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Sunday, April 25, 1999
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More the muscle, less the fat

Most people who start out exercising find that their weighing scale actually shows an increase in the first month or two,
Anup Deb Nath

WHEN most of us want to lose weight all we bother about are the numbers flashed by the weighing scale. Though these figures are important, they are in no way the only indication of your having lost weight or, let’s say, lost what we want to lose.

Weight gain in the first few weeks or even months of exerciing is due to the gaining of muscleA few common shocks that most people who start out exercising are that often in the first month or two of starting to exercise, they find that their weighing scale actually shows an increase. The second one is that despite the scales showing your weight lower you have actually gained in inches.

Both these are rather scary situations and make people want to stop exercising altogether. These events take place due to certain reasons and it is best that you should know what you are doing wrong or right so that you can remedy it, if needed.

Weight gain in the first few weeks or even months of exercising is due to the gaining of muscle, which is heavier, and the loss of the lighter fat. This should not alarm you, as muscle is far better than fat, and it should not really matter what the scale shows. Go by how you look and feel as well as by measuring yourself in inches.

A loss in weight but a gain in inches is often exactly the opposite reason to gaining weight while losing inches. Incorrect or severe dieting along with exercising can often have the tendency of making you lose precious muscles while keeping or gaining the lighter-in-weight fat. This will show you as weighing less on the scale but will have more inches gathered on you.

The correct way to a fitter you is by combining exercise and diet the correct way and gaining a body that is well toned and fit with minimum fat on it. To help you reach this goal we are listing some easy steps below.

The first and often most important point is to monitor how much you eat. Eating a large meal and justifying it by saying that we are working out doesn’t really help much. Try to balance it out with the idea that you must burn more than you eat. Keep this in mind and you will never overeat.

What you eat is the second point to successful fat loss. The type of food we eat should be high in protein and complex carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins etc and low in fat. Protein is essential to maintain the muscle you have as well as to grow more muscle. Protein is what makes up most of the cells in our body and this is largely responsible for the growth, repair as well as building muscle in the body.

Complex carbohydrates are ideal for the body as they prevent the pancreas from releasing an excessive amount of insulin. Insulin is what leads to the storage of fat and binge eating as well as low blood sugar.

Fibre helps the body store less fat by preventing high blood sugar levels and reduces the insulin levels in the body. Vitamins and minerals apart from many other functions are involved in the fat burning process. Eating food which is rich vitamins and minerals will help you in reducing fat and gaining muscle.

Eating low fat is essential; fat contains 9 calories per gram. Protein and carbohydrate on the other hand contain only 4 calories per gram, making them a far better substitute for those on a diet.

Increase your metabolic rate: Your metabolic rate is your body’s calorie burning clock. The speed of this clock can be increased by a couple of simple steps like small, frequent meals and exercise. Small, nutritionally healthy meals eaten from 4 to 6 times during the course of the day are more beneficial than eating two big meals. Exercise is the other way to increase your body’s metabolic rate. Not only does the metabolic rate increase during exercise but this effect lasts for a couple of hours after the exercise as well.

Increase your muscle content: Muscle is what gives our body that lean, toned look we are all trying to achieve. Apart from this it gives us bulk and the curves where you want them along with the benefit of strength. Fat on the other hand gives our body a lumpy, not so appealing shape. While exercising our endeavour should be on maintaining whatever muscle we may already have and also in trying to build up more. Muscles help burn fat and, therefore, the more muscle you have the less fat you will accumulate.

Regular aerobic exercise: The large part of the energy that we use when we do any form of cardiovascular exercise is obtained by burning stored fat in the body. By regularly doing aerobic exercises we can increase the rate at which our body burns stored fat. This of course means regular exercising keeping your target heart rate in mind.

Commitment: The most important of all the points is to start something and then stay with it. Miracles will not happen overnight and it does take time to improve what years of misuse and neglect has done to your body.

With these few points you will find it easier working out to get yourself the body you have always wanted.Back

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