Did you gain (fat) weight while exercising?

(Bob M) #1

In the news is an article about a chemical released when mice exercise. One of many:


I have to say that I gained 90+ pounds while exercising. I have never stopped exercising since I was in my early teens, maybe 15? Can’t remember. Started out jogging and body building. Never stopped.

What about you? Did you gain weight while exercising? Do you think exercise helps at all?

(I think exercise helps for things like stress relief, depression, mood, etc. I don’t think it helps much at all for weight.)

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #2

For what it’s worth, I lost weight while not exercising. I loathe exercise simply for the sake of exercise. On the other hand, I don’t mind physical activity when there’s a point to it.

For example, my idea of fun when I lived in New York was to spend a day walking from one tip of Manhattan to the other (about 14.5 mi/24 km), and I also enjoyed all the walking involved in taking public transportation. I worked for several years in an office that was on three floors of our building, and always took the stairs when I could (much faster than waiting for the elevator).

There have been plenty of legitimate studies showing that exercise has very little benefit in terms of losing weight. However, the other benefits to health are also well-documented.

And if the point of one’s exercise is to build muscle, then of course one is going to put on weight. “Eat less, move more” as a means of fat loss has been discussed to death on these forums. I like Amber O’Hearn’s remark to the effect that “We need a caloric deficit in order to shed excess fat, but we don’t need to restrict calories in order to achieve such a deficit.”


I never was very active but almost never was inactive either.
Of course I gained while exercising (like, 70km walking/hiking a week, that was my best time exercise wise) when I ate a ton. Very slowly but I did.
Not exercising has little effect on my weight, I stall or gain 1kg a year just the same. I suspect it is more important when I want to lose but I happened to lose fat in my inactive higher-carb (still low-carb) times and never when I exercised or did keto, incidentally. But both lower-carb and exercise should help me out normally, it’s just the interesting combo of different factors that gave this misleading result.

I typically eat less when exercise more unless I am super active, still better for my fat-loss according to numbers and it seems I lose fat according to calories and that’s it… But who knows? I almost never lose fat so I have little data. I know I stall under almost all circumstances.

This is not so simple. Some people gets hungrier or just more indulgent after exercise. I don’t really but still never saw it being super helpful for some reason.

My SO did, he can’t maintain let alone lose fat without being active. He gets less active and immediately start to gain as he lack my ability to maintain even when overeating (technically not, I just get a metabolism boost immediately). He does HCHF as it’s the only option for him but it works for him.

So exercise may or may not be helpful but even if it is, it’s very easy to overeating for many of us. It’s not THAT simple that much exercise = fat-loss, keto = fat-loss, IF = fat-loss… It never worked for me, well very much exercise (not a mere 2-3 hours of walking) might but I don’t do that. I am pretty sure 8 hour heavy physical work would work on me. My food intake (even if I only try to eat enough for satiation… and I may or may not fail) has not so much to do with my actual energy need. There is a correlation, sure but it’s not strong enough. That’s why I easily lose fat when my need is over 2000 kcal and never when it’s around or lower. (As far as I can tell.) As my body loves getting 2000 kcal. It counts calories zillion times better than me, I can’t do it even when I measure everything and use a program while it’s automatic for it.

I think I got carried away again.


In my early keto process (adaptation), exercise makes me ravenously hungry. I’ve learned to not exercise at the beginning during this phase as I know several weeks in, I’ll have so much energy that I feel like I have to exercise. Then I know it’s safe for me to do so and I won’t get ravenously hungry after. (n=1 here, of course)

(Bob M) #5

I have to say, this is one of my pet peeves. For anyone who thinks they can put on a lot of muscle quickly, please try to do so. Let us know how it goes.

(Robin) #6

I went my first year of keto with zero exercise. Then I got a home rower and loved it for the strength and flexing joints. I got out of the habit when we moved in January. Lots of new home projects.

BUT… I am not as strong anymore. At 68, I need to be strong enough to get my rear off the floor all by myself. That’s a promise I made myself. So… back to the rower.


I totally agree. And not because I gained about zero muscle in years (I probably gained a tiiiiiiiiiiiiny bit but I can’t possibly know if I can use bigger weights because between my brain and muscle or my attitude got better…).
I frequented a hobby bodybuilder forum in the past, learned stuff from the smart ones, got shocked a bit reading comments from the stupid or newbie ones… And I have read even more from people on various diets.
It’s amazing how optimistic people are. Maybe it’s not the right word, I am a huge optimist… But I don’t think baseless things…
Muscle gain is always slow (newbie young men with great genetics and a ton of steroids aside, at least). And when the average lazy plump woman eats little and avoids anything heavier than 1 kg, nope, they don’t suddenly gain a measurable amount of muscle in weeks. And I totally saw people thinking such things. If they themselves didn’t think it, someone had to point it out the possibility. In their dreams, maybe.
If one has a “proper” fat-loss pace, it’s way quicker than the possible muscle gain. A very slow fat-loss can be masked with muscle gain if one is lucky and does A LOT for those muscles. That is fine and one really shouldn’t care about their weight itself. I just walk (tiny walks, 50min a day, usually) and lift 2 times a week (I must do it not seriously enough as I progress slowly nowadays), I consider my muscle gain zero and I am about right. Others may do it way quicker but they don’t “stall” instead of losing 2-3 pounds a week (some people definitely wants more and it’s only realistic under somewhat special circumstances) or even 1 because they gained that in muscles, that’s sure.

(Mark Rhodes) #8

Yes. I gained about thirty pounds of lean tissue over 5 plus years. I also lost about 30 pounds of adipose. During the early part of this time I did a good deal of extended fasting and even showed my data to Phinney and he called me an outlier. Said I could have gained more. HA! I was 56 at the time so gaining any lean tissue should be celebrated. Anyhoo you can see in my chart here my progress or lack of per Dexascans.

I lift about 5 times a week and find the medative quality of increased focus to be a boon to reduction of stress and anxiety. I had been told I was permanently disabled in 2013 due to 7 herniated disks and osteoporosis , was -T1.9 now +T1.7 and the EFs really helped with my back. allowing me full time employment and activities besides resistance training, as I am an avid kayaker and cyclist.

(Bob M) #9

Very nice, @marklifestyle. Congratulations!

@robintemplin I definitely think exercise is good, and I’ve never stopped exercising (unless I got injured). For you, I’d recommend some body weight training too, if you want to add some strength.

@Shinita When I started lifting weights at 14 or 15 years old, it was to become like Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had just burst onto the scene. I hung around friends who wanted to be like him. Did we all get bigger and stronger? Yes. Did any of us get close to that muscular? No (none of us did drugs, which I think you’d have to do). But I realized that even as a young male, I could barely gain much mass or strength. It took forever for me to bench 325 pounds, and that I did only once.

But I see things like this, on a door to the stairs in my building:


I believed that crap. I was the one who parked far out in the parking lot, so I could walk longer. I was the one who took the stairs. I was the one riding my bike 90+ miles a week in the summer.

I still gained 90+ pounds.


Walking and stuff DOES burn calories… A lot if we do it a lot. But we can eat calories so much quicker…

(Edith) #11

Yes, there is a saying that I’m sure most, if not all, of us have heard: “You can’t outrun a bad diet.”

For the most part, exercise has been a part of my life with a little time off every once in a while due to life. I am fortunate that I did not become obese and have always been in the “normal” weight range, but over time, I was slowly gaining weight even with consistently exercising and consistently watching what I ate. Going low carb was the game, I mean gain changer.

I do have some pounds creeping back on lately, but I’m not as active since I went back to work full-time, headed into menopause, and started having to deal with ailing parents. Stress really does seem to be a metabolism wrecker.

(Allie) #12

I’ve gained some fat recently and am very active in daily life as well as lifting weights regularly, but am not worrying about it as I’m in a calorie surplus with the aim of building muscle (which is also happening). So yes, it is possible.


I’ll second this. I do two sets of twenty-five squats a day. I can’t go as low as I need to yet.

(Bob M) #14

@VirginiaEdie I’m also convinced stress is a metabolism and health wrecker. And of course, menopause doesn’t help things.

@Shortstuff That idea that one needs to gain weight to build muscle is a tough one for me. Since gaining 20+ pounds trying The Croissant Diet (TCD), it’s taken me two YEARS to get back to where I was pre-TCD, which I know only because I’m fitting into all my pre-TCD clothes.

But in the same time, I’ve gained quite a bit of strength and muscle mass. For instance, my wife was buying me “straight legged” pants. I can’t get those over my thighs, as I’ve gained a lot in my thighs. I tried on several shirts that are for my suit; many were too tight in my chest area – not my belly, which was fine, but my chest.

@Janet3 I feel for you. I’ve been doing shrimp squats and pistol squats for over two years, and I still go all the way down. I’m getting closer, but still not there.

(A fool and his bacon are soon parted) #15

Well, one certainly doesn’t need to gain fat in order to build muscle, but surely the additional muscle tissue has to weigh something? Or am I being too literal, here?

I feel your pain about the Croissant Diet. I love croissants and would dearly love to be able to manage them as part of my keto diet. But quite apart from their actual carb content, they are a trigger food for my carb addiction—even more so than glazed doughnuts, interestingly.

(Allie) #16

It does yes, and that’s why I’m not stressing myself over the number on the scale going up as my waist measurement is still the same, but I can see a slight increase in fat in certain areas too. This isn’t causing me any upset though as the increased muscle mass and associated BMR will take care of it in time as long as I stay consistent.