Perhaps you've been there before (I know I have), you've worked hard and you notice that your clothes begin to fit more loosely. You may even need to go buy smaller sizes but that number on the scale stays the same or worse yet -- it goes up! Curious. And frustrating.
One POPSUGAR reader took her questions to the pros and this is what she found:
"I know everyone is always looking at the scale, but in my case I am slimmer than ever but the scale shows I am almost the same weight as I was on my son's first birthday — [I was] two sizes up [then]. I do two 50-minute exercise sessions per day five times per week; in total I exercise about 500 minutes per week if not more, and do a mix of plyometric exercises, Pilates, and hand and ankle weights. I can see my body is getting firmer and slimmer, but the scale takes my mood way down the higher it goes up. Is there a difference with different people's muscle mass density they build?" — Michele
Sound familiar? Here's your answer from clinical exercise physiologist Jeff Dolgan:
"The human body tends to have a favourite weight that it functions most efficiently at," explains Dolgan. This has been called the 'set point' theory which basically means that your body will adjust the components of mass to stay within a certain range. This allows for our center of gravity to stay the same and is helpful in maintaining biomechanical function, says Dolgan. Instead of worrying about the scale, Dolgan suggests paying more attention to your body composition. If you haven't had your body fat tested, it may be time to let a professional do it.
Dolgan noted that although Michele was not completing any "traditional muscle building" activities, plyometric exercises place a large load on muscle mass and could be causing hypertrophy (muscle mass increases). Skipping the hand and ankle weights for dumbbells and/or resistance bands is also recommended. Finally, Dolgan reminds that people can build muscle at different rates. He says, "This is mostly a product of which type of muscle fiber is dominant in an individual's body. Type I muscle (slow twitch aerobic) doesn't tend to grow as much or as rapidly as Type II muscle fiber (fast twitch explosive). Plyometric training will predominantly train type II muscle fiber."
So, with this information in mind, if you find yourself down in inches but up in weight, it may be time to switch up your workout and incorporate more strength training with your cardio.
Whatever you do, don't lose heart. Keep working, keep adjusting. Keep holding your head up and know that you are making all the right moves, it is just a matter of tweaking it to suit your goals.
Have you had this problem in the past? What did you do to change your results?