A couple of weeks ago, we asked another question: There are lots of myths and misinformation when it comes to exercise. We asked for your questions about exercise. I wanted to share some of the ones we received and respond to them:
1. “Why can't we lose lb and inches at same time? Is it better to eat the calories burned? What's the balance?” I know it may seem that we cannot and sometimes do not lose pounds and inches at the same time. This can be especially true for a new exerciser. Many people have reported to me that they were losing pounds on the scale but stopped losing weight when they began to incorporate exercise. There are a couple of dynamics that might be at play to cause this to happen, at least temporarily. The first is that for some people,adding the additional element of exercise increases their appetite. With an increased appetite, replacing the 300-500 calories you burned through a tough workout session, is just all too easy to accomplish in a few seconds of impulse eating that results in a bad choice or a larger portion being rationalized “I can eat this. I just worked out!” It takes literally seconds to consume the calories you just took an hour to burn. This is why we recommend food journalling as a way to always be in front of exactly how much food and calories you are consuming. Try to remember that weight loss/body fat loss is accomplished through creating an overall calorie deficit (burning more calories than you consume). Exercise will help assist you with creating this deficit, unless of course, you replace these calories afterwards.
The other dynamic that may contribute to a perceived stall on the scale is that when you begin to exercise, you begin to demand more activity from your muscles and they get heavier. This increased activity load/ “calling to action” of the muscles results in an increased demand for water and glycogen (glucose-the source of fuel within your muscles that facilitates contraction). Your muscles begin to hold more water and glycogen to respond to the new loads. They literally become heavier. You may be actively burning up your body fat stores, but your muscles have become heavier. Remember, the scale is an indicator of what you weigh. Your weight is comprised of skin, bones, muscles, your organs and your body fat. Weight loss is about losing body fat. What is going to give us a waist line that we an be proud of is losing body fat. If you reach a “weight loss” stall when initiating exercise, take a step back and evaluate. Has your intake in food and calories increased or not? If it has, do what you need to do to cut back. If it has not, be patient. The recent increase in lean weight will stabilize. As you continue to burn off your body fat, you will eventually see the results on the scale.