So you have decided once and for all you are going to change your life. You start doing a program that is tough and you are working day after day. You have taken your measurements, your before pics, and you have weighed in.You have not missed 1 workout!
Fast forward to 2-3 week mark [the most often time when I get asked this question] and it is your chance to show yourself that all your hard work is paying off! Well, the moment of truth is here….you step on the SCALE and BOOM……you GAINED weight. Yes, you heard me right. You have gained 3 to 4 lbs. You are devestated.
DON’T BE. Here is my explanation based upon my knowledge and some digging I found. One, we have all heard muscle weighs more than fat. Well, that is not going to be my explanation here. Because the bottom line is 1 lb of muscle weighs the same as 1 lb of fat!
When you are going through a program this intense on your muscles they do get super sore, especially if you are not used to doing plyometrics everyday-an exercises using fast and powerful movements that includes strength and quickness. The more intense the program the more intense the muscle confusion will be and it will cause extreme soreness. The muscles become inflamed and retain water to heal and actually “swell” in the process. That means they “hold” on to the water to heal the microscopic tears that are happening within the muscle itself. This temporary 3 to 4 lb gain of “water weight” will gradually decrease around the 3 to 4 week mark.
Keep in mind some people never get sore. That does not mean they are not working hard, it just means their nerves are not as sensitive to this process. Some people experience this water retention and don’t feel sore and will still gain weight.
The same goes for inches gained. If your muscles are “swelling” they are growing! Hence, why when I first did Insanity…in the first 3 weeks, I actually GAINED an inch on each thigh and gained 3 pounds! Imagine my surprise, when I thought I should have been losing weight and losing inches. Fast forward to week 8. Did I continue to gain weight! NOPE. I lost 10 inches and 10 lbs!
Moral of the story? People often quit before they see the “magic.” Often times people get discouraged by this temporary setback in their minds and it becomes a “I tried that program it didn’t work attitude.” Look ahead to the future and tell yourself, you will give the ENTIRE program a chance! It takes the entire 8 weeks of training to definitely see a dramatic change. You can’t give up before your body has a chance to fully experience the change!
Often times I see this happening and “woman ” are the ones who are the most discouraged! Don’t be!! As a woman, I know how sensitive the weight issue can be. Just keep on pushing on. What you are experiencing is completely normal. Although it can be discouraging, don’t let this sway you from your goal! It took you a while to get to how you are now, and it is going to take you hard work, dedication, and commitment and CONSISTENCY to get to where you want to be.
As your body continues to go through muscle confusion-this is where the workouts change and the intensity changes sometime in the workout [with Insanity going from month 1 to month 2] Turbo Fire [month 2 to 3] and P90x [each new phase during the month] your body will experience this muscle soreness and maybe not respond as quickly as you like.
If after 4 weeks you continue to gain weight, it is time you CHECK your food intake.
In the words of Chalene Johnson creator and master mind of “Turbo Fire”…….
“If you experience a significant weight gain (exceeding 5 pounds) which does not begin to decrease rapidly after the second week, guess what it is??? I’ll give you one hint… you put it in your mouth and chew it. You know it! Your food (or calorie laden beverages). Newsflash friends.. exercise doesn’t make you gain weight. Consuming more food than you burn makes you gain weight!”
Some other thoughts:
I’m gaining weight, but I’m sure it’s muscle:
Possibly, but if you’re following your program correctly them you should be losing fat and gaining muscle and the fat loss should be much more substantial than the rate at which you can physically put on muscle. And this is true for both males and females. This is even true for the guys. That’s the key to keeping weight off long term, i.e. muscle. Muscle burns fat!!! That is a whole different post I need to write about :] Stay tuned!
So, put that scale into the closet…..and keep working out! Patience my friend….is a virtue!!! Stick with the program and I promise you this; as long as you are eating clean and following a well balanced nutritious eating plan…and putting in the time with the workouts….your time will come!
Focus on how you feel. Are you feeling better? Do you have more energy than you used to? Are you doing something you never thought you could do or finish! Um, yes you are!!! Are you feeling sore? Well, soreness = change!!! Focus on what is going right…and what you are doing for your NEW future self!