Smutty Fitness: Muscle weighs more than fat

February 6, 2014 15:36:03 Posted at February 6, 2014 15:36:03
Hayley Posted by Hayley

Hi Hayley,

I booked a beach vacation that is 9 weeks away.  Three weeks ago, I started a major overhaul of my diet and fitness regime to get ready for a week of fun in the sun (in a bikini!).  I'm using an app where I track calories to stay at about 1200 per day (more if I exercise) and have started running on the treadmill 5 days per week (30 min run...I am a former runner, haven't run in about a year, so this feels great).  Also, I cut the wine almost completely out of my diet (save for a glass or 2 on the weekend...I had been drinking, ahem, quite a bit more than this before) and am drinking tons more water. I started at 155 and after 3 weeks of this, I'm only down 3 lbs!?!

I would have thought that these major changes would have yielded more significant results, especially at the beginning.  Any idea why I'm progressing so slowly?  Any tips on how to ramp things up?

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I am sure you are all sick of hearing this but muscle weighs more than fat. A lot more! Click here to see for yourself the difference in size between a pound of muscle and a pound of fat.

I understand as women we want to see the number on the scale move south but you cannot solely focus on what the scale is telling you. I am at my heaviest of weights but smallest of sizes when I am really focused on training for something, like a marathon. When the scale reads lighter it usually has to do with the fact that I am not exercising and my body is losing muscle. So yes I am seeing the scale drop but I am actually becoming less fit and healthy. 

Weight loss depends on how much body fat we really have to lose so a better judgement of your progress is recording the changes in your body composition, which can easily be done by a trainer at your local fitness center, and your measurements. These numbers will be a better example of the changes in your body than simply relying on the scale.

Try adding some high intensity intervals in your 30 minute runs and adding a few strength training exercises after you finish your run. Pushups, lunges, squats and planks are a great way to strengthen your body and you do not need any equipment to do these. Set a timer for 30 seconds with 15 seconds to recover and do 3 – 5 sets for each exercise. The intervals and the strength exercises will help you burn a few more calories in your workout as well as help keep your metabolism going stronger after you finish your workout.

Also, you need to eat more. 1200 net calories a day is not enough, especially if you are active. Your body is starving and could potentially be storing energy (fat) and you are never going to see results. Do not be afraid to up that number by a few hundred (to 1400 or 1500 daily calories) but make sure the calories are healthy calories. Fill your diet with protein and fibre rich foods and foods that are full of healthy fats. Fat is good, do not be afraid of it! 

Embrace your muscle and your athletic build and rock your beach body with confidence. Continue to train hard and take care of your body by eating well, getting lots of sleep, drinking lots of water and eliminating stress but do so because it is making you healthy rather than just skinny.

Attached – Vanessa Hudgens goes on a hike.

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