Training but putting weight on?

1 to 20 of 28 messages
13/10/2008 at 20:46

Hi I'm hoping someone could help me, or my girlfriend to be precise.  I have been a runner for a number of years and do at least one half marathon every year, but my girlfriend doesn't really do much training/ running.  She has recently joined a gym (5 weeks ago) and is doing a lot of x-training, wave machine, exercise bike, and a bit on the treadmill.  I've really encouraged her because she's doing really well, and she'll do over an hour of training which is something she never thought she'd do. 

But she has a problem now.  She is weighing more than when she started and her thighs are getting bigger (her words not mine!)  I want to keep on encouraging her but she needs to see some results herself if she is to continue.  Any ideas what she can do, or what she shouldn't be doing?

Her diet is good (she's a veggie), full of fruit and not much chocolate!

13/10/2008 at 21:46

Sound like the lady is putting on muscle. Muscle is heavy stuff.

If I have got it right, low weights and quick reps will increase fitness without bulking up so much.

13/10/2008 at 21:55

Totally agree with David. My dress size went up a bit because of all the muscle i put on. I always go by my body fat percentage now rather than what scales or dress size dictate.
Edited: 13/10/2008 at 21:56
14/10/2008 at 09:55
Agree with David too.  I put on weight when I started training loads, but my body shape changed over time and now it's toned.   What happened to me for a while was that my muscle bulked up before I lost excess fat because I was always working out hard.  To lose that over layer, lower intensity exercise is good, like a brisk walk.  If she's working out in the gym, her membership is paying for the knowledge of people working there, so she could pick their brain too...
14/10/2008 at 12:17

Is she doing weights? She'll notice more definition and change of body shape (if that's what she's after) if she does some weight training before her cardiovascular exercise. Moderate weight high reps.

<Ponders 'wave machine' ?  Coo-eee!>

14/10/2008 at 13:12

Agree about monitoring body fat %  Hopefully it is increased muscle, although Veggies tend to be poor at putting on muscle mass.

Low v High intensity exercise - Higher intensity(interval) exercise is better for losing weight & fat than a larger volume of steady exercise, it also increases fitness quicker (remember an article about it, study was on female cyclists). 

There is a place for lower intensity exercise, or more accurately a time, first thing in the morning before eating, will encourage the body to burn only fat, consider supplementing with L-Carnitine(it is the molecule that allows your cells to burn fat as energy, occurs naturally in the body but supplementation could help).

14/10/2008 at 14:56

Sounds like lean muscle mass is building, but she may be keeping bodyfat as well as gaining muscle fibre depending on what she's eating...can you give more details?
15/10/2008 at 12:47


JuanaH is right when she says that the Gym staff should be able to use their knowledge to help here (if its a decent gym). 

When i joined the gym a year ago i wanted to do weights but they advised to lose the fat first and then build up if not i would just increase in size. I was over 18 stone and had 38% body fat. I went down to 12 stone (too skinny at 6' 1").  I'm now back to just under 13 stone but with a only 18% body fat. BMI down from 34 to 23. The weight gain is now all muscle. Not bad after 53 years of being a couch potato and yes i should have done it years ago !!!!!!!!!!.

15/10/2008 at 12:54
Clive, that's a fine effort.  Nice one!
15/10/2008 at 13:24

Many thanks for all your replies.  I'm worried that she is getting so down she'll pack it in altogether - and I don't blame her because she trains hard, is getting bigger and weighing seems to defy logic.  I advised running being a runner myself, but I forget how hard it can be, especially for someone who hasn't done much running in the past.  I will show her your replies and maybe she can reply to questions. 

I wasn't expecting so many replies, and such good advice so thanks again!

15/10/2008 at 13:24
Thanks JuanaH, the effort was mine but the guidance was down to one of the trainers at the gym. Without her imput i would have ended up at 20 stone loads of bulk but no real fitness. I think people need focus on what they are going to the gym for and to stick to the programme., as you say the membership fees are paying for their knowledge, trust it.
21/10/2008 at 16:11

Definitely trust it, but get a second opinion too.  I have been surprised on occasions at some of the advice people dish out.  One of the PTs at my gym is really healthy but lives on protein shakes and he is constantly recommending (or selling them!), which I'm less of a fan of.  The person giving you advice needs to find out about you and not advise you on what's good for them.  We're all different!!

Welsh Matt. Self esteem is key in this.  By showing her this, you won't knock her confidence will you?? By the fact that you've left a message on the forum, if she's feeling a bit down about herself, she may think that you don't like her anymore cos you're asking for advice from others.  Illogical I know, but we females sometimes read a lot into things....  Just something to think about

22/10/2008 at 12:34

She is down about it JuanaH, understandably so when you work out and put weight on.  I only asked advice because she asked me, so I think I'm alright on this one!! 

She has read your responses but is a bit too shy to come on here herself.  She is now working out at a low intensity - with her heart rate around the 140 mark.  She has a programme to follow for 12 weeks and as long as things are going ok she will keep it up. 

22/10/2008 at 16:14
Mrs Welshmatt, come on down, and say hello.  Keep us updated on how you're getting on.  I hurt my foot in my marathon on 5th October, and have since had a cold, so I haven't been training, and I've lost 2 kg, so there you go. 
22/10/2008 at 18:00
Your muscles develop when you first start training, its a fact. Weight might not be the best measure of how she is doing, I found a tape measure or that my jeans were loser were a better indicator.

22/10/2008 at 22:25
I went up to 11 stone when i was training daily, although my dress size was a 10 and my body fat 21 It did initially worry me because before i trained i lost weight on weight watchers and went down to 9 stone but i looked really unhealthy. I love the shape i have developed through training because although i am heavier than with weight watchers, i now look really toned and healthy and the weight of that muscle is far less important than how it makes me look and feel both inside and out.
24/10/2008 at 23:31
If you put on weight when training, your eating too much.
25/10/2008 at 11:49
Agreed with lardarse, I have to say.

Having put in 9 months weight training and deliberate over-eating... and managing to gain a measly stone in weight... I can't see that running could ever make you "put on" weight. Remember the cardiovascular system responds to the demands of the muscular system, not the other way round.

Running is more likely to have a catabolic effect on muscle, if anything.
25/10/2008 at 12:34
I agree too. There is the possibility of some muscle gain in beginners but only up to a point (unless you have access to some dodgy pharmaceuticals). To gain muscle mass you need to actually take in more calories than you're expending. Does she feel like she's eating more?
25/10/2008 at 16:36
I am 11 stone and dress size 8 to 10. I run two hours a day and weight train ( appropriately for running ) Everyone is different. I am big boned anyway. I gained weight through the extra muscle i have put on. and are certainly not eating too much as one of you has just commented. Saying someone is eating too much is just going to encourage her to eat less which can be really dangerous. If i was eating too much i wouldn't be able to fit into a size 8-10 dress now would i ? and my BMI certainly wouldn't be at 21. How great your muscle mass is can be largely influenced by genetics. I have a friend who does thousands of sit ups a week and can't get a flat stomach, where as i can get a six pack without hardly doing any. I have large muscles and are lucky in that i hardly have to do anything in order to keep them like that. What works for me may not work for many others. We need to know her calorie intake in order to take this argument further.
Edited: 25/10/2008 at 16:54
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