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Weight loss is fast in the beginning – but it’s not all fat

The beginning stages are motivating but skeptics often question the sustainability of this rapid weight loss. Learn why it happens.

Nutrition management is part of my fitness boot camp program, as clients do up to 3 rigorous hours of exercise per day. It’s super important to watch carefully both weight loss and recovery, to make sure that they’re responding safely to the schedule.

The bottom line is that many boot campers kick off their weight loss retreat program with a bang. It’s quite common for 10 lb weight loss in the first week, especially if eating less than at home. Yet too much of a reduction in caloric intake can have negative impact (we need to be ready to adapt the weight loss meal plan at boot camp). This is because rapid recovery is only possible when muscle glycogen stores are replenished frequently. For example, working out then having a smoothie, working out again before a healthy dinner. This will allow muscle tissue repair and adaptation to happen. We consume carbohydrate as soon after exercise as possible, and frequently around workout times.

Your bodies sources of energy

Normally your body has two sources of energy: 1/ from stored fats and muscle glycogen and 2/ from food you just ate. Your body uses the most readily available energy – fats are therefore burnt only once you deplete these stores. Here’s an interesting study with more detail on this.

It’s pretty simple: You need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight. Regular exercise blasts excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. Plus, you continue to burn calories even in the hours following your workout

Nancy Snyderman, MD

Healthy eating will give you enough

If an overweight beginner follows a healthy weight loss meal plan they’ll likely have enough muscle glycogen availability to train efficiently. Don’t get caught up in thinking that low motivation or energy levels following your workout are due to low glycogen. Fatigue and lowered performance may be a result of many other stressors (lack of sleep, not getting enough water etc).

Every change you decide to make is a step closer towards your goal!

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