I am kinda upset today.
After 2 weeks of gym and controlling my food intake; I was at my friends place getting ready to go to the gym and she had this bathroom weighing scale. So she told me to just weigh myself, and to my surprise I weighed 63.8kg – thats an increase from 62.8kg the last I weighed when I just started at Fitness First. Imagine the horror… I was so upset that I ended up not going to the gym. I did not imagine any miracles happening, but I did not expect to put on weight as I have not missed a day of gym since the first day I have joined.
I am not too sure what am I doing wrong or the weight increase is something normal. I have been going for nearly 1 1/2 hours of gym – involve loads of cardio… from treadmill to cycling..and loads of other stuffs.. I use to be unable to even jog for 5 minutes when I joined and now I am able to jog for at least 10 minutes non-stop…
I have also changed my diet.. I take oats/cereal/nestum in the morning for breakfast (which I never use to take anything for breakfast before) .. lunch consists of mixed rice (I only eat 1 quarter of the portion of what I used to take previously) and dinner will be fruits + sandwich or steam veges..
I will be talking this over with my Personal Trainer tomorrow and see what I am doing wrong. But I would really like to get some feedback from you as frankly I feel really inspired from reading your blog everyday. I have been reading all your old posts (those that I have not read)…
Thanks for taking the time to read this.. Really do appreciate it.
Let me explain what your body is currently going through:
The weight gain you have experienced is absolutely normal. It is known as the ‘initial weight gain’ which happens to many people when they begin a comprehensive exercise program which includes cardiorespiratory training, resistance training(exercising with weights), and flexibility training. This scares many people – women especially.
So why did you gain weight?
You see, the weighing scale is actually not very smart. It cannot tell the difference between muscle weight and fat weight. The scale only measures our total weight. If you strapped on a backpack to yourself and stood on the scale, does it mean that you have become fatter when the scale shows an increase in weight? No, of course not.
When you start to exercise you tend to gain lean weight (fat-free weight). So, you may not lose weight on the scale for a few weeks, or even a few months. Like I said, this is normal, and you shouldnâ€™t worry. Fat weight is being lost, and lean weight is being added at about the same rate. Youâ€™re losing fat and gaining muscle! How incredible is that! That’s why it is not a good practice to weigh yourself every week to measure progress.
Standard height/weight charts also cannot tell us how much fat we carry. For example, the BMI (body mass index) classifies me as overweight – just a little short from being obese – but I am absolutely PRETTY sure that I am not overweight. Why does this happen? These standards/measurements are just averages that have been determined for average, healthy people. We are individuals, with different problems, and different conditions/circumstances, so our results can vary.
One reasonably accurate method to measure changes in body composition is to do a skin fold measurement test. A competent Personal Trainer can take a three-point skin fold measurement (chest, abdomen and thigh for men and triceps, supra-iliac and thigh for women) and determine your bodyfat percentage using the Jackson-Pollock methods which are generally considered to be the most reliable overall (but can be hard to obtain if one is very obese). Also, the accuracy of the skinfold method is affected by the skill of the person administering the test. Another alternative is to use the Tanita bodyfat composition scale (Fitness First would have this), which is good BUT few protocols have to be met to ensure reliability and accuracy. Speak to your trainer.
So we can conclude that for this initial period, you can ignore the weighing scale, but instead, look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself :
- How do you look?
How do your clothes fit?
Are good changes going on with your body shape or physique?
Are you generally feeling better?
I’m pretty sure you’ll say YES.
Also, it is generally a good practice to weigh yourself on the same scale you always do, and preferably even at the same time of the day as you did before. Water levels in your body can fluctuate throughout the day, depending on how well you’re hydrated and throughout the month as well depending on your hormonal fluctuations as a result of the menstrual cycle women go through.
If at all this weight gain continues for many months, and becomes excessive – THEN I would then recommend that you keep a food journal, keeping track and writing down every single thing you eat for a few days, and then pass it to your personal trainer for a review to see if there’s a possibility you could be slacking in this area.
One of the greatest benefits for having a Personal Trainer is the supplementary educational information they can provide about attaining optimal health.
WELL DONE on adhering to your exercise program so far. You deserve a pat on the back, and I’m looking forward to hearing your success story/testimonial in the near future. Or maybe even see you on one of those Fitness First ‘Real People, Real Results’ posters on the notice boards someday? ;)
Your friend and coach,