Some women tend to be regular at the gym for a few months and lose weight after doing high-intensity exercises. But then family or office duties come in the way and make them discontinue their morning or evening workout at the gym. Does that mean they will gain weight because they suddenly stopped working out at the gym? Well, weight gain happens to be a potential side effect of quitting the gym. An expert shares how the two are connected and how to avoid gaining weight after leaving a gym.
Health Shots reached out to Mumbai-based certified fitness expert Vishnu Venugopal to find out if you can end up with a potbelly after quitting the gym or not.
Weight gain after leaving a gym
Venugopal says that you won’t get fat as such right after quitting the gym, but it can be a factor for gaining weight. When you workout regularly, you end up burning a bunch of calories. The workouts help to boost your metabolism, which helps to lose and maintain weight. But when you stop and don’t replace it with another physical activity or adjust your eating habits, you might end up consuming more calories than you burn. Over time, that could lead to weight gain.
You might wonder how soon you will start putting on weight once you stop working out at a gym. It actually depends a lot on individual factors like your metabolism, diet, lifestyle, and even genetics. For some, they might notice a change within a few weeks, while others might not see much difference for a couple of months. But generally, if you’re eating the same as when you were working out regularly and burning those calories, you could potentially start to gain weight.
How to avoid gaining weight after leaving the gym
Just because you are no longer using gym equipment or help of a trainer, it doesn’t mean you should have an excuse for weight gain. Here is what you can do:
1. Watch your diet
Now that you’re not exercising as much as you would do in a gym, you might need to adjust your caloric intake. The expert suggests to try eating foods that are nutrient-dense and also make sure to cut down on the processed foods, sugars and high-calorie drinks. So, say no to fries, burgers and chilled aerated drinks even if it’s really hot. Replace such beverages with healthy cooling drinks.
2. Keep moving
You can be active even if you are not gymming. There are so many health benefits of walking, so you can start with that. You can also go for a run, a bike ride or try some at-home exercises, suggests Venugopal.
3. Mind your portion sizes
Foodie or not, it’s easy to eat more than necessary, especially with high-calorie foods. But if you don’t want your efforts made in the gym to go to waste, keep an eye on how much you’re eating.
4. Drink lots of water
Sometimes, we confuse thirst with hunger, and end up eating snacks. And not all of us have a habit of healthy snacking. So, staying hydrated can help you to avoid unnecessary snacking.
5. Sleep well
Lack of sleep can mess with your metabolism and make you crave unhealthy food, says the expert. Try to sleep for 7 to 9 hours each night so that you don’t gain weight.
At-home exercises that are as effective as gymming
You can plan effective workouts at home with push-ups, squats and lunges. Movements like squats help in increasing lower body strength and maintain muscle mass. Single leg movement like lunges and step-ups help in improving stability. Inverted rows or push-ups help to improve upper body strength.
The expert says that strength training is most effective when it’s done in a gym where you can progressively overload your muscles better. So, it might not be fair to compare exercises that can be done at a gym with home workouts. However, effectiveness comes down to how consistent are you with your exercise. If exercising from home helps you with consistency, go for it.