Losing weight for many people just seems to be something that happens to others but never for you. You have tried all the diets, have a garage or spare room full of fitness equipment and yet you are seeing little reduction in your weight. In desperation, you decide to join a gym, get a fitness program monitored by a fitness trainer and let others push you towards your ideal body shape. That is the theory!
The reality is that most people do not maintain their commitment to a gym program long enough to see the positive results that can and usually do manifest themselves after prolonged, disciplined and controlled exercise.Why is this?
Let’s have a look at a typical fitness program:
Regardless of how overweight you are most gyms will combine the following types of exercise:
1. stretching exercises
2. aerobic exercises
3. anaerobic exercises
There are very good reasons for these different types.
Primarily stretching exercises are to prevent injury during a session by preparing the various muscle groups for the rigours of a workout. They are an essential part of any fitness regime. Just watch the pro sportsmen/women going through their own stretching regimens before they compete for evidence of its importance.
Aerobic exercise is essentially long duration, low-intensity training that works the heart and lungs. Good examples are walking, jogging and swimming. All gyms worth their salt will have a large slice of anaerobic training incorporated into their programs.
Anaerobic exercise is essentially low duration, high-intensity training that builds power and muscle mass. Typical examples are weight training, sprinting and jumping.
Most gyms will create programs based on individual needs such as age, weight, gender etc that incorporated these three main forms of exercise. They are usually monitored and programs updated regularly so that different emphasis can be applied according to the fitness development being displayed during the program by the trainee.
What few gyms do, however, is spend enough time educating their members about what the likely benefits are that they can expect in the early stages of a training program. If you are the kind of person who is easily disheartened by a lack progress after trying so hard at the gym, then you will know what I mean by that statement. Firstly it should be explained early in any fitness regime that progress should not be measured only by the loss of weight. The early stages of a return to fitness will be mainly conditioning the body to train and be trained. It will take some time before the body is able to work efficiently enough to burn fat on a consistent basis. It will come, but at this stage, patients will be required and rewarded later. Also, it is vital too, that the trainee receives reassurance and support, as the early stages of any fitness program will test the resilience and patience of even the most committed gym member.
So why does your weight sometimes increase despite the fact you are working out on a new gym program?
One of the key points and the crux of this article is that generally, people will probably find it easier to workout anaerobically than aerobically, in the first stages of a fitness program. Given that anaerobic exercise tends to build muscle, it is quite likely that the trainee will actually gain in weight during the first weeks of their program. Muscle is actually proportionally heavier than fat and despite the intensity of aerobic exercise experienced during a fitness program, it will in all likelihood manifest itself in weight gain!
So you have joined the gym. You have trained hard. You have ateen sensibly. Yet you have actually gained weight! Relax, that is not the long-term prognosis if you are prepared to stick at your gym program. As you are strengthening and building your muscles, you are also conditioning your body to be able to exercise aerobically more efficiently. Gradually over time, the anaerobic exercise can be discharged out and the aerobic exercise can be increased. Your body will be able to cope with higher levels of aerobic intensity and as a result loss in weight due to increased aerobic activity will outstrip the muscle weight gain.
All of this takes time and a great deal of patience. But if the individual can realize that if they are willing to show a consistency of application and commitment to a well-balanced fitness program, the delay balance of fat and muscle will settle to a better, more healthy proportion. Weight will reduce, the body shape and posture will improve and self-esteem return too.
It goes I hope without saying that through any fitness program, it is so very important to eat healthily too, with a well-balanced diet.