Among the many questions of those new too weight training is, "Can you work out too hard and not lose weight?"
This question is difficult to answer for two reasons.
First, it's based on the false premise that weight loss is always the result of working out.
Second, it doesn't really define what weight loss is.
In order to properly answer the question we must discuss what type of weight loss we are talking about, how it's accomplished, and how exercise relates to it.
As you read, keep in mind that every person's body is different – some people respond well to vigorous exercise while others don't.
Your results should only be compared to your own past history; never to any one else.
How are working out and losing weight related?
Exercise is a common component included in weight loss programs recommended by professionals.
Unfortunately, exercise alone is not effective in helping you lose weight, which is defined for the purposes of this article as excess fat.
While most people see significant weight loss within the first few weeks of beginning an exercise program, more often than not, they will plateau and have a difficult time continuing to shed pounds.
This is because the body adapts to energy output in relation to calories, to the extent that exercise becomes inefficient for weight loss unless you increase the intensity.
A successful weight loss program combines a reduction of daily calories with exercise, because calorie reduction is the most effective component in helping you lose weight and keep it off.
Think of it this way: your body cannot store fat if it doesn't have the food supply to do so. If you reduce your calorie intake while maintaining the same physical load, you will burn fat.
Including exercise with calorie reduction strengthens and tones the muscles, thereby increasing metabolism and helping the body to burn calories more efficiently. When you return your daily calorie intake to normal levels, strong and toned muscles will use the food you eat more efficiently and keep you from putting the fat back on that you worked so hard to lose.
Regardless of weight loss, can you work out too hard?
The original question of whether or not you can work out too hard and not lose weight should really be separated into two questions. Indeed, you can work out too hard. The human body is built to endure only so much stress, and injuries can result from a workout that is too intense.
It's common to feel exhausted and a little bit sore after your daily workout. But regular muscle pulls, sprains, joint pain, and other symptoms could indicate that you're working out too hard. It's important to consult professional advice before beginning or changing your workout plan so as not to endanger yourself physically.
I'm losing fat but not weight; what's the deal?
In relation to fat versus muscle, it is possible to work out too hard and not lose weight. Especially if we use the phrase "lose weight" in a literal sense. Intense weight training workouts will result in stronger and larger muscles which will, in turn, add to your body weight. In addition, muscle tissue weighs significantly more than fat. It stands to reason that the more fat you get rid of it, and replace with muscle, the more weight you will put on.
If your goal is to simply lose the fat without bulking up in the muscle department, moderate cardio workouts and weight training exercises are sufficient. You don't need to continue to increase your exercise load as you progress through your program, and in fact, doing so will only serve to bulk you up. Instead, what you need is an exercise program is just intense enough to keep your body burning calories efficiently once you return to your normal eating habits.
Exercise is certainly an important part of a healthy lifestyle which promotes maintaining a proper body weight. With good nutrition and 20 minutes of exercise, five days per week, most people can lose excess fat and gain strong and toned muscles. Where the exercise portion of your weight loss program is concerned, remember that moderation is the key.
As always, before you begin any weight loss or weight training program, be sure to consult your doctor and a personal trainer. You will need their advice to develop a program that is both safe and effective.
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