Have you ever started a new workout program only to realize you are gaining weight instead of losing it? If so you are not alone.
Please know that just because the scale starts moving in the wrong direction doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing something wrong.
Sometimes water retention is the reason for unwanted weight gain. It is believed that when you exercise your body retains water.
It does this for two reasons. Number one to help with the healing process. The second reason is to ensure glycogen makes its way to the body in the most efficient way possible.
The problem is the scale doesn’t know why you gained weight. It just shows you a number that you don’t want to see.
That’s why those who workout will often recommend you forget the scale. This is because the scale doesn’t tell you the whole truth.
Instead of jumping on the scale everyday you should instead consider going to get a body fat test. The quickest way is to go to your gym and ask to have one done by a trainer.
If that isn’t an option you can also do one at home using a home body fat scale. If all else fails simply take measurements of different areas of your body, for example your chest, thighs and arms, and track how many inches you are losing on a weekly basis.
If the numbers are going down that means you are heading in the right direction. If on the other hand the numbers are creeping in the opposite direction, you may need to consider one of the following possibilities of why you are gaining weight even though you are exercising.
You’re Not Eating Enough
It may sound crazy, but when you don’t eat enough food it becomes very difficult to lose fat.
You have to always remember that your body’s number one job is to keep you alive. Anytime you severely restrict your calories your body will slow down your metabolism and hold on to as much fat as possible in an effort to protect you.
To ensure you are eating enough calories use MyFitnessPal to calculate how much you should be eating.
You’re Eating Too Much
On the other end of the spectrum is the possibility that you are consuming too many calories on a daily basis.
Many times when people increase their level of activity they then think they can eat anything they want. This however is completely false.
The issue is most people actually think they’re eating healthy because they are consuming what they believe to be a low calorie diet.
But unless you are tracking everything you eat there really is no way to know how much you are actually eating.
Once you start tracking calories you will be surprised at just how much you are eating on a daily basis.
To get a good sense of how much you are eating track your calories for 7 days using an app such as MyFitnessPal.
Once you see how much you are really eating you can make the necessary adjustment to get things back on the right track.
You’re Gaining Muscle
Sometimes the scale starts to creep up because you are gaining muscle. Which by the way is a good thing. Gaining muscle has many benefits including improved heart health, better brain function, better sleep, and a faster metabolism just to name a few.
If you notice you’re getting bigger, don’t fret. It may be because you are building muscle faster than you are losing fat.
How easily you put on muscle is determined by your genetics. Some people will therefore put on muscle faster than others. If you are one of those people, keep doing what you’re doing.
Muscle is more dense than fat and thus looks a lot better on your frame. It also weighs more than fat which is why it may seem like you are gaining weight.
The one thing you might want to change is the amount of cardio you’re doing. Cardio helps you burn the fat so consider adjusting the amount you do on a daily basis.
Going from 20 minutes of cardio to 30 minutes of cardio can have a huge impact on your overall results.
Sometimes gaining weight is a good thing while other times it may mean you need to make adjustments to your diet.
No matter why you are gaining weight, never give up on yourself. Fitness is a journey, not a destination. In other words, it is something you will continue to work towards for the rest of your life.
Your focus should be to get better and better everyday. Set new goals, make adjustments, and never stop moving forward.
You may have set backs, but don’t let that stop you. Just get back up, dust yourself off, and keep going. Those who don’t quit are the ones who ultimately reach their health and fitness goals.