Why the weighing scale is showing a higher number despite your workouts

Fit & Training door thijs

You are doing great! You are eating healthy and you have cut down on a lot of calories, you never skip a workout and you really feel like you're losing a lot of fat! Until, you step on the scales and it suddenly shows that you have made no progress. Or even worse, it gives a higher number than last time. What?! How is that possible? There are various reasons why your scale indicates a higher number, despite all the effort you put into your Fit journey. Read about these reasons below!

You are weighing yourself after a workout

If you have just exercised at the gym, it's possible that you'd immediately like to see the result on the scale of all the calories you burned. But, there is a big chance that you come home and see a number other than what you anticipated. No panic! This does not mean that you didn't burn any fat at the gym. It may be because of two reasons why your scale is showing a higher number after a workout. First, it may be your water weight. Water accounts for about 65-90% of your weight. After a workout you can really 'lose weight' because you are losing plenty of water by sweating. However, it is also possible that you 'gain weight' because your body retains water during a workout in order to remain well hydrated. On the weighing scale you of course don't see this water weight, you just see a higher number. Also, it may be that you are weighing more due to muscle damage. As you probably know, (strength) training can cause the creation of small tears in your muscles. To repair these tears, your body brings a lot of moisture to the areas that are damaged. White blood cells are also working hard to restore your muscles so that they can become stronger (and larger). All this moisture contributes to the number that you see on the scale. So, no need to panic, your body is working hard to get fit!

You quickly build muscle mass

Another reason that you see no progress or are weighing more compared to the last time you weighed yourself is because you have gained more muscle. If you are gaining muscle faster than you are losing fat, then you will see this directly on the scale. This is not because muscles are heavier than fat. It's all about the volume; one kilogram of fat is bigger than a kilogram of muscle, yet, they weigh the same. (It's like comparing a kilogram of feathers with one kilogram of lead.) However, this is something that you are more likely to see in a couple of weeks or months, rather than from one day to the next. For instance, don't get too frustrated when you start strength training and your thighs are unexpectedly getting bigger. You wanted to get rid of inches didn't you, not necessarily weight! It may be that the muscles of your thighs are growing, but you're loosing little or no fat. The range of weight loss (and growing in muscle mass) is something you have to have patience with.

You're eating too much after a workout

Sure, you need fuel to do a workout. But, if you're trying to lose weight, it is also important to consider the size of your portions and your calorie intake. During a workout ghrelin is created, which is a hormone that induces your appetite. It is likely that you are unconsciously eating much more after a workout than you usually would, you're hungry and want to reward yourself for all the work you've just done. This however can mean that you are (unknowingly) consuming more calories than you need for you to lose weight. And this you will eventually see when stepping on the scale. 

You are too stressed

Do you work long days at the office or at school, do you get little to no sleep, are you worried about that fight you had with your sister or do you smoke and drink every day? It may be that the lack of weight loss is directly related to your stress levels. Stress is very bad for your body and can greatly sabotage your efforts at losing weight. In times of stress your body develops cortisol, a hormone that causes your body to store fat faster. Especially when you are an emotional eater, you eat less healthy and varied foods as well as being weak for those greasy snacks, you are more likely to gain weight than lose it.

So you see, the number on the scale does not always indicate whether or not you are making progress! There are a lot of factors that affect that number. A weighing scale can be a good guide to track your weight, but, make sure not to let it effect you too much and consider all the factors mentioned above. It is all about how comfortable you are in your own skin and that you feel fitter and healthier! Whether it's with or without that one kilo.

Are you too focused and becoming obsessed with the number being shown on the scale? Then get rid of the damn thing! There are a lot of other ways you can track your progress without getting obsessed with weighing yourself >