Health and Fitness Anytime – May 11

With Jolene de Vries


Question: I’ve been a yo-yo dieter for the past few years, and for some reason, whenever I re-commit and start a new exercise program, I always seem to gain a little weight before the actual weight loss process begins. Can you explain this?

Answer: Yes, this is actually a pretty common phenomenon, but one that most people simply aren’t aware of. When a sedentary or somewhat inactive individual starts an exercise program, several changes occur in the body to respond to this new exercise stimulus. The sum of these changes can add a bit to the scale, despite your hopes for the exact opposite. First of all, the muscles can increase in size, and the added protein in the muscle actually stores additional water. The body will also start to store more sugar in the muscles, and again, water storage plays a role here as well. Several enzymes that process oxygen will also increase in quantity within the muscle cells. And if this isn’t enough, your connective tissues will toughen and thicken, and your total blood volume can increase by up to one pound within a week. All of this better prepares your body for more frequent exercise bouts, and helps to improve your workout efficiency. At this point, you’re probably wondering what can be done to mitigate these effects? The answer is not much. The key is to be consistent with your workouts, and avoid the scale if you’re likely to get discouraged by what you see. It’s important to remember that this is simply your body adapting to exercise. Believe me, your weight will trend down in the long run as you continue your program. Don’t forget the old adage—good things come to those who wait!

Question: When I’m motivated, my workouts and diet are rock solid. But that’s my problem—motivation. Any tips to help me stay on track with my goals?

Answer:  Absolutely! Even those of us in the health and wellness field struggle with motivation from time to time. We are certainly not immune. That said, there are several things you can do to keep yourself motivated. First of all, set small goals. It’s important to know the big picture, but the journey to get there can be daunting, so break it up into smaller, more achievable chunks. Scheduling your activities helps a lot as well. If you treat exercise like an important meeting or like brushing your teeth, it’s more likely to become a habit. Partnering up is also an excellent idea. It would be difficult to find a better motivator than a friend of family member keeping you accountable to your workouts, your diet, and your newfound lifestyle. And frankly, sometimes you probably need a kick in the you-know-what. Last, but not least, pay for it! This may sound a bit odd, but if you have some skin in the game, the game dramatically changes. Buy a gym membership, join an online health website, purchase a credible book, or throw down some cash for a heart rate monitor. Making an investment in your health will pay dividends in the long run.

About the author: Jolene de Vries is the Club Owner at Anytime Fitness coming to Esterhazy, Saskatchewan in summer of 2016.  To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at

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