Why Am I Gaining Weight While Working Out? Here Are 5 Reasons Why

    Why Am I Gaining Weight While Working Out? Here Are 5 Reasons Why

    If you follow a strict diet and exercise daily, you might expect results to show on your weighing scale right away. Unfortunately, weight loss is not that simple. Some people may find it easier to shed those extra pounds, but it’s usually difficult for most people who try. You may ask, why am I gaining weight while working out? From stressors in your external environment to your genetic makeup, let’s go through some factors that may cause unexplained weight gain.

    Exercise Type

    If you’re exercising daily but still not losing weight, try looking at your workout plan. Does it have the right balance of strength training exercise or is it mostly cardio? That may be one of the answers to the question, ‘why am I gaining weight while working out?’

    If your exercises are mostly cardio-focused, try to add more strength training to the mix. Strength training exercises can build muscle mass and increase your metabolism, making it easier to burn calories.

    It’s generally recommended to do strength training for major muscle groups at least two times a week. Here are some additional tips:

    • Try body weight activities to work out major muscle groups (chest, shoulders, back, arms, abdominals, and legs)
    • Use weights like barbells and dumbbells
    • Visit the gym and try out their weight machines

    Exercise Intensity

    In addition to reviewing the activities in your workout plan, consider looking at the intensity as well. Are you pushing yourself too hard? Would you say your weight loss goals are closer to punishing than they are to being realistic?

    If you’re straining your body too much, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Listen to your body when it is in pain and take rest days. For strength training, block one full day for rest in between each muscle group exercise. After a heavy day of cardio, you can try yoga or stretching exercises.

    Food Choices

    Unexpected weight gain may also have something to do with your food choices. Try to review what you are putting inside your body. If you’re going for a low-carb or low-fat diet, here are some things to consider:

    • Avoid foods high in trans-fat like baked goods and fried foods
    • Refrain from foods with high amounts of sugar and salt
    • Try to eat in smaller quantities or portions. The goal is to burn more calories than you consume.

    These are general ideas in coming up with a meal or diet plan. If you want more detailed advice, it may be worth visiting a dietician who can help develop a personalized diet plan.


    If you’re asking yourself, ‘why am I gaining weight while working out?’, stress may be one of the answers. If you’re under stress, you may find yourself sliding into unhealthy eating habits without knowing better. You may go for comfort foods which are often high-calorie, fatty, and sugary.

    To prevent stress-related weight gain, try to develop healthy stress management and relaxation techniques. Identify your comfort foods and keep them out of arm’s reach to avoid temptation. Avoid skipping meals since that increases the chance of overeating, and make sure to get enough sleep. Learn when it’s time to seek professional help.


    Obesity can develop as a result of specific genetic disorders such as Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) and Prader-Willi syndrome. For example, a patient with BBS may encounter problems in fat deposition in the abdomen, leading to abnormal weight gain in early childhood.

    However, it’s important to note that while genes may make a person susceptible to developing some conditions in their lifetime, behavior plays an equally important role. You can always reclaim control and take actions that allow you to lead a healthier life.

    Key Takeaway

    There is no easy answer to the question ‘why am I gaining weight while working out?’ But it’s worth looking into some of the factors that we listed above.

    If you want personalized weight loss advice, it’s best to visit your doctor. They are in the best position to help you make healthier choices and take your unique needs into consideration.

    Learn more about Diet and Weight Loss here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Expertly reviewed by

    Chris Icamen

    Dietetics and Nutrition

    Written by Sandra Sendingan · Updated Feb 10, 2022