People choose to start working out for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is to lose weight. So if you have been hitting the gym and then the scale and have watch as that pesky number rises, you may, understandingly, be confused and worried. After all, you have been eating right, working out regularly, and maybe your clothes are even fitting differently, so why should your weight get higher? Don’t panic; the scale can often be quite deceiving. If you are doing the right things, there are four reasons why you might be gaining weight.
Believe it or not, water retention can account for as much as 10 pounds of your weight! If you have had a great workout and feel a bit slimmer, don’t start celebrating yet; you’ve likely just shed water weight. On the flipside, if the number on the scale has risen, it can also be due to exercise, as sometimes working out makes you retain more water. Water makes the number on the scale a far less reliable means of measuring weight loss than many people realize. So if you are working out and eating right and still find yourself gaining weight, it could just be water.
Have you ever done a really intense workout, hopped on the scale out of curiosity, and found that you actually gained weight? That’s normal. Your scale mass is a combination of fat, muscle, bone, blood, connective tissue, lymph, gas, urine, feces, organs, and air. Right after a workout, the mass percentages of each of these can change as much as 15 percent. Intense workouts can cause your weight to fluctuate due to muscle inflammation, hydration status, and blood volume. If you gain weight right after you workout, you probably haven’t gained fat like you fear.
You may have heard that muscle weighs more than fat. This is actually a misconception; while a pound of fat is the same as a pound of muscle, the volume of muscle is denser than the volume of fat, translating to more mass on the scale. As you strength train, your body composition changes, building more dense muscle and decreasing body fat, which may translate to the scale giving you a higher number. These are changes that will take months, so it’s best to not bother with the scale when you are trying to gain muscle, as it won’t be very informative.
Working out and eating healthily are essential for losing weight; however, if you are under extreme stress, it is going to be difficult for your body to balance out the positives and negatives. Whether your workout itself is putting physical stress on your body, or your lifestyle is one in which you are stressed out all the time, you are sabotaging your fitness goals. Stress could be the reason why your scale weight won’t budge or keeps rising. Include rest days in your workout routine, get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, and prioritize relaxation to see an improvement in your stress levels and perhaps your weight.
Spunk Fitness is an affordable fitness center brought to you by owner Bernie Caplan. If you are interested in benefiting from our affordable gym memberships, state-of-the-art equipment, and friendly and knowledge staff, come in and enjoy a free workout on us!