YOU won't be quite prepared for it — after committing to the gym in order to lose those 10 pounds, and making the sacrifice to lift, haul and pull for weeks, getting on the scale and seeing that you've actually gained weight.
While it can be shocking for many, personal trainer Demario Johns says it's quite normal, and things will even out soon.
"It's something that I warn my clients about because it can be quite shocking," Johns said. "Because there you are spending hours at the gym, and you're not seeing your hard work reflected on the scale."
He said there could be several reasons why you might be gaining weight after starting an exercise routine. These include:
When you start exercising, especially strength training, your body may build muscle mass. Muscle is denser than fat, so even though you're getting leaner, the scale might not show immediate weight loss.
Intense exercise can lead to temporary water retention, especially if you're consuming more fluids or your muscles are repairing after workouts.
Exercise can boost your metabolism and make you feel hungrier, leading to a higher caloric intake if you're not careful with your food choices.
Some people inadvertently reward themselves for exercising by eating more or choosing unhealthy foods, offsetting the calorie burn.
Stress and cortisol
Intense exercise or sudden changes in routine can lead to stress, which might trigger the release of cortisol. High cortisol levels can cause weight gain.
Weight can naturally fluctuate due to factors like hormones, digestion, and sodium intake.
Johns said to prevent weight gain or promote weight loss while exercising, you should consider the following strategies:
Monitor your calorie intake
Keep track of your food consumption and ensure you're not overcompensating for exercise by consuming more calories than you burn.
Balanced diet and portion control
Focus on a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Avoid excessive consumption of processed and sugary foods. Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid unintentionally consuming more calories than needed.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day, which can help control appetite and reduce water retention.
Choose nutrient-dense foods
Opt for foods that provide essential nutrients and keep you feeling satisfied.
Mix up your workouts
Incorporate a variety of exercises to engage different muscle groups and avoid plateaus.
Set realistic goals
Focus on overall health and fitness improvements rather than just the number on the scale.