I Just Started Working Out; Why am I gaining weight?

So you’ve just signed up for a membership at your local gym, or you just began working with a personal trainer, but after the first two weeks you get on the scale and realize that you’re a kilo heavier. What’s going on? Well first of all, if you have a trainer I’m sure he or she has told you to stay off the scale. Time and time again as fitness professionals we find ourselves locked in battle with the treacherous scale as people obsess over weight instead of the stuff that really matters i.e., body fat, girth measurements and how your clothes fit. So first things first, throw that scale out the window. Whether you gain weight or not has a significant amount to do with many factors, including body type and nutrition.

When you begin to lift weights, your body which is now stimulated by heavier loads establishes new links between your brain and muscle. Your body begins to recruit more muscle and this increases its demands for energy.

It is this increase in demand that makes you feel hungrier than normal and it represents a change in your metabolism. This is a very critical time for you as you must now make better choices on what to consume and when to consume it, in order to meet the demands of increased muscle activity.  The problem that many personal trainers find is that their clients will begin to use this newly revved up metabolism as a sort of credit card which affords them the luxury of eating junk food. This is however counterproductive to your goals of fat and weight loss and most people will experience weight gain if this is not monitored carefully. This is a time where you have a chance to combine your training with lower calorie, high nutritional value foods and get the most out of your metabolism. At Active Lifestyle, we encourage our clients to eat often, but to make sure that you’re eating quality foods.

Not only is nutrition a key reason for why you may be gaining weight, but consider this:

  • Muscle is about 70% water and when you work out more; your body’s response places a higher demand for consumption of more water. Also in response to weight training your body needs to prepare itself for heavier loads. One of the ways it does this is to increase surface area by hydrating the muscle fibers in order to increase surface area and provide higher power outputs.
  • Your lean mass includes muscle, bone and organs. Weight bearing activity stimulates muscle growth and stimulates an increase in bone density. These two things can easily cause significant weight gain within the first couple of months. This is where it is important to have a look at girth measurements and body fat.  Muscle is heavier and denser than fat and as more muscle is stimulated, the body’s ability to burn fat increases, which sometimes results in a loss of inches with an overall gain of weight.

Similar to the old saying, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. Exercise doesn’t make you fat, the choices a person makes, makes that person fat.

At Active Lifestyle we believe it’s about changing your lifestyle and by”lifestyle” we mean changing the way your body moves, looks and feels; changing the fuel that you run on and giving you the confidence to take on any challenge.

The take home messages are clear.  Throw out the scale and focus on getting stronger and increasing your metabolism by moving more and eating right. The rest will fall into place over time. Rome was not built in a day and your body took years to get this far; sometimes 10, 20 or 30+.  The process of reprogramming your body is not an overnight miracle, but a life-long commitment to change. From an excerpt of Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”. Realize that your trainer or fitness coach is there to assist you in reaching your goals, as well as support you along your journey to change. We give you the tools to succeed, but it just may be that your attitude towards food, nutrition and exercise are the only thing holding you back from a better you.

Feel free to leave your comments, questions or your own personal input in the comments section below.

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By Rich Thurman, B.Sc., MA, CSCS, CPT

Health & Performance Coach

Active Lifestyle Co. Ltd

With a degree in Physiology from UCLA and a Masters Degree in Sports & Fitness Management, Rich combines his knowledge of rehabilitation and sports performance as well as nutritional studies to provide a complete and holistic approach to training clients. The focus is on lifestyle change which creates long term health.

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About Rich Thurman III B.Sc, MA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Rich has a Bachelors of Science in Physiological Science from UCLA and a Masters of Sports Management from USF. He is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association, (NSCA) as a Personal Trainer (CPT) and Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He is primary author of The Fitness Library and writes for various other publications, including the San Francisco Police Officer's Association. Rich is the founder of Xodus Fitness, which offers Fitness Consulting & Personal Training, Urban Body Transformation Bootcamps, Corporate Wellness. Rich also conducts Workshops and an annual lecture at the San Francisco State University Kinesiology Department. Please feel free to contact through any of the links below to inquire about professional services or opportunities.

One Response to I Just Started Working Out; Why am I gaining weight?

  1. Pingback: I Just Started Working Out; Why am I gaining weight? (via Bangkok Personal Trainer) « Bangkok Personal Trainer

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