Ask Davey

Every week, Davey Wavey answers fan questions about fitness, nutrition or general health. If you have a question, send it to Davey at davey@daveywaveyfitness.com

Am I Gaining Fat Or Muscle?

Dear Davey,

I’ve recently started strength training at the gym and eating more calories because I’m trying to build muscle. Over the last two months I’ve gained 12 pounds. How do I know if it’s muscle or just fat?

From,
Shaun

muscle-mirror-selfie-manHey Shaun,

Congratulations on starting with a strength training program and kudos for sticking with it.

When it comes to exercise, evaluating results against our goals is crucial. Beyond helping us stay motivated, tracking progress lets us know what works – and what doesn’t work. By evaluating results, we can make changes toward a more efficient workout.

In your case, building muscle is the goal. Gaining weight, as you’ve noted, is an incomplete metric to measure against your goal. Excess weight can be indicative of added fat, increased water retention, muscle mass or any combination thereof. This is why it’s important to think beyond the scale.

Though there are fancy body composition tests that you can take and equations that can be utilized, there is a very simple trick for measuring muscle gains versus fat gains. Get a tape measure. Using a tape measure, record the circumference of your biceps, neck, chest, forearms, etc. Every few weeks, mark down your new measurements.

As a general rule, larger muscles and an unchanged waistline means that you’re gaining mostly muscle. If your muscles and waistline are both increasing, it means you’re adding both muscle and fat. And if you’re just noticing an increase around your waistline, then it’s mostly fat.

Taking a picture of yourself under the same lighting conditions (i.e., same time of day) every few weeks can also be helpful in observing changes. You can also notice how your clothes fit differently over time. Or, if you have the resources, take a monthly body composition test and crunch the numbers.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you want a guaranteed strategy for adding lean bulk, download Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle!

The Weakest Guy At The Gym.

Dear Davey,

I recently joined a gym and I’m completed embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I’m the weakest guy at the gym. Everyone is strong and fit, and I’m just a twiggy skinny guy that can’t lift much weight at all. I’ve been skipping the gym because it’s just to embarrassing. What’s your advice?

From,
Christopher

Bodybuilder Dan Decker Working Out In The GymHey Christopher,

I’m so glad that you emailed me because I have a few thoughts.

First and foremost, being the weakest guy at the gym is actually a blessing – not a curse. Being surrounded by people that are stronger and fitter means that you’re in a position to learn from their success. Don’t use the fit people around you to tear yourself down; use them to lift yourself up.

This is especially true for group fitness classes. I love being surrounded by strong, athletic class participants; beyond being inspired, it’s an indication that the class is effective. If I want to look and perform like these individuals, then I need to incorporate aspects of what they’re doing into my routine. Through this process, I can elevate myself to their level.

Befriend some of the people at your gym. Ask about their routines. Have them show you a few exercises. At the very least, observe some of the exercises that they’re performing and, if you feel safe, try them out for yourself. It’s a great way to discover what works for you.

And remember that even the bulkiest bodybuilder or the fastest athlete started somewhere. No one is born with bulging arms or a defined pecs; these transformations happen as the result of hard work performed consistently. None of these individuals will judge you for getting started; in fact, they’ve all been in the very same spot that you’re now in.

There’s one thing that’s certain. If you continue skipping the gym, you won’t reach your goals. If, on the other hand, you change the way that you approach your situation, you can accomplish great things.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you want to add lean bulk, download Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle. It’s a step-by-step guide to achieving the results you want!

My Boyfriend Is Making Me Fat.

Dear Davey,

My entire life, I was always very lean. Until I met my boyfriend. In just 2 years, I’ve gained more than 30 pounds with no end in sight. I’m officially overweight. What do I do?

From,
Keith

b7b225c4dddf23bc08eb45f6b5381930Hey Keith,

While we might joke that relationships make us “fat and happy,” there may be some truth to the age-old adage. According to one poll, 62% of respondents report gaining 14 pounds or more after starting a relationship. And a frequently referenced study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that having an obese spouse makes you 37% more likely to become obese yourself.

And it makes sense. When we’re in a relationship and off the market, we might become less concerned with our appearance. For some people, this might be an excuse to slack off on exercise or indulge in unhealthy foods. Maybe we make more time for our partner, and less time for ourselves. Or maybe our partner is an enabler, and we adopt his or her unhealthy eating habits. Instead of the usual salad, we opt for the pizza.

But let’s be clear: Unless there’s a feeding tube down your throat or you’re being held prisoner, no one can make you fat without your permission. All of us, regardless of relationship status, must take responsibility for what goes into our mouths and the exercise we get. We must take responsibility for our health.

The reality is, being off the market isn’t an excuse to skip exercise. Beyond looking a certain way, exercise is a necessary component to a healthy and productive life. And while it’s great to make time for the people we love, we have more to give others when we prioritize ourselves. If your partner orders a pizza, you can still choose something healthier. It’s not an excuse.

As a human being with free will, don’t use your partner as an excuse; take responsibility for your choices and subsequent weight gain. Understand that through smarter food choices and through increased movement, you can reverse the trend – and perhaps even inspire change in your partner’s lifestyle.

Your boyfriend didn’t make you fat. You made yourself overweight. But by utilizing that same power of choice, you can also make yourself healthier and fit.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you need help getting started, I’d recommend downloading Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout. With a series of at-home workout programs, you can lose weight and build muscle.

The Detox Secret You Didn’t Know.

Hey Davey,

I’ve seen a lot about detox diets and was looking at a few different options. I was wondering if you have a recommendation or any advice?

From,
Earl

Get-Lean-DietHey Earl,

As someone who lives in southern California, it seems like everyone and their mother is on a detox diet of some sort or the other. Though there are many types of these detox diets (some running upwards of $200 or $300 for just a few days), they all come with a similar promise: To counteract your busy lifestyle by removing the built up toxins in your body.

For detox-lovers, I have some good news and some bad news. Plain and simple, the bad news is that these diets don’t deliver on their promise. The good news is that your body does an excellent job of removing toxins on its own – so there’s no need for these products in the first place.

So let’s dig a little deeper.

As it turns out, there’s no scientifically-valid evidence to substantiate these products’ claims. In fact, many of these claims about how the body works are wrong – and, in some cases, the recommendations are dangerous. According to Dr. Michael Smith of Web MD:

If your goal is to detox your system, don’t waste your time or money. Your body is an expert at getting rid of toxins no matter what you eat. Toxins don’t build up in your liver, kidneys, or any other part of your body, and you’re not going to get rid of them with the latest detox wonder. Especially avoid diets that promise to detox your liver with supplements or “cleanse” whatever the diet determines needs washing out.

And though some of these detox diets may result in minor weight loss through calorie restriction, the weight will likely be regained at the conclusion of the diet. These diets are not sustainable, healthy or recommended.

But there is a healthy way to actually detox your body. It’s a secret that can radically transform the quality of your life. And it’s free.

Many of the same people that I see on detox diets routinely fill their bodies with alcohol, processed foods, sugars and other unhealthy substances. Some of them even smoke.

So here’s the secret: If you don’t want toxins in your body, don’t put them there in the first place.

Eat more fruits and veggies. Select lean meats. Opt for whole grains. Eliminate processed foods and sugars. Don’t get shitfaced at the club or do drugs. How beautiful is that?

And if you do over indulge, treat yourself to plenty of water, a good night’s sleep and a balanced diet. Your body will do the rest. No $300 detox diet needed.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re looking to lose excess body fat with a science-based and time-tested strategy that works, download Davey Wavey’s Weight Loss Program to get started today.

How Long Does It Take To Lose Muscle?

Dear Davey,

I am not allowed workout for almost 2 weeks due to doctors orders. I normally workout 5 days out of the week with cardio and/or weight training. I am in good shape currently, but sightly worried I will lose time and muscle mass by not being able to go workout for this long and I have never gone this long without working out. All I can do is walk.

What is the time frame you start losing muscle?

maxresdefaultThanks,
Mike

Hey Mike,

For a committed exerciser, skipping a few weeks of the gym is a scary prospect. Our muscles, strength and performance are hard earned – and we don’t want to take steps backwards. As such, recovery from surgery, an injury or even a gym-less vacation can set of warning lights.

As it turns out, several factors contribute to how quickly you’ll lose muscle including age and fitness level.

According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, competitive athletes start experiencing atrophy (muscle loss) after 2 – 4 weeks of detraining. For more recreational athletes, atrophy and decreased strength occur after 12 weeks of detraining. That’s three months!

A separate Australian study found that minor atrophy started occurring in subjects after 3 weeks.

And a Japanese study compared two different groups of exercisers. The first group exercised continuously for 15 weeks. The second group did 6 weeks of training, took a three week rest and then trained again for six weeks. At the end of the study, muscle size and one rep max was the same for both groups.

In other words, missing a few weeks isn’t a big deal once or twice a year. In fact, it can actually be a good thing – and it can give your body and your muscles some much-needed and well-deserved rest.

The key to detraining, however, is your ability to bounce back. Once you return from your vacation or recover from surgery, get back into the swing of things. Don’t let your break deter you from your goals or dampen your motivation.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you’re having trouble increasing the size of your muscles, download Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.