Thursday, May 01, 2014

The 9th Myth of Modern Day Dieting: Muscle Gains Outweigh Fat Losses

Have you ever told yourself that the reason you're not losing weight is because you're gaining muscle?

Oh how I wish muscle were that easy to gain!



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9 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:31 am

    It makes me want to throw my laptop across the room every time I read a blog entry by an obese woman who's lamenting that she did 10 minutes on her stationary bike three times that week and then the "evil" scale showed her a one-pound gain on weigh-in day...and all the biddies chime in and tell her she must be building tons of muscle from all her exercise!

    The top personal trainer in my area -- a man with over 25 years' experience in bodybuilding and fitness -- told me that an adult, pre-menopausal woman (roughly ages 21-42) could, with an extremely clean (no sugar, high protein), extremely strict diet and a five-days-per-week structured heavy weightlifting program could gain, at best, three to five pounds of lean muscle in one year's time. So when I read about a woman whose diet consists of frozen low-calorie "meals" and 100-calorie snack packs of sweets (and of course a cheat day every week with pizza and ice cream because God forbid anyone be expected to learn to eat real food in proper portions consistently) doing a walk around the block and then thinking her gain on the scale is muscle, I laugh out loud. Then I go lift some weights.

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    1. Anonymous2:09 pm

      Everyone is a bit ridiculous. Obese people suffer and I think it is strange you laugh out loud at someone's difficult life.

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    2. Anonymous10:24 pm

      Sounds like our old friend Norma.

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    3. It's harsh but I had to laugh reading this because I know someone EXACTLY like this. She said she walked an hour a day, which I saw in action a couple times and it was an easy stroll with no heavy breathing and accompanied by a Power Bar, and I have doubts that it was a full hour, and when she gained weight, she said it must be muscle. She was my landlady so I knew to keep my mouth shut but ohhhhh I SO wanted to say something. Some months later she mentioned how "diet and exercise didn't work" for her. I wondered if that was the exercise she referred to.

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  2. Exercise can cause water weight gain, if you do enough to make you sore. That's what they really should be saying. I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting in a while and that's how they're explaining it now. They don't want people to give up on exercise because it seems to "cause" a gain.

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    1. Of course, the water gain should be temporary, so if it's sticking around for weeks it's probably compensatory eating.

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    2. This is exactly why I'm an advocate of weighing in every day (first thing in the morning, after using the restroom and before eating). These kinds of fluctuations are normal and will never stop. Becoming familiar and comfortable with them eliminates emotional reactions to minor changes on the scale.

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  3. I have a lot of empathy for people who are suffering under illusions. All the competing vectors of attention make it hard for many of us to identify gimmicks. That we have such poor critical thinking skills and general health education only compounds the problem.

    Another great entry in this series. I love what you do, Yoni.

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  4. Yes, the water weight from a hard (resistance) workout is a factor, and people who feel 'stalled' for weeks should be taking measurements - they may be getting smaller.

    I understand this video, and it's absolutely right in many - probably most - cases, but given that there is already a problem with women driving their calories too low in a misguided attempt to 'get more' out of a diet plan, I think it's really important to acknowledge the water and muscle issue. (It probably applies mostly to people who are closer to a "goal weight" - another idea I don't like. The number on the scale is too blunt an instrument to hang a goal on.)

    This is such tough territory! So many good, sustainable ways to manage this stuff right, and so much total junk info in the environment making it hard for people to avoid doing it wrong.

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