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Gaining weight despite regular workouts?

Fitness, Health, Supplementation

Gaining weight despite regular workouts?


It had not been long ago since my sister came over from London to our city home with her 3-year old hyperactive son. It did not take more than a week for the kid to make me realize that I was physically low on energy even when my workout sessions were regular. I had no endurance, whatsoever.

tired mother playing with kids

Although I had taken the responsibility to care for my adorable nephew for the time he was visiting, I realized that I could not keep up with him. I did not have the energy to feed him, ensure that he was clean, or even play around with him. I felt completely drained by the end of each day that I would spend with him. That was when I understood that I needed to build my stamina. I needed to exercise as well as begin a healthy diet. Thus, that was when I resolved to begin working out.

gym workout

In the beginning, I started out slow and gradually increased the time I spent to work out as well as the intensity of the exercises, which I was performing. With time, I noticed that I was getting fitter, but I also noticed that on the other hand I was gaining weight.

However, that was not surprising, considering the fact that at the end of each workout I was usually so hungry that I could, metaphorically speaking, eat everything in sight. It was pretty obvious because I was making my body work and that is why it needed its fuel to function.

I was gaining weight and most certainly I did not want that to happen. What I had been looking forward to was losing a couple of pounds instead. Yet, after every workout I would stuff my mouth with food, hardly worrying about the calories that I was taking in. It was my way of rewarding myself for exercising and burning off some calories. I was entitled to that huge bowl of ice cream but then I realized, “How wrong was I?”

Luckily I shared my weight problem with my gym instructor, who after having made fun of me lightly, told me that my behavior was understandable, He then gave me a lesson for managing my diet which would also complement my workout schedule. Here, is some of the valuable advice that he shared with me that helped with my weight problem.

Workout Before Your Meal

snacks and workouts

This is an efficient way to stop overeating after your exercise routine. If you feel hungry when you stop pumping iron, even though you have had a full proper meal prior to the exercise, still shift this meal to a time after your exercise. If you are hungry, have a light snack instead, like fruits before you exercise so that you get the energy that you will need for the workout.

Try consuming carbs and proteins instead of fats during the pre-workout meal. That way, you won’t be consuming extra calories and your post workout hunger would be satisfied too. Keep in mind to not take in more than half the amount of calories that you have burned. Additionally, you should try to maximize your nutrition intake with minimum calories, which is possible by eating healthy and filling foods.

Consider your exercise as a fun activity

exercise is fun

The way your brain thinks about exercise also affects your food intake. If you consider exercise as a chore you will feel more of a need to reward yourself after having completed the “work”. If you think of it as a fun,  activity, then you will enjoy it and not be compelled to eat as much after the workout.

A study conducted in 2014 by Cornell University, which involved volunteers were taken on a 1.4-mile walk. Half of these volunteers were told that this was part of their exercise while the rest were told to enjoy the scenic stroll.

The former group was observed to eat 35% more chocolate pudding for dessert as compared to the other group. This only relates to the fact that taking exercise as a fun act stops you from overeating.

Are you sure you are hungry?


hunger vs. thirst

You may have had a full meal after your exercise and not much later you feel hungry again. This is common and it mainly happens because you are not fulfilling your hydration needs. The hormones that control hunger also control thirst.

So, when these hormones send signals to your brain we usually take that as an indication of hunger even if your body just needs to be hydrated. and end up eating when we do not even need to. Those are the extra calories your body did not require. Drinking eight ounces of water is an effective way to confirm if you are really hungry or was that just a thirst signal.

This is why we end up eating when we do not even need to. Those are the extra calories our body did not require. Drinking eight ounces of water is an effective way to confirm if you are really hungry or was that just a thirst signal.

Keeping yourself hydrated at all times is one definite way to avoid eating when your body does not need you to.You last longer during your workout if you are hydrated. You lose quite a bit of fluid while working out and you should replace them right after the exercise.

This way you do not only quench your thirst but also fill up your stomach, losing appetite to a certain extent. Have water during your post workout meal too. Just make sure not to water intoxicate yourself!

Eating out of habit

Do you have a habit of eating that causes you to take in more calories than required and gain weight?

You may be overeating following your workout and may be consuming the same amount of calories irrespective of whether you performed a minor exercise or an intense cardio.

In such cases, plan out your meal according to the intensity and duration of your activity. See how many calories you have burnt and taken in food equaling to half of those. Again, it is best to optimize your food intake by making the most of it by taking in food with the minimum amount of calories and maximum nutrition.

Eating out of habit

Secondly, you could be eating out of boredom or stress, a very common issue amongst us. Again, you are consuming calories for no reason. Restrain yourself.

Stay busy to distract yourself. If you need to eat, opt for small, healthy snacks throughout the day rather than pigging out on a huge meal, dense in fats, after exercising. This way you will boost your metabolism and stay energized.

Do not rely on your stomach

Some people tend to keep eating till their stomach feels full and then they complain of feeling bloated. If you are one of these people you do not have your eating habits in check.


It is only around 20 minutes after your meal that your brain is able to register the satiety levels of your body. Therefore, it is best to wait after a normal sized portion rather than keeping on eating because you still feel hungry.

Be patient and allow chemicals to release responsibly, for satiation. It is also a good idea to drink water 10 minutes before your meal. Your brain already starts realizing that your stomach is full and takes lesser time to conclude that you are full. 


Why should you give any heed to these tips? Because exercising and keeping your weight in check is a very effective way to boost your mood. You stay energized for everyday activities. Health conditions, such as

Health conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, do not hover around you. You sleep better. Your sex life gets spiced up. In the end, it’s all totally worth it!

About the Author

Photo Shape Editor: Batool Ali.

She is a passionate blogger and an insightful writer who loves to research and write on different disciplines related to health, lifestyle, finance and education.

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