Nothing taps your panic button quite like gaining weight, especially
when you're on a weight loss program. Unfortunately, it's an inevitable
fact of life. Luckily, you've got me here to tell you that, as long as
you're following a solid program, results will come. It's a
physiological certainty (unless you have an underlying issue, like
I realize this might take further convincing, considering our
instant-gratification society. But this ain't my first weight loss
rodeo. I've seen almost every scenario you can dream up, most of which
were solved by patience. That said, there are some strategies
you can use to ensure you're getting the most out of both your diet and
exercise program. Let's tackle five of the most common weight loss
So the moral of today's lesson is to trust your exercise program—at
least if it's a Beachbody program. We've been doing this a long time and
we know what works. There are no magic bullets. Body transformation is
based on making consistent, healthy lifestyle changes. Do that and
you'll never need to ask yourself why you're gaining weight again.
- I'm following the program perfectly. Why isn't it working?!
Cortisol is a word you should become familiar with, as it's a key
factor here. You've probably heard that it makes you fat, but you have
no idea why "they" say that. What is cortisol? It's actually a
performance-enhancing stress hormone that serves an important function
in survival situations. Unfortunately, when we force too much daily
stress on our bodies, we shift into a state of chronic cortisol release.
This can cause us to store excess fat as a survival instinct. While it
sounds pretty dire, it's generally only a serious problem in those with
poor lifestyle habits.
The beginning of a diet and/or exercise program, however, is a
survival situation. In a very simplistic sense, your body releases
cortisol, which, in turn, causes excess water retention to help you
rebuild broken down muscle tissue. While this is cortisol functioning
properly, it does lead to a period of water weight gain as you adjust to
a new program. It's nothing to worry about. By following a solid plan,
your body will adapt by repairing this muscle tissue. This results in an
increase in your metabolism and leads to weight loss if that's your
The trick is that there is no hard line on how long this adaptation
takes. It's based on your individual parameters. Just rest easy in the
fact that it will happen, unless you force it not to, leading us to . . .
- I'm barely eating.
Severe undereating causes cortisol release, as it's the
definition of a bodily emergency. Beachbody® offers many kick-start (or
express) eating plans where you undereat for a few days, but you're
always encouraged to get back to a solid maintenance calorie level
quickly. A short period of strategic undereating with proper hydration
will help your body dispense of unneeded food (most of us chronically
overeat) and regulate bodily functions. Go too long, however, and
chronic cortisol release is the result.
This is a tough situation because our natural reaction to weight gain is
to eat less. When you're exercising, it's important to keep your eye on
workout performance, as opposed to how much weight you're losing. You
should be eating enough so that your daily workouts improve over time.
As long as that's happening, your body is adapting, your metabolism is
increasing, and you will lose weight provided you also don't overeat.
- I've been doing hard workouts for weeks.
On the performance theme, you need to continually improve, which
is why workouts get harder as you move through any of Beachbody's
programs. It's also why we add resistance (via added weight or gravity,
as is the case with jumping) to workouts. If you're doing the same
workouts at the same intensity constantly, you are not forcing
adaptations that lead to changes in your metabolism. This is called a
A plateau, technically, isn't gaining weight—it's remaining the same—but
a proper diet and exercise program should continually force
improvements (in the form of adaptations). Otherwise, your metabolism
won't continue to increase, which is the goal of most weight loss
- My friend and I are doing the exact same thing and she's losing.
Back to adaptation. We all react differently. The only absolute is
that our bodies will change over time with a healthy program. A fitness
rule called the Specificity of Adaptation states that it takes the body
between 3 and 12 weeks to adapt to new stimuli, which is a very broad
range. This is why it's vital that you stick to your program and not
change it repeatedly based on your daily results!
In our test groups, two-week results have almost no bearing on who does
best in the end. In fact, many people that undereat early and get off to
a fast start will stagnate, while those who stick to the plan and eat
as advised will start slower but train harder over time, leading to
rapid weight loss as the program wears on.
- I lost weight for a while but now it's stopped.
For ages on the Team Beachbody® Message Boards, this was our most
frequently asked question. You eat less to lose weight. Things are going
great, but suddenly you plateau—or start gaining. Odds are, your
metabolism has slowed down in order to deal with the decreased calories.
You're starving your now fit body, so it's doing what it needs to do to
survive. The answer to this problem is pretty simple: eat more.
Again, this is a tough sell, so here's an example. One of our early
Success Stories lost 40 pounds during a round of Power 90®, eating only
1,200 calories a day. He then stagnated for a long time and was very
resistant to eating more, fearing it would kick-start a regression. We
talked him into adding calories until, finally at around 2,000 calories,
weight loss resumed. It then became so rapid he dropped through his
goal, and about 20 pounds below, until finally, at around 3,000
calories, he leveled out. Then a daily diet of around 3,500 calories a
day got him to a ripped 175.