Is working out making you fatter?

running woman This sounds extremely counterintuitive, but this is actually a fairly common problem. First of all, make sure that the weight you’re gaining is indeed fat and not muscle. You should be able to easily tell if you check your pudge levels regularly – but if not, you can always go to a gym or your doctor’s office and get a body fat percentage test.

Once you establish that it is in fact your body fat percentage that is increasing, it could be one of either two things. The first and most obvious one is that you’re eating too much – this can be caused by you being hungrier because of the physical drain of the workout. If you’re in the habit of eating after a workout, you may tend to eat too fast, which can easily lead to overeating. A good remedy for this is to keep a food journal or to at least pay attention to what you eat… that way you’ll have an idea of what your average caloric intake should be.

Also, an even better method of burning body fat is to not eat for at least three hours after you workout. This span of time, known as afterburn, is when your metabolism is still coasting from its high rate that you achieve during exercise, burning body fat at a much more elevated rate. For example, a 15 minute ab workout can burn around a hundred calories, but if you drink even a medium soda right after (about 150 calories) you’ve not only negated any effect on weight loss that workout had, but added even more calories to be converted to fat later on.

Another possibility is that you could be using your workouts as justification for managing your caloric intake. Whether we realize it or not, we all have times when we indulge ourselves with that slice of cheesecake or Big Mac as we tell ourselves “it’s ok…I worked out yesterday.” At best, this mentality will neutralize any reduction in body fat. At worst, it could be used as an excuse to be over-indulgent, leaving you in even worse shape than before you started working out regularly.

If you’ve done all of these things and you still are gaining weight, then your workout is either ineffective or you have a glandular disorder. In that case, you should stop reading this and call your doctor.

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