Working Out in Vain

So the summer came and went without you getting your beach body. Or maybe you’re about to meet your potential in-laws during the holidays. Perhaps you’re going on an island vacation for the holidays. Or maybe it’s just time for you to get your bum into the gym and stop procrastinating.

But whatever the reason, you’re in the gym. Maybe everyday. Maybe three times a week. You’re running or walking for 45 minutes. You’re lifting weights. You’re doing Zumba! or Jazzercise classes. You’re on the bike for 30 minutes. You’re playing soccer or basketball. You are in the zone.

A month goes by and you’ve lost one pound. ONE pound?!! All that work for ONE POUND?!! What gives? You did everything you were supposed to do. You should have lost more than one measly pound. Working out = losing weight….right?

Well, it’s actually not that simple. And a lot of people make this mistake. Working out is an excellent start on the road to weight loss. But it’s just that: a START. People don’t really think about what they’re not doing when they’re not working out. One thing people don’t realize is how their body reacts to working out especially if the body is not used to it.

Your body needs fuel to do all that working out. Your intention is for your body to use the stored up fat to fuel its workout so that you lose weight, but your body has other plans. Think of it like your bank accounts. You have checking and savings. You’re not going to take money out of your savings account if you have money in your checking account or know you have money coming into your checking account.

Your body fat is your body’s savings account and the food you eat is the checking account. So now you’ve started working out the checking account is running low. So what does your body do? It calls in reinforcements: the cravings. And I’m not talking about crazy pickles and ice cream cravings that you can recognize and ignore. I’m talking the cute little baby cravings that you can’t help but give in to.

They could range anywhere from an extra sugar cube in your coffee or tea to getting a second helping of fried chicken for dinner. The problem is that you don’t even realize it’s happening because it’s so subtle. You rationalize it by thinking that you can afford to eat a little extra because you worked out today or yesterday or three days ago. But is maintaining your weight or losing weight the point of your workout? The way you eat will determine which will actually happen.

I say all this to say that you must watch what you eat, especially when you’re working out. Working out is only going to be effective if you keep your caloric intake the same, or better yet, lower. If you workout more and eat more, nothing will happen.

So no more “I can have a cookie because I worked out today”. The cookie will only make you happy for a minute; maybe two if you’re a slow eater. But having that beach body will make you happy for so much longer. Back away from the cookie…slowly. It’s not worth it.

Until next time, cheers to a better you.

For questions, ideas, comments or concerns feel free to email Onyi at

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