Weight Loss, Fitness and the Bathroom Scales
Let’s talk about weight loss
99% of Bee-Fit members join our gym in Chelmsford to “lose weight” and, certainly, the weight loss that shows on the scales is relevant when you first start out on your fitness journey. However, once you start regular training, especially workouts that include weight training, it should be the tape measure you look to for reassurance and not the bathroom scales.
It is a fact that many professional athletes would register as obese on the NHS BMI scale.
Many of our members who have lost weight complain of the weight loss “plateau” and even of appearing to put on weight on the scales, despite sticking religiously to a healthy diet and regular sessions at the gym. At this point, it’s time to ditch the scales and focus on your dress size, your strength, stamina and feeing of general well-being. In any case, weight fluctuates naturally by a few pounds all the time according to hydration, how much fibre you’ve eaten, your stress levels, and, for women, your menstrual cycle.
Muscle versus weight loss
When you work out, you burn off calories and fat and you build muscle. Muscle is more dense than fat – it takes up less space than a pound of fat: if you’re losing fat and gaining muscle at the same rate, your body will shrink, but your scales won’t register any weight loss.
Losing fat and inches is far healthier than just losing weight. It is possible to look slim but have an unhealthy percentage of body fat compared to muscle. People with a higher percentage of body fat are at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and high blood pressure.
The good news is that muscles burn calories: an extra 4 pounds of muscle equates to an extra 50 calories burned a day. So, as you work out and build that muscle, you’re looking leaner, your clothes are looser, you’re healthier and you’re boosting your metabolism.
Relying on the scales to assess your fitness journey can, for many people, lead to a cycle of yo-yo dieting instead of focussing on the visible changes to your appearance and the way you feel. What we should all be aiming for is to develop long-term fitness habits for long-term health benefits. If the scales are undermining this goal, it’s time to get rid of them!