You’ve just finished a killer workout, feeling like a fitness superhero, only to step on the scale and see the numbers playing tricks on you. Don’t worry; it’s not just you. Many of us have been there, wondering, “How long does this temporary weight gain after exercise last, and what’s really going on inside our bodies?”
How long does temporary weight gain after exercise last?
Temporary weight gain after exercise can last for about 10 to 14 days. This happens for a few reasons, like water retention or glycogen storage. Weight gain that lasts more than 2 weeks or 14 to 20 days is not temporary, and more like a permanent weight gain.
However, It’s important to note that this temporary weight gain is generally not fat gain. It’s a natural response to the physiological changes that occur in your body after exercise.
Over time, as your body adjusts and these temporary factors subside, you should see a return to your baseline weight.
What causes temporary weight gain after exercise?
Let’s unravel the mystery behind that post-workout weight gain. First things first, it’s crucial to understand that this weight isn’t fat magically appearing. It’s more like a temporary visitor, and it comes with a few friends – water retention, muscle inflammation, and dietary factors.
let’s break down the factors that can cause temporary weight gain after exercise in simple terms:
- When you exercise, your body sweats to cool down. Sweat is mostly water, so if you don’t drink enough fluids to replace what you’ve lost, you might become dehydrated.
- Dehydration can make you weigh more temporarily because your body holds onto water when it’s not getting enough. So, if you’re dehydrated, the scale might show a higher number.
- Eating food before or after exercise is normal, and your body can store extra water when you eat. Carbohydrates, for example, can make your body hold onto water.
- Additionally, the weight of the food itself can add to your body weight temporarily. A meal or snack can make the scale go up, but it’s not fat; it’s just the weight of the food and the water your body holds onto when digesting.
Supplements like Creatine:
- Creatine is a supplement that some people take to improve their exercise performance. It helps muscles retain water, which can lead to temporary weight gain.
- The water retention caused by creatine is in the muscles, not under the skin, so it’s not the same as gaining fat. It can make muscles look fuller and might add a bit to your overall weight.
Soreness of Muscles:
- After exercising, especially if it’s a new or intense workout, your muscles might get sore. This soreness is often due to small tears in the muscle fibers that happen during exercise.
- When muscles repair themselves, they can temporarily retain water. This water retention, again, doesn’t mean you’ve gained fat; it’s just part of the natural process of muscle repair.
But do you gain muscles when you are sore, to know more on this topic check out this article: If your Glutes are Sore are They Growing?
Overall, temporary weight gain after exercise can be caused by a combination of factors like dehydration, the weight of food, water retention from supplements like creatine, and the body’s response to muscle soreness. It’s essential to understand that this weight is usually not fat gain, and it should go away as your body normalizes its hydration levels and your muscles recover.
How to know weight gain is not temporary after exercise?
If you’ve been exercising and notice a weight gain that lasts more than 15 to 20 days, it’s important to pay attention to some key factors. First, consider normal fluctuations – weight can naturally go up and down due to factors like water retention and muscle gain.
Allow at least 15 to 20 days for your body to adapt to a new exercise routine. If the weight gain persists, assess your diet to ensure you’re not consuming more calories than you’re burning.
Additionally, check for any changes in your body measurements and how your clothes fit, as muscle gain may not always be reflected on the scale.
More like this: How to Tell if Your Glutes are Growing?
- Observe Changes Over Time:
- After starting a new exercise routine, it’s normal for your body to experience fluctuations in weight due to factors like water retention and muscle gain.
- Keep track of your weight over an extended period, like 15 to 20 days, to see if the gain persists.
- Check for Muscle Development:
- Exercise, especially strength training, can lead to muscle growth. Muscles are denser than fat, so an increase in muscle mass can contribute to weight gain.
- If you notice changes in your body shape, like increased muscle definition or clothes fitting differently, it may indicate muscle development.
- Consider Water Retention:
- Intense workouts can cause temporary water retention as the muscles repair and recover. This can lead to a temporary increase in weight.
- Monitor if the weight gain is sudden and accompanied by symptoms of water retention, such as swelling in the extremities.
- Evaluate Dietary Changes:
- Changes in eating habits can influence weight. If you’ve increased your food intake or made different food choices, it could contribute to weight gain.
- Ensure that your diet aligns with your fitness goals and monitor changes in both exercise and eating habits.
- Understand Normal Weight Fluctuations:
- Daily weight fluctuations are normal due to factors like hydration levels, food intake, and bowel movements. Focus on the overall trend rather than daily variations.
- A sustained increase in weight over a couple of weeks may be more meaningful than day-to-day changes.
What can be the cause of permanent weight gain after exercise?
When you exercise, your body burns calories for energy. Calories are like tiny units of energy that your body uses to do things like move, breathe, and even just exist. So, when you work out, you’re using up some of these calories.
Now, if you exercise but then stay still for the rest of the day without moving much, a couple of things can happen.
- Metabolism: Your metabolism is like the engine that runs your body. It’s how fast or slow your body uses up calories. When you exercise, your metabolism gets a boost, and you burn calories faster. However, if you’re inactive for the rest of the day, your metabolism might slow down again.
- Hormones: Your body has hormones that help control your weight. One important hormone is insulin, which helps your body use and store sugar from food. When you exercise, your body can become more sensitive to insulin, which is a good thing. But, if you’re inactive afterward, your insulin sensitivity might decrease.
However, you should know that hormonal weight gain is not that common. Most of the time people gain weight after exercise because they only do exercise and doesn’t do anything the whole day.
Moreover, they also increased their diet to get more muscle mass. But one should know that even if you eat more protein than required, your body ends up converting into fat.
So, if you’re not moving much after exercising, your metabolism might slow down, and your hormone balance could change in a way that makes it easier to gain weight.
Imagine it like this: exercising is like putting good fuel in your car and revving up the engine. But if you park the car and don’t drive it, the fuel doesn’t get used, and the engine slows down.
To avoid permanent weight gain, it’s important not only to exercise but also to keep moving throughout the day. This can include simple things like walking, stretching, or just being active in your daily tasks. It keeps your metabolism running and helps your hormones stay in balance.