Muscle Gain at Work

My winter goal was to do a lot of weightlifting and put on a lot of muscle over course of the winter.

I weighed myself today. 183 lbs with clothes off. Up from 165 lbs when I last weighed myself in December. And yet I've lost belly fat over the winter due to my exercising / weightlifting regimen. Not a lot, but enough that it is probably about 3 to 5 lbs.

Which leaves only two possible explanations... I've either put on about 20 lbs of muscle during the winter - or I've gained weight due to increased bone density (most likely it is a combination of muscle and bone density, because weightlifting also boosts bone density).

I have put on more muscle mass over the winter, but I didn't think it was anywhere close to 20 lbs. That is a lot more than I was expecting.

In other news I also bought new running shoes for jogging this Spring and Summer. Nike Crosstrainers. (I've purchased many Nike shoes over the years, but never cross-trainers before.)

My goal is lose even more belly fat now that is is Spring by doing a lot of jogging, cycling and to continue my weightlifting regimen. The end goal of which is to have really nice six-pack abs. Having the new running shoes will certainly help with that.

Still... back to the muscle growth it boggles my mind that I put on that much muscle/bone density weight in the space of 4 months (December, January, February, March). Roughly 5 lbs of muscle per month...

And to be fair I wasn't even trying that hard. Some days I worked extra hard on the weightlifting and some days I didn't do any weightlifting at all. (You are supposed to have rest periods in-between heavy weightlifting days in order to avoid muscle fatigue.)

Which proves that while I wasn't trying that hard, I still succeeded at putting on way more muscle than I was expecting. Approx. 5 lbs of muscle per month over a 4 month period.

Now to be fair, I am a certified personal trainer and I do know quite a bit about the topic of building extra muscle (see the articles below on my personal training website), but even I wasn't expecting to build 20 lbs of extra muscle so easily.

How Fast Can You Grow Muscle

How To Test Your Muscle Tone

Two Alternative Models for Predicting Muscle Growth

How To Measure Muscle Mass

Now part of what might be surprising me is that while the fat I lost over the winter was noticeable, the muscle I gained over the winter was not as easily noticeable. Yes, I do know I've put on extra muscle... But I think a lot of it is back muscles, core muscles and muscle weight in areas I can't really see that easily without a mirror.

Thus it doesn't really work for me to get out the calipers and measure my back muscles. I can't really reach properly and I never measure my back muscles in December so I don't really have a clue what my back muscles looked like back then.

I've also noticed it in my biceps, triceps and shoulders, but the change isn't super obvious.

As a personal trainer ideally I should be in really good shape - and eat properly. But to be fair I am currently not in spectacular shape. I got my certification back in November, and while I am muscular and fit I still have a bit of belly fat I would like to shed... and I would like those muscles to be more pronounced - which means I need to do two things:

#1. Cardio, to shed those last few pounds of belly fat.

#2. A lot more weightlifting.

The good news is I am seeing lots of progress, so that makes me really motivated to keep going. And that is really the hardest part, motivating yourself to exercise daily. If I keep up my weightlifting regimen I might be able to put on another 30 to 40 lbs of muscle weight by January of 2014.

When I was younger I had six-pack abs because I was running around on a farm every day. Since moving to Toronto and going to university I put on a lot of fat in an hurry. It has since been a decade since I graduated and while I have lost about 40 lbs of fat in the last 4 years, I still have a few more lbs to shed before I get my six-pack abs back.

Reminder to Self - Do a follow up post in September to see the status of my abs.

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