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I started my workout program and I've GAINED weight! Help!

Jena Chopson

Has this ever happened to you before? 

Odds are if you have ever embarked upon a new, relatively more intense workout program, this has happened to you. 

What does it mean? Does it mean the workout program doesn't work? Does it mean you're doing something wrong? 

I see this happen sometimes with my clients during the first week or two of their program. 

The good news is, it's actually quite common, and here's why: 

1.) Inflammation

Exercise-induced inflammation is extremely common, especially with higher intensity programs like Insanity, P90X, or the 21 Day Fix Extreme. 

When many people begin these program, they see a temporary increase in the scale. Notice I didn't exactly say weight gain. With the help of celebrity personal trainer Chalene Johnson, let me help explain: 

"When someone starts a new exercise program, they often experience muscle soreness. The more intense and “unfamiliar” the program, the more intense the muscle soreness. This soreness is most prevalent 24 to 48 hours after each workout. In the first few weeks of a new program, soreness is the body trying to “protect and defend” the effected or targeted tissue. Exercise physiologists refer to this as delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS.

This type of soreness is thought to be caused by tissue breakdown or microscopic tears in muscle tissue. When this happens, the body protects the tissue. The muscle becomes inflamed and slightly swollen due to fluid retention. This temporary retention of fluid can result in a 3- to 4-pound weight gain within a few weeks of a new program. Keep in mind that muscle soreness is not necessarily a reflection of how hard you worked. In fact, some people feel no signs of muscle soreness, yet will experience the muscle protection mechanisms of water retention and slight swelling.

Most people are motivated enough to put up with this temporary muscle soreness. Yet, many, especially those who really need immediate weight loss to keep them motivated, become discouraged and quit!"

Who mostly becomes discouraged by this? Yep, you guessed it--us WOMEN. They key here is knowledge of the science, as explained above. Expect that this will happen, but don't let it discourage you. Know that this is just a temporary gain on the scale, it's normal, and to keep going! 

2.) Dial in your expectations 

I see this one ALL the time. I've even seen this to some extremes. When women don't drop 21 pounds in 21 days, they resort to crazy (and unhealthy) cleanses, fasts, and other unhealthy ways to drop said pounds FAST. After all, if it's not happening fast, it must not be working, right? 

WRONG. For some reason, even though it took us months, and even YEARS to land us in the body we're currently in, we think we can reverse that in a matter of days. 

It simply isn't true. Losing weight, gaining muscle, and becoming healthy is a process. It takes time + consistency to reach those goals. Patience and diligence is key. Trust the process and keep going! 

3.) Muscle is more dense than fat. 

You ever hear the phrase, "Muscle weighs more than fat?" Well, of course, we know that phrase verbatim isn't exactly true. A pound of muscle is the same as a pound of fat. A pound IS a pound, after all! 

But I believe what people are TRYING to get across, is that muscle is more dense than fat. Simply meaning that it's more concentrated. Therefore, it's going to take more muscle mass (and thus more pounds of it) to equal the same amount of mass as 1 pound of fat. 

Confused? Let's look at this image to help us out. 

Clearly, as you can see, these both weigh the same, but the fat takes up more SPACE. 

This illustration is exactly why us health & fitness coaches recommend taking MEASUREMENTS just as often as you are weighing yourself, because, frankly, the scale can be a liar. You can be packing on more muscle and becoming LEANER whilst not seeing any movement on the scale. 

Before photos and measurements will help you to be able to see this picture more clearly. I highly recommend it! 

4.) You're eating too many calories 

I put this one last because if you are truly following your workouts and your meal plan as you should be and the scale isn't moving, it is very likely due to the bullet points above. 

BUT, I've also seen many instances where my clients aren't being truly honest or aware of what they're eating. 

If you aren't tracking your nutrition intake, you should be (at least in the beginning). You need to get an idea of what you're taking in nutritionally on a typical day. Oftentimes, this surprises people. 

At the end of the day, weight loss is all about calories in and calories out. If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. Please note that this doesn't mean you will be healthy. I've been a shining example in my past on how eating less and burning off excessive calories doesn't exactly equate to health. 

Getting the RIGHT calories in, along with a healthy relationship with exercise is really the sweet spot (no pun intended). If you eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods and exercise consistently, you will likely gain muscle mass and lose fat. 

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No matter where you're at on your fitness journey, just know that I'm here to help! If you are struggling and need help getting all of this right, I'm only a simple message away. 

To your health, 

xoxo

Jena


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When you don't see eye to eye....

Jena Chopson

I get a lot of questions about what to do when you have an "unsupportive spouse" when it comes to your health & fitness journey, or when it comes to your new business. 

Although Doug is doing a workout program with me now, it most definitely has not always been this way. Allow me to show you a picture of what our workout partnership has looked like for 99% of the time we have been together: 

Doug sitting in our front yard propped up with a Miller Lite while I race my 5K. 

Doug sitting in our front yard propped up with a Miller Lite while I race my 5K. 

This is a topic I get really passionate about. Allow me to share a little bit of my story....

I've always been into health and fitness my entire life. Don't make fun of me--I literally have memories of running around the playground at recess as a young child with the GOAL to work up a sweat. Not exactly what most little girls aim to achieve at recess, right? 

Even though I haven't always been healthy (you can read more about that here), being athletic, active, and conscientious about my health has always been a huge passion of mine.  So of course as opposites tend to attract, I wind up marrying a man who basically has zero interest in all of the aforementioned topics. ZERO. 

Let's be honest. I married him this way. I knew the man I was marrying going into this whole thing. Still, I would be lying if I said it didn't sting a little bit every time I headed out for a run, or downstairs to do my workout, alone

This great divide became all the more apparent when I started a business as a health and fitness coach. I'm not going to say he was unsupportive, because to me that means he was basically doing everything in his power to make sure I didn't succeed. He was more, shall I say, standoffish. "Do whatever you want babe, but I think it's all ridiculous." That was a better way to describe it. And even though that's better than being completely unsupportive, it still sucked.  This was a HUGE deal to me and a HUGE passion of mine, and something I was really excited about....and he just wasn't excited.  

So what did I do? You might think I came up with some elaborate plan to bring him over to the "dark side," right? Well, you'd be wrong. You see, you can't change other people. Even when that person happens to be your spouse. The only thing you can do is better yourself and aim to become a better person, spouse, individual, whatever and continue to set the example along the way. 

I had no idea if Doug would ever develop an interest in his own health and fitness, but I always knew that he would have to come to terms with that on his own. If you're in the health & fitness space, you know as well as I do that we cannot force anyone to want to change, they have to want it for themselves first. 

I asked Doug about a week ago, "What was it that finally made you commit to your health?" And he basically responded with, "I was tired of being the fat kid. And I knew it would only bring us closer. So I went all in." That's the Doug version of saying what we hear all too often from people who finally hit their breaking point and are ready to make a change: Enough is enough. Something has to change. 

The key point here is this: If I had given up on him, on myself, on the journey....then he might never have come to these terms. If you feel like you have an "unsupportive" spouse, if you feel like your significant other will never make his or her health a priority, if you feel like you are alone--Don't. Give. Up. 

Stay consistent. Stick with it. Continue to work on and develop yourself. Pray for him or her, for your relationships. And who knows? You may one day be taking sweaty selfies with your spouse after crushing a workout---together. 

Post workout sweaty selfie...aka everything to me <3 

Post workout sweaty selfie...aka everything to me <3 

Relate to this story at all and want to chat more? Feel free to reach out to me, I'd love to talk. 

Xoxo, 

Jena 


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