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Old 11-01-2012, 06:45 AM   #1
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Every time I exercise, I gain weight.

I went bowling, gained 4 pounds. Whacked some golf balls for a while and gained 3.

Every time I get out and exercise, it shows up on my scale a few days later as extra pounds. I understand that muscle is heavier and denser than fat, but I can't really be gaining that much off of one workout, can I? Maybe it's the result of starting from a dead stop - a true 100% sedentary lifestyle.

Has anyone else run into this? When does it stop?
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:33 AM   #2
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My understanding is that when you exercise, your muscles retain some water for awhile. I would think it best to continue exercising and that it would level out. If you only do it occasionally, you'll probably get those little bumps in water weight. It's not fat, so don't let it freak you out.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z View Post
I went bowling, gained 4 pounds. Whacked some golf balls for a while and gained 3.

Every time I get out and exercise, it shows up on my scale a few days later as extra pounds. I understand that muscle is heavier and denser than fat, but I can't really be gaining that much off of one workout, can I? Maybe it's the result of starting from a dead stop - a true 100% sedentary lifestyle.

Has anyone else run into this? When does it stop?
If it is 4 lbs of muscle from a single workout you should be getting a bestselling book out of it. *grin*

Most likely you are looking at water retention which may (or may not) be related to muscle repair and protection. I'm facing similar weight fluctuations myself. I'd been losing ca. 2 lbs/week but since I started a daily strength/cardio program two weeks ago I've stalled. But my clothes fit better, and I feel stronger and more energetic.

From one Bayesian fan to another I ignore daily weight fluctuations and just look at the trend. I keep a 7-day running average and graph that. I.e. in Excel I would track my daily weight in column D, then next to that [cell D16 in this example] in column E keep a running average:

=ROUND((E10+E11+E12+E13+E14+E15+E16)/7,1)

There is nothing magic about 7 days either, 3 or 14 might work better for others.

Keep working out!

The goal is HEALTH not a number on a scale.

Last edited by cleome; 11-01-2012 at 08:16 AM..
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:44 PM   #4
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It was explained to me as this:

Physical activities that build muscle (even lifting a heavy bowling ball, or lugging a golf bag) do so by creating tiny tears in your muscle fibers. These tears are then patched by your body so that they are even stronger than before (building muscle). The repair process uses water so intermittent exercise will show up on your scale as a small gain while the water rushes to your muscles. It is not permanent, will balance out with more regular exercise, and building muscle helps rev your metabolism - so don't stop!
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:46 PM   #5
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I see people above me have cited three major reasons exercise can lead to weight gain: 1) water retention, 2) muscle mass and 3) increased hunger. I think all of those are valid.

However, there's actually one more lesser-known reason that I only started seeing this summer: Exercise's effect on metabolism. I'm linking to an article at Policy Mic that talks about the results of a few clinical studies that showed "exercise tends to suppress resting metabolic rate... [W]hen overweight humans do more than one hour of endurance exercise daily, resting metabolism on average declines between 5% and 15%." In other words, exercising not only makes you hungry, it slows your metabolism. My guess, and this is my opinion only here, is that slowing the metabolism serves the same purpose as increasing your appetite: anything the body can do to help you recover from the wear-and-tear of exercising.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:35 PM   #6
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I have experienced the same thing. Up until last January my only exercise was walking two miles three times a week in the mall with the older folks. And little old ladies in tennis shoes passed me quite often. Without real exercise I was still able to lose 50 pounds.

Ten months ago I started weight training with a trainer. I figured if I invested my money and his time I would be more serious about it. When I started I weighed between 157 and 160, never higher – never lower. Now after 10 full months I weigh between 165 and 168 and on days after a really hard workout I can be 170. It does come down within a day or two. My trainer says it is water retention while the muscles repair.

At first I was so frustrated thinking I was doing something wrong but my clothes are fitting better now and except for the roll around my middle I really don’t have much fat. So, as my wife keeps telling me, a pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same, they just take up a different amount of space in different places.

For me exercising has become a very important part of the low carb way of life. At the beginning I was totally focused only on the food. Now exercising has given me a broader view of what I can continue to do to make myself healthier.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:17 AM   #7
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Same thing happens to me every time and so I get a bit depressed and stop exercising. But I should not use it as an excuse not to exercise.
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Old 11-07-2012, 10:16 AM   #8
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As stated above, it is extremely difficult to lose weight with exercising. Unless you are increasing the duration to many hours, the body will often compensate by "resting" between exercise sessions. Most "exercise" programs contain a diet which is the cause of the weight change. Most leave that off the first pages of their program description.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LastRick View Post
However, there's actually one more lesser-known reason that I only started seeing this summer: Exercise's effect on metabolism. I'm linking to an article at Policy Mic that talks about the results of a few clinical studies that showed "exercise tends to suppress resting metabolic rate...
Thanks for posting that. I admit I am still having to retrain my brain that a low weight is not my goal. I have only recently had enough energy to start a gym schedule, and just four weeks has given me a few new muscle bumps, and noticeable improvements in my strength and balance. (Plus an inch off my hips, I do need some quantitative reward!)
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:27 AM   #10
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Short term, that is true for me, too. When I increase my daily exercise to the point where I am out of my comfort zone, I tend to gain scale weight. Over time, though, exercise makes me healthier and keeps my muscle mass consistent and maintains a healthy metabolism, so that I have an easier time keeping weight off long term.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:12 PM   #11
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Updating here with a positive note:

After 7 weeks of immersing myself in workouts 5 or 6x/week (at least 3 resistance/weights, the others cardio-based) I have lost around 8 lbs.

BUT I have gone from size 18 to size 14 jeans.
Maybe there is just more lycra in pants nowadays. jk/2.
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:29 PM   #12
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I would never "work out", it's all too abstract for me to stay interested.

I do walk a half mile to and from work everyday, though.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:34 PM   #13
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no offense to anyone on here, but i dont think bowling one time or golfing one time is considered exercise..they are just fun things to do ...so maybe there is no correlation... were you eating differently that day? you say you walk every day to and from work..that would be considered exercise..do you gain weight when you walk? im guessing not...so thats a good thing..maybe there is some other correlation to the bowling and golfing days that maybe youre not realizing? just trying to help
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jrw85705 View Post
I have experienced the same thing. Up until last January my only exercise was walking two miles three times a week in the mall with the older folks. And little old ladies in tennis shoes passed me quite often. Without real exercise I was still able to lose 50 pounds.

Ten months ago I started weight training with a trainer. I figured if I invested my money and his time I would be more serious about it. When I started I weighed between 157 and 160, never higher – never lower. Now after 10 full months I weigh between 165 and 168 and on days after a really hard workout I can be 170. It does come down within a day or two. My trainer says it is water retention while the muscles repair.

At first I was so frustrated thinking I was doing something wrong but my clothes are fitting better now and except for the roll around my middle I really don’t have much fat. So, as my wife keeps telling me, a pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same, they just take up a different amount of space in different places.

For me exercising has become a very important part of the low carb way of life. At the beginning I was totally focused only on the food. Now exercising has given me a broader view of what I can continue to do to make myself healthier.
youre right....muscle gain is nothing bad...who cares what the scale says as long as you look , and feel better
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Old 12-12-2012, 12:42 PM   #15
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I would never "work out", it's all too abstract for me to stay interested.

I do walk a half mile to and from work everyday, though.
There are many roads up the mountain. It is great that you found exercise that fits into your life.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:42 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by basketbalhotty22 View Post
no offense to anyone on here, but i dont think bowling one time or golfing one time is considered exercise..they are just fun things to do ...so maybe there is no correlation... were you eating differently that day? you say you walk every day to and from work..that would be considered exercise..do you gain weight when you walk? im guessing not...so thats a good thing..maybe there is some other correlation to the bowling and golfing days that maybe youre not realizing? just trying to help
Yes. Ever since I started walking, I've been stalled.

Three months ago, standing for 10 minutes was on the top side of the exercise I could muster. 10 high speed games of bowling, playing on two lanes by yourself, without sitting between frames - and don't forget that 300+ pounds of static self-weight you're carrying around...

If that doesn't cause you to break a sweat, you're doing it wrong.

Same goes for the driving range. Bending over a few hundred times to tee the ball, swinging the club that same few hundred times, staying on your feet for a few hours...

When you're starting at 345, after years of a completely sedentery life - yeah, that's entry level exercise.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:35 PM   #17
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ok i get what you mean now lol sorry about that
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:53 PM   #18
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No worries. Entry level is the key there. Now I'm walking two miles a day. It's all a process.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:08 PM   #19
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good for you thats awesome!
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:02 PM   #20
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I don't buy it. I think if you are not in ketosis, this may be the case because of insulin's role in metabolism and hunger. Personally, I am not eating any more now than I did before I started training hard. In fact, I am eating fewer calories per day on low carb than I was on high carb. I have always exercised, but my exercise has just been increased. I think overnight you might see subtle changes like this, but what biochemical data were they using to find that metabolism was slowed and exercise makes people more hungry? I am much less hungry now in spite of the increase in exercise, just because I switched to a ketogenic diet and got rid of the insulin/sugar cycle. I don't see this article citing any medical journals or scientific papers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LastRick View Post
I see people above me have cited three major reasons exercise can lead to weight gain: 1) water retention, 2) muscle mass and 3) increased hunger. I think all of those are valid.

However, there's actually one more lesser-known reason that I only started seeing this summer: Exercise's effect on metabolism. I'm linking to an article at Policy Mic that talks about the results of a few clinical studies that showed "exercise tends to suppress resting metabolic rate... [W]hen overweight humans do more than one hour of endurance exercise daily, resting metabolism on average declines between 5% and 15%." In other words, exercising not only makes you hungry, it slows your metabolism. My guess, and this is my opinion only here, is that slowing the metabolism serves the same purpose as increasing your appetite: anything the body can do to help you recover from the wear-and-tear of exercising.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:04 PM   #21
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Other than measuring your weight, have you gone down in size at all? If not, have you had your thyroid checked out? You should be gaining muscle mass from the walking, for sure, and your blood sugar should be going down, as well. Plus, you may need to cut back on calories or protein.
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:17 AM   #22
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Hi,
I cant comment as i havent had the experience, but looking at what you have achieved overall is fantastic , i find it hard when i hit a bit of a stumbling point, and its far easier to say, than believe, but i tell my self to focus on what i have achieved, rather than be dissapointed and try to stay positive, 45 pounds in four months is inspirational, and you have improved your fitness, wow congratulations, its people like you that give me the motivation to think that i can achieve as well

thanks
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:19 AM   #23
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Z,

What kind of scale do you have?

I picked one up for $20 that measures weight, AND body-composition (via a slight current thru the feet.)

It lets me track the percentage of my weight that is fat, "lean body mass", and WATER WEIGHT.

I think if you can spend the $20-30 for one of these, it might shed some real light on what's going on, for you. I've stopped tracking in my signature for now, but I'm still at least LOOKING at it. My weight's up today: I ate hot-dogs when we were out, and they probably had sugar in them, and sure enough, I'm holding water. I'll go to the gym, and burn that off this morning. (Already planning on going.)

Also, as someone else asked, are you MEASURING? When -- as I prefer -- I'm using exercise as part of my plan, sometimes I'll see changes THERE before on the scale. (Or, once in a while, the tape measure will contradict the scale. Those are the days I cheer, because I know I've made this whole thing just a little bit easier. )
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:45 PM   #24
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I don't buy it. I think if you are not in ketosis, this may be the case because of insulin's role in metabolism and hunger. Personally, I am not eating any more now than I did before I started training hard. In fact, I am eating fewer calories per day on low carb than I was on high carb. I have always exercised, but my exercise has just been increased. I think overnight you might see subtle changes like this, but what biochemical data were they using to find that metabolism was slowed and exercise makes people more hungry? I am much less hungry now in spite of the increase in exercise, just because I switched to a ketogenic diet and got rid of the insulin/sugar cycle. I don't see this article citing any medical journals or scientific papers.
I don't buy it either. This hasn't been my experience with High Protein Diet (which is filling so don't eat as much) and exercising. Also my daughter lost quite a bit of weight within a year while exercising and doing Jenny Craig Food Diet and has kept it off for over a year last Sept.

I think this article is damaging especially in light of possibly people giving up exercising when it's necessary for one's health.
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Old 12-29-2012, 02:23 AM   #25
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To be clear, this is simply something I've observed in myself. You'll also note that this post is from nearly two months ago.

The effect is short-term (2-3 days), temporary, and appears to be limited to extreme exertion. To be clear, I'm not confusing the measurement on the scale with a rebound of fat, or even muscle gain. Primarily I was curious as to why that gain would occur at all. It seems to me that burning more fuel would lead to an accelerated ketogenic conversion of cellular fat to ketones for fuel - and indeed, it might despite my observations.

However, it also stands to reason that an overexerted muscle would want to hold on to fluids for a few days in order to stabilize the injured area and provide materials for rebuilding.

My weight loss slowed down greatly when I started walking, but that's also around when I hit the 3 month mark (so it isn't entirely unexpected that my rate of loss would slow). In order to test out the validity of any theory at this point, I'd need to go on a week long pizza bender, get back into ketosis, and quit walking to work.

I have designed my life such that walking to work is a daily requirement. Unless I decide to quit my job (I'm not going to quit my job), it's simply not going to happen. I was not confusing this temporary effect with an increase of adiposity. It is simply an anomaly for which I have been unable to account. I don't like anomalies. I like to have an explanation for every portion of every ounce. A gain of 3 or 4 pounds in a single day is outside the anticipated bounds of weight variance.

I've been offered some plausible theories, and for now, that will have to do. But to be clear - the purpose of the original post was not to insist that I was going to exercise myself fat, but merely to find an explanation for an unexpected but predictable jump on the scale.

For now, I am left with an observation whose possible causes are beyond my ability to test against.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:26 AM   #26
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Hence the scale-suggestion -- so you could at least see where the added pound were coming from (fat/lean/water). I really love that you can now BUY a body-composition scale for around the same price as a regular one -- ten years ago, you never ever saw them.

It's been a crazy couple weeks, with the kids home, so I've no been on much -- but I'm trying not to run off and abandon the boards, either.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:34 AM   #27
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I would never "work out", it's all too abstract for me to stay interested.

I do walk a half mile to and from work everyday, though.


I guess I was wrong about that one. I've been strength training to failure (~3 sets of 6-8, full body) 4 times a week, every week since early February.

I'm far from ripped, but I've more than doubled my initial maximums - and I'm definitely showing a significant increase in musculature.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:07 PM   #28
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I don't see this article citing any medical journals or scientific papers.
The article seems to have been based on a presentation by Dr Volek that summarised some of the literature review in Volek and Phinney's Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance:
Quote:
There are 4 well-controlled, inpatient, metabolic ward studies (the gold standard for human research) published from 1982 thru 1997 that showed statistically significant reductions in resting metabolic rate when overweight subjects performed 300-600 Calories per day of endurance exercise for weeks at a time [1-4]. There are no equally rigorous human studies showing the opposite. There are animal (rat) studies that show the opposite, and there are human studies done under less controlled conditions that show the opposite. However there are also similarly less rigorous studies that agree with the above four gold-standard studies. When the quality/rigor of the studies is taken into account, the weight of the evidence supports two main conclusions:

1. Humans vary one-from-another in how their metabolism responds to endurance exercise, and much of this inter-individual variation is inherited (genetic). Given this wide individual variance, studies involving small numbers of subjects could get differing results based on random chance.
2. Although genetically lean people as a group may respond differently, when overweight humans do more than one hour of endurance exercise daily, resting metabolism on average declines between 5 and 15%.

The fascinating question is, if our interpretation of this published literature turns out to be correct, then how come most doctors, dietitians, and sports scientists think the opposite? Part of the answer is that there is a lot of simple logic suggesting that exercise speeds resting metabolism. First, exercise builds muscle, and muscle burns energy even at rest. Second, there are a lot of skinny athletes out there who think they are skinny because they train hard (as opposed to being able to train hard because they are skinny). Third, it is a common observation that heavy people tend not to exercise much, so it is easy to blame their weight problem on a lack of exercise. And finally, everyone loves a ‘2-for-the-price-of-one’ sale. It’s just way too tempting to think that you could burn 600 Calories during a 1-hour run and then, as a result, burn another 600 Calories over the course of the next day?
...

We are not saying that exercise isn’t good for people. Both of us are personally committed to leading vigorous lives, and encouraging others to consider doing the same. What we object to, however, is mis-informing the public as to what and how much benefit they can expect from exercise, particularly as it pertains to weight loss. From our perspective, telling heavy people to exercise because it speeds resting metabolism (and thus markedly increasing one’s rate of weight loss) is about as credible as selling them the Brooklyn Bridge.
References:

1. Bouchard C, et al. The response to exercise with constant energy intake in identical twins. Obes Res 1994, 2(5):400-410.

2. Heymsfield SB, et al. Rate of weight loss during underfeeding: relation to level of physical activity. Metabolism 1989, 38(3):215-223.

3. Phinney SD, et al. Effects of aerobic exercise on energy expenditure and nitrogen balance during very low calorie dieting. Metabolism 1988, 37(8):758-765.

4. Woo R, et al. Voluntary food intake during prolonged exercise in obese women. Am J Clin Nutr 1982, 36(3):478-484.
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