Embracing Weight Gain on a Strength Program to Build Muscle

Read More

You're on a strength training program and you noticed you gained weight. Guess what? It's okay? When you're building muscle you're probably going to gain weight, too. In this video, we talk about embracing weight gain while on a quest to build muscle. Because remember, building muscle is important for longevity.

Strength training consistently, yes. Feeling empowered feeling stellar and then you go on to try a pair of jeans you wore before strength training and ops they don't fit!!!

We're talking about addressing weight gain while strength training.


Why this happens:
Increased appetite because increased expenditure
Muscles swollen (retaining water, inflammation)
Muscle mass (mass is increasing)

When you're adding muscle mass you're also adding fat, usually speaking. Yes you can gain muscle on a caloric deficit but it's much more difficult. And we already know how hard it is to gain muscle in the first place. When you're at a lower body fat percentage, you'll see the muscles more clearly and defined and when people are gaining muscle they're typically cycling through periods of bulking (being in a caloric surplus) and periods of cutting (being in a deficit) and of course being at maintenance when they want to stay a certain way.

First of all, don't feel bad about it. You're getting those strength gains and if you're at a healthy weight (for everyone that is different) then don't sweat it. If you're eating the right foods even if it's more than you're used to eating (not talking about overeating or binging) then it's no cause for concern. If you want the definition to come through, that has to do with decreasing body fat and can be achieved through a mini cut, just shaving off a little bit of your daily intake. And that doesn't require drastic measures, feeling hungry, or undereating. It's just about maybe having one slice of cheese instead did two. Or having 5 olives instead of 15. Just shaving off a bit for a mini cut.

Here's how I look at weight gain while strength training:

You are burning more and thus need more fuel.

When I first started training at a more intense level I noticed that my appetite increased. Particularly on leg day, if I lifted heavy in that session afterward I'd be quite ravenous and my appetite feels insatiable sometimes. But I like to fuel my body with the correct nutrition and make sure I'm hydrating enough.

Weight training uses up a lot of energy.

Embrace that! And when you build your muscles they're working for you all day.

Getting hungry after a training sesh is a sign that you are effectively pushing your body and leveling up

If you find that you're not getting hungry after doing a routine after several weeks then that's a sign that you might need to increase the weight or intensity and/or switch your workout up

You're more in control than you might think.

Figure out your maintenance, based on energy expenditure and your weekly activity levels. I think it's great to experiment with being in a surplus and being in a deficit. And there are different levels of deficit. I'm a proponent of the gentle deficit (as opposed to an aggressive cut or caloric deficit) where you might skip an extra piece of fruit and forgo that extra slice of pizza rather than significantly reducing intake. But people do that too, professional athletes and boxers when they are getting ready for a match or game or photoshoot hahaha.

Gaining weight while strength training is not a huge deal and it should not feel like you've failed.

Muscles need proper care and nutrition, your body is telling you it needs more food and that's ok.  You can feel sated with healthy foods. I like to fill up on veggies. My plate will be 75% filled with veggies. And 25% filled with eggs. I'm predominantly plant-based and I'll eat a bit of fish and/or meat a few times a week. I try to get full off of the things that are going to nourish my body and that I simultaneously enjoy eating.

Hope you feel good about your strength training program! Be happy about building muscle, even if you might add on some weight in the process. Your body will readjust and you'll notice how strong you're becoming.

Keep it up.

Stay strong and healthy XO