Why Does Exercise Cause Weight Gain?

Have you ever done a lot of exercise one week and seen a weight gain at the scales? You’ve expected a big loss and are left disheartened by the gain, right?

I know exactly how you feel. While I didn’t do much exercise during my recent weight loss journey, there were weeks that I did some. Most of the time, I’d see a small loss or a gain at the end of the week.

So, why does exercise cause weight gain? Isn’t it supposed to help weight loss?

Here are the likely reasons you’ve seen a gain at the scales.

Other Things Affect Your Weight

Just doing exercise isn’t going to help you see a loss at the scales. You need to think about the food you eat and the amount of it. There’s also your hormones and even medication you’re taking.

There is so much that can affect your weight loss. Seeing a gain at the scales when you expect a loss can be disheartening, but don’t let it put you off exercise.

It Takes a Week to Catch Up

If you’ve not done exercise in the past, your body can go into some type of shock. You’re suddenly burning more calories than you have in the past, and it thinks it needs to keep hold of them.

Many people see a weight loss the next week, as long as they stick to the same exercise regime. However, it can take a couple of weeks to catch up. Give it time. Exercise will help you lose weight.

Are You Eating Enough?

It sounds strange but you may not be eating enough to lose weight. If you don’t replenish some of the extra calories you’re burning, your body can go into starvation mode. It slows the metabolism down and clings onto the extra calories.

This is the main reason why exercise causes a weight gain the next week and the week after that, and even the week after that. If you eat more, you may find that you start to see great weight losses at the scales.

Everyone is different. It’s often a case of trial and error to see how much you actually need to eat so your exercise leads to weight loss.

Water Retention in the Muscles

The muscles can retain water. That often leads to extra weight, but it isn’t going to stay. It’s similar to the body just not being used to it.

Once you find a balance and your body gets used to it, you will start to see a loss each week.

It’s Not Just for Weight Loss

Remember that exercising isn’t just to lose weight. You’re trying to tone up your body at the same time. The next time your exercise causes a weight gain, take the measurements of your chest, waist, arms and thighs. You may be surprised to see them getting smaller as your body changes shape.

It’s worth tracking your weight measurements anyway. You’ll be surprised at the changes that you actually see. Taking measurements every four weeks or so is perfect.

Doesn’t Muscle Weight More Than Fat?

A common misconception is that muscle weighs more than fat. It’s worth remembering that a pound of muscle will weigh the same as a pound of fat. However, the sizes will be different.

A pound of muscle is smaller than a pound of fat. The densities are different, and that leads to the idea that muscle weighs more than fat.

Just to let you know though, this won’t affect your weight loss that much. At least not to begin with! The people who are likely to find this an issue are those training for major sporting events. I do remember a sergeant in the Army who was told he was overweight according to his BMI. There wasn’t an inch of fat on him, as the weight was all muscle!

So, don’t worry if you gain weight after exercising. It will happen the first week, more than likely. However, it does even out and eventually you have an amazing body at the weight you want on the scales.


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