We occasionally have that new member, who’s been with us for 2-3 months, and comes in all discouraged and proclaims, “I’ve been working my butt off for 2 months now, and I’m so frustrated. I have not lost a single pound!” (In fact, they may have actually gained weight.)
So we ask the question, “How are you feeling?” The answer normally comes back, “My energy is up, I feel good about myself, I’m getting better at WODs, but did you hear me? I’m not losing weight!”
Back we’ll come, “Yes, I heard you, I’m not discounting that, but have you noticed any difference in your body composition?” Answers the athlete, “Well, yes, I did notice I’m in a notch on my belt.”
We can go into a great deal of discussion over how to lose weight, and it all has merits, but understand, when you start CrossFit, you are quickly exchanging fat for muscle tone (not necessarily muscle growth).
If you are losing inches, you are losing weight! Well, no, you aren’t are you? I mean, a pound of fat is exactly equal to a pound of muscle. Exactly equal. What is NOT equal is the density of the material we are discussing. Did you know that muscle is over 18% more dense than fat? Think about that, 5 lbs of muscle will occupy one-fifth less space in the body than 5 lbs of fat. So as muscles regain tone, we are in fact losing fat, just not weight. The below picture will give you a visual of this.
There is far too much emphasis on the pound in our society and not nearly enough emphasis on the space in a room one takes up. I have other guys guess my weight at 170-175 regularly. “Man you are lean. What do you weigh? 175?” One, I’m not that lean, but two, “No, I weigh 192.” There reply is usually something like, “That’s what I weigh! How come you look so thin?”
The answer is simple, muscle weighs more than fat. Oh wait, muscle weighs the same as fat. There’s no difference in weight. The difference is that muscle is denser than fat!
So newbies take heart! Don’t live by the scale, live by the look and realize that after you tone, you will see some weight loss through exercise assuming you are eating correctly in combination!