Here’s Why You’re Gaining Weight Even Though You Exercise

a bathroom scale an apple and measuring tape

It is frustrating when you are trying so hard to lose weight, but see no loss on your scale. In fact, it shows you have gained a pound or two.

Why does that happen?

Believe it or not, this is usually a good weight gain. Of course, if you are eating more then this could be the cause. But if not, you can expect the weight to come off over time, so be patient and stay the course.

When first starting an exercise program, your body goes through many changes. One of them is adaptation. You have gone from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one. Now that you are exercising, your body might be storing more glycogen which it uses as energy to fuel your cells.

Glycogen is glucose and water. In fact, one-part glucose and three parts water. So what effect can this have on your weight? The average person carries about 15 grams of glycogen per kg of body weight. If we do the math, we see that a 200-pound person would carry about three pounds of glycogen.

But, when you bring exercising into the mix, the actual amount of glycogen stored can increase by quite a bit. This means carrying more weight. As your body adjusts to its new lifestyle, this excess weight will come off.

There is another part of adaptation that can cause weight gain. 

These are the small tears which occur in muscle fibers as a result of exercising. These small tears are micro-trauma and while small, cause inflammation in the body. As part of the healing process, blood vessels to open up and white blood cells direct to the affected area. This can cause swelling until the tears heal. These small tears are what cause you to be sore after your first few exercise sessions.

Another reason is you are gaining muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. So, as you lose fat and gain muscle, your weight might actually show more on the scale. But in reality you are getting healthier. The number on the scale is only one indicator you should watch.

Most people put way too much faith in that number. It can fluctuate a lot on a daily basis depending on what is going on inside your body.

Take care and be well.
Tommy Douglas


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