When summer first began, I began hitting the gym a little more and trying to stay in better shape so I would pull off tank tops and shorts. However, it had been awhile since I kept a regular exercise regimen, and although I wanted to see results right away, I felt like I was gaining even more weight and feeling even more bloated than before.
I'm sure many of you out there have experienced the same thing. But don't panic. As long as you keep with your work out regimen and maintain a healthy diet, you will eventually become fitter than before.
When you first begin exercising, or if you start working out muscles you haven't worked out before, you may feel like you're actually gaining weight and retaining more water than before you started exercising. There are several reasons why this is happening.
Your Muscles Are Retaining Water
For me personally, I feel like this is always the culprit of weight gain and bloat once I start exercising again after haven't done so in awhile, or when I start working out muscle groups I haven't focused on before.
This is because when you're exercising your muscles, particularly those that aren't used to being worked out, you are creating many microscopic tears in them. That might sound frightening, but that is just how your muscles become stronger. In fact, when you feel sore after exercising, it is because these teeny tiny injuries are causing inflammation, and your body's metabolism is producing lactic acid, white blood cells and a number of other bodily chemicals to heal these muscle tears that will lead to them becoming tougher.
This causes bloating because in order to heal these microscopic tears, your body needs water. Muscle fibers will absorb the water in your body, which is why for awhile you'll feel as if you're actually gaining weight as opposed to losing it. Fortunately, this won't last forever, and anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks your muscles will heal and you'll see that weight come off. This is also right about them you'll want to intensify your work outs if you're interested in toning a bit more or building more muscle, and this process will start over again.
You're Bloated Because You May Be Dehydrated
It seems ironic that the reason you're retaining water is because you body is dehydrated, but this can be the reason for bloating.
If you're not making sure you're properly hydrated, particularly if you're recently started a new workout regimen, your body start holding onto water just to make sure it has enough to keep functioning properly. The way the body automatically does this for you is pretty amazing, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't also take care to replenish your fluids. If your body stays in a dehydrated state for a prolonged period of time, this could lead to kidney and liver damage, not to mention continued bloat. So if you're stepping up your work out routine, make sure you're increasing your water intake as well.
There's Too Much Sodium in Your System
This is related to dehydration in the sense that when you sweat through exercise, the concentration of sodium in your body increases. This also causes your body to hold on to water in order to balance out the sodium content.
A high amount of sodium in your body may also have to do with the kinds of foods you eat. If you've started exercising but haven't bothered cutting out junk food and sodium-rich foods from your diet, you may actually be exacerbating the problem. Simple solution? Eat healthier!
Your Hormones Are Making You Bloat
Hormones can mess with the way your body retains water — this is something the ladies probably already know. If you've made lifestyle changes, such as exercising more, it may take time for your hormones to catch up with your new regimen and sort themselves out.
However, just because hormones are to blame doesn't mean you can't do something about it. Hormones are affected by a number of things, including diet and environment. Medicine and drugs can also majorly affect a person's metabolism and hormone production, including painkillers such as ibuprofen and aspirin. So stay away from those unless you absolutely need them.
Although bloating is annoying, don't forget that water is extremely beneficial to your body. Need a reminder as to how much water you should be drinking? Maybe this post will help.