Working Out and Gaining Weight

Have you noticed that after working out so hard in the gym and paying close attention to your diet, you are still gaining weight? Even though you may feel you are getting healthier and getting a toned body as well, that weighing scale may tell a different story. Why is that? Should you worry about working out and gaining weight? Are you doing anything wrong? Let us find out now.

Why Are You Working Out But Gaining Weight?

Ideally, you should not worry about gaining weight when you follow your workout routine religiously. Your goal may only be losing fat, not weight. You may find yourself fitter than ever after spending hours in the gym, and in most cases, that is all that matters. Still, if you are wondering why you are working out and gaining weight, here are some possible reasons.

1. Expanded Glycogen Storage

Your body turns carbs into glucose, which is then converted into glycogen stored in muscles and liver. It is important to know that to make glycogen, your body combines glucose with water – a gram of glucose is combined with about 3gram of water to form glycogen. So when you work out, you build your muscles which enable your body to store more glycogen and even more water. This may be the reason why you work out but gain weight.

2. Water Weight

The increase in weight that you see on the weighing scale may not be fat at all; instead, it may only be water weight. As said before, the more muscle, the more glycogen and water. Besides, you also drink more water to get energy and prevent dehydration for your high-intensity workouts.

3. Initial Inflammation

Initial inflammation after exercise can be the culprit behind working out and gaining weight. Working out regularly will cause tears in your muscle fibers, and these tears make you feel sore after a workout session. Your body heals these tears and replaces them with tougher muscle fibers. The process is called adaptation and helps you become stronger and fitter.

However, the thing you need to understand is that your body increases the level of inflammation during the healing process – your body releases inflammatory mediators to deal with those tears. The fluid required for this inflammatory response has weight that you may see when you step on the scale. Sticking to a healthy diet and giving your body ample time to recover will accelerate healing and bring your weight back to normal.

4. Faster Muscle Building

One common problem for people who start weight training is that they gain muscle faster than they lose body fat. This makes them look bigger. Genetics play a role in this, which can make it easier to put on muscle but difficult to lose fat. If that is the case, you should tweak your exercise routine in a way that it includes enough cardio exercise to help you lose weight while building muscles.

5. Not Enough Time

You may be checking your weight a bit too early after starting your fitness program. You need to give your body time to adjust to your new exercise routine and eating habits. In most cases, you will have to wait for several weeks before you could see some reduction in your weight.

6. Increased Food Intake

You will feel hungry when you spend hours in the gym. You may end up gaining weight if you start eating more to deal with those hunger pangs. Some people eat a lot and then exercise hard to maintain a balance in how many calories they eat and how many they burn. This is not the right thing to do, especially considering the fact that an hour-long run will go wasted if you eat a single slice of cheesecake afterward. Keep an eye on what you eat and how many calories you add to your system if you are worried about gaining weight.

7. Not Getting Enough Sleep

One common problem leading to working out and gaining weight is not getting enough sleep. It  means your body is not getting enough time to recover from a strenuous workout session. Not getting enough sleep is one reason why you feel hungry all the time – it throws off your gherlin and leptin, hormones responsible for regulating your hunger levels. Moreover, sleep deprivation makes your body to store more fat, which leads to an increase in your body weight.

8. Certain Medical Conditions

You will find it more difficult to lose weight due to thyroid problems. Besides, certain medications can also make losing weight more challenging. Talk to your doctor if you think your food intake is normal and you give your body enough time to recover but are still gaining weight. This could be due to thyroid issues or any medication you might be taking.

9. Incorrect Cardio Machine Reading

Your treadmill, as well as your stationary bike and elliptical, can give incorrect readings. Studies show that some of these machines can overestimate your caloric burn by up to 30%, which means that they may encourage you to eat more calories than you burn. It is best to not trust your cardio machine's calorie display if you really want to lose weight and stay fit. The better option is to make use of a fitness tracker to know how many calories you end up burning after your workout session. Even though they are not perfect, they still work better than those cardio machines. 

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