Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Fat burning muscles

June was a difficult month for me.    I was eating right.  I was riding my heart out on my bike.  I was walking during my lunch breaks.   I was NOT losing weight!   It was like I was constantly beating myself up against the wall and going nowhere.  I wanted to give up more than once. But I kept clinging to a few facts about muscle growth and the way muscles work within our bodies.   I kept telling myself that this phase of working hard and going no where would end.   I believe it has ended (I hope).  But what in the world did I cling to during that phase that made me stay the course?

Fluid Retention
The first thing that I kept reminding myself was the fact that I know what happens to our muscles when we work out.    In a nutshell, when we work out we cause small micro tears in our muscles.  (This is what causes the pain after a workout.).  Don’t despair, the micro tears heal and actually in the process make the muscle stronger.   BUT, while the muscles are healing the body has a defense mechanism against further injury.  That defense is to surround the area with fluid.  AKA possible water retention.  Water retention can definitely mess up the numbers on the scales!  

I knew this!   That is why I am not overly concerned each week when my numbers pop up drastically (ok 2-3 pounds) after a weekend with heavy riding! Especially when  I was so SORE those first weeks of riding.   It wasn’t until the end of the month that while I could still feel the burn in my legs that I wasn’t aching and moaning each time I went to sit down!  My muscles were getting stronger and thereby suffering less micro tears each time I rode!  

Muscle weight Versus fat weight
Ok some people say that muscle weighs more than fat.   And other people get all up on their high horse and preach how that saying is wrong.....a pound is a pound no matter if it’s fat or muscle.   But add in mass to the equation.   A pound of fat has a much larger mass than a pound of muscle!  Don’t believe me...well look at this! 

I knew during the month of June that my muscles were sore!   I knew that meant that they were rebuilding stronger and leaner.   I knew that I was building muscle even though my weight was staying exactly the same!  Mid month I started to get random compliments.   Compliments from people that had no clue that I had kicked up my exercise and diet regime into high gear!   Random and disconnected from each other too!  One after another.....yet the scales were not budging!   Could it be that I was building muscle and losing fat...an even trade with the numbers on the scale but different in mass...which is what people were seeing?   I remained hopeful!!!

How our bodies burn fat
I also kept going back to something that a personal trainer had told me years ago. It gave me comfort!    This trainer had told me that cardio gives us a quick burst in terms of fat burning.  But it’s the muscles that you build that will give you a continual burn of fat.  

Confused?  Let me give you two examples that they gave me!   You are cold and want heat.   There are two ways you can generate heat (aka burning fat).  You can start a fire...every time you throw a log on that fire you are stoking the burn.   It will flare up and burn like crazy giving you a burst of heat, but the burn will eventually die down....and relatively quickly.  This is how cardio works.  We work out and we burn burn burn that fat away.  But an hour or so after that workout the fire has died out and we are back to normal and not burning fat like crazy until we add another log to the fire (workout again).  The second way to get heat (burn fat) is to turn on the furnace.  It  takes a bit longer to get warm.  You don’t have that flash of heat....but once you have that furnace running you are generating a constant heat source.  This is how your muscles work.  You build those muscles through stength training and they aren’t burning as much fat while your doing the activity...but those stronger muscles need more ‘food’ (fat) to survive!   They will continually burn...much longer than a brief burst of cardio!

So I took this to heart.  I knew that my actions were creating muscle and that eventually that muscle would start burning like mad!  And it appears to be so!

So while June was rough.   I wasn’t having the results that my actions indicated should have been there.  I held to these three small truths.  I knew I wasn’t eating crazy foods which would negate any benefits.  I was eating healthy.  I was splurging only minimally.  I was doing it right!  I just had to stay focused and on track because I knew that sooner or later my muscles would stop retaining so much water....or they would start burning fat eventually.....Or maybe the fat loss would start to  outweigh the muscle gain!   I didn’t care what it was...I just had to sit back and stay the course!    And toward the end of June I started to see changes.....and through the first week of July I have been near ecstatic with the changes.  My weight is dropping!  I stayed the course and it looks like it is beginning to pay off!!!!


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mxtodis123 said...

June was a difficult month for me as well, but my difficulty is my own fault. No will power or motivation at all.

Sarah said...

I knew your scale would catch up. Don't forget to take measurements too. Then you can see the changes everyone else is seeing.

Congrats and keep up the good work.

SANRDJ said...

good for you... keep going!

*Sweat and Sparkle* said...

Every time I get back to working out, especially heavy weight training or something else intense, I have a gain the first week. It's frustrating, but I have to remind myself about the muscle tears/fluid retention thing and just keep going!

MaryFran said...

Pick up that missing willpower and motivation! You can do it!!! I suspect those special meals at the center didn’t help either!!

MaryFran said...

I know! I need to take measurements but have always struggled to carry through with that plan!

MaryFran said...

Exactly!!! It seemed to take forever this time for me though!!!! :-)

Shelley said...

I cannot wait to be able to work out again - I don't care if I lose anything, I just want to do it, period. You are doing great and understanding the process, which is a big help.

MaryFran said...

Every day you are getting closer and closer to that day when you are good to work out again!!!!!

Mrs Swan said...

WHOO HOO! I'm so happy the scale is finally moving for you!!! The muscle holding onto the water just kept me thinking about the whole woosh effect as well. About how our fat cells fill with water for a place holder as well till they basically give up and let it go (paraphrasing here haha)

PS Your "I'm not a robot" has gotten really annoying lately. Yet you still had a spam comment come through. How in the heck? LOL

MaryFran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MaryFran said...

Yeah...how does that happen!