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TOPIC: Strength training and weight gain

 
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November 16, 2010 9:16 PM
Within the last month, I've started incorporating 2 days of strength training into my weekly routine. I try to do cardio 3-4 times a week as well. During the week I am pretty faithful about logging all my food and exercise and staying within my calories. I eat most of my exercise calories back and if I don't, I make it up somewhere else in the week. During the weekend, I'm not as faithful about logging foods, but I don't think I do an awful job of eating right.

The point of this is that I'm frustrated because I have been working my tail off. This week I step on the scale and GAIN 2 pounds. I'm super frustrated. My trainer says it's very common to gain muscle right away, and I believe him even though many people here say that is a myth. I wouldn't think it would take a lot for a 197 pound person to lose weight, especially right away. How long does it take for that "gaining" to go away and the losing to start kicking in? I want to see light at the end of the tunnel, and I don't want to quit out of frustration. Help me please!!
  424964
November 16, 2010 9:20 PM
I think it's a myth that you gain muscle right away. But I do think your muscles do retain water and protest what you're doing to them when you start a weight training routine. Normally lasts about 4-6 weeks and they finally surrender and release the fluid.
  650371
November 16, 2010 9:24 PM
same problem i am now doing the 30 day shred and instead of losing i gained 2 as well. I hope next week is better for the both of us.
November 16, 2010 9:26 PM
that's the way it started for me, i lost maybe 1 pound the first week, didn't lose any for the next week and a half, then dropped 5 pounds. just be patient and keep working hard, it'll eventually pay off :) also always make sure you're drinking TONS of water to flush everything out of your system, especially all the salt
  1650958
November 16, 2010 9:27 PM
QUOTE:

Within the last month, I've started incorporating 2 days of strength training into my weekly routine. I try to do cardio 3-4 times a week as well. During the week I am pretty faithful about logging all my food and exercise and staying within my calories. I eat most of my exercise calories back and if I don't, I make it up somewhere else in the week. During the weekend, I'm not as faithful about logging foods, but I don't think I do an awful job of eating right.

The point of this is that I'm frustrated because I have been working my tail off. This week I step on the scale and GAIN 2 pounds. I'm super frustrated. My trainer says it's very common to gain muscle right away, and I believe him even though many people here say that is a myth. I wouldn't think it would take a lot for a 197 pound person to lose weight, especially right away. How long does it take for that "gaining" to go away and the losing to start kicking in? I want to see light at the end of the tunnel, and I don't want to quit out of frustration. Help me please!!
Do you feel fatter? Are your clothes tighter? I stalled on losing weight but kept looking for signs for weight gain and...nothing. I realized my scale is nice to use for trend tracking, but pointless to look for progress, especially when working out.
November 16, 2010 9:36 PM
If you're really pushing your muscles will retain fluid (intended to aid in the healing process) for up to 48 hours. That said, yes you're up a couple pounds. Make sure you crank up your water intake, watch your sodium and make sure you're at least 48 hours from your last weight training session before you get on the scale. I lift 5 days a week- will go up 2-4 pounds depending on the time of the month, whether I'm increasing weights etc... I find NOW that 24 hours is sufficient for the at weight to drop.

That said, initially as your body composition changes you may not see weight loss as quickly as you would like. You will be building muscle and burning fat- that exchange (because muscle is denser) may cause you to gain a little or even momentarily "stall out" on the weight loss. DON'T FRET!!! Take measurements to get you through until you see the big drop. Building muscle will allow your body to be more efficient and eventually you'll see those pounds drop like flies!!

Keep at it- you're doing the right thing! drinker
  710890
November 17, 2010 1:55 AM
My major weight loss was seen while I was doing P90X back in 2007. So I was building tons of lean muscle while doing fat burning cardio...

That said, my first month, I didn't lose anything at all. However, I was smaller because my inches went down and my clothes fit better. I was much much MUCH stronger in all muscle groups, so I do NOT believe that muscle gain initially is a myth. It was true for me because I was able to lift more weight the second day compared to the first, the third compared to the second, etc. The water gain is very true as well, but much of the water you are initially retaining is there to aid with muscle repair after working out...and the muscle repair going on, you guessed it, is where you add more lean mass each time to strength train, providing that you are lifting heavy enough to see results (strength increases and mass increases won't happen so fast with those high rep/low weight routines). I was losing size which let me know that I was losing fat, but the scale wasn't moving because I was gaining muscle too...and it balanced out on the evil little scale.

The second month, I was getting to the point where my muscular strength was not improving as fast as it had before. However, I lost 5 pounds. My lean mass growth had slowed, but my body fat loss continued just as before. I was getting smaller, but this time I could see it on the scale.

The last month...and the 4th month, cause I actually did the program twice in a row back then...I dropped a significant amount of weight. I had started at 191 pounds and ended up right around 130 (128 was my lowest point, but I wavered between there and 132 depending on the day). I increased my reps and/or weight slightly during this time, but nothing as was seen in the beginning.

The whole time I was working the program, I was losing body fat and gaining lean mass. I had my body fat tested the whole time, and by doing this, I could easily see that I was gaining tons of lean mass at first compared to the end, and losing body fat at a steady rate the whole time. When my lean mass growth slowed down (finally), the scale cooperated with me. But, keep in mind that I was seeing inches changes and body fat % changes the whole time as well, so I didn't stress too much over the scale.

With all that being said, when your body will balance out is different for each person. Some people who aren't doing the heavy lifting like I was take a lot less time to start seeing the scale go in the direction they prefer since they are building lean mass, but not as quickly. I remember reading an interview with Chalene Johnson (creator of Turbo Jam, ChaLEAN Extreme, and Turbo Fire) and she said that when she was doing the "test group" for her ChaLEAN program, there were lots of people, mostly women, who quite frankly wanted to give up during that first month because they were gaining weight on the scale. But they stuck with it the whole way through, and she said that every single one of them ended up smaller than they had started out and also weighing less on the scale.

So my advice is just please be patient. Your body is changing, so give it some time, and the changes that you are seeking will happen. I think that's why I don't weigh myself everyday or even once a week like a lot of people do. I find that if I wait enough time in between weigh-ins, the intial gain won't be there and neither will the water gain. Just keep plugging along, because you know that exercise and eating right always leads to good results. Measure success in more ways than just the scale, and remember that it's not all about weight, but how much healthier you are making your body in the end.
November 17, 2010 12:03 PM
Thanks guys! I definitely needed that encouragement. I was starting to feel like I was destined to be fat forever. My trainer did advise me not to weigh for the first 4-6 weeks, but I find that if I don't weigh myself, I can easily go into denial mode. Sometimes the weight gain keeps me accountable to do well the next day. I also know it will take some time to build that lean muscle mass as unfortunately I am 50% body fat and 20% muscle. Those numbers scared my trainer as he said that my muscle mass was WAY too low. I'm hoping to get some better results. I will keep plugging away. Thanks again!
  424964
November 17, 2010 12:16 PM
Hey there,

The main thing that your average bathroom scale won't tell you is your Body Composition or lean mass. This is why your trainer advised you not to weigh yourself for a few weeks.

As a trainer myself, I stress Strength training as a vital component of anyone's workout to the best of their ability. the reason for this is that Strength training is the popular method to increase or maintain your Lean Mass while losing weight.

The problem with simple weighing, is when people say they want to lose weight, what they really mean is they want to lose fat (Not the same thing).

Your lean mass is made up of your Muscles, Bones, and Blood Vessels etc, with your Body Fat being the remaining portion.

A vital component of Lean mass however is water, which is generally what accounts for the increase on the bathroom scale.

This is not to be confused with "Water Retention" however, but instead think on the cellular level. As your Bones, Muscles and Blood vessels become stronger, each cell is being fed with more energy to feed your body what it needs.

As this Lean mass is fed, the increase in nutrients shows on your scale as a "weight gain" however there is also the direct correlation to your metabolism which becomes more efficent at burning more fat through the course of the day, giving your body the overall changes in that 4-6 week span.

This is why it's common for people to see a weight gain at the onset of any training program. Your trainer sounds like he's right on the money.

Ask them if they do Body Comp Testing as that'll give you a benchmark every 6 weeks or so that'll show you more detailed progress than what your home scale tells you.

Cheers!
November 17, 2010 12:49 PM
I've been thinking about his too. I started lifting more 5 weeks ago.... the scale stopped going down much.... infact it was up 1 lb this morning... but I had to much fun on the weekend, and TOM started today too.....
but my clothes fit better...I feel better....
So, how long does this last? because I am picture a 177lb obese girl wearing size 8 jeans!!!!!!!!!! I mean, that can't happen - right???? lol
  1756827
November 17, 2010 1:06 PM
I would first start by going to my doctor and having a blood workup done to make sure you don't have a thyroid problem. The reason I say this is because I was having some issues of energy and weight loss, but when I got on thyroid medication I was much better and the weight has been coming off along with hard work. I wouldn't worry so much about lifting weights at first and concentrate more on the cardio portion. This will show you an immediate weight loss and will inspire you to do better when you do get to the weight training phase. Best of luck.

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