Discover what's new & improved in the MyFitnessPal app!
We’re dedicated to helping you achieve your health and nutrition goals. And our newest features and updates? They do just that. Learn how we're making tracking your progress easier, faster, and more motivating than ever.

Water Retention?

I have been going along for 81 days straight and I had lost a total of 18.6 pounds. Yay me! I did this by walking about 2 miles each morning on the treadmill and going to Zumba classes 2 x a week. I have been reading a lot about lifting and wanted to start incorporating strength training into my routine. In the spirit of that, I switched up my routine this week. I did mon/wed/fri cardio and tue/thur full body strength. Now Im reading about some heavy lifting programs, but I'm not there yet so just to get the ball rolling I started with some lighter weights (still heavy to me though) and i moved in a circuit type fashion. I kept my calories the same and i still drank between 12 and 16 glasses of water each day.

When I stepped on the scale this morning i was 2.2lbs heavier than last week. I know I haven't eaten the surplus of calories necessary to gain weight, so instead of having an emotional meltdown i'm trying to puzzle this out.

Is it possible to retain water with just light strength training? I was using 8 lb weights for most of my exercises and some of them (lat pulldown and chest press) I was able to use heavier weight like about 20-30 pounds. I also did some body weight exercises like squats, lunges and crunches. All exercises were done in 3 sets of 10.

Could the change in routine be responsible for my gain? I don't eat back my exercise calories, but I net over 1200 calories almost every day. Since I've started drinking more water, I don't see the bloat from aunt Flo like I used to and I've been going to the bathroom normally (sorry TMI). Im sticking with my exercise and calorie control come hell or high water this time, but some type of explanation as to why my body is fighting me after 81 days of compliance would be appreciated. :smile:


  • stt43
    stt43 Posts: 487
    My first point would be to say that I think that your calories are too low, but that's your choice.
    Don't worry too much about the 2lbs - it isn't very much and it isn't likely to have made your physique look worse. It could be water, or it may just be muscle if you have started doing strength rather than just cardio.
    If you search on google images for a marathon runner (i.e. someone that does a lot of cardio) you will see that they are mostly skin, bone, and a little fat/muscle, whereas if you search "female strength trainer" you will see that they have perhaps a similar amount of fat but more muscle, meaning that they will probably weigh more but may still look better (depending on which look you prefer).
  • jmp463
    jmp463 Posts: 266 Member
    If you are under your calorie goal then all you have gained is water weight. You cannot be under your goal and gain fat. I have had similar experiences where I would do workouts with nothing more than body weight - doing pushups, squats and planks and have noticed an increase in weight for a few days. The other thing to check would be how many carbs have you taken in recently. For example I have had weeks where I was well under my calorie goal but at the end of the week I would have several slices of pizza or pasta for dinner and I would see a spike in water weight for several days,

    Everyone is different. But just keep doing what you are doing and yes drink as much water as you can. It will go away.

    Great job!
  • Dreaj79
    Dreaj79 Posts: 212
    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm truly trying to make this a habit. I'll watch the carbs and stay off the scale for a while. :)
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,865 Member
    1) why are you worried about water's's not fat...retention of water is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact it is essential to muscle repair.

    2) "heavy" is a relative term..."heavy" doesn't mean you just start squatting 300 Lbs..."heavy" has more to do with the weight you can put up in a certain rep range (generally 3-5 for optimal strength gains and 8-12 for hypertrophy/physique) where you are at or near failure on your last rep...if you can rep more then you're doing it wrong and not reaping the full benefit of your lifts.

    3) you can retain water for a variety of reasons...also, don't be afraid of carbs...yes, you retain more water eating carbs...but carbs provide for your glycogen stores...your glycogen stores are what allow you to crush your workouts rather than just wasting your time going through the motions.

    Here's an interesting read in RE to glycogen and water and weight fluctuations...
  • Swiftdogs
    Swiftdogs Posts: 328 Member
    My weight (according to the scale) pops up from an active weekend, which for me involves a lot of walking and some hauling of equipment. I'm 54, so I figure my old muscles think just hauling me around is heavy enough :wink: . It's water - no worries.