Home / Training / Can exercise make you gain weight?

Can exercise make you gain weight?

This is the big question we do not want to forget.

Normally, those who start a training program – and in this case I mean essentially gym training – aim to lose weight or gain muscle, so the ” weight” variable is highly valued by those who start to practice physical exercise.

After a while, and if you follow all that the professionals who accompany you suggest, it is normal that you start to see changes in your body, but these changes do not always translate into changes on the scale.

That is, your body composition begins to improve, you get more toned, you lose volume, but the weight may not fluctuate as much as you would like.

What is happening? So exercise can make you gain weight? Should you give up the training?

Read more to find the answer to these questions.

Beginners vs. advanced practitioners

beginner athlete vs. advanced athlete

It is well known that those who start training for the first time have a greater margin of progression than a regular exerciser.

There are more variables to manipulate, more to lose and to transform.

For those who have been training for years, the annual lean mass gain can be less than one kg or two, while a beginner can increase nearly ten times more as long as he is properly coached.

However, this does not lead to weight loss.

In reality, this lean mass increase on the scale can sometimes be camouflaged by the loss of fat mass.

That is, you will lose one kg of fat mass and you will gain one kg of lean mass.

But note! This is unlikely to happen if you are not doing everything perfectly, which, by the way, is not always possible.

Should I worry about weight gain?

weight concerns

You may gain weight, but this is not necessarily bad.

It has to do with your body’s response, an individual response that depends on a number of factors.

But don’t expect this to happen overnight.

Take advantage of the process and do not become obsessed with your weight gain.

In fact, you may get heavier and look thinner. This is perfectly normal.

It’s called “body recomposition”, where you gain muscle and lose fat mass.

Fat mass vs. muscle mass

muscle vs. fat

One kg of muscle is not equal to one kg of fat in terms of volume.

That is, one kg of fat takes up much more space than one kg of muscles.

This way you will look thinner and probably keep your weight or even increase it.

Even if your goal is to gain weight and an increase in the numbers on the scale don’t scare you so much, you should always try to do it by gaining muscle rather than fat, as this is the healthiest way.


These kind of issues do not apply only to beginners.

Some athletes with more experience, and depending on the type of sport they practice, can also work on this “muscle recomposition.”

For example, when your aim is to increase muscle mass or improve muscle definition, during the phase of muscle mass increase, there may be weight gain.

However, there is probably also an increase in fat, but in the muscle definition phase the idea is that there is a maximum reduction in fat mass, so that only the muscles are growing!

My advice …

If I could give you some advice at an early stage it would be:

Do not live obsessed with the scale.

It is an important tool to understand if you are on the right track and measure your progress.

However, the values it presents will not always be the most reliable as changes in water retention, glycogen storage or intestinal transit will affect the values shown on the scale.

 In order to measure your progress, it is also important that you can understand other metrics: body weight and percentage of fat mass vs. percentage of lean mass, something a normal scale cannot give you.

There are bioimpedance scales that can help you to get an idea of these values and can be a good way to measure your progress.

But there are more ways. The best option you have is to talk to a sports or health professional.

Try to reduce errors as much as possible so that you can get the most out of this early phase and gain as much muscle mass as possible.


The information included in this article concerns the authors opinion only.

About Tiago Sousa

Tiago Sousa
Tiago Sousa has a degree in Sports & Physical Education, he is a Personal Trainer and also a Crossfit L1 Trainer. He is a former competition swimmer with his own outdoor training business. He aims to bring more science to his area, helping people to achieve their goals in a safe way.

Check Also

Circuit training for abs

Circuit training for abs: the best exercises

Ab workout is a favorite of many athletes, especially at summer time. Having strong mid-zone ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *