Have you ever started a new workout regime, totally determined to watch those numbers on the scales drop as you push through each new workout, only to find that they actually increase?!
Yes? Well you are not alone and it is totally normal!
Many of my clients panic at the beginning of their programs and ask me "What am I doing wrong?" as they see the weight on their scales increase even after they have put in so much effort into their workouts.
You are not doing anything wrong! You are doing everything right and the key to success is to stick with the new exercise regime. Many people become so disheartened at a weight increase that they stop exercising altogether - but don't!
So what's actually going on then?
When you start using muscles in a way that they are not used to, it causes mini tears in the muscle fibres (sounds gross but it's totally ok) and your body's automatic response is to heal those tears, so it causes inflammation and water retention around those damaged areas.
The body uses glucose as energy which it has converted from the carbohydrates we've consumed. To fuel the muscles it stores the glucose, known as glycogen in our muscles. When there is a sudden increase in the muscle usage, the body sometimes stores extra glycogen (as back up to fuel the new level of muscle activity) and it needs water to do this conversion and this can be why there is water retention. These two factors can add on 2-4lbs!
You may experience the sensation of DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) 24-48hours post exercise too and many people actually quite like that achy sensation as it reminds them that they've worked muscles in a new way.
When does the weight gain stop?
Usually in the first 3-4 weeks you will start to notice the weight dropping, as your muscles become more accustomed to their new lifestyle and they will be more efficient in their storage and usage of glycogen.
However, as lean muscle mass develops this can actually sometimes cause a slight weight gain too. So there can occasionally be a secondary weight gain too but it is not fat gain though!
Body Measurements or Scales?
I ask all of my clients to take body measurements throughout their programs as well as look at what the scales say. Weight is such a fickle metric and can cause such an emotional backlash that it is not always useful to weigh regularly. Body measurements are a great metric to use though as it is much more obvious and satisfying to see the inches come off and clothes become baggier!
So if you have started a new exercise program and considered stopping because your weight has gone up, rest assured this is quite normal, the most important thing is that you continue to stick with it. Exercise combined with the correct nutritional balance for you will get you the results you desire!