One of the outcomes you expect from a regular workout routine that’s designed to help you lose weight is that you’ll lose weight, but it doesn’t always happen that way. One reason that you might be gaining weight despite regular workouts is that your body composition might be changing.
Your body composition refers to the balance of fat, muscle, bone, and water. Two of those four things are outside of your control – bone and water – but the other two are within your control based on how you eat and how you exercise.
Exercising regularly can help you change your body composition to be more favorable and so can eating healthier. But let’s address exercise because that’s why we’re here.
Why are you gaining weight even though you’re working out?
You might be building muscle…
When you workout consistently and constantly level-up the intensity of your workouts by doing harder exercises or lifting heavier weights, you’ll continue building muscle while you lose fat.
Muscle weighs more than fat, and when you’re using the scale as your only measure of progress, you’ll get frustrated because the number isn’t going down like you want it to.
What can you do about the weight gain?
First start by doing some detective work to find out what’s actually going on. The question you want an answer to is the question of whether you’re gaining muscle, or gaining fat.
To do this, you can get a body fat scale. Or you could go old-school and do body measurements. Buy yourself a good tailor’s tape measure and get to work taking your body measurements. Take your the following measurements three times, two weeks apart between each time:
- Chest (Bust)
- Smallest waist
- Abdomen (between your navel and your hips)
Make sure the tape measure stays level all the way around so you’re getting an accurate circumference measurement.
Compare the measurements. So you’ll have your:
- Starting measurements
- Two weeks later
- And another two weeks later
Take your weight on the days as well and compare your weight and your measurements. If you gained weight and lost inches, then you’re changing your body composition in the direction you want, gaining muscle and losing fat. The reason is that muscle weighs more, but takes up less space because it’s leaner. And this is what happens when your clothes start to fit looser even if you haven’t lost a lot of weight yet.
If you’re not happy about having to wait a month to get answers, I get it. We want to know now, but remember, lasting change takes time. And it’s worth waiting to know what’s going on before you go changing a workout routine you love or going on yet another cleanse because you think you’re not making progress.
What happens if you’re not losing inches?
If you’re not losing inches, then it’s time to look at your habits outside of exercise. An exercise routine is fantastic for many reasons, but it can’t fix an unhealthy eating pattern. So if you’re eating too much food to compensate for your hard work sweating it out, you’ll need to revisit that.
Some eating patterns that could be causing this include:
- Waiting till your hunger is intense to eat. This reduces your chances of making healthy eating decisions in real time because you’re probably going to be too hungry to care
- Eating too much food at meal times so your body gets used to feeling full and nothing less would do
- Adopting the “fu*k it” mindset when it comes to your indulgences. You know that idea when you eat something unhealthy and you decide “I’ve already slipped up, so I might as well keep going.” This mindset ignore the truth that you can always make a healthy choice at your next meal
Working out is an important tool to help you lose weight, but there are more…
In You Don’t Need a Diet, I break down why diets don’t work to help you get healthy and lose weight, but I also share the eight tools you need to get results without dieting + how to get started no matter how busy you are.