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Question
Posted by: Tigger | 2004/10/25

weight gain

I spin 4 x a week, do 2 yoga classes a week and rode ride once a week. I eat healthy salads and vegetables almost all of the time but am finding that I am gaining weight. This is very diheartening as I cannot pick up a reason for it. Please help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

HI Tigger

It depends a lot on how much weight you are gaining. There are a couple of possible explanations, it's guesswork as to which is responsible for yours, but I'll give you a few of them. Firstly, It's not unusual to remain weight stable during exercise, and there are a few factors that can cause this. One is your current weight. It seems that there is an ideal body weight for each person, and the body is so clever that it knows just how to keep you there. So, it may be that you just have no weight to lose, and so from that point of view, you are better of going for toning and improved fitness and not worrying about the scale.

The second is diet - often people subconsciously increase the energy intake when training harder. Let's say you train harder and use a few hundred more calories a day - you have a little more to eat or drink, and it means that the balance is still there as if you didn't train harder. I am not saying you should count calories, I think that is risky and hazardous at best, but I would say be aware of what you are eating.

Finally, the point you raise - muscle mass does go up. People seem to have a conception that weight training causes muscle mass to rise, and cardio training burns fat. While this is largely true, you must remember that there is considerable overlap. So, let's say you are cycling, this means that if you are cycling along at 90 revs per minute this basically means that you are doing 90 contractions of the muscle per minute. Do this for 10 minutes and you have 900 muscle contractions, and so even though the force per contraction is low, you will still build some muscle. What i am saying is that even though you are not doing weight training, it's still feasible that you will gain some muscle by doing cardio.

Very importantly though, this is nothing to worry about. In fact, it's a good thing, and I guess the bottom line is that you must really focus on how fit you are, how you are feeling and perhaps how you are looking, rather than on the scale. Aim for centimeters not kilograms, and you immediately change your focus from weight to fitness and toning.

Keep up the good work, remember that it takes time, but have faith that you are on the right track!

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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