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If You Leave Training You Get Even Fatter Than Before - Is It a Myth or Is It True

Written by Moez Aryan
The Unified Theory Of Fat-Loss
"Hey there...Can you give me a suggestion about gyming...I have heard that once you leave gym you gain more weight...even more than before...I want to join gym to shed my weight but scared of these rumors. Can you answer me as you are an expert."

Great question.
Weight loss or weight gain is a lot more about food. Not much to do with gym in the long run.

You can't out-train a bad diet.

You will need a few cups of brewed coffee before you read this......but keep reading cause it's all you ever wanted to know about being lean. The myth that if you leave the gym you get fatter than when you started has about five origins I can identify now:

1. Use of Anabolic Steroids:

With a good diet, no matter how hard you train you can't get bigger than the picture on right.

There are certain drugs athlete use to gain muscle, lose fat, and to become stronger. These anabolic steroids, most of them, are brother molecules of the natural hormone the body produces called Testosterone. Testosterone gives guys the manly look, the thicker voice, the facial hair, the muscular strength, the muscle size and the other male characteristics. Females do produce Testosterone but it's a lot less than what men produce. It's about 20 times less.

Now, when someone uses anabolic steroids to gain muscle and strength, the body thinks it's testosterone when receiving the steroids, but it's actually anabolics and so the body shuts down the natural testosterone production. This is temporary if you only use them for a short time.

There is a mechanism by which your body decides how much testosterone to produce. This is done with the Hypothalamus, the pituary glands and the Gonads (testicles) communicating with each other. They call this the Hypothalamus-Pituary-Gonda Axis. Some people fall of the axis and can never have these three communicate with each other for the optimal production of testosterone. Some fall off but get back on the axis after a while. This depends on the individual and how long they have been using steroids.

Now when you stay on these anabolic steroids for a longer time your body loses the ability to synthetic testosterone and you fall of the Hypothalamus-Pituary-Gonad Axis completely. You no more can produce testosterone naturally.

If you use anabolic steroids you probably have to use them forever to stay in shape.

Therefore, the more informed and professional athletes who have being on anabolics use synthetic testosterone along with their anabolic steroids cause you can't have testosterone production shut down when you are long on anabolics.

When you are on anabolics you gain a lot of muscle, strength, hardness and lose a lot of fat and when you go off them, even if you still train hard you not only are going to get a lot weaker, smaller and softer but will also completely crash - depression, massive fat gain, strength loss, muscle loss, loss of libido, loss of appetite, etc.
Now when these athletes or individuals leave their sports or weight training they also leave the use of steroids. And then, effects of disruption of Testosterone supply manifest - depression, fat gain, muscle and strength loss, softness, loss of appetite, loss of vigour for life, loss of libido etc.

But in effect, these are the affects of anabolic steroid use after you stop using them. Not affects of weight training and what it does to your body. Weight training by itself optimizes hormones.

When you are natural, don't use anabolic steroids, and weight train, you lose fat, gain strength and get toned. If you stop training you will just go back to your normal old shape. Nothing like side effects of steroid that happen post consumption occur.

Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder and looks pretty much the same year round.

So this is one reason people think if you stop weight training you get even fatter than before. No! If you stop using steroids you get even fatter than before cause you no more produce the vital hormones optimally.

2. Excessive Cardio:
When you engage in excessive cardio your body develops efficiency in burning calories. For instance, before you do any crazy cardio routine you would burn 300 calories on the treadmill in 30 minutes, but after three months of doing so you would only burn one third or so of the initial calorie expenditure on the treadmill. So your body becomes efficient at that task and hence can do the same work with fewer calories which is bad news cause you want to constantly burn more calories (higher metabolism).

Your body goes into a catabolic state when you do too much cardio. Catabolism occurs when the body breaks down muscle tissue. This is to create energy for use and also to make the engine (muscle structure) smaller so it burns fewer calories.

Excessive Cardio Leads to Muscle Loss

So after few months of excessive cardio you end up with LESS lean muscle mass than before and a beaten up metabolism. When you leave doing cardio, everything else the same, you are going to save a lot more calories from food. Cause you now not only burn less cause you aren't doing any cardio, you also now have less lean muscle mass which burn fewer calories even at rest (smaller engine).

With all of this there is another thing that happens when you engage in excessive cardio. You get flabbier. Why? Because the primary fuel for low intensity steady state cardio is body fat. This is good news only for a while which is normally 6 to 8 weeks. But since you are demanding on fat to be burned as fuel you are training your energy system to store more of the fuel. (I have written about energy system and the fat-fuel mechanism in detail here in this article: It's a MUST read if you want to understand the topic clearly.

This and crash dieting is so prevalent that they even have an 8% rule for it - meaning not only you go back to your original weight but also put 8% more body fat on top of what you began with. You simply get fatter than even before.

3: Lack of weight training:
Weight training isn't normally the prior choice of exercise. I guess simply because it's hard. But weight training is exactly a mirror of cardio in terms of metabolism when done extensively and for a long time.

Body weight is first a function of diet, then training.

Weight training puts on lean muscle mass which mean a bigger engine which means a higher metabolism. This means you burn off way more calories not only when you are working out but even when you are at rest simply because now you have more active tissue - muscle.

Weight training makes you Insulin sensitive (trains the body to burn sugar as fuel first) which means you will store more of the carbs you eat in muscle tissue NOT fat tissues. This means being leaner in the long run.

Being Insulin sensitive also means you have trained your Glycolysis system which is the burning of carbs as primary fuel and not body fat. This means that you are more likely to store energy in your muscles not in your fat cells. You have trained your body to do something intense for a few seconds (8 or 12 reps of a resistance training regimen) when you weight train. The only source of energy in the body that can turn into energy ready for muscle use is Glycogen (carbs) for that period of time and that intensity of work. As a result your muscles tone up and get shaped.

Nicole Wilkins Weight Trains Heavy and is a IFBB Pro Bodybuilder.

You can see that in atheletes who engage in activities that are few seconds of intense work followed by longer periods of rest. Good examples are Sprint cyclists (Robert Förstemann), sprint runners (Harry Aikines-Aryeetey), gymnasts (Fabian Hambuechen), Martial artists (Bas Rutten), and any other sport that engages in few seconds of intense power work. The lower the intensity and the longer the duration the more the activity relies on burning fat as energy. The higher the intensity and the shorter the duration the more the activity relies on the Glycolysis system.

Amanda Latona Weight Trains Hard Year Round And Can Get Even Smaller Than This If She Wanted To.

To understand this more, you can check blood sugars of a diabetic person after cardio or after weight training. Blood sugars are always much lower after weight training than after cardio. Weight training is not only the best tool for weight management but also for blood sugar management for people with diabetics.

So, fundamentally speaking, with a good diet, and a good exercise regimen or sport you can get to single digit body fat levels with ZERO cardio.

Muscle is dense and doesn't take much space don't be afraid to build them even if you are a lady.

4. Weight loss quest, gym and crash dieting:
With the weight loss quest comes the revising of your diet by yourself of course and other generic information out there which results in the individual dropping calories to insane low levels and erratic and uncontrolled eating patterns - cycles of starvation followed by binging - which makes you lose a lot of muscle mass (active tissue is good), down-regulates a lot of hormones and makes you end up with low metabolism. It's called "metabolic damage".

The fresher the individual when they start their diets with me, the more rapid their fat-loss results are. Individuals who have crash-dieted in one form or another or have followed some stupid fad diet show slower results initially. Some come to me with completely damaged metabolism which itself takes months to fix before we start to see any weight-loss.

Increasing activity (training) while decreasing nutrients intake (cutting down on good food) makes you end up with all the side effects of post anabolic use - depression, foggy thinking, itchiness, fat gain, immune system weakening (you are more likely to get sick), muscle loss, poor insulin sensitivity, joint pain, muscle weakness......and so on. I don't remember when was the last time I was sick. And I see a lot of people who come to me fat, have tried everything there is, gotten sick, went on medications, nothing worked and they end up fatter and finally they come to me to see if I can help.

The first thing I do with them is fixing their diets and metabolism. We then do weight training. There is no point in training a broken person (fat and overweight, aches and pains here and there, low metabolism, depressed, low energy, fatigued, foggy thinking, low motivation and drive) first. You need to fix it all from the root if you want to escape the yo-yo pattern of weight gain and weight loss. There is no point in driving a shattered car. First fix the car.

5. Surrendering and pigging out:

So most of these individual go back to the same diets they had before. But now with the metabolic damage they have caused (with excessive cardio and lowering of nutrients) they will put even more weight on cause the body doesn't burn much fuel now - metabolism is low. We normally hope it ends there. But it doesn't since you develop psychological issues with food and tend to become either a full time binge/emotional eater or one who normally eats very less but indulges in emotional eating every now and then.

There result of this is a perpetually confused individual obsessed with weight and self-image who does all the wrong stuff once in a while, in one form or another, and always gets disappointed with the results.

So what is the solution if you want to get lean and stay lean?

You should be able to make a conclusion now by yourself but here is a summary for you:

* Fix your diet. Here is a link if you want to have an idea of the outline of my nutrition planning.

If you like to do my coaching here is the link:

* You need to weight train. Have a progressive mentality. You want to do this for the rest of your life. So pick up something that you would LOVE to do for the rest of your life. Engage in a sport you like, but weight training never gets old, is always adjustable to the ability and age of the individual, is used by every athlete from sprinters, to swimmers (not sun bathers next to the pool ordering fries and coke), to wrestlers, to martial artists.

Bodybuilding is like wine. The longer you do it the finer you get.

So it would be reasonable to weight train whether you engage in a sport or not. Weight training is the most clear depiction and tool for building a strong, dense, carb burning and lean body. The bodybuilders are the scientists of body composition manipulation and they very well show it off on stage.

Baitullah Abbaspour competes at 80kg bodyweight on stage. Not much weight for a male.

You don't have to worry about getting bulky and big. It will never ever happen especially if you are a woman. It takes years and years of heavy training and eating like a viking and a lot of pharmaceutical assistance to look like the people you see on stage or in the bodybuilding magazines. If you are a female, even with a properly structured off-season diet plan you wouldn't be able to put on more than a pound of muscle every three months or so until you hit your genetic limit. When you hit your genetic limit for size there is NO way you can get bigger naturally no matter how hard you train and how much you eat - we are talking about lean muscle mass here. This is true for males AND females.

Samira Tehrani can Squat 80kgs for reps and can deadlift 100kgs gym).
All at 50kg bodyweight and has been lifting for 3 years consistantly now. She can't get bigger than this no
matter how hard she tries. You can view her videos on our Youtube channel.

Normally, a natural male (no use of anabolics) at 5'10" won't ever be able to get above 85 to 90kgs ONE STAGE (3 to 5% body fat) and that itself would take about 5 to 10 years of training and good genetics to begin with. That's not big or bulky for a male AT ALL.

A natural female, generally speaking, at 5'3" and a medium built cannot get over 55kg and that even with about 15 to 20% body fat. Why it's not possible for women to get bulky with weight training is thoroughly explained here:

Which one would you like to look like?

All in all, resistance training is the backbone of a healthy lean body and EVERYONE should do it whether for weight-loss or not but if you are looking for weight-loss, a smarter idea is to first learn what a good diet is FOR YOU that you can follow and enjoy for the rest of your life and keep a sensible progressive weight training going like the ones we offer at here in Islamabad. We work online as well. So you don't have to worry about not being close to us. Just shoot me an email.

Try not to buy into the hypes of the industry (ab busters, core conditioning, step aerobics, Yoga for weightloss, insanity workouts, P90X, Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels, silly 10 minute circuit trainings, Boot camps etc - you can't do any of those stuff for the rest of your life). If you wanted to look like any of those people first eat like them.

And if it's hard it doesn't mean it's effective. It's effective when it gets you there with the right exercise dose, progressively, preceded by a proper nutrition plan, when it keeps you injury free and motivated cause you see results on a weekly basis.

You only have to do the basics right to keep results coming. You don't have to worry about putting weight back on if you do the right stuff (weight train, little cardio, and diet that's tailored for you). Just do the right stuff, stay consistent, be patient, take baby steps and imagine you are building a house. Every day you are going to put a brick on the wall. You will be there before you know it. Here is an example of what you should NOT do:

Here is the The Unified Theory Of Fat-Loss for you!

Let me know if you got any questions.
Moez Aryan
Internationally Certified Personal Trainer & Nutritionist

My younger brother & me at our fattest dieting UP - Beginning of 2011 at



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