Weighing in immediately following exercise or even the morning after a workout can give you a false sense of the effects of exercise on your weight. Fluctuations in fluid retention, hormonal changes in women related to the menstrual cycle, the timing of your weigh in, your eating patterns that day or the day before and how much liquid you drink, for example, can tip the scale up or down temporarily. Instead of checking your weight daily, choose one day a week to weigh in and step on the scales at the same time of day and in similar clothing.
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Exercise burns calories and plays an important role in weight management. However, burning extra calories is not enough to produce weight loss if you also increase your caloric intake. The number of calories you consume must be less than the number you burn to support weight loss. Take a closer look at your eating habits to identify room for improvement. You don't need to make drastic changes in your diet to support weight loss. Trimming just 200 to 250 calories from your daily intake is enough to tip the scales in your favor.
Storing Glycogen And Water
Exercise may cause temporary weight gain due to your muscles' response to strenuous activity. Strength training, for example, tears muscle fiber and can cause your muscles to retain water. Cardiovascular exercise also triggers your muscles to store more glycogen, the form of carbohydrates that fuels aerobic activity. Not only do your muscles store more glycogen when you exercise, but the glycogen attracts water, according to Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist William Sukala.
It's possibe that you're gaining muscle, particularly if you're exercising regularly and including strength training in your regimen. If you're taking in fewer calories than you're burning, it's difficult to gain muscle. However, if you consume roughly the same number or even more calories than you burn, you may be adding muscle weight. Even in this scenario, roughly 1 pound a week is typically the most muscle you could expect to gain.
Although several factors may be responsible for temporary weight gain associated with exercise, the long-term effects of exercise on your weight will be positive, as long as you consistently create a calorie deficit. For the best results, exercise aerobically at least five days per week, working up to a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of activity daily. Consult with your doctor before starting an exercise program if you have a history of heart problems.