Your fitness has been improving. You’ve been eating right and you’ve been exercising regularly. Then, you step on the scale, sure that you’ll be closer to your goal, but the opposite has happened. You’ve gained weight! How is that possible?
Before you allow yourself to become discouraged, it’s important to know a few things about the scale measures your weight when you work out.
Consider the following points about exercise and its impact on how much you weigh:
- You may be retaining water – Many people retain water when they exercise. There are several reasons that this can occur. Among the most common is – believe it or not – dehydration. If you aren’t drinking enough water, then your body will retain water to protect you from drought situations. Dehydration is common among people who exercise because when you work out and sweat, there is increased water loss. It can be difficult to replace that water at the same rate that it is lost and water retention can occur. Retained water can change the number on the scale by up to 10 pounds or more. Try hydrating more efficiently and see if the weight comes off more quickly.
- Your body composition may be shifting – If you find that you often gain weight immediately after – or a day or two after – your workouts? If that’s the case, it could just mean that the makeup of your body is changing. After all, your actual mass is made up of more than fat and water. Remember that you’re also made of bone, organs, muscles, a brain, your nerves, blood, waste in your digestive system and so on. When you’ve done a great workout, you can change the percentage of mass in many of the categories of your composition by up to 15 percent. It may be just a little bit in each part of you, but it adds up. So while you may actually be burning fat and shrinking in size, you might weigh more on the scale simply because of little differences in many parts of your body composition.
- Your strength training is making you trimmer and heavier – If you’ve ever heard that muscle is heavier than fat, then you might guess where this is going. If you are gaining lean muscle while burning fat, you may be trimming down, but technically you are heavier. A little bit of added muscle weighs the same as quite a bit more fat. So, technically speaking, this is weight gain you actually want as it is reducing your size and body fat level at the same time.