Author: Sorting Last Post on Top Message:
DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
Posts: 9,713
8/5/12 10:45 A

"On days when I do light cardio and a full body workout using weights my muscles get a swollen look and feel to them. Especially if there is heavy leg exercises. "

Teerays, that's still not building muscle mass. :) That's a common reaction to strength training, and it's colloquially known as making muscles "pop"or "pumped" - it's not you building muscle over an hour of training. :)

Want proof?

Here's a guy who shows us how to fake those before and after pictures using the same technique you're describing here.
This guy didn't "lose" muscle mass, nor gain it in this five hour period. He's just using the body's natural functions to manipulate his appearance.

I assure you, it's simply not possible for your muscles to gain mass that quickly! Our bodies don't work that way. You DO get larger, more swollen muscles after strength training, because of increased blood flow and water to the area because of the challenge. You'll notice it goes down after a while. :)

You are improving muscle quality, yes (provided you rest appropriately afterwards) but you aren't adding mass.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
8/5/12 12:17 A


Yes, it is common for your muscles to retain water after a strength workout, and to appear swollen. However, this is only water, and can go nearly as fast as it comes. What you are seeing is lean mass, but it is NOT muscle mass.

However, adding actual muscle tissue (in the sense of the red fibery stuff) is a much slower process, and is very difficult to achieve while running a calorie deficit to lose weight.

Also, getting stronger isn't an indication either - most strength gains actually come from improved muscle QUALITY, rather than increased muscle mass.


TEERAYS Posts: 2
8/4/12 11:30 P

There was a response stating that there's no way this is muscle because muscle takes "weeks or months to build", however I have a different perspective and experience.

This absolutely can be from gaining muscle mass and any strength workout you are doing. On days when I do light cardio and a full body workout using weights my muscles get a swollen look and feel to them. Especially if there is heavy leg exercises.

I would say not to worry and keep up the good work and try to not let this effect your mindset about how well you've been doing.

I understand completely as far as the working towards normal eating after restricting for a period of time...It is especially challenging and I commend you for taking positive steps towards better health. It can be so hard to remember to treat our body a vessel that needs to be fueled properly. So hard! Keep up the great work!!

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
8/4/12 11:26 P


Sometimes an increased appetite our body trying to obtain more of a specific nutrient, rather than more calories. Exercise in particular can drive your body's protein requirements higher, so you may want to check that your protein intake is within the recommended range.


8/4/12 11:07 P

glad to know that it's normal for appetite to increase from increasing physical activity. after coming from a restrictive diet that didn't include exercise, i'm now trying to find the right balance. adding exercise has led to a few binges but i'm trying to rein it in by eating properly - healthy food at the right time.

DANEVANS0724 Posts: 33
8/4/12 10:46 P

Thanks everybody for the comments. I have been eating within my calorie range, even a little on the low side. I have also been concentrating on keeping my hydration up so I would think it may be the water gain due to more intense workout. I appreciate all the input folks!

CHIHAYA SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (8,249)
Posts: 434
8/4/12 9:54 P

RIght now I'm observing it too. gained 3lbs since I changed my routine.

I can feel my face is bloated when I wake up. can't go outside with this face (=_=

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
Posts: 9,713
8/4/12 8:33 P

LKEBLISH, if you're eating over your calorie range, you will likely gain weight, or at the very least maintain. Try eating in your calorie range for a few weeks, and see if that helps. It could also be the same issues we have discussed prior to this. It is not muscle gain.

LYNN4HOPE Posts: 227
8/4/12 8:22 P

i have a similar problem here. I eat about 600 calories plus than I am suposed to but I eat very healthy and numerous time during the day. i excersise about 4- 6 times a week. i am addicted to Zumba. But i seem to just be gaining weight. Or is it just muscle. i was a couch potato before now i can not stop moving and it stresses me to see the scale going up.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
8/4/12 7:32 P

I agree with Archimedes - it is a common response when starting/increasing an exercise routine for your muscles to retain water. And this increase in your lean mass can lead to little change or even an increase in the scale, even as you are burning fat.

And contrary to the suggestion elsewhere on this thread, this can happen even if you are eating fruit and veggies.

However, muscle and water are considerably denser than fat, and typically this shows up as inches lost, even if the scale is being unco-operative. The tape is usually a much better means of tracking your progress, as it is much less sensitive to water weight changes.


MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (78,782)
Fitness Minutes: (77,262)
Posts: 2,170
8/4/12 7:26 P

You have very good answers already. If you are tracking the nutrition accurately, you might notice an increase in caloric intake due to increased appetite. Often when the weekly exercise time is increased a lot, the appetite too increases. I suspect that there is an optimum amount of exercise that maximizes the calories burned without triggering an insatiable appetite. I have experimented with it in the past, and I found out that, even when I increase my caloric intake as SP suggests to be able to exercise for an hour every day, my appetite increases a lot, reducing or even stopping the fat loss. When I cut back on my exercise to a more manageable level, like 30-40min every day, my appetite is much easier to control, even after reducing the caloric intake accordingly, and I still can continue losing fat.

Edited by: MPLANE37 at: 8/4/2012 (19:31)
FIT4LIFE11111 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (7,194)
Posts: 50
8/4/12 7:18 P

Sometimes you only seem like you gained one or two pounds. The human body fluctuates by about 2 pounds every day. On top of this water weight can be a factor. One cup of water is about 1pound, so if you drank water right before you weighed yourself you may have seemed like you gained weight. Another thing to consider is what you are wearing or holding. A phone may not seem heavy but it weighs about half a pound (which can easily contribute to your 2pound idea). Another thing to consider (which may sound gross) is whether or not you used the bathroom that day. Bowels can weight about a pound depending upon how frequent you go.

Lastly, other possibilities could be sodium. Maybe you have been eating some foods with higher amounts of sodium . This can make you retain water weight.


I always weigh myself the moment I get up in the morning so that my weight is never affected by daily activities.

ZRIE014 Posts: 59,746
8/4/12 6:39 P

if you are exercising by walking fast, running or biking to really exercise you heart for at least 30 minutes and drinking water before and after, you should not be gaining weight if you are eating the appropriate food. you should be eating fruit and veggies.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
Posts: 9,713
8/4/12 5:31 P

No, it's not muscle gain. :) Muscle gain is something that takes months or years to build, not weeks... and it's very difficult (if not impossible) to do at a caloric deficit. You can increase the quality of the muscle, but not the quantity.

Archimedes has your answer; it IS your muscles retaining water, and it's TOTALLY normal. It'll balance out. :)

Here's the experts answer for this one:

BUBBLEJ1 Posts: 2,981
8/4/12 4:44 P

When I change or add exercise to my normal routine I always notice a slight gain. I figure my muscles are being worked in a new way, so they will probably hold water. It goes away in a few days.

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (196,935)
Fitness Minutes: (293,998)
Posts: 27,056
8/4/12 4:17 P


What you're experiencing is perfectly normal. It's nothing more than a temporary water weight gain. When a person works their muscles intensely (with exercise) their muscle fibers soak up water like a sponge. This is what they are supposed to do. Your muscles will release any excess water they don't need once your body has adapted to the new routine. However, this could take a few days. it really does depend on your body.

Water fluctuations of these kinds really are quite normal. Also, it's been extremely hot across most of the US. if you are the least bit dehydrated, your body will also hold onto water. So, if you want to release water, you need to drink water.

And well, not to get TMI, but your waste products have weight. If you don't do a poop in the morning, the physical weight of all the food you ate before is still in your system. That will show up as a "gain", even though you may have eaten within your SP recommendations. food has weight. Water has weight. All sorts of things can cause a person's weight to fluctuate.

DANEVANS0724 Posts: 33
8/4/12 4:10 P

I'm kind of frustrated today!
For the last couple of weeks I've increased my activity to include 3 miles worth of interval training (an increase from walking alone), and I've maintained my Bowflex routines. I done both of these religiously and I just weighed in at +2 pounds!

Is this muscle I'm building? My diet hasn't changed and I've lost 24 pounds to this point. I'm a little frustrated today. Any help or motivation (or explanations!) are appreciated.


Page: 1 of (1)  

Other Fitness and Exercise Topics:

Topics: Last Post:
Struggling to build endurance? Running? 9/29/2016 8:32:35 PM
Can anyone recommend a treadmill? 6/9/2016 8:04:52 AM
On crutches with cast - what exercises can I do 5/16/2016 9:35:18 AM
Cardio Workouts 6/11/2016 2:27:24 PM
Plateau 5/10/2016 1:26:55 PM