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Why gaining weight from strength training, like Anne Hathaway, is good a thing


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There’s one place Anne Hathaway has been spending a lot of time lately: the gym. Instead of slimming down, the actress shared that she’s working hard to gain weight for an upcoming role—and she’s doing a whole lot of strength training to help make it happen.

In Hathaway’s recent Instagram time-lapse video, you can see her doing plenty of exercises to build muscle, including using resistance bands and lifting weights. But unfortunately, in addition to prepping for her next onscreen performance, she’s also prepping her defenses against those she predicts will comment on her weight gain. “To all the people who are going to fat shame me in the upcoming months, it’s not me, it’s you,” she captioned her post. In doing so, she brought attention to an important issue: Raising the number on the scale isn’t anything to be afraid (or ashamed!) of. In fact, that’s exactly what should happen to your body when you hit the weights.

Women in particular are unfortunately accustomed to that horrible pit-in-the-stomach feeling when you see a higher number on the scale: It’s often regarded as something bad or something you’re doing wrong. So the fact that it’s totally normal to gain weight while strength training can be a weird concept to wrap your mind around.

“When you hear the words ‘gain weight,’ the brain automatically thinks of the weight as fat. When people weight train, they see the number on the scale go up, but it’s not their fat that’s increasing—it’s their lean muscle mass.” —Emily Samuel, Dogpound trainer

“When you hear the words ‘gain weight,’ the brain automatically thinks of the weight as fat,” Dogpound trainer Emily Samuel tells me. “When people weight train, they see the number on the scale go up, but it’s not their fat that’s increasing—it’s their lean muscle mass.”

Building muscle mass comes with many health benefits, including lowering body fat. In fact, for each pound of muscle you gain, you burn 35 to 50 more calories each day.

“What people don’t realize is that you’re gaining muscle as you’re losing body fat. Because of that, someone who’s 120 pounds of lean muscle from strength training looks a lot different than someone who’s 120 pounds from running,” Samuel said. “When it comes down to it, muscle weighs more than fat. The number on the scale might go up, but it’s in a good way.”

If you’re working hard in the gym, don’t think too much about the scale or even bother checking it at all. The way you feel—and the way your muscles pop!—is all you need to know for sure that your body is in good shape.

Here’s why Selena Gomez wants you to say “no” more. Or, check out these celebrity beauty hacks that use kitchen ingredients.

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