Nothing sucks more than working out 5 days a week and really giving it your all and staying away from Starbucks and Carl’s Jr and soda pop and sweets…. and stepping on the scale every morning and it consistently reading a 4-pound gain from before you started.
And don’t tell me that muscle weighs more than fat and that’s why the scale is heavier…. because it doesn’t happen that quickly.
Here I am, nearing the end of my third week of working out 5-days a week and the scale has been consistently reading 130. I’m used to it consistently reading 126! I was feeling frustrated. So I Googled “gaining weight when working out” and learned that there’s an actual workout phenomenon- where when you first start a fitness program, your muscles are kind of in a state of shock- being torn up and repairing themselves, and they retain a lot of water during this process. And theoretically, during this process, the muscles do gain a smidge in size (which theoretically means a smidge in increased weight, but we’re talking grams here folks, not pounds).
So basically, it’s water retention. They said to give it a few weeks, or a month, before you’ll start seeing the scale go back down.
The other piece of this phenomenon is that your body might be storing more food as fat- because now you are suddenly expending more calories than before- and if you aren’t taking in more calories, it kind of sets your body into a mode of “uh oh, let’s hold onto this”.
I’m at week three and I’m 4 pounds heavier and I’m not happy about it. I am bigger. My legs are bigger, my arms are bigger, my glutes are bigger. But they are also firmer, my legs are more toned, my abdomen is more toned….my saddlebags are disappearing, my butt is lifting, so I know all this hard work is paying off.
And the more muscle mass, the more calories burned every day. And the more I can stick to my healthy eating, the more fat that will melt away.
UPDATE: August 29th. Yep, I took about 3 weeks off from working out (but kept eating healthy and getting my 10K+ steps in and whaddya know- those 4 pounds magically fell off!
UPDATE: November. And, they’re back. I started going to fitness class regularly again, which means I’m super sore more often than not, which means muscle repair, which means water retention, which means I’m back up another 4 pounds.
UPDATE: January. Those 4 pounds are still there… plus another 5 from Holiday eating. Darn delicious Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and pies and eggnog and pumpkin spice lattes.