why do you gain weight when you exercise

You may start exercising for a lot of different reasons: You need to lose weight for your health. You plan to run a 5K or marathon. You want to enhance your fitness forcross country skiing or to impress at the beach. Whateveryour motivation, expect to gain a few poundsat first. But don t panic. The pounds won t hang around if you keep at it. The key point here is that weight and muscle mass changes will occur, says, DPT Senior Director of Rehabilitation and Sports Therapy atCleveland Clinic. Initially, they arent all what some people may perceive as headed in a positive direction, because you may gain a little weight at first.
RELATED: Why the initial weight gain? When you start an , your body naturally goes through several changes in the first couple months. A new regimen puts stress on your muscle fibers. This causes small micro tears, also known as micro trauma, and some inflammation. Those two conditions in your muscle fibers are the reason you may gain some weight. Your body responds to the micro tears and inflammation in two ways that cause temporary water weight gain. The first is a healing response. That stress and micro-tearing damage to the muscle fibers induces water retention in the body, Dr. Calabrese explains. There may be a small amount of inflammation around the micro tear, and your body retains fluid there to try to heal it. These are short lived changes in the muscle. You will also most likely experience delayed onset muscle soreness in the 24 to 36 hours after exercising. That is your bodys natural response to those micro muscle tears and the breakdown in muscle tissue. So, dont overdo. Eat properly and give your muscles the proper amount of rest so they can heal and rebuild, Dr.


Calabrese says. RELATED: The way your body provides energy to the muscles also can add weight at first. Glycogen or sugar that your muscle cells convert to glucose is the energy source for your muscles. When you exercise regularly, your body stores more glycogen to fuel that exercise. Stored in water, glycogen has to bind with water as part of the process to fuel the muscle. That water adds a small amount of weight, too. As your muscles become more accustomed to the exercise and more efficient, however, they begin to need less glycogen to maintain the same level of energy output, Dr. Calabrese says. Thus, your water retention becomes less, so your will start to go down. You will start to lose that initial water weight gain (of roughly one to three pounds) a few weeks or a month after starting an exercise program, he says. RELATED: There is another source of weight gain that people often misunderstand, Dr. Calabrese says. You will gain weight from lean muscle mass that you add by building your muscles with exercise or weightlifting. But this won t happen right away. It will take you at least a month or two to add any lean muscle mass that would show up in your weight. By that point, you will probably be experiencing a good weight-loss trend because of the exercise. Again, people may not consider the early changes to their bodies as positive, Dr. Calabrese says. But there will be good changes later, so you have to stick with your exercise program. Before you add any exercise to your routine, talk to your doctor to make sure your body is healthy enough for exercise. Next, sit down with a medically based physiologist, physical therapist or athletic trainer who is well-versed in the effects of exercise.


He or she can help you map out your exercise program, learn about the proper nutrition and rest you will need, and discuss the your body will experience as a result of your training. Then, get on with your program. And look forward to the final step when you take that new body of yours out to enjoy the ski slopes or a sunny, sandy beach. Youre, hitting up every on your gyms schedule, and more than you ever thought possible. But your scale hasnt gotten the memo. What gives? This five-question quiz will help you pinpoint your problem and get your weight moving in the right direction. RELATED: 1. Are you cutting calories? To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than youre taking in. (Need proof? Here are you cant out-exercise a bad diet. ) But theres cutting calories and then theres cutting too many calories, says registered dietitian and strength coach, RD, CSSD, CSCS. When you start slashing calories like a ninja, you might not be giving yourself enough fuel to really hit it during your workouts. You just go through the motions, she says. Plus, many people who start off their days severely restricting calories end up throwing caloric caution to the wind by dinnertime. If you don t have enough food, youre likely to encounter sugar cravings later in the day, says Washington D. C. -based registered dietitian, MPH, RD. The fix: Exactly how many calories you need depends on how many youre burning in the gym, but in general, your caloric deficit (the number of calories you eat minus the number of calories you burn) shouldnt be any more than 500 per day, Spano says. (You can use to help you keep tabs. ) Aim to consume the bulk of your calories during the first half of your day and around your workout.


RELATED: 2. Do you follow up your workouts with a store-bought smoothie? Hitting up the counter might not be the best way to go about refueling your muscles. ( are just a few examples of sips with seriously scary calorie counts. ) Many smoothies are loaded with sugar and calories, and can completely counteract any calorie-burn you got from your workout, Spano says. Fruit, yogurt and sherbet-heavy varieties are among the worst offenders. The fix: Instead of buying a pre-made smoothie, whip up one of these at home. And dont slurp it down on-the-go. When people sit down to eat their meals, they wind up feeling fuller and eating less later in the day than if they had eaten while on the move, according to a 2015 Journal of Health Psychology. RELATED: 3. Do you constantly crave food? This might not be a bad thing. Research goes back and forth on exercises effects on hunger, but if your workout is increasing your appetite, its not necessarily a big deal, Spano says. People eat for a variety of reasons, and hunger is often the last reason. (Hey, its better than eating to or. ) But, still, if youre chowing down on more calories than youre burning even if youre burning a ton youre going to gain weight, she says. The fix: Take a time-out to consider if youre actually hungry or just bored, tired, stressed, sad, or otherwise emotional. If you are really, truly hungry, eat! Just opt for healthy and that will fill you up such as vegetables, low-fat dairy, healthy fats and lean meats, she says. These are a good place to start. RELATED: 4.


Do you read your cardio machines calorie-counter displays? Your (not to mention your elliptical and stationary bike) is lying to you. Some machines may overestimate your caloric burn by up to 30 percent, according to the. So if you put your trust in them, you could easily end up eating more calories than you burn even if youre diligently tracking your efforts. The fix: Dont pay any mind to your cardio machines calorie display. While Spano doesnt recommend living your life counting calories, if youre bound and determined to know how many calories your workouts burning, look to a. They arent perfect, but they do get a lot closer than cardio machines, suggests published Medicine Science in Sports Exercise. RELATED: 5. Are you sleep deprived? Weight loss comes down to healthy eating, exercise and recovery. If you miss out on one of those, the other two arent going to fully pay off, Spano says. And for most people, recovery, or more specifically,. When you dont get enough shut-eye, the hormones in charge of regulating your hunger levels leptin and ghrelin get thrown off, resulting in intense cravings that could end up counteracting your workouts, Mauney says. Meanwhile, a 2015 Diabetologia suggests that just four days of causes your body to store more fat. And according to published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the quality of your sleep effects how likely you are to workout the next day, too. The fix: Stop compromising on zzzs, Mauney says. While, the Sleep Foundation recommends adults ages 18 to 64 sleep between seven and nine hours each night. Get that to give your workout the best chances of working. Originally published November 2015. Updated March 2017.

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