While it is true that muscle mass (in terms of the red fibery stuff) is a very slow process, changes in the amount of water retained by the muscles (which is a common response to increased exercise levels) can change much faster.
Several pounds change in lean mass is not uncommon - but you are right, this isn't really muscle tissue.
Fitness Minutes: (5,913)
3/26/13 10:34 P
People always try to blame weight gain while working out on "muscle gain" but there's no way you gained 5 pounds of muscle in just 6 weeks! According to bodybuilding.com, gaining 5 pounds of muscle in a YEAR is a more realistic figure. (How Fast Can A Person Gain Muscle?- http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/pierce7p.h tm)
I once heard (I think on John Tesh?) that when you start exercising, you will naturally feel the need to eat 100 calories extra on top of extra calories equivalent to that which you're burning. So- it you worked out and burned 300 calories, your body would want to eat 400 more calories that day. Now, this is just an average/estimate- and everyone's body is different of course. I wish I had a source for this info, but since I heard it on the radio unfortunately I don't. :( So take it with a grain of salt, but it's definitely something to consider as a possibility! I know it definitely seems to be the case with me.
I think the trick is just tracking your calories, which it sounds like you're already doing. :)
I do believe if you keep up the running, and tracking calories, eventually you will definitely start losing inches. :) The only time in my life I was ever really successful with weight loss was when I was on a very similar exercise program to what you're doing! I ate 1200-1300 calories a day and ran about 10 miles a week and the pounds came off like crazy. Now I realize the 1200 calories probably wasn't enough, but I felt fine and never starving or anything so I just never really thought about it!
You're gonna hear tons of opinions on here about why you gained, but the truth is we still don't know all the science behind weight loss/nutrition. New discoveries are being made all the time! Maybe someday we will have a magic formula for weight loss- but for now it seems to be trial and error!
Edited by: JAMIE68117 at: 3/26/2013 (22:35)
Fitness Minutes: (79,213)
3/26/13 3:26 P
This is a natural response of your body. You cause a stress by exercising and it is adapting to fight it: It is now storing more glycogen, which requires more water to be stored along with it, otherwise glycogen can't be stored. When I started heavy lifting, my weight increased by 5lbs and it never went away actually because I had already reached a normal body fat % by then, so it was difficult for me to lose any more fat. If you still have fat to lose, you will see the weight dropping again.
3/26/13 8:19 A
Thanks for all the great info everyone! I do track my calories on this website and run about 3 miles, 3-4 days a week. I have added some strength training and one day of rest. Before running I would do some walking or aerobic dvd and once in a while as well as some strength training. So this is a lot more intense then what I have done in the past. I will just hang in there and continue to log my calorie intake.
I started running back in January and saw a few pounds of weight gain. It can take 6-8 weeks for our bodies to adjust to an increase in exercise. During that time we're burning fat but retaining more water. You should see weight loss results if you stick to it AND if you are truly eating what you say you are. However, more often than not we underestimate the calories we consume if we don't track them. The best way to ensure you're losing weight is to use the SP fitness and food trackers. Be sure to adjust the level of fitness minutes to include what you truly are doing each week.
Fitness Minutes: (4,770)
3/25/13 7:30 P
I am exercising lots more too and sometimes see a couple of pounds higher in weight.
When you start/increase working out, it is a common response for your muscles to retain water (it takes 3 water molecules to bond to each glycogen molecule, and this helps deliver energy to your muscles more efficiently, and helps them cope better with the new demands you are making of them).
This increase in your lean mass can lead to little change (or even an increase) in the scale, even as you are burning fat. What you are seeing is perfectly normal, and changes in your body that help you perform better are to be welcomed, not feared.
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 often a much more reliable means of tracking your progress than the scale.
Fitness Minutes: (2,654)
3/25/13 2:38 P
I am having the same challenge. I started running 3 weeks ago and have gained 2 pounds. I do think it's possible that I am not eating enough, as I am typically 1200-1400 calories a day. I will try to increase calories by a little bit, but to be honest, I do still think I am losing inches. It makes me wish I had been tracking by inches since the beginning of this journey. OAN: I will run my first 5k in 2 weeks and am uber excited!!
Fitness Minutes: (20,478)
1,964 3/25/13 2:27 P
I'm training for my first marathon and I'm in the heaviest part of my training now. I've gained 5lbs in the process. Some of it has been the increased eating (which you need if you're a runner) but I know that my legs have become a lot more muscular and I think that's contributed too. What kind of exercise did you do prior to running?
I wouldn't focus so much on the number on the scale. When I started running, I gained about 7 lbs but lost 5 inches. Muscle weighs more than fat. Think of all the muscle you are building in your legs, butt, and core.
How much did your intake change when you added in the exercise? Did you adjust your settings to accommodate the extra exercise?
It might be undereating as the PP mentioned, but it also might be overeating. How many miles did you add? A mile burns ~100 calories which in the larger context is not a lot.
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
3/25/13 1:22 P
Is that substantially more exercise than you were doing previously? If so, you may be eating a little bit less than you actually need. Conversely, it's at least hypothetically possible (not knowing how accurately you track) that you could have started to eat too much due to increased hunger from the exercise. Water weight can do funny things, too -- I'd at least weigh a few more times over the next week to ten days including first thing in the morning to make sure it wasn't a one-time or short term fluke (wrong time of the month, for instance).
All else I can say is that no, I did not have that problem. I started adding in runs about five weeks ago and have continued to lose weight just fine.
Regardless, the running is good for you. :)
3/25/13 12:36 P
I was just wondering if anyone else has had this issue. I have never been a runner and just started running a few miles, 3-4 days a week about 6 weeks ago. I normally don't weight myself,but I wanted to just check my progress since I have been feeling great. I have GAINED 5 lbs. I know I shouldn't worry too much about the number on the scale if I feel good. Has anyone else had this issue when they started running? Does your body adjust? I eat about 1500 calories a day right now and I feel like I need that many to maintain my energy.