Weekly column by fitness experts Adam Wright and Jacqui Watson for the Waterford News & Star, in association with Kingfisher Fitness Club
BY the time you read this we’ll be back at the gym. For many of you this will mean your activity levels have increased considerably and you’re well on the way to the levels you had pre all this Covid madness.
Working from home weight gain
Many people will have gained some weight over the past year (I did… I feel like we should call it the covid-19lbs or something…) and, if that weight is unwanted, getting back into the gym is a step towards correcting this… it’s only one side of the coin though and it’s really important to remember that, again, many people may have developed some new eating habits during the last year as well.
‘There will always be days where things aren’t perfect but a single day doesn’t matter… work on a good average for the month’
I’ve written about this before but I always feel we’re never too advanced for the basics, so as a little reminder: Weight management is about calories consumed relative to calories burned. If they’re even then we stay the same, this is usually known as “maintenance”.
If you’re one of the people that gained weight over the past year then your calories consumed was higher than your calories burned. And now, in order to lose that weight (or, more accurately, fat) your calories consumed need to be less than your calories burned. And in all these three examples this is on average and over a long period of time. There will always be days where things aren’t perfect but a single day doesn’t matter… work on a good average for the month.
So, back to the gym. Getting back to larger amounts of formal exercise with more challenging weights and maybe in higher intensity environments is a huge step in the right direction, if you gained weight you don’t want to keep, during the restrictions. But if you also developed some less than ideal eating habits the gym by itself might not get you all the way there (or might not get you there as quickly) if we don’t address nutrition too. This is always the case even without covid, it just has particular bearing today.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. During the first level 5 restrictions I got into the habit of eating 200g of chocolate every night. 1,000 plus calories on top of my normal food. This caused my weight to go up at a moderate pace. Thankfully I broke the habit once I saw what it was doing to me but if I hadn’t how might this next month have gone?
Let’s say I was still eating 1,000+ calories more than I need and I went back to the gym. Let’s say a really good workout would be 400 – 600 calories… I’d still only be halfway to where I need to be to lose the weight I’ve gained… but if I drop the chocolate and get to the gym then I’ll be 500 calories less than I need and remember calories consumed being less than calories burned is where we need to be for fat loss. So it’s really important that we look at both sides of this coin and not only get back to the gym but also address other changes in lifestyle that may have resulted from pandemic restriction.
An action plan?
Just like the gym, start simple and small. Simple, small and done is better than big, dramatic but failed. We talked about the gym last week but for food and drink: Make it less bad. If you can catch yourself beforehand ask yourself what could you do to make what you’re about to eat a little better. Would 100 grams of chocolate do instead of 200… it would make some difference. And if you don’t catch yourself beforehand, ask yourself afterwards, “What could I do to make that just a little bit healthier next time?” and try to do it :)
I hope you’re not too sore from the gym, I hope you have a great week and if you want to chat about this more find me @AdamWrightPT on Instagram or Facebook.