Q&A Post: Weight gain after events, sore muscles, and hard efforts.

weight gain ratsI was asked this weekend about gaining weight after an intense effort or an event.  This is an extrememly common question to me and one that I also hear in my WW meetings all the time.  Here is the basic question that I recieved:

“I read that one can gain 2-4 pounds in water retention when muscles are sore ……….  Do you have any experiences with how some of your hard runs/races have affected your weigh-in’s?”

Here are some simple points directly from my own experiences.

  • I have gained weight after EVERY event that I have run in. 
  • I have gained weight most of the time after HARD EFFORT workouts.
  • I have gained weight EVERY time when I do my weigh-in with very sore muscles.

Now I don’t have a Doctoral degree in musculo-skeletal issues, but I do have some experience with the issue at hand.  I have found that hard efforts (that is whatever pushes YOU hard), your muscles get sore, and this translates (for me) into gaining weight on the very short term.  This NEVER ends up being permanent weight gain.  In fact, after a gain  at the school I will almost always post a loss the next week after the healing process of my muscles.  Hear is what I have heard as to the reasons a person can gain weight even after buring 4000+ calories:

  • After are hard workout, glycogen is depleted and when you eat sugar (from simple or complex carbs) your muscles will soak up a fair amount of it along with some water right away.
  • When you work out hard, you get tiny micro-tears in your muscles.  To repair, they retain some water to help the process along.
  • Once your muscles get better even though maybe not fully healed, your body starts to move the water, waste, blood, etc. through you muscles much more normally causing you to “lose” the weight.

In reality, the weight gain is false.  It is part of it.  It is possible to lose weight after events especially if you get dehydrated but once you begin to re-hydrate you will gain it back.  This little yo-yo in your weight should not be taken to seriously.  I do not weigh-in anymore after most of my hard events just so that I don’t feel bad for gaining because I am pretty positive I will and I also know that it is essentially meaningless.

So keep your head up and don’t worry to much.  In this type of circumstancial weight gain, the weight will come off just as easy as it seemed to come on.

10 Responses to “Q&A Post: Weight gain after events, sore muscles, and hard efforts.”

  1. July 13, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I’ve read this as well. Absolutely nothing to get worried about. Just our bodies adjusting like they need to.
    When people see this gain in weight after they’ve begun a new exercise program they often give up without realizing the points you mention above. It’s a shame.
    I did this as well in the past without realizing my muscles were just trying to repair themselves. I would’ve been rewarded soon enough.

    Great informative post.

  2. 3 Helen
    July 14, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Thank you.. I’ve been wondering about that for a long time. Whenever I go do a very intense workout, eithe rin the gym or running, it’s like I always gain a little the next day.

    But now it makes sense 🙂

  3. July 15, 2009 at 4:55 am

    How long does the weight gain last usually for you?

  4. July 15, 2009 at 5:00 am

    I forgot to tell you in my last comment that YOU REALLY NEED TO WRITE A NEW POST. I hate mice and rats and every time I pull up your blog to see if you posted something new your mice/rats gross me out. I don’t care what you write about ANYTHING please just to get rid of the mice. I BEG OF YOU!!

  5. November 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Pretty cool info about post event weight gain. Thank you.

    • 9 run4change
      November 20, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks. Yeah I just did a long run weekend of 45 miles and I actually gained 4 pounds. I am used to it mostly now so I just roll with it and often don’t weigh at all if I have that kind of a run

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