Training is making me fat

(Warren) #1

With society raving on that you have to exercise to lose fat. I’m in a bit of a pickle.

I can’t train, with calorie restriction , and lose fat. If anything I gain body fat.

I have experimented with all different types of training and diets, spoken to numerous dietitians and trainers, and fasted for numerous days while fat adapted. If I don’t train I’m able to lose fat but with lots of plateaus. Weird huh!

Have been told it might be cortisol issues. Got that tested and doesn’t seem to be a problem.
I love training and find it enjoyable. Training heavy for half an hour or riding a bike for an hour is something I like to do.
Has anyone had this issue?

(Karen) #2

Hi Warren. If you like to train and enjoy it then do it. So many people hate it so you’re already ahead of the game. I just don’t understand why you are calorie restricting? I think for people to help you you are going to need to give a typical days eating. I am not here to lose weight just for the health benefits but I am sure you will hear from a lot that have that as a priority goal.

I love daily exercising too. Good luck. I am sure you will hear from a lot of peeps.


The last thing training is doing is making you fat, that’s metabolically impossible but clearly somethings off in your diet.

What does your intake, overall activity levels and training look like? What are your current body comp stats?

(Todd Allen) #5

Strength training builds muscle which can make scale weight go up, sometimes quickly. Exercise only burns a modest amount of calories and it is easy to over estimate the amount and over eat in response and gain fat.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #6

Restricting calories is not always helpful, because the metabolism responds by increasing or decreasing, according to how much we eat. Also, the benefit of exercise where losing fat is concerned has been called into question by a number of research studies. This does not mean, however, that exercise has no value for our health.

You may find better results by giving your body more food, as long as your diet remains ketogenic. As the journalist Gary Taubes points out, the caloric content of our food is not as important as whether what we eat is putting us in fat-gaining mode or not.

(Joey) #7

I’m unclear on what you’re describing…

When you say “gain body fat,” do you mean that your waistline circumference increases?

Do you weight more on the bathroom scale? Other?

As noted above, neither exercise nor caloric restriction will increase body fat (whether one/both can reduce fat is questionable and often context-dependent).

(Allie) #8

Have you tried training and eating normally, without restricting calories?


It’s known some people get hungry when training… Maybe you should eat at a different time, like a bigger meal after training if that’s a case?

Of course exercise isn’t needed for fat-loss but it may be helpful for some and less helpful for others… And probably needed for people like me or my SO as we just can’t avoid overeating without being at least a bit active… (At least I don’t gain fat when overeating or just super slowly but it’s still not good. I still do exercise for energy and health, I stall either way but theoretically it may help me :slight_smile: Hopefully more muscles will help more but that part comes slowly…)

It matters how much you exercise too. It’s simple for me as exercise is always good for my calorie balance but if I exercise much, I can’t avoid fat-loss as I just don’t eat much more than normal. I just can’t be super active for longer term to see its effect :smiley: Maybe it would change than anyway…?

Maybe you should change your woe a bit to be able to lose fat, no matter if you exercise?

Probably to lose fat. Many of us can’t just eat as much as we fancy (or even “need” on our not ideal woe and keto can be very much not ideal, I need many tricks to have a chance at a calorie deficit so I usually stall on keto) as it’s way too much. Yes, ideally we just get satiated and lose fat but it’s just not what happens for many of us. I never noticed my carb intake matters at all, only my calories. Even if carbs matter for someone, calories do too.
I am against forced calorie restriction in nearly all cases, though. It should come naturally just like fasting :slight_smile: A tiny bit effort may be needed but it should be enjoyable. But I never lose fat so I understand if someone ignores me and forces the stuff, each to their own. As long as they don’t harm their bodies or mental state…

(Stickin' with mammoth) #10

I have major cortisol issues and have experienced similar results. For me, it all comes down to staying as Zen as possible all the time (good friggin’ luck with PTSD, C-PTSD, and anxiety) and exercising at a much milder level (depressing but doable.) It worked for the most part but I have sundry other issues to tease apart in my metabolic Gordon Knot, so it’s hard to get excited. I’m not allowed to get excited. (sigh)

PS: The way they test cortisol is notoriously inaccurate for many people’s experience. Seriously, you’ll have better luck conducting your own experiments at home by tweaking your lifestyle and seeing what happens. You’ll figure it out, don’t worry.


That is interesting and timely for me. I was having trouble sticking to keto (first fat adapted in 2017) for various reasons not relevant to your question. In the last two weeks I have been doing much better. I have been eating more fat, fewer meals but more structured ones, taking inulin and various other gut supportive supplements and I have exercised twice in the last week for the first time in months. I have gained 3 lbs! I also fasted for 36 hours during each week at least once! And no, I do not feel my muscles are bigger or that I have lost fat in any way (I can tell when that happens because my stomach flattens and my face gets more hollow).

While I do not think it is relevant to me (I think I have just eaten too much too late because I exercise right before dinner and then it takes me awhile to be hungry again so I eat later than usual). I have wondered if the glucose that is released from muscles during exercise causes an insulin spike that prevents fat release after exercise. It is only a theory, not sure if I read it someplace or I made it up! What time do you exercise? Maybe exercise at a different time of day? Or eat to satiety but do it earlier in the day? I also am not sure why you are calorie restricting to lose weight, for many people that is not how Keto works

(Warren) #12

Thank you everyone for your support
I will try to answer all questions

Restrictive Daily calories at 2000 with 75-20-5 ratio.

Training: once a day,
MWF - full body resistant in afternoon
TTS - bike riding in morning
None of the workouts are too extreme as I’m trying to heal my hypertension.

Work an extremely stressful job. Keto certainly helps with mental clarity.

Informed by doctors that it would be beneficial for me to lose a bit of weight due to being pre-diabetic and pre-hypertension.

It is fat gain and not weight gain. Or is it inflammation? I only weigh myself once a week. But all my work clothes are the same size and can really notice the tight fit after weeks training.

Cortisol seems to be a funny area and could be causing undetected inflammation issues, as I do have gut issues.

(Joey) #13

Highly stressful job can readily lead to cortisol elevation. And how are you sleeping? Poor sleep + high stress = cortisol => insulin elevation ==> inflammation.

What is not causing you to gain fat: exercise (which is both energy-consuming and stress-reducing).

(Warren) #14

Thanks SomeGuy
Insomnia is a big issue. I am sure it plays a big part but I actually sleep better when I train and it’s one of the reason why I train.

When I don’t exercise, with the methodical 2000 calories, I sit at 87kg, and when I exercise I can go up to 96-103kg in under as little as 9 weeks. I would have no issue with it if it was muscle but at 52 I find it hard to believe it is all muscle; not to mention the visible belly bulge due to these excess kilos.
This isn’t new to me as it has happened on 3 occasions. It then takes twice the time to lose this excess weight and without exercise.

(Joey) #15

This is as puzzling as it gets. I’m still wallowing in denial, so I’ll continue to wonder what confounding variables are at play.

Then again, who knows?!? … You may have just be the n=1 unicorn who demonstrates that exercise is simply not for everyone. Stay on the couch?

(Warren) #16

Thinking I might see a specialist about it, the next time I visit the city, because there is obviously something wrong.

(Allie) #17

It does sound more like inflammation. I would eat maintenance calories as a way of reducing the amount of stress you’re under. May not be a massive change but if it eases things it’s worth doing.

(Karen) #18

I have to admit I am with @SomeGuy on this!

So we know your weight and you are 52. Absolutely no reason to think age is going to restrict you adding muscle.

You’re restricting cals to 2000 and I see the breakdown so do I assume you are religiously tracking in an app such as cronometer? What type of food are you actually eating. A typical days food intake would be helpful.

Excuse my ignorance but what is MWF and TTS? You tell us that neither of these workouts are too extreme as you are trying to heal your hypertension? Doing cv exercises is one of the best ways to lower BP. Weights, yes light and lots of reps is good but go steady on how heavy you go as heavy weight lifting is not as good for lowering BP. I have looked in to this because I have a life long issue with BP. A good mix is good.

Insomnia… yep I feel your pain, just try and give yourself a good window of opportunity to get your full quota in.

You have confused me by your statement … ‘It is fat gain not weight gain’ because you also say when you exercise your weight goes from 87kg to 96-203kg in under as little as 9 weeks???


(Butter Withaspoon) #19

Monday Wednesday Friday
Tuesday Thursday Saturday

Just a hunch :laughing:

(Warren) #20

Bit old school and write it in a diary, along with my calorie king booklet. Old habit but a goody. We never had apps in the 90s.
I’m obviously deficient or inflamed by something.
Also old school when it comes to food and don’t eat much processed/packet food.
MWF etc - days of the week
My cardio is 60mins road ride. We have a lot of bitumen up here and nothing else.
Resistance training is 15 sets x 12 reps in 2 mins intervals (30mins).
As I mentioned to Someguy I will go and get a few tests done. Hormones minerals food intolerances etc.
Chatting with a naturopath this morning and she said that it is more common than you think. By just having a guess from my symptoms she said that the “weight gain”, especially considering it is around the waste, that it’s more than likely to be water retention. She also explained gyms are full of people taking their bodies to extremes only to cause huge cortisol spikes and in return inflame their bodies assuming that the more they train the more they will lose the weight. Got an appointment in a months time when I go to the city. Let you know the outcome when I find out more.
I could just sit on my butt and do nothing but I feel there is an underlying issue that may be nothing right now and could blow into a bigger problem down the track.
Cheers for the support. Just by talking to people about it, gave me the support to go and get something done about it.

(Warren) #21