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Is it normal to gain weight when starting strength training?

happybird1217happybird1217 Posts: 2Member Member Posts: 2Member Member
Hi guys,

So I'm an 18 year old female (5' 11, 165-170 pounds).

In the past year, I have lost 50 pounds by eating in a calorie deficit (cardio here and there, but mostly through restrictive eating).

I'm really happy I lost the weight, however, now I am skinny fat because I lost a lot of muscle mass.

To fix this, I have been strength training/"RECOMPING" doing bodyweight exercises for the past 4 weeks. The issue is I have gained 5 pounds since starting, which really puts me in a bad place mentally because I've worked so hard to lose the 50 pounds.

I have been eating around 1500 calories per day (I've been very active most of the summer hitting around 10,000+ steps. Recently though as the summer's ending I have been less busy so I've been eating around 1300 calories, especially on my rest days (is this enough??). I track everything I eat using MFP and I know that no one is 100% perfect with their tracking, but I try to be as honest and accurate as possible. I've also been really good about protein, averaging 100 grams per day.

I've been measuring my natural waist line and it went from 32 inches too 30.5 inches, but recently it's gone back to 32! And the love handle area started at 38 inches and it went down to 35.5, but again, went back to 38. Again I'm not really sure why my waist has expanded, maybe water weight? There was one day where I ate 1700 calories, but this is because I walked 11,000 steps and the day before I had only eaten 1100 calories- this was a few days ago. And to be honest, I've taken progress photos and I don't really look different. I'm bigger than last week!

Also, I used to feel very sore following my workouts, and although I am doing progressive overload, I don't feel as sore anymore even though my performance is improving...does this mean my muscles aren't growing? I started only being able to do 1 interval of a body weight circuit, but now I can do 5-6 intervals. I workout 3-4 times a week, 20 min per workout.

Anybody have any idea what's going on? Am I gaining fat? Is it water weight? Shouldn't the initial inflammation/water retention be gone by now? Thanks!

Replies

  • Cat_A_89Cat_A_89 Posts: 50Member Member Posts: 50Member Member
    I'm ina similar boat not gaining weight but not losing been 189/188 for almost two weeks after starting exercising. From what I've read and others have told me its water weight. Muscle retain water during the repair period and can take a little to flush it. Aslong as ypure still in a calorie defecit you should be fine.
    Ive finally lost half a pound again today so fingers crossed it'll keep going again 😁
  • thanos5thanos5 Posts: 451Member Member Posts: 451Member Member
    yep, when you start new strength training you often gain a bit of water weight. it's temporary.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Posts: 19,424Member Member Posts: 19,424Member Member
    While I did gain 7 pounds when I started strength training again, it was gone within a few weeks. Hopefully you are due for a big whoosh soon.

    Where are you in your menstrual cycle? I gain at ovulation and right before my TOM.

    And of course pregnancy could explain the increased girth ;) Or you were just measuring differently the low time(s).
  • HannahwalksfarHannahwalksfar Posts: 574Member Member Posts: 574Member Member
    I put on 3.5kg in the days after starting training.
  • rheddmobilerheddmobile Posts: 4,415Member Member Posts: 4,415Member Member
    It’s actually very normal to gain water weight when starting a new lifting regimen, and it’s also normal to stop having DOMS as often after your body learns to expect regular lifting.
  • LivingtheLeanDreamLivingtheLeanDream Posts: 12,160Member Member Posts: 12,160Member Member
    Yep totally normally to gain water weight, the muscles hold on to extra water for repair.
  • dignow96dignow96 Posts: 46Member, Premium Member Posts: 46Member, Premium Member
    A similar thing happened to me (M/45/270lbs/6'7") when I came off a strict keto diet and started strength training in earnest I gained 19lbs within a week but two weeks later it was all gone. Not entirely sure what caused it - I put it all down to the added carbs but once the carb cycling kicked in and got synced up with the lifting things seemed to level out a bit. My two cents.
  • happybird1217happybird1217 Posts: 2Member Member Posts: 2Member Member
    thanks but it’s been four weeks! for most people the initial inflammation resolves within 2-3...i don’t know if i’ll return to baseline
  • quiksylver296quiksylver296 Posts: 25,447Member Member Posts: 25,447Member Member
    thanks but it’s been four weeks! for most people the initial inflammation resolves within 2-3...i don’t know if i’ll return to baseline

    If you're female, you have a menstrual cycle messing with you, too. Read this article. It's very informative re water weight.

    http://physiqonomics.com/the-weird-and-highly-annoying-world-of-scale-weight-and-fluctuations
  • squiffiegirlsquiffiegirl Posts: 14Member Member Posts: 14Member Member
    Muscle weighs more than fat. When toned you may weigh more but will appear thinner.
  • SilentpadnaSilentpadna Posts: 1,225Member Member Posts: 1,225Member Member
    dignow96 wrote: »
    A similar thing happened to me (M/45/270lbs/6'7") when I came off a strict keto diet and started strength training in earnest I gained 19lbs within a week but two weeks later it was all gone. Not entirely sure what caused it - I put it all down to the added carbs but once the carb cycling kicked in and got synced up with the lifting things seemed to level out a bit. My two cents.

    Carbs absolutely were a part of it. Since you were in keto, you did not have much stored glycogen (hence being in ketosis). When you add carbs, you store glycogen again - causing an increase in weight (not fat of course). None of that was a bad thing...

    But I'm sure you already know that.
  • ccrdragonccrdragon Posts: 2,334Member Member Posts: 2,334Member Member
    Muscle weighs more than fat. When toned you may weigh more but will appear thinner.

    It is highly unlikely (even as a beginner) that the OP has added a significant amount of muscle in a 3 week period. The 'gain' is water weight - the body holds onto extra water to aid in repairing the muscles when starting a new exercise regime.

    Also, the more you work your muscles, the less sore you will be afterwards because the muscles are adapting to the new usage of them. You do not need to be sore after a workout for it to be considered a 'good' workout.
  • squiffiegirlsquiffiegirl Posts: 14Member Member Posts: 14Member Member
    I can most certainly tell you that within three weeks of weight lifting I could see a difference in my upper arms, shoulders, and calves. If it is visible it is significant.
  • ccrdragonccrdragon Posts: 2,334Member Member Posts: 2,334Member Member
    I can most certainly tell you that within three weeks of weight lifting I could see a difference in my upper arms, shoulders, and calves. If it is visible it is significant.

    I would disagree - you can see a difference in your body appearance simply by stripping off the layer of fat that covers the muscles without adding any size to the muscle.

    Physiologically speaking - a woman training hard (2-3 hours per day, 6-7 days a week) at a structured progressive resistance program would be hard put to add more than 1 pound of muscle (across the entire body) in a month.
  • squiffiegirlsquiffiegirl Posts: 14Member Member Posts: 14Member Member
    Knowing nothing of my height, weight, and body type, you cannot possibly tell me that I am seeing a layer of fat. Or do I misunderstand?
  • quiksylver296quiksylver296 Posts: 25,447Member Member Posts: 25,447Member Member
    Knowing nothing of my height, weight, and body type, you cannot possibly tell me that I am seeing a layer of fat. Or do I misunderstand?
    Knowing nothing of my height, weight, and body type, you cannot possibly tell me that I am seeing a layer of fat. Or do I misunderstand?

    You misunderstand. He’s saying you’re seeing the muscle under the fat. You’ve lost fat due to dieting and exercise, so your muscle shows more.
    edited September 12
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