It’s important to understand that weight loss and fitness don’t alwaysgo together. Particularly, it’s important to understand that exercise tends to increase the muscular weight of the body (while decreasing the weight of fat on the body). However, sometimes when a person builds muscle and loses fat at the same time, the scale weight does not change and the person feels like‘nothing is happening.’ When in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
Obviously if you are drastically overweight you would benefit from reducing total body weight. But purely from a weight loss standpoint, sometimes the fastest way to lose weight is to lose both muscle and fat at the same time—which is what happens during drastic diets, especially when no exercise is performed. While this can produce quick results on the scale, it tends to be a recipe for regaining the weight once the crash diet is over. This is so true that many weight loss centers actively discourage muscle building exercise, or sometimes any exercise at all, because they don’t want you to build muscle which might slow theweight loss on the scale temporarily. One thing to realize too is that the stronger you are, the more you will weigh at the same clothing size. Forinstance, a woman who walks for exercise but doesn’t lift weights and weighs 130 lb. might need a size 8 or 10 pants (depending on her height, of course). A woman who works out hard and it very fit and strong, at the same height and same weight, might be able to fit into size 2 pants. The reason is that your bodyfat percentage will be lower, which is the true measure of how good a person looks.
Sometimes what is needed is not weight loss, but rather fat loss. Of course, there is such a thing as just having too much weight, period, especially if you are not in good shape. The BMI chart at the doctors’ office is a good gauge for the average person. If you are overweight according to the BMI chart, and are not super super strong, you could probably stand to lose some pounds.
However, the best way to really gauge your progress is not so much the scale, but measurements, namely inches around key areas and bodyfat calculations via bodyfat calipers used by a trained professional. You would be amazed at the changes that can happen with good workouts even if the bodyweight doesn’t change. Bodyweight has much more to do with food intake than with exercise for most people. Bodyfat always drops with increased fitness, however.
The tried and true method if evaluating if the exercise is working is simply to ask the question, “Do I look good in the mirror naked?” It doesn’t get much more honest than that!