You Asked: ''Why Did I Gain Weight After Starting an Exercise Plan?''


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/21/2012 6:00 AM   :  7 comments   :  21,976 Views

It's true that many people either gain a little weight or don't see any change on the scale for as long as 4-6 weeks after making a significant change in their level of exercise. This is often explained as "gaining muscle while losing fat" but that isn't quite accurate. This extra weight is usually water. 

When you start doing more exercise, your body begins storing more fuel in your muscle cells, where it can be used easily and quickly to fuel your workouts. The process of converting glucose (carbohydrates) into fuel that your muscles actually store and use (glycogen) requires three molecules of water for every molecule of glucose. As your muscles are building up glycogen stores, your body has to retain extra water for this purpose. That's what causes most of the initial weight gain or lack of weight loss. This is a good thing--not something to worry about.

However, despite what the scale says, you are actually burning fat during this time. The extra water retention will stop once your body has adjusted to its new activity level. At that point, the scale should start moving down. You'll end up with less fat, and muscles that can handle a larger amount of work.

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  • 7
    I suddenly feel a lot better. My calories are as low as I can go and I'm still maintaining the same weight despite the increase in activity. - 2/7/2015   3:34:20 AM
  • 6
    I am so glad to see this article right now, I have really increased my exercise routine and have not lost any weight in about 3 weeks. I was not really frustrated, because I can see and feel the difference in many areas, but the scale just has not moved. So I will just keep doing what I am doing! - 12/19/2014   10:57:33 PM
  • 5
    Thank you! Brief, informative, and just the boost I needed to see. I have a thyroid issue so the scale moves slowly as it is, but it's really slow when I exercise. In the past this has caused me to get frustrated very easily. All the more reason to focus on your body and how it feels instead of the scale when it comes to results. - 11/25/2014   6:43:22 AM
  • 4
    I started jogging last week. It was a really slow pace and now I am jogging a little faster, still slow and a little further. I only list .2 lbs this week. I will hang in there. - 7/6/2014   4:40:38 PM
  • 3
    I am so relieved. I hope I see a weight loss in the coming weeks. - 7/6/2014   2:31:33 PM
  • 2
    So true! And very encouraging! I've been doing Insanity for 5 weeks now and was beginning to wonder what was going on, but no worries now :)
    4 more weeks and I know the results will definitely show :)
    Thanks for the article! - 6/21/2014   12:37:18 PM
  • 1
    Exactly! Brief and to the point. So often you hear the fallacy that muscle weighs more than fat, which of course isn't possible. Different in density, yes, but a pound of anything is still a pound. The key is to hang in there and not quit. - 3/30/2014   5:24:13 PM

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