The Truth About Workouts That Gain Weight

by | May 16, 2019 | Blog Archive

Ever been smashing your workouts, highly motivated, loving it, feeling full of energy – then you go to put on your favourite jeans, and suddenly they’re a bit too snug for your liking!

WTF??? I’ve been working my butt off, this is so UNFAIR.  I must have gained muscle, because muscle weighs more than fat, right? 

Not quite.

You see, I used to tell myself:  “I gain weight whenever I run a lot”. 

And I did put on weight.  I genuinely believed that running put weight on me – and it absolutely did! 

But not the way you think it did.

You see, if we start a new workout routine, or even when we’ve been consistent for some time, if we’re not seeing results, we will draw the correlation of cause and effect.  “I have been running a lot lately, I have gained weight, therefore – running makes me gain weight”. 

Seems logical but it’s absolutely wrong.

What I conveniently failed to factor in at the time this happened, was that I refused to even slightly  take into account my nutrition, and was likely consistently taking myself into an energy surplus “because I earned it”.  I just burned 1,000 calories in running, I can eat what I like!

I’ve also reached my goal weight using running as a tool, don’t get me wrong.  But I was motivated to stick to a calorie deficit at the same time.  Not a sustainable one, but a deficit all the same, spat out of an app.  (Do better when you know better)

I still wasn’t satisfied with how my body looked and felt “at my goal weight”, and that’s because I’d focused too much on smashing out the calories with hours of running, and never done a push up or touched a weight in the process.

I know better now.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t run if you enjoy it – you absolutely should!  And I’m currently waiting for my new runners to arrive on my doorstep so I can put my headphones in, pump some tunes and zone out covering some km’s while the weather is cooler – because I do enjoy it, in moderation.

The point I’m trying to make is that at the time I drew incorrect conclusions, I did not understand or acknowledge the process of fat loss.  I thought: I’m working out, I’m sweating, I deserve results.

Sometimes, when I suggest weights training for clients or mention that it’s on offer on our timetable – “Oh no, weights make you big, my friend does weights and is bulky”… “I gain too much muscle when I lift weights”….

First of all, professional natural bodybuilders are busting themselves to gain 2kg max in muscle over 12 months and that’s smashing themselves 6 days a week and having 4-6 protein feedings daily…..and having no life!

So for Cheryl from accounts who sits most of the day 5 days a week (and eats when she remembers to, no rhyme or reason, lunches out, charity chocolate box, 3pm bickies and caramel lattes etc) to claim she’s going to put on too much muscle training weights 2 days a week – soz, Cheryl, what’s actually been your previous experience, is that you started moving more – with effort, then you were hungry, so you ate too much!

Unless you can spend hours and hours each week training, which most of us can’t – you can’t have exercise as a tool for fat loss without good nutrition.  As for muscle weighing more than fat, a more accurate way to describe it would be muscle fibres are more tightly packed than fat tissue.  This is where building strength with resistance training can really improve the shape and feel of your body, over time, with sensible nutrition most of the time.

I am not about sucking the enjoyment out of life though!

What a lot of fitness or fat loss programmes fail to recognise is, that everyone is an individual, with individual preferences for training, eating and how they like to live their lives.  There are many ways to skin a cat so to speak, and for me, I hear alarm bells whenever you see someone overly advocating for one particular method of diet or exercise as superior over all others.

My clients get their results and keep them long term with my support.  Yes, we use HIIT + strength training as a tool because it’s efficient, and effective in a short amount of time (compared to my hours of running in the past).  Paired with a knowledge of how to use food as fuel, for fat loss or results maintenance in a balanced way, it’s a winning combination for those of us that prefer this method.

I work with my clients individually, rather than attempt to apply a blanket methodology to everyone.  Which is why I have to limit my numbers.  I would rather serve fewer people really well than do a half arsed job with twice as many.

Is it for everyone?

No!  Which is why I set up a free trial week system.  Get in touch if you’re keen to know more.  I’m closing off new client intake shortly while I work on some new stuff over winter.

Don’t put it off, if you’ve been thinking about trying it, this is your sign 😉



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