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weight loss

Screw the Scale

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Screw the Scale

I get this question a lot: “I just started exercising, so why am I gaining weight?” I’m pretty sure many of us have experienced this. We start a new training program and the number on the scale stays the same, or even worse, it goes up. Truth is, this is completely normal - and temporary. When we start a new exercise program and our bodies aren’t adjusted to that type of stress, our muscles may become inflamed. Most of the weight you see on the scale is probably not fat, but temporary water weight due to inflammation. However, it could also be an increase in muscle mass. Yay!

Again, one reason you may have gained weight in your first month of training is due to inflammation. When you work out a given muscle, you’re basically causing tears in your muscle fibers. This is usually referred as "microtrauma" and is why you feel sore the next day. But on the bright side, your body heals these little tears and makes your muscles stronger as you continue to lift heavy weights - essentially, your body adapts to the stress. That’s how you can get stronger and more fit: you create adaptation to whatever you’re doing, whether its cardiovascular training or strength training. During the first month of a new training program - especially if you’re new to fitness - there’s definitely going to be a lot of adaptation going on and these fluid build-ups caused by inflammation might show up on the scale. But don’t worry, once your body is adapted to this stress, the scale should go back down. Just keep working hard and trust the process.

Another reason why you might see weight gain within the first few weeks of training is that you’re building muscle faster than you’re losing fat. Muscle is more dense than fat, thus taking up less space. Next time, rather than stepping on a scale, measure your circumference instead. It’s often the case that, if you do gain muscle mass, the scale might go up, but you’ll probably fit better in your jeans.

Often times, we define fitness by body weight. I’ve seen so many people throughout their fitness journeys lose motivation because the scale wasn’t budging. But what does that number really mean? Does that mean they’re not progressing? Not getting stronger? Not becoming healthier? Chances are, the answer is no. Place the scale aside and focus on what really matters. Do your clothes fit better? Do you feel better? Are you happier? If the answer is yes, disregard the scale.

People may not consider the early changes to their bodies as a good thing. The key is to not let that number define your hard work and discourage you from working out or eating healthy. So, instead of weighing yourself, pay attention to what really matters: strength, endurance, health, how you feel, and most importantly, happiness. You’re so much more than just a number! Again, once you’ve been working out consistently, your muscle gains and water weight should stabilize. So keep doing what you’re doing and don’t lose faith. Be patient. Stick with your program. Don’t let any arbitrary number tell you how well or not you’re doing if you’re seeing positive physical changes. Like what successful people say, “Age is just a number.” Well..your weight is just a number, too.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why Not Now?!

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Why Not Now?!

Let’s get motivated!

As the holiday season approaches, many clients will fall to the wayside only to surface January 1st, two steps back and they return with a new goal in mind. Now this may seem like the ideal client for the gym industry- it does make for a great sale- but this isn’t ideal for the person, who statistically falls off after 3 months. I don’t mean to point any fingers here, but just trying ruffle some feathers to uncover those of you who are really ready to make a serious commitment towards lifestyle changes.

Motivation is to be described as the direction and intensity of effort. The direction of effort refers to whether one seeks out, approaches, or is attracted to situations; while intensity of effort refers to how much effort one puts for in a situation (Boyd, 2014). Now everyone is different, but some of the common reasons for beginning an exercise routine are health factors, weight loss, fitness, self challenge, and feeling better. These initial reasons are a great start, but it is important that those initial reasons slide to the bottom of the list making room for reasons why individuals continue to exercise.

Not everyone is motivated the same way, some individuals might be more intrinsically motivated, while others extrinsically motivated. Extrinsic motivation involves participating in an activity for the reward or punishment- meaning exercising because you like to eat McDonalds on your days off (Hunter, 2008). Intrinsic motivation is derived from the enjoyment of the activity- Whaaaat, you actually like the feeling of sweat in your eyes?! Most clients start out being more extrinsically motivated, and it is our job as personal trainers to help our clients gain some intrinsic motivation. One way that Perform for Life fosters intrinsic motivation is that we are always going to provide an environment for clients to be successful and experience pride in their accomplishments.

Enough with all the words. Let’s be real, everyone is looking for the list of tips!

How to not only achieve your results during the holidays but also become more intrinsically motivated forever:

  • Set specific not general goals

Ex: General goal: lose inches around my waist

Specific: lose 2 inches around my belly button.

  • Set challenging but realistic goals
  • Set long term and short term goals
  • Ink it, don’t think it

Write it down. Take a picture! Make it fun!

  • Support!

Who supports you other than your coach with your goals?

  • Evaluation and feedback

Goals change, things happen. It’s ok to tweak things.

BONUS TIP!!!

Give yourself some rewards every now and again. Donuts, pizza, a margarita, treat yourself! 

Now, I know all of these steps sound lengthy and intimidating, but it is our job as your coaches to help you succeed. There is no better reward than seeing a client go above and beyond their goal. Success is not going to come easy, but once fat pants become your skinny pants, you’ll forget all about the burpees and you’ll relish in the fact that you actually enjoy them now.

Happy lifting!

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References:

Boyd, M. (2014) Goal setting. [Powerpoint slides].

Boyd, M. (2014). Motivation. [Powerpoint slides].

Hunter, S. (2008). Promoting intrinsic motivation in clients. Strength and conditioning journal, 30 (1). 52-54.


 

 

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