Have you ever stepped on the scale and wondered why your weight has gone up when you’ve been exercising more than ever? What gives!?
Well, the answer may be that you’ve gained muscle and lost fat.
That’s a good thing, and here’s why:
- Muscle burns more calories than fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body is going to burn throughout the day.
- Muscle is denser than fat. The more muscle you have, the leaner your body is going to look and feel.
If you’re like most weight loss beginners, chances are you’re tracking your progress by weighing in.
That may be a good way to initially track your weight loss, but over time you may notice that the number on the scale shows an increase in body weight or it may look like you’ve plateaued.
This can cause discouragement or pressure us to slip back into old habits.
A regular weight scale won’t be able to show your body weight broken down into BMI (body mass index), muscle percentage, or give you the option to input your height for a more accurate body reading.
This is why it’s so important to not just rely on the number you see on the scale. A better way to track improvement is to measure body circumference, track your BMI, track your body fat percentage, or just assess how you’re feeling overall. Do you have more energy? Do you feel slimmer? Do your clothes fit better?
If you don’t want to splurge on a more advanced weight scale, ask a personal trainer at your home club if they could give you a quick fitness assessment so you can track your progress. Some gyms even have a scale that tracks multiple body measurements to help you understand if your weight gained is really just muscle gained. And if it is, great job – you’re doing something right!
How to Build Muscle
The best way to help the body build muscle is by strength training. Over time, the use of weights will help build muscle while simultaneously burning body fat. Add in a high protein diet with limited carbs, and you should start noticing fat loss and increased muscle gain.
High Protein (with Veggies) Meal Suggestions
Here are some high protein options to help you refuel after an intense workout. And if you’re wondering, why protein? It’s because protein is the body’s building blocks. Not consuming enough protein when working out can actually cause the body to break down the muscle you’ve worked so hard for (not good) and use it for energy. Feed your body enough protein and it helps build and repair muscles.
Protein equivalent to 4 oz meat/poultry
- 1 can of chili beans + 1 oz. cheese
- 2 eggs + 4 whites
- 8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
- Salmon or halibut
- Ahi tuna
- Pork tenderloin
- Beef eye of round
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- Peppers (+onion, tomato)
- Spinach (+mushroom)
- Cucumber salad (+onion, tomato)
- Asparagus (+garlic)
- Mixed salad greens (+avocado)
- Green beans (+red pepper)
- Zucchini (+cherry tomato)
- Kale slaw (+cabbage, carrot)
- Brussel sprouts
- ½ C. hummus, crudités, pita chips
- ½ C. cottage cheese (+pineapple)
- 2 Tbsp. peanut butter, celery, raisins
- 5 oz. jerky (+watermelon)
- ½ C. tuna salad (+crackers)
- 5 oz. [50 gm] zone-type bar
- 2 oz. [1/2 C.] almonds (+apple)
- Small bean and cheese burrito
- Hard-cooked egg + 3 C. popcorn