Why You May Gain Weight Exercising At The Gym

Why You May Gain Weight Exercising At The Gym

Have you ever started a workout plan only to find that the scale does not budge?

You’re losing size, and your clothes are looking baggier, and yet your weight is not decreasing.

Sound silly? It’s not.

It’s actually very common.

If you’re looking slimmer, but your weight is increasing, do not get disheartened, and please don’t reach for the cookie jar!! All your hard work isn’t going to waste.

The answer to this riddle can be made clear with a little science…

When we exercise, both resistance and cardiovascular workouts can build muscle.

As muscle has a much greater density than fat (meaning it takes up less physical space but weighs considerably more), it is possible to look visibly slimmer while weighing more. Let me say that again…

It is possible to look visibly slimmer while weighing more.

Not convinced?

This common misconception involves space and density.

FORGET the myth that muscle weighs more than fat. A kilogram is a kilogram on the scale.

However, even though a kilogram of bricks, for example, will weigh the same as a kilogram of feathers, a kilogram of bricks will take up considerably less space than the feathers, because of their greater density.

This is also true for muscle and fat.

Although the scale may not go down, or maybe even increase as you gain muscle and lose fat, your body will begin to look sleeker, slimmer and more toned.

“… but I don’t want to gain muscle, I only want to tone!”

Despite what you may have heard, gaining muscle is actually a good thing. Toning simply means losing fat while gaining muscle; and it is this winning combination that provides us with that firm, sleek, toned look.

Muscle also burns calories as opposed to fat which stores them. Therefore, an increase in muscle equates to an increase in metabolism, which means you can…


But, be aware that increased muscle density can also cause your BMI to increase as you become healthier, slimmer, and fitter.

What is your BMI?

BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a measurement of weight in relation to one’s height.

Personally, I believe that BMI is NOT a useful indicator of health as the BMI system can place many boxers, body builders and athletes into the ‘overweight’ category when in fact, many have a body fat percentage below the recommended minimum.

While BMI can be an excellent indicator for the sedentary and overweight as to their risk developing a stroke, coronary heart disease or diabetes, it is not the best measure of health for those who are physically fit.

Losing unwanted body fat is hard enough, so try not to let the numbers on the scale dishearten your efforts.

Weight can fluctuate dramatically throughout the day for many reasons such as food intake, water retention, and dehydration.

Instead of relying on the scale, try listening to your body.

Clothes can be a great indicator of fat loss or weight gain. I also recommend taking measurements of the areas that you would like to change.

For example, if your goal is to gain/lose muscle on your thighs, try taking fortnightly measurements of your thighs.

It may sound simple, but all too often those trying to lose or gain weight can overcomplicate weight management.

The take-away?

“The scale is not a friend, it can knock you off your path, and it does not applaud your success; so dispose of the scale, because you are more than just a number!”

If you are ready to begin your fitness journey and would like your own, individually tailored, exercise and nutrition programme, please check out my online and offline Personal Training Options.

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