This article is for those ladies out there who battle with the lower body region, and in my experience, that is quite a lot of them.
I would guess more than 80% of my female client is “pear-shaped” and the upper body leans out quite nicely when they start exercising. The problem is that many complain that their pants are tighter within the first 1-4 weeks of starting their new exercise regime.
I asked 2 experts in the nutrition and exercise world what there take is on this:
Mario van Biljon gives the following explanation:
Wow, that’s a difficult one!
There can be no logical explanation (coz muscle & fat cannot be gained so fast…..unless you got them on a scooters diet – then I can understand their jeans getting tighter in a couple weeks or less! 🙂 ), other than the fact that trained muscle has a greater ability to store glycogen than untrained muscle. So it’s feasible that when they start exercising their body’s glycogen production & storage capacity initially increases. Couple the fact that each extra gram of glycogen holds an extra 2.7g of water, then it’s easy to see that an extra 250g of glycogen in the ass and legs is going to hold with it around 750g of water for a total net gain of 1kg in that area. That may explain some of the tightenings in the pants over the legs and bum area!
Shin Ohtake gives the following explanation:
Great question. I’m not 100% certain as to why they initially gain a little on their thighs before losing it.
Here’s what I think is going on:
(1) Initially, when they start doing these types of lower body intensive exercises, the muscle responds through hypertrophy (water retention). This, in my experience, subsides with time along with the proper diet regimen.
(2) Hormonal influx. High-intensity exercises can elicit anabolic hormones which can boost muscle development quickly. Since women have a much easier time building bulk in their legs compared to men, the initial bulk may occur in their thighs. However, this should also be a temporary effect as the body’s hormonal influx starts to even out. The combination of lean muscle development and anabolic hormones should then shift to more to fat burning as you continue with the program.
But you’re right about controlling the types of food they intake during this time. Since food has such a strong effect on your hormones, it is very important to be eating the right types of foods. I’m currently updating and the expanding dietary portion of the program, so when it’s done you’ll definitely receive it and you’ll find it hopefully as well.
So, ladies, the key take-home message here is to KEEP GOING!!!!
The body will start digging into the stored fat in the lower body very soon, then the pants size will drop pretty fast, so NEVER GIVE UP!!!!