The Daily "Weigh-In"
Here is something I see at least FIVE TIMES every day in the gym: someone walks in, weighs themselves, works out, then weighs themselves again before walking out the door. Every chance I get, I ask people why they do that and they all give me the same answer, “I am trying to see how much weight I am losing”. They puff their chest out as they tell me how they lost 3 pounds on the elliptical in an hour and hurry off to get a bite to eat. ( …pause for effect… ) I thought I’d write a few words about this common yet unfailingly inaccurate practice.
As I’ve mentioned in previous postings, it is an undeniable fact that a pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. There is no pill, shake, or diet that can get around this simple truth. In order for you to lose a pound of fat, your body must burn 3,500 more calories than it consumes. When you factor that little tidbit of information into the practice of weighing yourself before and after a workout, it becomes clear that any difference in weight during your workout is attributed to something other than fat. Let us return to the example in the first paragraph. Three pounds of fat is equal to 10,500 calories. Anyone who has ever worn a heart rate monitor or similar device to calculate caloric expenditure can attest to the fact that it is physically impossible to burn 10,500 calories (i.e., 3 pounds of fat) in an hour. The vast majority of those three pounds is water – you know, the stuff people leak all over the elliptical when they’re working out (yuk!). The human body is 60% water and believe me when I tell you that it is going to need that water back. Operating in a dehydrated state for an extended period of time can lead to serious health issues, and so the human body triggers thirst within itself to return to a hydrated state after a workout.
In closing, weighing yourself constantly (including before and after a workout) is only going to frustrate you. Those minute fluctuations in weight that are bound to occur from day to day is simply your body’s level of hydration doing its thing. It is perfectly normal for these fluctuations to occur. You REALLY want to measure your progress? Measure your body fat every 2-3 months!