There are times when you hit the gym, work hard and still gain weight. Here are some reasons why this phenomenon happens. We have to remember the weight loss requires taking in fewer calories.
Exercise increases our muscle mass. Muscle tissue is much more dense than fat tissue. Therefore, muscle weighs more. So when we step on the scale, we see the dial go up rather than down. The good news is that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, so having a higher muscle mass is a good thing. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t always look so good on the scale when our goal is weight loss.
- Be realistic about how many calories you are burning during a run. Men have more muscle mass, meaning they burn calories at a higher rate than females.
- Keep an accurate calorie count of everything you ingest. Avoid underestimating the number of calories you are eating or drinking. Track them on an app or keep a daily journal. Count everything you put in your mouth.
- Stay well hydrated. Dehydration cam mask itself as hunger, so drink plenty of water don’t mistake thirst for hunger.
- Plan a head. Make a post run recovery meal before your run so its ready to go. Eat immediately. Don’t wait several hours until you are starving because then you are at risk for making poor choices. Have some fruit and a lean protein on hand for refueling quickly. Or use a protein shake if you don’t have an appetite for food. Include 15 to 25 grams of protein post run along with some carbohydrates. This is perfect for appetite control and restoring the body after a run.
- Keep your house stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grain and some healthy fats. Keep the empty calories like crackers, cookies, cakes and other high fat/high calories foods out of the house to avoid temptation.
- Avoid rewarding your exercise habits with food. Make your rewards something other than food. For example treat yourself to a massage or a pedicure after a long run or a tough workout.
- Have a plan for running. Avoid running the same route and the same distance everyday. You have to establish a fitness base. Don’t be shy on adding some speed work once a week, invite a friend for a run. Explore new trails for a safe run. Increase your weekly mileage by 10 to 20 percent week to minimize your risk of injury. Include a rest week every third or fourth week where you reduce your mileage by 30 percent for some recovery time.
- Avoid unnecessary calories. Weigh yourself once a week. Your weight will fluctuate during the week. Don’t just look at the number on the scale. Tune in to how you feel and how your clothes fit. Feeling good and fitting in to clothes better is a great motivational tool rather than relying on just the scale.
- Variety is the spice of life. Our bodies like routine and will adapt quickly to an established schedule. But for weight loss, its better to keep your body challenged. Along with your running try weight training, yoga, swimming or try exercise classes. Keep your body and your mind engaged in your training routine.
Make these healthy habits a lifestyle choice rather than a chore.