Gaining Weight Before You Losing It

Have you ever started a diet, exercised every day, and still not seen the results you expected? If so, you’re probably wondering why gaining weight before losing it is such an all-too-familiar experience among many of us. In this blog post, we break down the science behind why this happens and offer insights on how to shift your approach for more successful long-term weight loss. Read on if you're looking to finally understand the Great Weight Loss Mystery!

Why do you Gain Weight Before you Lose it?

Anyone be worried about seeing weight gain right after a workout? However, if you notice carefully, it only happens immediately after intense training. In some rare cases, it may occur within 24-48 hours. However, doctors believe it is not necessary due to gaining fat. 

When you Weigh Yourself on a Measuring Scale, you are, in fact, Measuring Your

  • Muscles

  • Fats

  • Bones

  • Brain and neural tract

  • Lymph

  • Connective tissue

  • Blood

  • Urine

  • Intestinal gas

  • Air in your lungs

The mass of each of these body parts can shift up to 15 % after a workout.

This could happen due to factors such as −

  • Hydration in your body

  • Inflammation due to tiny muscle tears 

  • Fluctuation in urine and blood volume

  • Intestinal by-products

So, if you are weighing more on a scale after a workout, it necessarily doesn't indicate a gain in actual weight. That's why most people see a temporary increase in weight after a workout, which eventually disappears after a while. This is why people believe you gain weight before you lose it.

Why do you Gain Weight After a Workout?

Surprisingly, most believe that muscle is heavier than fat. However, one pound of muscle still equals one pound of fat. In fact, the volume between fat and muscles is definitely different.

If you gain even a small amount, you are likely to bulk. Meanwhile, if you gain a pound, you won't notice any significant change in your body's volume.

Could the Weight Gain Actually be fat?

In some scenarios, you may gain fat while regularly hitting the gym. There are a few instances that could lead you to gain fat.

It could be due to carb abuse. Your body needs carbs to produce energy while working out, and there is no denying that. However, you should consume carbs within a limit. It mostly happens in first-timers when they start carb-loading excessively. This may be because your body goes into shock when you start working out. It makes you even hungrier, triggering significant hunger pangs.

Consequently, people start eating more carbs-laden foods like pasta and bread. This may be because, in their mind, they think they burned enough calories. So indulging in some delicious carbs may not be that harmful.

Some even gorge on protein bars thinking of them as a healthy snack. Although protein bars are healthy, they are packed with 300 calories each serving. Eating protein bars and protein-rich shakes is OK as long as you are burning 1000s of calories. Otherwise, you should use them only as a meal replacement, not as a snack.

Scientific Reasons why you may Gain Weight Even After a Workout

Reasons why you might be gaining weight 

You are Overeating to Overcompensate

Working out tirelessly is not a free pass to eat all you want. Often it ends up eating more than you burn. You don't have to count every calorie you eat. However, that doesn't mean you should lose track of it.

The key is loosely tracking how much you are burning off and what you eat. Plan your diet one day ahead. Eat your pre-workout snack on time, and indulge in a protein-laden breakfast. Go slow on calories in the lunch and keep the dinner light.

It's Maybe all Fluid

One of the reasons you weigh more is fluid retention in your body. This is caused due to micro-trauma during workout sessions.

Heavy lifting and hard cardio can stress out your muscle fibers. This lead to inflammation. It is a natural process when your body is in healing and repair mode. As a result, your body starts retaining fluid.

Fluid retention is temporary and disappears as your body adjusts to the new routine. Make sure to use your rest days wisely. Resting gives your body enough time to heal faster and more robust. This allows you to lift more weight.

Your Muscles Store Glycogen

Glycogen is the fuel you need to do your daily work. It is pretty common to gain a few pounds as you start working out. Your body responds to the added stress by storing more glycogen. Glycogen binds with water in your muscle cells to give you consistent energy boosts. This can make your scale goes up.

As you become fitter, your muscles will store less amount of glycogen.

It may be Muscles Weight

Keeping up with your diet and workout plan could gain you some pounds of muscle within a few months. Muscle tissues are denser than fat tissues. So, gaining more muscles and losing fat can change your body's composition. As a result, you will weigh more while your body looks leaner.

That is good news if your weight has gone up and your waistline has gone down. Even if your waist is the same, it is not necessarily a thing to worry about. If your weight increase is due to fat, you can quickly check that by measuring your waistline.

Gaining weight with muscles makes you feel stronger. Meanwhile, gaining fat will make you feel weak and lousy.

To put things into context, let's get to an example −

If you gain 2 pounds of dense muscle mass and lose one pound of fat, you will weigh more on the body weight scale. However, it won't affect your body's volume. In other words, it won't add bulk to your body.

Therefore, even if you weigh more on the weight scale, it is not necessarily bad news. 

You are not Recovering Properly

As mentioned above, your body might bulk up with fluids due to inflammation. This is a natural process and goes off as you heal. Healing could take from two days to a week. It depends upon the degree of muscle tear and the group of muscles involved. For instance, lower body muscles take longer to heal.

If your body weight gain is consistent, it could indicate that your muscles are not fully healed. It may be because you are hitting the gym too often and need to give your body enough rest to recover.


Take it one step at a time and eventually you will get to where you aim to be! It's okay if progress is slow. As long as you keep going you'll eventually achieve the results that you desire. Keep building habits that enable good health. Hydrate often, move regularly, and nourish your body with balanced meals. Consistency is key with any lifestyle change. So just take one day at a time, celebrate small victories, and make sure you consult your doctor for advice on creating a plan tailored for you and your goals.

Updated on: 12-Apr-2023


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