Workout Login

Gaining Weight When Starting To Exercise

Dec 07, 2020
Gaining Weight When First Starting To Exercise:
If you’ve recently started a new workout program, it’s normal to pay closer attention to the scale for proof that your hard work is paying off.  When the weight not only doesn't move, but goes in the opposite direction, it can be frustrating and you may be confused. After all, getting more active and burning more calories is supposed to result in weight loss, not weight gain.
If this is your experience, don’t get discouraged! There are at least 4 explanations for gaining weight near the beginning of a new workout program, but it's only temporary.
1.     Inflammation
When you first start exercising, micro-tears happen to the muscles. (This is how they get stronger.)
During this process, your body brings extra fluids to those muscles so they can recover. This usually happens during your first few weeks of starting to exercise. (You are retaining more water, and since water weight adds up, your scale might not reflect what you want to see at first.)
It is critical to keep on moving so you can actually see the weight start to drop!
The good news is that, if extra inflammation is the cause of your weight gain, it will likely subside within a few weeks as your body heals and adjusts to the new demands you’re placing on it.
2.     Increased Glycogen Storage
When you start a new fitness routine, you might also gain weight because your body starts storing more glycogen (fuel) in your muscles. After the first few days, your body will take notice of the increased demands for energy and start preparing for it in the form of glycogen and water. Again, this is a temporary response that might show up as weight gain, but should subside within a few weeks as your body becomes more efficient at predicting your fueling needs and burning calories more efficiently.
3.     Gaining Muscle Faster Than Losing Fat
Another common reason the scale might go up near the start of a new strength training workout is that you’re gaining muscle faster than you’re losing fat (since muscle is more dense than fat). This might also be reflected in the mirror or how your clothing fits. As you continue to work out, your muscle gains will improve your metabolism and burn off that fat layer.
Muscle is typically added faster than fat is removed. If you keep at it, your muscle will begin to burn the fat at a faster rate. This is what boosting metabolism means. (Another reason to NEVER give up.)
4.     Dietary Opportunities
Exercising increases metabolism and overall calorie burn, but, thanks to a hormone known as ghrelin, it also increases your appetite. If you’ve noticed the scale creeping up and there’s no other explanation, take a closer look at your calories. Are you grabbing snacks more frequently or eating larger portions? Even if you’re not overeating, what are the quality of your calories? Eating processed and high-sugar foods that trigger hormone reactions and blood sugar fluctuations can seriously interfere with the scale.
NEVER reward a good workout with food.
You can eat more calories in 2 minutes than you can burn in an hour.
When you exercise, your body will want you to eat more food. The key is to make sure you eat the same as you were or less if weight loss is your goal.
Exercise more + eat the same/less = weight loss!