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Why you are not cutting weight at the gym

By Flavia Nassaka

Know what could be lessening the impact of your exercising

We all know exercise is good and is recommended for one to stay healthy. As a result some of us end up visiting the gym several times a week.  But in every exercise, there should be something one strives to achieve. This could range from fitness, weight loss, controlling disease, or even to link up with friends since such places can be a great social hub.

Experts, however, say some people get it wrong when they choose the gym as the only avenue for cutting weight. They say what exercise can do is to only keep one’s weight in check but it cannot do much when it comes to losing weight.


This is mainly because, however intense the exercise regimen can be, not so much calories are burnt through an hour’s work out at the gym.  According to Mayo clinic an on-line resource, for 500 calories to be cut one needs to do vigorous physical activity, technically referred to as high impact aerobics for an hour. Estimates put losing 500 calories as the equivalent of not eating five apples or two chocolate bars.   Generally, however, the amount of calories burnt depends on the intensity of a work out and also one’s weight. People who are heavier burn more calories than their lighter counterparts while doing the same exercise within the same duration.

Dr. Roland Mukana; a sports scientist based at Kyambogo University in Kampala says people never realise their goal of losing weight through work out because they do not never set their goals right.

“Such people workout and sweat but whenever they go to the weighing scale, the weight is always the same. They never realize that sweating has nothing to do with weight loss but it’s just a sign that one’s internal system is active” he explains. He says one can only lose weight if they burn calories.

Dr. Mukana explains that for the gym or any other physical exercise to help one cut weight, it is essential to ensure one gets a healthy diet. He says, unfortunately, many people storm the restaurant or the kitchen immediately after the workout.  He advises that it’s important to watch what you eat or do immediately after a workout. Some of the things we do immediately re-introduce to the body the lost calories.

Fazal Karim, a fitness director at Paradise Fitness City, a Kampala fitness center agrees and warns that if one just starts exercising by jogging or even working out at home without some kind of pre-check, they could be doing more harm to their bodies.

“A fitness check at a gym will determine your current level of fitness and from this a safe and enjoyable set of exercises can be determined in line with what you want to achieve,” he says.

Karim says there are specific machines at the gym which will make one cut weight if used well. He says if a treadmill is set fast enough, one’s heart will go pumping and in the process some calories will be burnt. But this has to be done gradually for one to achieve results and avoid relapses as the body gets used to the same set of exercises.

Throughout the work out, he encourages working with a professional to avoid doing too much work too soon or getting stuck on improper exercising techniques since every machine at the gym has specific functions.

While at the gym, you’ll also be introduced to different kinds of exercises and what needs to be done while on a particular regimen.

Gym and aching muscles

Although exercises  help us burn calories, they sometimes come with a lot of muscle pains especially for starters. Unfortunately, according to Dr. Mukana there’s no special medication to counter such pain as yet but massages, anti-inflammatory medication, ice and stretch exercises could help.

He says aching muscles are not just a problem for starters but are a sign that one is unfit and therefore anyone can get them at any time. He says the discomfort is caused by muscles getting stressed in the process. But they get stronger and better as one continues to perform the same task all over again.

He says other than stopping altogether, one need to keep the muscles in motion by engaging in lighter exercises like swimming and to always engage in stretch exercises after doing a vigorous workout.

On the downside, experts say, it is wrong to think that the more time you spend at the gym, the healthier you will be. Spending too much time working out can have negative effects on your body and result into a condition referred to ‘overtraining syndrome’.  A person with the syndrome will experience headaches, insomnia, and loss of appetite, fatigue, and feelings of lack of motivation. If any of these symptoms are seen,  Mukana recommends for one to take a break as this could be the body’s way of telling you that you are asking for too much.

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