Science

Muscle vs. Fat & My Commit to Fit Challenge Results

May 4, 2017
Challenge Inspiring Burn Boot Camp

My Commit to Fit Challenge at Burn Boot Camp is over.

It ended last Friday and I am happy to say I didn’t go sprinting to the candy isle to get a fix on a Twix bar, nor did I gnaw into a French baguette dipped in red wine.  Although, I did splash a little cream in my coffee.  The end of the challenge passed quietly and unassumingly and I concluded it wasn’t really that hard to uphold some sort of restriction on my diet most of the time.

It also wasn’t that hard to get to the gym four to five times a week.

Of course, things don’t seem as hard when you are done with them!  If only we had that perspective in the midst of whatever challenge we face.

Anyway, as you already know, from reading here, I actually failed the commitment.  I was strong for the first two weeks.  No alcohol, no grains, no added sugar and I abided by the dairy restrictions.  I didn’t even lick the homemade raspberry jam off of the spoon when I made my children’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

Then, came Easter weekend where I was pushed into the hands of buttered cornbread, gumdrops and Reese Bunnies. Not to mention cream in my coffee.  And, I must admit I ended the weekend wishing I wouldn’t have strayed from my commitment.

Despite my refocus when I returned home after Easter, the image of my goal never quite re-sharpened and it remained blurry as I limped along for the remaining two weeks. Failing just slightly every day, including finally losing the battle with the bottle. 😉 A wee bit of wine in week number three and that was that.

I did right the ship and continued with the suggested diet modifications of no grains and no added sugar (with the exception of the 15 dark chocolate covered almonds I ate in one sitting one random afternoon).  Hey!  They were taunting me from the counter for weeks and got their just desserts!  Besides, sometimes that is what happens when you deprive yourself.

Regardless of not staying true to my commitment I still saw results.  Here I am ‘after.’  Ahem.  Gym hair.  Don’t care 😉

Challenge - Burn Boot Camp

I honestly do not look that different, but I lost 2.6 pounds, 8/10 of a percentage of body fat and two inches overall from my waist, butt, legs and arms combined!

So, I did get results from my ‘sacrifices,’ which really feels great and also gives me a boost to stay the course (mostly). And, as with anything, hindsight is 20/20, so I know if I commit to a strict routine like this again there are some things I would do the same, but some I would do a little bit differently.

What I would do:

  • Have an accountability buddy (or more than one…because sometimes one of them will send you a picture of their beer and you will feel like you should send one back.  True story).
  • Shop and meal prep for approved recipes and test some out before-hand.  You don’t want to be hangry and faced with a disgusting meal.
  • Prepare approved snacks and have them in the refrigerator.
  • Do not obsess over energy expended because then you feel like you have to replenish it more than you should.  For example, one does not need 40 almonds for a snack when 20 will do – even if it was leg day.
  • Reflect upon how pieces of the commitment can be integrated into life going forward without feeling deprived.  As the sign says at Burn Boot Camp:

Challenge - Fit

Before I jump into a quick lesson on muscle versus fat, may I please suggest that you put your scale away?  I weigh on the high-end of what I have ever weighed with the exception of when I was pregnant.  But I am stronger than I have ever been.  If I was weighing myself (we do not have a scale at home, so I only weigh myself if the trainer makes me during a progress check), it would offer a deceiving value for me.  It would show me weight gain in my life, but my body would look and feel better.  Here is why:

Muscle versus Fat

First of all, muscle and fat actually weigh the same.  One pound of muscle weighs the same as one pound of fat.  The difference is that muscle is more dense and thus takes up less volume than fat.  If you were to take three pounds of muscle and place them beside three pounds of fat, the fat would take up much more space because it is less dense.  Thus, it is possible for one to lose fat and gain muscle without a change in body weight.

Sometimes, it is more prudent to look at your body fat percentage, which your doctor can test (or your trainer can estimate using tools they have).

So, how does one build muscle?

There are 650 skeletal muscles in the human body.  They receive instructions from motor neurons, which tell them to contract or relax.  After a workout, the body begins to replace and repair damaged muscle fibers from the workout.  It occurs through a cellular process where muscle fibers are fused together.  They then form new strands of myofibrils, which are thicker and larger and create the muscle growth.  Interestingly, this occurs during the rest period after lifting weights.

So, essentially, you have to break down the muscle to build it back up again.  But remember, as with anything, make sure you are consulting a professional as needed so you can make sure you are doing what is right for you and your body!

Journey on friends, and be fit!

xo, Melissa a.k.a. the mamabrain at mamabrains

 

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