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Being Alive
THE WASTING SYNDROME: The Exercise Component To Weight Gain: Work On It!
Jennifer Jensen, RD
September 5, 1993
Being Alive 1993 Sep 5: 18

Several characteristics of wasting in HIV/AIDS are all too common, and (at last) there's a trend in the HIV+ community to take up weight lifting and muscle building exercise. The purpose is to gain muscle mass, because that may be what will save your life if you ever get sick.

To avoid adding weight as fat, we all need to work at doing it right. At first, avoid aerobic workouts the panting/sweating kind. They burn calories which can cause weight loss. Go for the weights and resistance exercises. They don't burn as much energy and they'll help bulk you out. Since muscle weighs more than fat (by up to 3X), it's easy to see how you can gain a lot of weight, and if you're highly muscular you'll look totally fabulous.

Later, let's say, when you're fully built-up with muscles everywhere, the next step will be emphasizing endurance work by adding in aerobic exercise. This can be a stress reducer and immune potentiator. But keep priorities very clear: first the weights and resistance; then the aerobic endurance work.

As always, with these or any other recommendations for exercise and diet, check with your own trainer, nutritionist and/or doctor prior to jumping in haphazardly. "First do no harm...." (Jennifer Jensen, MS, RD has a private nutrition practice in Santa Monica. She welcomes your calls at 310.450.5581.) 

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