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Skwigg Blog
Tuesday, 13 March 2007
Three Pound Question

Q: I have a question for you. I bought the Afterburn program and followed it religiously for three weeks and have gained three pounds. This totally freaked me out. I wanted to lose weight. Now I weigh 170 and want to get to 150-155.  I ditched the program for now and am going back to my tedious point counting weight watcher program and yoga and lots of elliptical and maybe will do this program when I get to my goal. Do you have any clue why I always gain so much weight when I do weight training? This happens to me every time and I am just not willing to take the risk of having the scale go up even though I really want a lean muscular body. This has me totally freaked out.

A: Oh my, how to answer this question without yelling and shaking you. :-) 

Going back to a familiar and ineffective routine isn't going to miraculously get you a hard body. You can't keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. If you want dramatic change, you have to challenge yourself, and you have to do it for more than three weeks in a row. I could eat a salted peanut and gain three pounds. That's why you quit strength training??? Are you serious??? You're going to give me a keyboard imprint on my forehead!

Weight fluctuates 2-3 pounds a day for NO REASON AT ALL. Every person, every day, up and down. That's totally normal. Gaining a few pounds of water and glycogen (stored carbohydrate) in your muscles and liver when you start strength training and eating well is totally normal. It's not fat. Do you honestly think that lifting weights is going to make you big and heavy and fat? That it's something risky you should avoid?

You have to give some serious consideration to what your goal really is. If you want to lose scale weight but still be big and soft and have muscles like a fatty, mushy, marbled pot roast, then you are on the right track. You can lose 20-30 pounds and still jiggle like hell and have the metabolism of a little snail. If you want a fast metabolism and a tight muscular body with compact, dense, lean little flank steak muscles, then you need to change your approach completely -  REGARDLESS of what the scale says. The scale will go up down and around in circles. That's what scales do.

I don't know how tall you are, but this is what 5'8" and 170 pounds looks like on a woman who lifts weights and eats:

Tonja 1

Tonja 2

Compare that body to every 170 pound Weight Watcher progress photo you've ever seen. Dieters who don't strength train will jiggle and have fat rolls and look like hell in a bikini no matter what they weigh. Strong, lean women will look completely fabulous at scale weights that would scare the bejeezus out of a Weight Watchers counselor.

As long as you're measuring your success by the scale, your success is going to be severely limited. Use a tape measure, percentage of body fat, a pair of tight jeans, the mirror or photographs. I know that if you've relied on the scale your whole life it's hard to part ways, but I'm telling you - part already! Give the program a chance. You didn't even make it to the 4-week freakout before you freaked. You aren't always going to see big changes in days or weeks. You have to be prepared to do a fitness program consistently for MONTHS to see a huge payoff. Changing your body composition is not like a quick weight loss diet where the scale goes down every week. Totally rebuilding yourself takes time and real effort.

Posted by skwigg at 7:22 PM CDT

Tuesday, 13 March 2007 - 10:44 PM CDT

Name: "Sarah"

god i SO needed to read this today. thanks Renee.


i've been reading a message board lately and there's a girl talking about how "awesome her medically supervised starvation diet (aka VLC-VeryLowCalorie) is" and how their findings on metabolism are *gasp* somehow defiant of the laws of nature and physics. of course they are, they're selling her something! i'm so temped to copy and paste this. or at least link you. but i won't unless you authorize.



Tuesday, 13 March 2007 - 11:07 PM CDT

Name: "Carrie"

Ah, Skwigg, you never let me down!  I nearly got a "keyboard imprint" myself when I read the question, then LOLed at the answer.

 Give it true, you might P*$$ some people off, but it may also get them to take action!

 By the way, I've been doing Afterburn for 9 weeks now (started session III yesterday, OMG!) and have seen my pants start to fall off, my belt is even getting too big.  So for anyone who hasn't tried this awesome program yet, go for it, follow a "clean eating" plan (mine's about 60% on, 40% flub) and watch the results happen. 


Wednesday, 14 March 2007 - 4:03 AM CDT

Name: "Jen"


 I needed that too!

Must remember that marathon training is not going to get me ripped, and starving my ninny brain is only going to make me flabbier!

 Must stick that Tonja picture on my desktop - I weigh 174 or something and don't look like that! :p

Wednesday, 14 March 2007 - 8:45 AM CDT

Name: "Sue "

Wednesday, 14 March 2007 - 10:10 AM CDT

Name: "Mira"
Home Page: http://fitmira.blogspot.com

LOL, Skwigg, I love the way you answer questions like this!  Its so true...I got a couple of comments yesterday about how people could tell that I "had lost so much weight" and how I looked "so much smaller".  At least the smaller part is true, but those silly people were just flabbergasted when I told them....actually, I've only lost like 5 pounds (but over a pants size). 

Wednesday, 14 March 2007 - 11:53 AM CDT

Name: "Sue"

Wednesday, 14 March 2007 - 3:15 PM CDT

Name: "Flo"
Home Page: http://stepawayfromthecake.blogspot.com

Excellent response!! I was a WW for a long time and it really took time to change my thinking around about eating and weight training.  I purchased Afterburn (on your recommendation) in December.  I've been about 90% on the nutrition and about 60% on the exercise.  Even so, I'm shedding fat like crazy.  The scale isn't moving but clothes are looser and I'm starting to see muscles that used to be sheltered by layers of fat, and I'm feeling better then I ever felt on WW.  Even so, I still find myself falling into that mind trap of, "oh, I should eat less to lose weight"  Luckily I hear that voice in my head and slap the b*tch silly, and go grab a snack of protein, fruit/veggies.  Works every time :)

Wednesday, 14 March 2007 - 8:02 PM CDT

Name: "Sarah"

there's a crazy show on TLC right now called The Man Who's Arms Exploded. if you're around, i'm sure it's something that you'd like to watch! eep!!

Wednesday night...9pm

Wednesday, 14 March 2007 - 8:16 PM CDT

Name: "Mich"
Home Page: http://maspikteruzim.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 14 March 2007 - 10:17 PM CDT

Name: "mal"
Home Page: http://www.latebloomerlog.com

Thanks for this great post. I needed the reminder.

Thursday, 15 March 2007 - 7:38 AM CDT

Name: "Sue"

I'm going to try my comment again - with Renee's help (thank you), I'm hoping it will work this time :))


I just wanted to Brag it up and tell you how much I LOVE WorkoutPass.com. I LOVE, LOVE, Love the Cosgrove workouts and the Abs of Stone - Holy Mother, wait til you can try some of those!! I've knocked back the cardio time and changed up to HIIT for 15 - 20 minutes about 4 times a week, followed by the Abs and Cosgrove workouts. then i do a Spin class and Yoga on the 5th day, the just Yoga on the sixth - and let me tell you, it is movin' and shakin'. I love the progress I'm seeing. That Alwyn has some kick butt routines! And in the little over 4 weeks i've been doing this routine I have not lost any pounds, but the inches are melting, my clothes are getting looser, and i am Firming UP, Baby!!

So, I am glad of your response to the question . You were right on. i sicerely believ almost anyone will gain a bit of weight, or at least stall in the loss department whenever we start a DIFFERENT weight routine. the key is to hang tight and let the muscle do its job - ie: raise the meatbolism, burn the fat.

And THANK YOU for touting the WorkoutPass.com. I love going to the Gym with that workout printed out. I REALLY like having something written down to follow. And each day all the muscles are worked, but never consecutively. I love it. Its a No fail way for me to get it done!

Now get better, and hurry back to yourself!.

(can you tell I'm a long-time lurker?? ha ha!)

Have a great night and thanks for your help.


Thursday, 15 March 2007 - 8:33 AM CDT

Name: "anonymous"

Just for the record, I did WW and it totally destroyed my metabolism. Trying to do that and train at the same time led to a death-spiral of overtraining and weight gain. Go back to Afterburn, if you have any doubts, send your question to Alwyn >=)

Thursday, 15 March 2007 - 9:09 PM CDT

Name: "Liz"
Home Page: http://liz-d.blogspot.com/

I cant wait till I get back to AFterburn and HIIT.  AT the moment I am training for a 15.2km road race so I'm not getting anywhere in the fat loss department.  I'm sure once I get back on the program, I'll be fine.  I'm interested to know, did the woman reply? or did she get pissed off and run back to WW thinking "That woman has no idea what she's talking about!!"  My PT boss is of similar thinking. See my blog if you want to hear what he said to me. Warning - you might fall off your chair!

Thursday, 15 March 2007 - 10:07 PM CDT

Name: skwigg

"Liz" wrote:
I'm interested to know, did the woman reply? or did she get pissed off and run back to WW thinking "That woman has no idea what she's talking about!!" 

Oh, no. My answer thrilled her and cracked her up. We had a good laugh. I told her that if she'd been in the room when I read that question, I probably would have been able to get up and walk (it's a miracle!) on my way to strangle her. :-D She reported that she is back on Afterburn now.

Thursday, 15 March 2007 - 11:15 PM CDT

Name: "Carrie"

Who is this buff Tonja woman?  She looks amazing!

Thursday, 15 March 2007 - 11:45 PM CDT

Name: skwigg
Home Page: http://skwigg.tripod.com

"Carrie" wrote:
Who is this buff Tonja woman?  She looks amazing!

Her name is Tonja Pacheco and she lost almost 100 pounds to get that body!


Saturday, 17 March 2007 - 8:27 AM CDT

Name: "Lana"

Thank you so much for those pictures! They've made my (free!) day. 

 As someone who's overweight, but already has around 130lbs of lean mass, I wonder what I'll look like when I get down to a lower BF% but still weigh more than most of the examples I see online. 

 I think the keyword here is "dense"--like the old pound of feathers, pound of gold analogy. Heavy doesn't mean big. 

 Thank you. =o) Post more pictures like that!

Saturday, 17 March 2007 - 9:41 AM CDT

Name: "Jeanne"


I am in week 10 of Afterburn.  My results are similar to others here.  I've only lost 5 pounds of scale weight, but my arms and shoulders are more defined and my stomach is looking great!  I'll be getting my bodyfat re-tested at the beginning of May-- it was 22% when I started on 1/8.  I'm excited about the program.  It's been a challenge and it's definitely a change from what I was doing (BFL).  I am struggling somewhat with the carb/calorie cycling-- I'm not sure I'll continue that to the end of the 16 weeks.  I rarely miss a workout-- it's the nutrition part that I find most challenging.  (I miss the BFL free days!)  But the program as written is intense enough that, even with falling off the wagon on occasion, I'm still getting awesome results.  Thanks for recommending this program, Renee!  Also, LOVED LOVED LOVED this post.



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