Why the weighing scale is showing a higher number despite your workouts

You are doing great! You are eating healthy and you have cut down on a lot of calories, you never skip a workout and you really feel like you’re losing a lot of fat! Until, you step on the scales and it suddenly shows that you have made no progress. Or even worse, it gives a higher number than last time. What?! How is that possible? There are various reasons why your scale indicates a higher number, despite all the effort you put into your Fit journey. Read about these reasons below!

You are weighing yourself after a workout

If you have just exercised at the gym, it’s possible that you’d immediately like to see the result on the scale of all the calories you burned. But, there is a big chance that you come home and see a number other than what you anticipated. No panic! This does not mean that you didn’t burn any fat at the gym. It may be because of two reasons why your scale is showing a higher number after a workout. First, it may be your water weight. Water accounts for about 65-90% of your weight. After a workout you can really ‘lose weight’ because you are losing plenty of water by sweating. However, it is also possible that you ‘gain weight’ because your body retains water during a workout in order to remain well hydrated. On the weighing scale you of course don’t see this water weight, you just see a higher number. Also, it may be that you are weighing more due to muscle damage. As you probably know, (strength) training can cause the creation of small tears in your muscles. To repair these tears, your body brings a lot of moisture to the areas that are damaged. White blood cells are also working hard to restore your muscles so that they can become stronger (and larger). All this moisture contributes to the number that you see on the scale. So, no need to panic, your body is working hard to get fit!

You quickly build muscle mass

Another reason that you see no progress or are weighing more compared to the last time you weighed yourself is because you have gained more muscle. If you are gaining muscle faster than you are losing fat, then you will see this directly on the scale. This is not because muscles are heavier than fat. It’s all about the volume; one kilogram of fat is bigger than a kilogram of muscle, yet, they weigh the same. (It’s like comparing a kilogram of feathers with one kilogram of lead.) However, this is something that you are more likely to see in a couple of weeks or months, rather than from one day to the next. For instance, don’t get too frustrated when you start strength training and your thighs are unexpectedly getting bigger. You wanted to get rid of inches didn’t you, not necessarily weight! It may be that the muscles of your thighs are growing, but you’re loosing little or no fat. The range of weight loss (and growing in muscle mass) is something you have to have patience with.

You’re eating too much after a workout

Sure, you need fuel to do a workout. But, if you’re trying to lose weight, it is also important to consider the size of your portions and your calorie intake. During a workout ghrelin is created, which is a hormone that induces your appetite. It is likely that you are unconsciously eating much more after a workout than you usually would, you’re hungry and want to reward yourself for all the work you’ve just done. This however can mean that you are (unknowingly) consuming more calories than you need for you to lose weight. And this you will eventually see when stepping on the scale. 

You are too stressed

Do you work long days at the office or at school, do you get little to no sleep, are you worried about that fight you had with your sister or do you smoke and drink every day? It may be that the lack of weight loss is directly related to your stress levels. Stress is very bad for your body and can greatly sabotage your efforts at losing weight. In times of stress your body develops cortisol, a hormone that causes your body to store fat faster. Especially when you are an emotional eater, you eat less healthy and varied foods as well as being weak for those greasy snacks, you are more likely to gain weight than lose it.

So you see, the number on the scale does not always indicate whether or not you are making progress! There are a lot of factors that affect that number. A weighing scale can be a good guide to track your weight, but, make sure not to let it effect you too much and consider all the factors mentioned above. It is all about how comfortable you are in your own skin and that you feel fitter and healthier! Whether it’s with or without that one kilo.

Are you too focused and becoming obsessed with the number being shown on the scale? Then get rid of the damn thing! There are a lot of other ways you can track your progress without getting obsessed with weighing yourself >

Tip: Start strength training with MuscleWiki!

For women who start strength training, it can be very difficult, at first, to get a good training schedule that works for you. Not everyone has the money to hire a professional to create a workout plan for them. And a lot of the times, the workout plans that are available at the gym are not very extensive. Fortunately, the Internet was invented, and there is a crazy amount of information online that you can find about strength training. Most recently, I stumbled upon MuscleWiki, a site where you can target a specific muscle group that you want to find exercises for. Super handy!

Musclewiki is a fairly new website created by fitness dude Ryan. He has the opinion that fitness, no matter how difficult it sometimes seems, should be made simple so everyone is able to do it. To him, the difficulty lies most of all in the journey. By that, he means, that it is especially hard to find the right exercises and that’s what motivated him to start this site. The website MuscleWiki is made in such a way that it is suitable for beginners and advanced lifters. Personally, I think it’s a bit low for advanced people because there is not a large amount of exercises available. But if you’re just starting with strength training, it is the perfect tool.

How it works

When you start strength training, it is an absolute must to set up a program that you stick to. When you repeat the same exercises for a few weeks, you’ll be able to track the progress that you’ve made. At some point, you will find yourself able to do more reps or heavier weights.

When you go on MuscleWiki, you’re immediately met with a picture of the body. At the top left, you can indicate whether your’re a man or a woman. From that point, it speaks for itself: Click on the muscle group that you want to work on and you will see an array of exercises you can do. These exercises also have helpful GIF’s and an extensive explanation in the text. That way, you can clearly see and read how to have the perfect form for the move.

Calculators

Besides strength exercises, you can also find a few helpful calculators on MuscleWiki where you can (among others), calculate your caloric intake and your macros. With the “one rep max tool”, you can see how much weight you can lift for one rep based on your strength and endurance. When you’re lifting heavy though, it is recommended that you never try it alone. Ask someone to spot for you and help where necessary.

MuscleWiki is a very handy website that’s growing it’s database of exercises everyday. I find this a pretty good thing, because after you’re busy with strength training for a long time, then most of the exercises won’t be anything new for you. It seems like soon home work-out exercises will also be added. Exciting!

How did you start strength training? Are you going to give it a try now? I’m curious! 🙂

Strength training for women

I used to sweat over every piece of cardio equipment in the gym. Beside the fact that this is all but an inspiring sport activity, it didn’t give me the results I was aiming for either. When I started training at Sixforty I got introduced to strength training workouts. And suddenly the scale gave me much more love than before. And no, I didn’t become a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Let me clarify this first: women naturally can never get as muscular as men! This has to do with the fact that women have a smaller amount of muscle fibers and testosterone. So no reason for you to hide behind this ancient myth.

Strenght training for women

I`ll give you some undeniable reasons that will convince you to start lifting weights:

  • 2 strength sessions a week can reduce overall body fat by about 3 percentage in just 10 weeks. That translates to as much as three inches total off your waist and hips. Suddenly, dumbbells sound like a smart idea.
  • Your after burn increases with 100 calories per training when you lift weights. If you train three times a week, 52 weeks a year… well, do the math! There’s a longer term benefit to all that lifting too: muscles are, unlike fat, metabolically active. That means that muscles chew up calories, even when you are not in the gym.
  •  Add heavy weights to your training. In a study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women burned nearly twice as many calories in the two hours after their workout when they lifted 85 percent of their max load for eight reps than when they did more reps (15) at a lower weight (45 percent of their max).

It’s recommended to do three weight training sessions each week. Aim for total body workouts that target your arms, abs, legs and back. For each exercise you do, try to perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps with a weight heavy enough that by your last rep you can’t eke out another one without compromising your form.

And remember to fuel your body properly before working out. Treat your body like a car: food = fuel. If you put the wrong gas in your car, it won’t work. The right food prevents you from losing muscle along with any fat that might have melted away. So make sure you eat high protein food like chicken, soy products, eggs and quark.

(Source: http://www.womenshealthmag.com)