I am trying to shift a lot of fat, and I have started to up my game. I am working out 4 times a week on weights (1 hour sessions), and trying to go for 2 30-40 minute runs on top of that.

On top of that I am tracking calories using Livestrong app, and have been under target for a fortnight.

The first week I lost 5lb, great news.

This week I have gains 7lb!!! What could I have missed? My calories are being tightly controlled, I am exercising much more. How can it go up?

I weigh myself on Friday mornings, after my morning 'movement'.

  • Could you detail your weight training with exercises, reps, # of sets, and weights used, plus your height, weight, age, and gender? More detail in your diet would also help. Otherwise we're just shooting in the dark. Jun 22, 2012 at 19:42
  • Also, make sure you account for normal weight fluctuations. Jun 22, 2012 at 19:48
  • 1
    Weight does not mean fat. You may very well be reducing your percent of bodyfat while still increasing your weight by adding lean muscle mass. This is NOT contrary to your goals. BackInShapeBuddy has made some very good suggestions. Jun 22, 2012 at 19:53
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    @RobertKaucher You don't gain 7lbs of muscle in 1 week. Jul 26, 2012 at 4:53
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    @Aaron, no you do not. But lean body mass is always associated with additional water and if he is eating a carb-based diet muscle glycogen. I regularly fluctuate withing a range of 7 and sometimes 9 pounds depending on a number of factors in my exercise routine and diet with no change in my measurements. For someone who is starting resistance training this is not uncommon. It is likely lean mass and associated stores of muscle glycogyn/water/sodium stored throughout the body. Jul 26, 2012 at 12:19

7 Answers 7


Are you also tracking your body fat percentage and waist circumference? If so, was there a change?

If your weight goes up but your body fat percentage and waistline are decreasing then you are on the right track. Your weight increase would then be a reflection of increased lean muscle mass.

However, if your weight goes up and your body fat percentage and waistline are also increasing, then you need to relook at your program.

Long term recommendations for weight loss are 1-2 pounds per week. Congratulations on getting started.


Some of it could be water retention.

Are you weighing youself at the same time each day, after toilet, prior to work out and breakfast?

Are you using any diet supplements?

  • Friday morning, after my morning 'movement'
    – Mild Fuzz
    Jun 22, 2012 at 16:08
  • @MildFuzz I incorporated that info into your post. Jun 22, 2012 at 19:53

Take time to read the following article just put up on the Fitocracy "Knowledge" center: "Why Weight Loss Is Not the King of Achievements". You'll see a few before and after pictures and real life body transformations. You'll also see how in many cases the weight went up or stayed the same while the results are a much tighter, fit body.

Here's some tips I've come across as I've cut fat on more than one occasion:

  • The scale is like a thermometer. It can only tell you whether your weight is either above or below "normal" (wherever that is for you). If the number isn't normal, you have to look at other things.
  • Tape measures are excellent tools. At the end of the day, we want flab to go away. If your shoulders and chest are getting bigger while your waist is getting thinner, who care's what the scale says?
  • Take progress pictures. Once a month, take a picture of yourself from the front, side, and back. Compare it with last month's picture, and the first progress picture you have on this journey. You should be happier with the way your body is adapting.

So why can the scale go up when you are getting smaller?

  • You might be gaining lean mass (more muscle, connective tissue, etc.), this is very common among people who used to be sedentary.
  • You might just be gaining water weight--though in my experience water weight is +/- 3-5lbs.
  • Your body might be making changes to handle the new work load, which will keep you at the same weight or a little higher until it is done.
  • There might be a reaction to something you're eating causing extra bloat.

What if the scale is going up because I'm getting fatter? You'll have to do some detective work:

  • Are all your macros getting hit? You need protein to help support increases in lean mass. There are some essential fats (i.e. fats your body needs to survive that it can't make on its own).
  • Are you eating enough Calories? This seems counter-intuitive, but the harder you starve yourself, the more your body will hold on to fat.
  • Are you eating too many Calories? If the Calories seem right on paper, try dropping just a little bit to see if that helps.
  • Is there something in your diet that is causing a reaction? Dairy, wheat flour (gluten), and even highly processed sugary foods can cause a disproportionate bloat in some people. Try eliminating all problem foods for about a month, and re-introduce them one at a time to see what you might be having problems with.
  • Are you getting all the micronutrients you need? A happy thyroid needs magnesium, selenium, and iodine. These can be found in foods like spinach, kale, shell fish, sea fish, and chicken.
  • Are your hormone levels correct? Get periodic blood work done and discuss it with your doctor. Thyroid T3 levels are very important for good fat loss, but if your sex hormones are off (testosterone/estrogen) that can also cause problems for you. Sometimes that is affected by what you eat. I.e. very low fat diets can drop testosterone levels, but the converse is not true (i.e. you cannot raise testosterone above normal by increasing fat in your diet).
  • Perhaps you need to change the type of conditioning/running you do. Steady state running may not work as well as interval training for you. Or vice versa.

Bottom line: if everything is looking better and you are feeling more healthy, ignore the scale. If the scale really is telling you the truth, then it's time to figure out what needs to change. While Calories are King for weight loss, they aren't the only thing to worry about.


It's important to note that your weight varies daily based on all sorts of factors, most notably water retention (can account for a significant weight difference - we are mostly water after all). It is also important to weight yourself at the same time each day, preferably in the morning. Still, some variance will happen so it might be a good idea to weight yourself daily but plot the eg. 7-day average and consider that your "real" weight. If you are doing everything right, it should be going down, even if some days are higher than others.

Finally, depending on your weight lifting program, you will start putting on muscle mass, which weights more than fat (if you consider the same volume), but depending on how much fat you need to "shift", this effect can take a while to be noticeable.


You just started training so your weight will start increasing as you will be building muscle. Muscle mass is heavier so you will be gaining weight for a while. Don't give up, carry on with your work out.

Increasing weight is just a start. Once you train longer you will see your weight starting to drop. It happened to me once and I was shocked too but now my weight has dropped back to my expectation.

  • is the amount not a little shocking? 7lb in a week?
    – Mild Fuzz
    Jun 22, 2012 at 8:31
  • I upvoted because this is correct, but will downvote with extreme prejudice if you continue to communicate using "u" instead of "you". Capitalize "i" when referring to yourself, as well. Jun 22, 2012 at 19:51
  • Sorry @DaveLiepmann have always check through but still miss out the you and I.
    – Jie Liang
    Jun 25, 2012 at 0:55

7lbs seems like alot - but I feel like the same thing happens to me and I have linked it to where I am in my 'cycle' - so about 5 days before my period is due to start I get really heavy and feel unusually fat (confirmed by scales) for about 3 days. So I'd say its partyly water retention, partly hormonal (which can play a part in retaining water as well.

Just dont lose motivation or blow out when you feel like that - keep on track and have faith that it will pass.


Don't rely on calories, it's a weak science - physicists and mathematicians playing nutritionist.

There's too many examples of people gaining weight on a calorie deficit and losing weight on a calorie surplus (as high as 5000 calories per day over!) to put any stock in the hypothesis that calories have any significant relation to weight loss or gain.

It's far more important to look at what you're eating, and after that look at how much you're eating, and the best type of diet to go on is one that starts off with a few foods that are known to work for the majority of people and slowly add in a new item every week, tracking how you feel and what happens after you add it in. You'll discover which specific foods cause you problems, and know to avoid them in the future.

  • -1 There is nothing weak about the science behind calories and weight loss. However other factors can effect weight in the short term.
    – rthsyjh
    Jul 4, 2012 at 9:22

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