Put Away the Scale for Now
January 2, 2020
Tracking your weight can be frustrating, especially if you have more than a few pounds to lose because weight can fluctuate by more than a few pounds a day.
To complicate matters, when you’re thirsty, your body panics and retains water, causing you to weigh even more. When you’re adequately hydrated, your body drops the water weight, causing you to weigh less.
Although these little fluctuations are utterly pointless in the long term, they can mess with your motivation.
Fat Loss Not Weight Loss
Muscle takes up less space than fat, which is why two people can weigh the same but look totally different.
By replacing fat with muscle you can lose inches around the belly, arms, thighs, and hips without losing a single pound on the scale. This is known as body recomposition, where you end up with a completely different ratio of fat to muscle, which is excellent news if you’re trying to lose weight.
The more muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolism runs, meaning you’ll burn more calories and lose fat faster.
But please don’t obsess over the number on the scale when building muscle. It’s so easy to freak out when you see a couple of extra pounds on the scale despite looking noticeably leaner in the mirror.
Body recomposition is simply the process of replacing body fat with muscle, which is achieved by combining aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
Spending hours on the treadmill may help you lose body fat but does very little for muscle growth. You need to combine running (or another aerobic activity) with weight training for body recomposition to take place.
Start with lighter weights so you can learn proper form and technique. It helps to have a trainer at this stage. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, challenge yourself by lifting heavier weights.
Nutrition plays a huge role in adding lean muscle mass. You need between 0.5 and 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight for muscle growth. Stick to lean sources of protein, such as chicken breast, beans, lentils, and Greek yogurt.
Lastly, although some people have success staying on track by weighing themselves daily, others find that twice a month works great. Get a scale that measures body fat percentage and muscle mass.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice if you’re not getting the results you’re expecting. Everyone’s body responds differently to exercise and nutrition. So, have fun figuring out what works for you until you’ve successfully designed a healthy lifestyle that you can stick with and enjoy.