How Long Does Temporary Weight Gain After Exercise Last?

Exercise is an essential part of life, but if you’re increasing your usual workouts to try and shed a few pounds, you may be disappointed if you see the numbers on your scales increasing, rather than decreasing.

Why are you putting on weight after all the effort you’re going through to lose it? 

How Long Does Temporary Weight Gain After Exercise Last?

Gaining weight after exercise is extremely common, and you’re not alone. There are all sorts of reasons why you may be gaining weight, but the good news is that it’s probably temporary.

In this article, we’re going to talk more about the reasons why you may be gaining weight after exercise, and how long you can expect it to last. 

Why Do People Gain Weight After Working Out? 

No, you’re not going crazy – you may well have put on a few pounds after working out, which can be pretty disheartening if your sole goal is to lose them. So, why does it happen?

Well there are a few reasons why your weight might increase after working out, including: 

Muscle Inflammation 

Muscle inflammation is one of the most common reasons why people gain weight after a workout.

Whether you’re running or lifting weights, you’ll be putting extra strain on your body and breaking down your muscles before they come back bigger and stronger.

During the repair process, your body will retain water due to inflammation to help speed up the repair, so seeing an increase on the scales is normal. 

Exercise will cause damage to the cells in your muscle tissue, and inflammation is the product of a build-up of white blood cells in the affected tissues. This is often called Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage (EIMD), and no, it won’t last forever!

EIMD is temporary, and it usually only happens after a particularly challenging workout. 

If you feel some delayed muscle soreness after your workout (a day or two after), you’re probably experiencing EIMD, and weight gain during this time is nothing to worry about. 

Water Retention 

Water retention is another common cause of temporary weight gain after a workout. Water retention after working out can be the result of more glycogen in the muscles.

When we perform a workout, our body relies primarily on glycogen to help convert energy to power when you’re doing your exercise.

Unfortunately, your body also stores glycogen as water – this means the more glycogen in your muscles, the more water your muscles will retain. This may temporarily increase the number on your scales but don’t worry, the keyword here is temporary. 

Weight Gain From New Muscle Mass 

It’s also possible to temporarily gain weight from any new muscle mass you develop. If you’re weightlifting or working your muscles, you’ll eventually grow muscle, which will increase your weight.

However, this won’t happen straight away, and it can take up to a month or two to start putting on enough muscle to influence the scales. Any sort of strength training will have this effect (with time), especially as muscle is almost always heavier than fat. 

A High-Calorie Diet 

It’s no secret – all that exercise can work up a pretty big appetite.

If you’re guilty of falling victim to those intense post-workout cravings, a high-calorie diet could actually be the reason why you’re gaining weight after exercising.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll need to consistently keep yourself in a calorie deficit. One of the most effective ways to do this is to keep track of your meals so you can check back and see how much you’re actually consuming.

You may be surprised to learn where those extra calories are hiding, but the good news is that it can be pretty easy to cut them down.

Sweets and unhealthy snacks are usually the main offenders, so focus on nourishing your body with the appropriate nutrients from the healthiest food products possible. 

How Long Does Temporary Weight Gain After Exercise Last? (1)

How Long Does Weight Gain After Exercise Last? 

The answer to this question will vary, depending on why exactly you’ve gained weight. 

However, water retention is the most common cause of post-workout weight gain, and you’ll usually start to lose any of that excess water weight within a few weeks to a month of consistently sticking to your exercise regime.

If you’ve gained a few pounds of water weight, it’s likely the result of inflammation of the muscle fibers.

Over time, your muscles will become more robust and will be able to bounce back quicker after intense workouts or weight training. This means less inflammation and less water weight. 

If you’ve gained weight immediately after a workout (this is most common with strength training), it usually takes between a few days and a week for your muscles to recover before you lose the excess water weight.

However, how long it takes will vary for each individual. 

If your weight is fluctuating because of your diet, the results can take a little longer. However, as long as you’re keeping yourself in a calorie deficit, you should start to lose weight within the month. 

We’d recommend weighing yourself once a week rather than every day to get a more accurate picture of your real weight.

Remember to weigh yourself in the morning without clothing, and keep an eye on your measurements, too – this will also help you get a better understanding of what’s causing your weight gain. 

Final Thoughts 

There are many reasons why you may be gaining weight after working out.

However, if you’re putting on the pounds immediately after a workout, your weight gain is probably due to water weight, which thankfully, doesn’t stick around for too long. In fact, it’s likely to clear up between a few days and a few weeks. 

Remember: your progress is determined by a number on a scale. It’s normal for your weight to fluctuate after working out, but in most cases, it’s not because you’re actually gaining weight – it’s because your body is trying to recover! 

Laura Simmons

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