why does exercise make me gain weight

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. The short and unsatisfactory answer is that you are human. A surprisingly large number of people who begin an exercise program subsequently pack on extra pounds. In a related to exercise and weight loss, the researchers concluded that most sedentary people who start exercising lose far less weight than would be expected, given how many calories they burn while working out. As Eric Ravussin, a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. , In general, exercise by itself is pretty useless for weight loss. The problem, most scientists agree, is that exercise makes us want to eat. Many studies have shown that if people start a new exercise program, their bodies begin to pump out much higher levels of various hormones that increase appetite.


This reaction seems to be most pronounced if someone starts a new, moderate, aerobic exercise routine. (There are hints in some studies that intense exercise, such as interval training, may dampen appetite. But the relevant studies have been few and small. ) So if we take up jogging, swimming, walking or bike riding, for example, we feel unusually hungry afterward, and often wind up consuming as many or more calories than we just expended. A moderate 30-minute walk burns only about 100 calories. A smoothie afterward may contain two or three times that amount. Simultaneously, many of us move less on days when we exercise, studies show. Scientists refer to this reaction as compensatory inactivity. Without consciously planning to, we spend more hours sitting during those days when we have worked out than when we have not, and ultimately burn fewer total calories. In essence, starting to exercise often means we eat more and move less than we did before, consume more calories and gain weight. But there is a solution, according to a of decades worth of studies about exercise and body weight. Work out, the findings suggest, but also scrupulously watch what you eat. Pooling data from multiple past studies, it finds that if people exercise and restrict their calorie intake, they drop pounds and in fact often lose more weight than by dieting alone.

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