Why Have I Gained Weight Since Starting My Fitness Journey?

A lot of us have had that experience of being disappointed by the numbers staring back up at us from that bathroom scale.

This experience is especially daunting when we are working hard on our fitness, and those numbers seem to be increasing rather than shrinking.

While there are a lot of different reasons for this, it is important to know that this is common!

Hopefully, what I tell you today will help you understand your body a little better and be a little less concerned about weight gain or loss.

Society’s Go-to Tell-All

We live in a society that tends to measure success in the unit of pounds.

Despite the incredible complexity of the human body, the media attempts to simplify our perception of weight. This is often done by portraying a decrease in weight as good, and an increase in weight as the end of the world.

Fortunately, there is a little more to it than that!

Our bodies are always changing in order to adapt to what we are doing.

Sometimes we get caught up in thinking that exercise and a calorie deficit equals weight loss, while an increase in calories and lack of exercise automatically results in weight gain.  

In some circumstances, these can be the case. But the goal is to find the right balance for you personally, and that is not a one-size-fits-all formula.

So, keeping that in mind, if you are confused as to why you might have gained weight since starting your fitness journey, don’t get discouraged.

You are probably doing something right!

What Does Ripped Mean?

When we use the term, “ripped,” it usually refers to well-toned musculature made even more prominent by little body fat.

As much as this term gets tossed around, we forget the origin of its literal meaning.

When we work out and put stress on our muscles, micro-tears form that eventually help the muscle to rebuild stronger.

These micro-tears to the muscle fibers often induce water retention in the body as a whole.

This is the body’s way of healing.

With slight inflammation around the micro tears in the muscle fibers, the body keeps the fluid there in order to promote healing and re-growth.

This inflammation inside the body can be especially prevalent when starting one’s fitness journey, trying new kinds of physical activity, or even just after a strenuous workout.

And as the day progresses, it can be common to experience more bloating and inflammation. The extra fluid might result in an extra pound or two on the scale.

But don’t worry, this fluid build-up is natural, but it is in no way permanent.

When we wake up in the morning after resting our muscles, we are typically less inflamed, and we usually look and feel our leanest.

Fortunately, our bodies adapt to new physical activity. As we get stronger, water retention decreases, resulting in a decrease in weight as well.

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Finding Your Balance


Unwanted weight gain and discouraging results can also be attributed to a lack of nutritional balance.

When starting a new fitness journey, your body undergoes a lot of changes, creating new nutritional demands.

An increase in exercise often changes appetite as well, and it is important to listen to what your body is telling you.

Increasing exercise, even for the purpose of losing weight, doesn’t necessarily always require increased or decreased calorie consumption. Sometimes you just need to alter the kinds of foods you are using to fuel your body.

It is vital to find that optimal balance, where you are providing yourself with enough of the right nourishment to perform your daily activities without overcompensating.

(For more on nutritional balance and the importance of macros, check this out!)

This is where you must find what works best for you!

Finding that point where your body feels full of energy can look different for everyone.

The mistake that can cause weight gain or a plateau in the beginning of your fitness journey is that of being nutritionally out of balance.

If you are depriving yourself of too many calories while still putting the demands of a new exercise regimen on your body, you can enter starvation mode.

Yes, it is true, in order to lose weight, there needs to be a calorie deficit. This can be created by exercise alone or by cutting calories as well.

However, when this is pushed too far, your body tries to protect itself by slowing down your metabolism and retaining weight in order to conserve energy in case the malnourishment continues.   

This may mean a meal plan, or just simply listening to your body. But no matter what, you have to create balance in order to find that ideal.

Above All Stick with Your Goals


In general, change can be a tough thing. But if I can stress anything about fitness and a happy lifestyle, it is that the best results come when you keep at it.

So if you are experiencing some fluctuation on the scale, in no way let that determine your next steps towards your goals.  

Stick with your goals and make adjustments to diet and exercise where needed in order to achieve balance and maximize your results!

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Siena Becker

Siena Becker

Writer and expert

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