How to interpret your progress during your first month:
Are you hell bent on lowering that number you see on the scale? If it isn’t happening for you right away, do not stress, as it is not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN. Here is the inside track on the changes occurring in your body when you start resistance training…
See it is common in most REALISTIC fitness settings (not including fitness shows where you are monitored all day by health and fitness professionals), to see no change in your weight for the first 4 weeks. Now clearly that would bother anyone, after all, you pay money and you want results. Here’s the science behind no weight change…
Most individuals are dehydrated. Women should have about 45-65% water, while men should be between 50-70%.
If an individual sees no change in weight, they will usually interpret this as gaining muscle and start thinking that this muscle weighs more than fat. This isn’t the reason though… An untrained male in his early 20’s would be lucky to gain 15lbs of muscle in his first year of resistance training, and women who think that they can put on mass at a rate that rivals steroid monkey’s have to give up that mindset.
Here’s what actually happened…
You are drinking more water than your body is used to (8-10 glasses/day), and raising your body’s total water percentage. Do not try to avoid this and drink less water!!!! We are looking to change your body for the long term and you must overlook this. When I measure the majority of individuals on day 1, they are dehydrated and have a low metabolism. Having a higher water % will help to increase this metabolism and make everything work more efficiently in the long run.
Fast forward to month 1 measurements: When you step on that scale and see a 4% increase in your water %, I want you to think about what that means! A 4% increase in water in a person that weighs 200lbs equates to 8 more pounds of water in your body. Now if you see this accompanied with 0lbs of weight loss, then what you’re really seeing is that you have gained 8lbs of water and lost 8lbs of fat as you are still the same weight! The measurements will show it! Think about it. In terms of looking better, the inches mean so much more than the weight. Visually judge yourself in the mirror naked at home, and you will see progress! Somehow, somewhere, mass media has drilled into our heads that weight is the be-all, end-all gauge in which we equate our progress. And weight isn’t even the right term. We should actually be asking…What’s our mass? Weight…it’s actually supposed to be measured in Newtons and you would probably weigh like 800N, or 300N (if you were on the moon).
So asides from drinking more water, your body copes with the new and intense exercise by storing more carbohydrates in your muscle cells, so that it can be quickly used as fuel during workouts.
Carbohydrates are made up of glucose and are converted to glycogen (a form of glucose that is stored in muscle and used for energy during exercise). This glucose requires 3 molecules of water for every molecule. So as your muscles are building up glycogen stores, the body has to retain extra water. This process of extra water retention stops once the body adjusts. At this point (4-6weeks), the scale starts moving and you’ll end up with less fat, stronger muscles, and a higher metabolism that will make you a fat burning machine.
P.S. I didn’t touch on nutrition at all in this article. This will have a huge impact on your results. I believe the more you want it, the “healthier” you will eat. So until you are able to give up the food you know you shouldn’t be eating and adopt the mindset of food being fuel, you will struggle to get the results you want. Oh, and if you have had a problem with not eating, then you need to start eating!