The words exercise weight gain are every dieters' worst nightmare. But if you've seen an increase in your weight, and you're working out regularly, there are some key reasons and possible solutions for fixing them!
1. Water Retention
Why: Preventing dehydration is critical during exercise. Even if you're only slightly dehydrated, your body can going into survival mode and start retaining water. While you may be drinking, if you fall behind you may still send your body into retention mode. Once you do, it's difficult to reverse that process.
Solution: Monitor your hydration by weighing yourself before and after exercise. Lose weighting signals dehydrated. Observe how frequently you urinate and the color. Dark, frequent urination is another sign of dehydration. Slow down your workout and pump up the fluids.
2. Muscle Weighs More Than Fat
Why: With strength training exercises, it is possible to lower body fat and lose inches, yet still see your weight increase. Since muscle mass weighs more than fat, you could be producing muscle faster than you are losing fat, causing you to gain weight.
Solution: Don't be discouraged by the numbers on the scale--the fat will eventually come off, and muscle does weigh more than fat.
3. Exercise Can Increase Appetite
Why: A good workout isn't a license to eat. With increased exercise, your body will need more energy to burn fat and stay active. Your appetite may increase to answer those needs.
Solution: Be sure to eat nutritious foods that are high in lean protein and low in fat and sugar. Eating empty calories, even when you are exercising, will still put on the pounds.
4. Energy Bars and Drinks Can Pack on the Pounds
Why: Energy bars, sports drinks, and fruit juices you consume during exercise to keep you hydrated and fueled can be loaded with calories. While they may be nutritious, consuming too many of them will contribute to weight gain.
Solution: Read labels and choose low fat, low calorie bars and drinks. Avoid fruit juices and sodas during exercising--that tend to dehydrate and add empty calories. Instead, choose water whenever possible and lean proteins for energy.
5. A Lack of Aerobic Exercise
Why: Not all exercise is equal in calorie burning. While strength training and toning (like weight lifting) are great for overall fitness, they don't pack the same calorie/fat-burning power as aerobic exercise that raises your heart rate.
Solution: Make sure to mix in calorie-burning aerobic exercise with your workout schedule. Choose:
- brisk walking
Perform these exercises a few times a week to ensure that your burning more calories than you're taking in.
6. Medical Conditions
Why: Some medical conditions and medications can interfere with normal body processes. A hormone imbalance or a thyroid condition will cause you to gain weight, even if you're dieting and exercising properly. Medications like Prednisone have weight gain as a side effect, regardless of a healthy diet.
Solution: Consult your physician to make sure your weight gain isn't medically linked, and receive necessary treatment.
In most cases it isn't the exercise itself the leads to the weight gain. It is the circumstances and your response to them that can produce either a weight gain or a perceived weight gain. Don't be discouraged though. By process of elimination, you can identify the possible factors, make adjustments, and even see a physician if necessary. But don't give up--sometimes it's just a matter of consistency before you'll see results.