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Why Do I Weigh More When I Exercise?

Exercising More but Gaining Weight?

If you're trying to lose those last stubborn pounds for an upcoming wedding or to fit better in your bikini, kicking it up a notch in the cardio department is a surefire way to torch calories and slim down. When monitoring your progress with a scale, you may notice the numbers staying the same or actually going up instead of dropping down as expected. So what gives?

When it comes to losing weight, try to think about it this way. You want to lose fat, but that doesn't necessarily translate to losing pounds as measured by a scale. When increasing your cardio workouts, you'll gain more muscle, and while muscle doesn't weigh more than fat, it is more dense, which means a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat. So even though you're losing body fat, the muscle you gain explains why you're heavier when stepping on the scale.

Try not to worry too much about what the scale says, since weight isn't necessarily an accurate way to determine how healthy and fit you are. It's better to keep an eye on how toned you look in the mirror and how you feel when slipping on your clothes. If you can tell you're slimming down, then you know all your hard work is paying off.

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PaulUK2901 PaulUK2901 4 years
".... muscle doesn't weigh more than fat, it is more dense..." Hilarious! So muscle occupying 10 cubic cm weighs more than fat occupying 10 cubic cm? Obviously, because it's denser? So muscle weighs more than fat? At least try to understand the subject matter.
Muhammad-Khairy14766419 Muhammad-Khairy14766419 4 years
When you exercise, especially when doing weight training, your body gains muscle mass. And this should be your ultimate aim. Because when this happens, your metabolism increases which means your body will burn calories even when you're NOT exercising. Of course, when you gain muscle mass, you'll increase in weight, but this is healthy weight and not fat mass. Think about is as gaining 6 pack abs rather than 6 pack fats.
goddessofdawn goddessofdawn 4 years
Maybe it's about what you do after the exercise. Some people eat a lot as a reward after working out. It's a common problem and it's not gonna help your goal to lose weight. You should have self control and discipline. And in my case I really don't panic if the scale says that I gained 1-2 pounds. I worry more about what the tape measure says. This video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V92wUegHpsU talks about diet and proper exercise. It's actually good to have an expert's advice before killing yourself in the gym.
alxxxmx alxxxmx 8 years
maybe it's your diet? you know there's been some questioning about cardio and fat loss, sometimes it's counterproductive.
ella1978 ella1978 8 years
I have started using a free online food and exercise journal. It's pretty amazing & eye opening. While it doesn't have every food that exists, it is very close. And let me tell you, I have found out a lot of things. One, those little snacks that you grab throughout the day (a hand full of crackers here, a cheese stick between meals, a cookie on the back table at the office, a scoop of ice cream after dinner) they pack on more than you can imagine. I have learned that everyone underestimates the amount of calories that they eat in a day, and I have learned that there is a TON of sodium in everything you eat. I don't add salt to anything, and about half of what I eat is fresh fruit and veggies, and I'm still over every day in sodium (cottage cheese, vinagrette dressing, english muffins, luna bars) all packaged foods have a ton of sodium & it's going to kill people! Sodium can make you retain water, which will appear to be a few extra lbs.
darc5204 darc5204 8 years
going up 1-3 pounds doesn't really mean anything; water weight can fluctuate a lot. However, I don't believe that the weight gain in this case is attributable to muscle. It takes a lot of time and effort for a woman to gain pounds of muscles. If it goes up more, check your diet.
sundaygreen sundaygreen 8 years
Cut down on the cardio, up your strength training and CLEA UP YOUR DIET!
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
I know a lot of people put down using a scale but it's not a horrible thing for everyone. Maybe for someone trying to lose 10 lbs you're better off using your clothes as a guide, but for someone like me that has 40-50 lbs to lose and wears baggier clothes already to hide that, my clothes Aren't a good indicator. I weigh myself weekly, take measurements and try to just watch my body. The scale can be a useful tool if used properly.
polkadots567 polkadots567 8 years
this is happening to me too! i go to a performing arts school during the summer and we do intense dancer's workouts for most of the day, so i assumed i was losing loads of weight. i look so much thinner and assumed i had lost at least 5 lbs, but instead i gained 8 lbs from the musclei was bulding from push-ups.
cg130 cg130 8 years
This is what's happening to me right now! But I am gaining muscle, I can tell because I look thinner, even though the scale has gone up a little.
BeChic BeChic 8 years
This post could not have come on a better day! I saw my weight rise by about 5 lbs during the 3 months following a layoff. I started a new job two weeks ago, and started eating grapefruit for breakfast, cereal for snack, a salad with balsamic vinegar for lunch, and a balanced dinner. I also joined a gym and have been going every night after work. I started to feel really good...until this morning when I looked at the scale and had gained 2 lbs.!!!!! Thanks to your helpful comments, however, I am going to stick with it. :)
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 8 years
I set myself a goal to drop 10 pounds this summer and keep it off. I'm watching what I eat and I'm working out 7x a week and varying my cardio and strength training with lots and lots of yoga. I made the mistake of watching the scale every day. The first week, I GAINED 3 pounds which I assumed was me gaining muscle mass but looks more likely to be water retention during my time of month. I then lost 2 pounds (no more water retention). After charting my weight every day for a month, i have come to realize that my weight can fluctuate up to 2 pounds any day to day, and a lot of it has to do with my hormones. It wasn't dependent on what I ate or if I had a lighter workout the day before. A month into my workout/healthy diet, I am averaging 1.8 pounds heavier than before, but my clothing is all fitting looser and I can see muscle definition now. Don't take the scale as an end/all be/all. I realize now that a scale isn't telling how fit or healthy I am, it's just relaying how much my hormones are affecting me on any given day.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Eh, I don't know. I've been having this same problem too, and my diet's actually got a LOT better AND I eat less. I've been doing cardio 30 min/3x a week (that's a heck of a lot more than I was doing) for the past 7 weeks, and I've only lost 10 lbs and plateaued for the last 3 weeks, even with the increased intensity of each workout. I own a scale and go on it weekly. My clothes fit differently, but I think it's just a hump or something where nothing happens for a long time and then there's a sudden drop in weight.
Zulkey Zulkey 8 years
I had a WTF moment on the scale this morning but I am not going to let it ruin how good i've been feeling about myself lately. Plus I'm about to embark upon a certain time of the month which always means I hold onto an extra 2-4 pounds just for yuks.
sourcherry sourcherry 8 years
I was going to point out the same thing, Modus Vivendi. Muscle does weight more than fat (when comparing equal volumes, obviously). Anyway, from my experience, dieting has a bigger effect on my weight and how slim I look than exercise. I watch my carbs intake and eat more vegetables and lean protein. With that I usually see results pretty quickly (quicker than when I increase my workouts).
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I don't own a scale. In my opinion, it's a poor indicator of fitness. I go by how I feel (my stamina, energy level, etc.), my performance during exercise and regular life activities, and how my body looks. When it comes to my body's appearance, I assess it when it's nude. Like many people, I know a fit body when I see one. It's all about sculpted muscles, balance, symmetry, and for me, as a woman, I like to see some softness and fullness in the right places (read: I want to jiggle in the right places :)). When I'm satisfied with all of the above (and I pass all my medical check-ups with strong results), I'm golden. :)
simplyfab87 simplyfab87 8 years
I was frustrated by the scales too but then I stopped weighing myself. I focus more of my measurement and the look of my body. Within the last couple months of regular exercise, I have lost only one pound but my waist size had gone down 3.5 inches..
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
Saying muscle doesn't weigh more than a pound of fat is like saying bricks don't weigh more than feathers. No, a pound of muscle doesn't weigh more than a pound of fat, but a cup of muscle definitely weighs more than a pound of fat. Martini, if you lost 4 pounds in a week it was mostly all water weight. The only way to lose a pound of fat is to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 8 years
I am on the same boat as you. I want to lose the 7lbs Ive gained these past few months. Ive tried running 4 days a week, weight training and even Jullian Michaels DVD every day, 30 day shred which promises a 20 lbs weight loss after 30day. Well, after a month and a half the scale didnt move! Listen, I've lost weight before and I thought I had this all down packed but let me tell you the true way to lose the weight; Change Your Diet. This week alone I changed the way I eat and I've lose 4 lbs. Here's how I did it; I elimated carbs from my breakfast and lunch. At Dinner I have 1 serving of carbs (pasta, rice or potato) along with protein and veggies. And I haven't worked out. Thats it! Weight loss for me is all about what I put in my mouth. this coming week, I'm starting up my work routine again which will help me tone up and maintain my weight. Just stick to good carbs and eat well and you'll see the scale start to move. Good luck!
2muchtv 2muchtv 8 years
Yea, a scale is a horrible way to track progress. When I started to workout again, just for kicks I measured my waist size. I didn't lose a single pound of weight, but after a month/two months (I forget), I lost two inches.
missyd missyd 8 years
'from the'
missyd missyd 8 years
agree with everything these ladies above have said :) Enjoy the adrenaline rush and decreased stress frmo teh extra exercise! Dont look at you stats, your self esteem should be rising anyways!
AmandaG AmandaG 8 years
Forget the scale, track your measurements. Ultimatly I want to have smaller demensions, weight doesn't neccessarily reflect that. My weight has stayed the same for years but my measurements have changed.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
It could be a few things: 1. You are gaining muscle, but it's difficult for women to really gain that much weight wise. 2. You are retaining water. 3. You are eating more than you think. In college I was working out A LOT .. and gaining weight. I thought it was muscle, but I DID NOT gain 20 lbs of muscle ! It's easy to think "I'm working out more so I need to eat more" - and you do, to an extent - but many people overestimate how much they burn during exercise and underestimate how much they eat.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
Also, just to add to what Fit said, when you exercise more your body becomes accustomed to burning glycogen that's stored in your muscles. Glycogen carries with it a lot more water than fat does...when you increase your workouts, your body converts excess fat into glycogen and it makes you retain a little more water weight. So that'll make the scale go up a little too. You definitely shouldn't go by the scale alone...how your clothes are fitting is a better benchmark.
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