Getting fit over fifty doesn’t necessarily mean losing weight. In fact, many women who adhere to a strict exercise regime actually find that they gain weight. But how can this be the case? We have been told for years by medical and fitness experts that exercise equals a slimmer body. Unfortunately, for many middle-aged women this is not the case. While it is an undeniable fact that exercising does make you more fit it doesn’t always result in looser clothing.
The primary reason why your fitness routine can cause weight gain is that many of us believe we should be rewarded for exercising. Instead of being grateful for the ability and opportunity to exercise, so many look at working out as a chore that deserves a reward when completed. Similar to a child who asks for an extra cookie because he was quiet for five minutes. And of course the reward is not an extra slice of turkey breast, it’s usually a “treat” food like candy, cookies, burgers and the like. This is referred to as “compensation” by sports scientists.
It’s important to be mindful that most exercise machines show incorrect calorie counts and if you’ve walked your 10,000 steps you have not burned up as many calories as you think. Being covered in sweat and panting after a tough HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) routine not necessarily results in burning the calories equal to those in 2 slices of pizza and a glass of wine.
Another mistake many middle-aged women make is that they believe that when they exercise they should be eating like an athlete. That after workout smoothie or protein shake can have twice the calories you expended. I’ve watched many women grab a sports drink or power bar loaded with calories after a yoga or Zumba class or 30 minutes on the treadmill. Those extra calories are going right to their bellies, butts and thighs.
Another factor that discourages the body from losing weight from exercise is that many of us fall into a pattern of sameness, and by that I mean we do the same exact workout every time we exercise. That’s why it’s important to mix things up so your body doesn’t sleep walk through a workout. I do a lot of resistance training but I change up my methods to keep my body guessing: I may alternate volume training with high intensity cardio or an hour of core. It’s very important not to get into an exercise rut because your body will definitely not change either.
But please don’t give up on exercising. It is essential to wellness, it allows you time to focus solely on you and it is fun!