Did you join the gym hoping that you would lose weight, tone up, and get fit? Have you found that after months of sweating it out, pushing your burning muscles to get through one extra rep, or spending what feels like an eternity on the treadmill… that your weight hasn’t budged? Or even worse, that you’ve gained weight?
Here we break down why the gym could be sabotaging your weight loss.
Post- workout hunger
You’ve just put in a huge effort with your workout. Your legs are feeling shaky, you gave it your all, and you just know that you burned some SERIOUS calories. So now you are starving and looking for something satisfying. You know as you serve up your meal that you are dishing yourself up a bigger portion, or maybe choosing something a bit heavier.
But that’s fine right? I mean, you just did an intense workout, so that will make up for the meal you are about to eat with no problems. Right?
Not so fast. Studies have shown that people tend to grossly overestimate how many calories they burn during a workout, and underestimate how many calories are in the food they eat. The result? You justify eating bigger portions, or choosing less healthy foods, and end up gaining weight instead of losing it.
So what’s the solution? Eating a pre-planned portion controlled snack either in the hour before or after exercise so that you can replace the fuel you burned off and stave off hunger until your next meal. Making sure you drink lots of water can help with this as well, and working to change the belief that exercise gives you permission to eat more.
Your PT is recommending protein supplements
Are there brightly coloured posters at your gym showing perfectly toned athletes drinking supplements? How about staff members that have a vested interest in you spending your money at the supplement counter. Are there delicious looking cold electrolyte drinks on display as you walk out of your session?
All of these can be working against you, convincing you that you need a protein drink for recovery or better performance. In reality, unless you are an elite athlete, chances are that a real snack made with healthy unprocessed fresh ingredients and including low GI carbohydrate and lean protein is going to be a fantastic recovery snack, and water is the perfect drink for rehydrating.
By adding in any extra foods or drinks to your day that isn’t part of your original healthy eating plan, you are going to be slowing down or halting your weight loss. The solution- read nutrition labels, decide whether this is a conscious decision that you are making and adjust the rest of your meals accordingly if you want to include supplements in your day so that you stay on track.
Keeping a food and drink diary can help you get a snapshot of all the extras that might be sneaking into your week and stopping you reaching your weight loss goals.
You’ve gained muscle
Muscle weighs more than body fat. Depending on your body and how it responds to exercise and healthy eating, you may be losing body fat while building muscle, and therefore slimming down while the number on the scales remains much the same.
In this case, you want to consider taking measurements around your abdominal area, hips, thighs, chest, and upper arms to see whether you are losing cm’s. If this is the case, disregard what the scales are saying. you are getting fit, strong, and toning up! Congrats!