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I am training for a marathon. I am now up to 35 miles a week. I thought I'd lose weight but I was surprised to weigh myself today and find I have gained 4 lbs. I had my body fat tested before I started training, it was 13.6% (I am female and have done a lot of body building in the past) so I didn't expect to be gaining weight. Is there any reason for weight gain? I certainly don't need to lose body fat but maybe I should actually try to lose weight (I am 5' 5" tall and 154 lbs now).
I'm definitely not an expert, but my guess would be that you are either building muscle or retaining water. Or perhaps because of the training you are hungrier and so eating more? I've been told that the essential body fat percentage for a woman is 10% - 12%, so at 13.6% I can't imagine you would be able to lose much more. It would be interesting to weigh yourself again in a few days and see if anything has changed. It might be just a temporary weight gain.
I certainly don't need to lose body fat but maybe I should actually try to lose weight
I would caution against trying to lose weight; training for a marathon requires a significant calorie intake. You don't want to limit how much you eat in an attempt to lose weight because your body needs the fuel to run well and also to rebuild and repair your muscles. You may drop some pounds as your training progresses and your metabolic rate increases, but don't actively diet. As for why you may be gaining weight, Eco13 mentioned all of the most likely possibilities: adding muscle, retaining water, and/or increased appetite.
Good luck and happy running!
One thing to watch is WHEN you weigh yourself... be consistent and always weigh yourself before meals. I weigh myself first thing in the morning before I drink. This seems to be the most consistent time for me. But if I ate a larger meal than usual the night before, that throws off my weight (it can be a few pounds more than usual).
Mark W Rice wrote:
>One thing to watch is WHEN you weigh yourself...
Yup. My weight can vary by over 5 pounds during the day, especially if I put in a long workout or I have a really big meal.
Thanks everyone. I do weigh myself first thing in the morning, not after running or eating breakfast. I guess I should not be so scale oriented, especially when my body fat doesn't appear to be high. However, I kind of expected losing a few pounds to be a nice side effect of training, certainly not gaining.
For what it's worth, I have to watch my diet almost as carefully as I do without the running because my apetite goes way up when running distance. Having said that, if I begin running over 70 miles per week (I'm at about 30-35 now) that will likely change. I have heard that when the miles go up, you begin to NOT have to worry as much about how much (although the type of food will still be important, of course).
But if I keep the meals small and eat more frequently, it's easier to eat right. I sure wish you well.
Hello! All inputs thus far make sense but let me add another one that could be playing into why you're gaining weight even though you're running quite a bit. I had a similiar situation last spring-summer in which I was gaining a few pounds even though I had a pretty robust racing schedule (2-3 half marathons, marathons, duathlons a month along with all normal training) that typically led to me losing 5-10 lbs by the end of summer. Instead of losing weight I was adding the few pounds, also had some fatigue and irregular heart rythyms. To make a long story short I was diagnosed with "hypothyroidism" which leads to weight gain (even though I was burning a ton of calories) as well as a host of other health related issues. It was after a few blood test that my doctor finally found the problem.
Good luck with your training and racing schedule.
Mark W Rice wrote:
But if I keep the meals small and eat more frequently, it's easier to eat right.
That's the ELMO plan (Eat Less, More Often). If you are interested in a great article on metabolism, check out http://www.runwashington.com/features/nutrmetab07.html
Interesting things to think about. I am always cold and tired, maybe it would be worth a thyroid test. And, I have to say the ELMO plan does sound appealing. I like eating more often!
Thanks again, Ann
Other thyroid related symptoms would include...fatigue after sleeping i.e. never feeling really rested, abnormal hair loss, palpitations, changes in menstraution, tremors or shakes, difficulty swallowing..A doctors office could likely draw labs and would get a TSH which would help them a little but a more thorough exam would be an I-123 which is done at your local Nuclear Medicine Deptartment..Just a pill, and some images...