Recently, my sister-in-law asked me how I eat so “hearty” but still maintain my figure. She said she noticed that I’m not shy about going back for seconds and I tend to clear my plate. Well, the first answer that popped into my head was, “I lift weights. It’s like my insurance policy.”
And it’s true. Weight training is like an insurance policy, in that, the extra calories I eat are more than likely going toward building muscle, as opposed to only gaining fat. If I didn’t weight train, and ate at increased calories, I would instead be slowly gaining body fat, and pretty much only body fat.
Unfortunately, some amount of fat gain does occur as we gain muscle mass. In order to gain muscle mass you must gain weight. And when weight gain occurs, fat gain occurs.
But in my case, since I essentially maintain my weight–fluctuating within the same 5 lbs at any given time–I am constantly gaining and losing fat. It’s just on such a minuscule level, the changes in muscle mass and fat gain are not visible in the mirror like they would be if I dedicated myself fully to gaining muscle.
If you wanted to see changes in muscle gain happen a little faster, you would aim for steady weight gain because there is NO appreciable muscle mass gained without gaining weight.
Another factor in maintaining my weight is I eat to satiety. I don’t track my calories or measure out portion sizes like I used to. Instead, I try to eat only when I’m hungry, and I stop when I’m full. Some days I eat more than others, and I don’t think I could do without my evening bowl of ice cream. But I have that flexibility because of my insurance policy.
It’s often said you can’t out train a bad diet, and it’s true. If you’re overeating all day, every day, no amount of weight training or cardio is going to keep fat-gain at bay. It just doesn’t work like that. But if you want to have a little more flexibility in what and how you eat, weight training is a great insurance policy to invest in.
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