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Puzzling weight gain
Old 04-14-2008, 09:11 AM   #1
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Puzzling weight gain

I turned over a new leaf Jan. 1 and decided to start making up for 3 or 4 years of neglect. Joined a gym and I now hit it 5X a week before work (getting up at 4:45AM to do so ). 3X a week I do cardio, generally the equivalent of running 3.5 to 4 miles, whether actual running or machine equivalents. 2X a week I am doing strength training on machines. I have been challenging myself and steadily bumping up weight amounts and the time and strenuousness of my workouts. Also usually end up doing something physically demanding at least one day each weekend (6 hours brewing and gardening yesterday). All fine and good.

But here's the odd part: I have put on almost 5 pounds since the start of the year. I definately have had an increase in my appetite, but nothing overboard and I have been focussing on portion control. I don't seem to be putting on fat, since my clothes fit a little better (not doing the "fat man's slide" between a couples of belt notches) and some things (man boobs, etc.) are shrinking. My upper body has definately started to bulk up muscle, which is the likely source of the weight gain.

So is this anything to worry about? I am in much better shape than when I started and am feeling better. I was just hoping to lose weight, and its a bit discouraging to see the numbers climb (up to 191# at 5'11").
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:14 AM   #2
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If my clothes were fitting better and I looked better, I wouldn't care if I weighed 300lbs.

I suspect it's the muscles coming on that account for the change.

GREAT effort on your part!!! Congratulations!
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:14 AM   #3
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It is QUITE common for folks that start hitting the gym hard to see this "phenomenon". Remember, muscle weighs MORE than fat........

The only thing I would "watch" is your caloric intake. Many folks think that just because they are burning more calories, they can eat all they want. It probably worked well when you were a teenager, but those days are gone.

Again, it's WHAT you eat, as well as HOW MUCH..........

I wish I had your determination..........
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:29 AM   #4
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Make sure you are eating enough. To put on all that muscle your body needs a good deal of calories. If you are not eating enough your body will slow its self down to conserve energy.
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:36 AM   #5
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[quote=Notmuchlonger;643008]Make sure you are eating enough. [quote]

Generally not an issue. I am a foodie of sorts, so its more a matter of restraining my natural impulses.

It is reassuring that this isn't unusual.
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:41 AM   #6
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Well someone your size and gender needs like 1000 to 1500 calories a day just to maintain. Then as hard as you are exercising you could probably burn 700 to 1000 calories an hr depending on how hard you are at it. A lot of it is like FD said is "what" you eat too.

Im not an expert by no means but when I first started getting in shape and losing weight I kept plateauing and it was because I was not taking in enough calories.

Good job job takes real commitment to change your habits.
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:48 AM   #7
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This is normal and good. You're losing fat and gaining muscle. Don't worry aobut becoming too Arnold-like -- this process will stop sooner or later and your weight and physique will stabilize. At that point you could decide whether you want to lose more fat/weight, which would require some diet changes and possibly doing more cardio.
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:55 AM   #8
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Remember, muscle weighs MORE than fat........
Thats it in a nutshell. I also find that weight training increases appetite. I switched my workouts to heavier weights a few months ago and I'm up 5 pounds also. Hopefuly the summer months will knock it off.
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Old 04-14-2008, 12:04 PM   #9
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I started doing a reduced version of what you are doing at the start of the year (cardio, stretches, lots of push-ups, etc) 5x/week before work for ~35 minutes. After a month or two I weighed in at the dr's office and noticed I had gained 4-5 pounds, yet the pants were getting lose and I had to tighten the belt a notch. It has to be the initial muscle mass gain (going from couch potato to physically active). For big guys, it isn't too hard to add 10 pounds of muscle fairly quickly if you start from relatively little muscle mass. And you can't really expect 10 lbs of weight loss to offset the muscle mass gain initially. My guess is that my muscle mass will remain fairly stable at this point since I'm not increasing the intensity of my strength training or cardio. Hopefully the weight will slowly drop.
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Old 04-14-2008, 12:28 PM   #10
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Muscle weighs more than fat.
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Old 04-14-2008, 12:50 PM   #11
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When I started doing more than Taco Bell curls, I weighed about 210+/-. After a month or so of 5 day/week, 2 hr/day workouts, I dropped to under 200. Then I bounced to over 210 a month or so later. I was up to 225 when I "quit" working out, now i'm back down to 215. This is over a span of 8 years.

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Old 04-14-2008, 01:14 PM   #12
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My guess is that my muscle mass will remain fairly stable at this point since I'm not increasing the intensity of my strength training or cardio. Hopefully the weight will slowly drop.
I can second this. I picked up a few pounds about 25 years ago when I started weight training. My weight stayed pretty level for a long time. I wasn't doing any cardio other than walking and a variety of sports - but not regular enough to constitute cardio conditioning. Over the past few years I slowly and steadily gained a few pounds of extra fat to keep that lean muscle mass company. I started biking last year and have made sure that I do enough of that mixed with elliptical trainers at the gym in winter to maintain cardio fitness. That caused me to quickly drop off 10 pounds, which have stayed off. Oh, I cut out the 4-6 ounces of chocolate per day also - that was the really hard part.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:27 PM   #13
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You might try tracking % bodyfat and waist size in addition to weight, for a more complete picture.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:32 PM   #14
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Waist size is the cruelist master of all, but probably the best single index of how ideal your weight is, from a medical risk standpoint. Abdominal muscle work does not increase waist size and in fact might decrease it (by "girdling" the deeper layers more effectively.

I can lose 5 lbs with barely a change in my waist size, but as soon as I go from 5# to about 7# loss it becomes measureable. My cholesterol and fasting glucose respond in kind. So get out the tape measure and forget the scale for a while.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:52 PM   #15
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Thanks guys. Is there an easy and cheap way to measure % body fat?
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:06 PM   #16
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Thanks guys. Is there an easy and cheap way to measure % body fat?
I think there's an expensive scale called Tanita or something that measures it?? :confused:
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:10 PM   #17
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Thanks guys. Is there an easy and cheap way to measure % body fat?

Body Fat Monitors & Scales


Most gyms have the handheld analyzer available .
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:22 PM   #18
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I have a body fat monitoring scale and have had wildly varying results over the course of a couple of days.

I believe this is due to varying hydration levels. It was only like 50 bucks, so I guess you get what you pay for.
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:37 PM   #19
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it's probably just a little water retention.
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:43 PM   #20
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Ditto to all above. Muscle weighs more than fat, the weight training will increase your weight especially if you are not slowing down on the food while increasing the cardio and resistance training. On the flip side of the coin, you may not have too much to loose, if you are large framed. At 5'11" and large framed, ideal weight is 185 according to:

Ideal Weight

That is a little higher than what a BMI measurement would tell you.

Another couple of things you may want to try are: slow down a little on the alcohol, and increase your fiber intake (replace low fiber foods with high fiber foods). You eat the same amount, have the same feeling of fullness, but the higher fiber will help move things along at a slower pace that helps manage carbohydrate uptake and resulting insulin response. That will theoretically result in some weight loss, and more even blood sugar throughout the day.

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