to do something new.

  • The problem: Your muscles have adapted to your routine.
  • The Solution: It's time to apply the concept of muscle confusion.
Muscle confusion is a way to keep your body guessing by changing your routine. 

I have good news - the following 4 strategies are guaranteed to crank your workouts up to the next level and to deliver better results. 

Strategy #1: Use a Drop Set 

Drop sets are often used to fight off exercise plateaus. This technique is great for increasing muscle strength, endurance and for adding to the cardiovascular benefit of your workout - which results in more fat burn. 

This is how to do a drop set: When you perform an exercise to exhaustion, don't stop there. Drop the weight by 80% and do another set. 

You could take it a step further by dropping the weight twice, making it a double drop. Or drop the weight three times for a descending drop set. Use this technique only once or twice per workout, on the final set of the exercise. 

Strategy #2: Focus on Negatives 

Each time that you do a weight lifting repetition you are using three types of strength.

  1. Positive strength: lifting the weight.
  2. Static strength: holding weight in a contracted position.
  3. Negative strength: lowering the weight.
Most people completely miss the benefit of the negative in each repetition by allowing the weight to drop quickly with little control. It is understood that the negative portion of each repetition is just as important as the positive portion, possibly more important. 

Focus on the negative portion of each repetition by lowering the weight very slowly. Concentrate on the negative contraction, and make each repetition count. 

If you are advanced, then use a training partner to assist you in moving heavier-than-normal weight into a contracted position, then lower it very slowly. 

Another way to utilize negative repetitions on a machine is to lift the weight using two limbs but then lower it with just one. For example, use both legs to lift the weight on a leg extension machine, but then lower it back down slowly using only one leg. 

Strategy #3: Use Active Rest 

Every minute of your workout is an opportunity to increase intensity and to burn more fat. Don't waste precious minutes with long rest periods. 

While it is important to catch your breath if you feel winded, most of the time you would benefit more from an active rest. Do one of the following activities for 30 seconds between exercises and turn your regular workout into High Intensity Interval Training.

  • High Knees with Alternating Punches: Alternately bring each knee high to your chest in a quick jumping movement while alternating forward punches at shoulder level.
  • Burpees: Start in a sanding position and bend at the waist. Once your hands hit the floor, push your entire body back, extending your legs until they're straight and you're in the push-up position. Go down for a push-up, and when you push yourself up, jump slightly to bring your feet back near your hands. Finally, jump in the air with your arms fully extended over your head.
  • Side-to-Side Jumps on Bench: Stand on one side of an exercise bench. Place the foot closest up onto the bench, jump up and switch feet, then land on the opposite side of the bench.
  • Mountain Climbers: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg quickly.
  • Side-to-Side Ab Twists: With feet close together, jump and twist your legs left to right - holding your abs tight. Keep a bend in your knees and swing your upper arms with each twist.
  • Jump Lunges with Pop Squat: Start in a lunge position, lunge down then quickly jump up, switching your leg position in midair, land in an opposite leg lunge. Once you've done both legs, jump straight into a squat.
  • Medicine Ball Squat Jumps: With feet wider than shoulder-width apart hold a medicine ball at chest level. Squat down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Explosively jump up, raising the medicine ball straight over your head.
Strategy #4: Modify the Exercise There are certain exercises that are considered 'staples' in the gym. 

The squat. The lunge. The chest press. The shoulder press. The bicep curl. You get the idea... 

While you shouldn't throw these exercises out the window, find creative ways to modify the familiar motion in order to challenge your muscles. Try these exercise modifications:

  • Squat on a Bosu ball or balance board.
  • Place a weighted bar across your shoulders and do walking lunges.
  • Use an exercise ball for chest presses instead of the bench.
  • Do a full squat between each repetition of shoulder presses.
  • Do a shoulder press between each repetition of bicep curls.
If you'd like a sure-fire way to break through your fitness plateau and to melt away unwanted fat, then contact me for a fitness consultation.