Top

Subscribe via RSS Subscribe to RSS

Subscribe by Email Subscribe by Email

Gain Weight From Running? It’s Possible

Posted by Filed Under: Health & Fitness

In 2006, I fractured my right hip and left ankle and spent four months off my feet, using crutches to get around only when I had to. I’d just run a marathon and thought for sure the abrupt drop in exercise would result in instant weight gain. But a funny thing happened; I lost about 10 pounds—and without ever feeling hungry.

Within a month of resuming running, the weight had piled back on.

There are numerous physiological reasons why I lost weight once I stopped exercising, and some of them are explained in a recent New York magazine article (“The Scientist and the Stairmaster,” Sept. 24, 2007) that questions the role exercise plays in many weight maintenance and weight loss programs. As author Gary Taubes puts it: “The one thing that might be said about exercise with certainty is that it tends to make us hungry. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. Burn more calories and the odds are very good that we’ll consume more as well.”

Sure, if you reduce the calories you take in and increase those you expend, you will lose weight, at least initially. But the article explains that our bodies will attempt to do an end-run around that initiative and override willpower through the hormonal regulation of fat cells. As Taubes explains:

Ultimately, the relationship between physical activity and fatness comes down to the question of cause and effect. Is Lance Armstrong excessively lean because he burns off a few thousand calories a day cycling, or is he driven to expend that energy because his body is constitutionally set against storing calories as fat? If his fat tissue is resistant to accumulating calories, his body has little choice but to burn them as quickly as possible: what Rony and his contemporaries called the “activity impulse” physiological drive, not a conscious one. His body is telling him to get on his bike and ride, not his mind. Those of us who run to fat would have the opposite problem. Our fat tissue wants to store calories, leaving our muscles with a relative dearth of energy to burn. Itís not willpower we lack, but fuel.

[ad#Adsense]
Taubes also contends those who do lose weight after adopting a strenuous exercise regime probably also made a concerted effort to eliminate the kinds of foods that stimulate insulin production. “Rare is the person who decides the time has come to lose weight and doesn’t also decide perhaps it’s time to eat fewer sweets, drink less beer, switch to diet soda, and maybe curtail the kind of carb-rich snacks—the potato chips and the candy bars—that might be singularly responsible for driving up their insulin and so their fat,” he wrote.

So if you find you’re gaining, or at least no longer losing, weight while upping your mileage, it may be what you’re consuming after a workout or later in the day or week.

About Anne

Anne’s been running for so long that when two paths diverge in the woods, not only she does she know to go for the one with the most foreboding weeds, swarms of bees and steep, rocky climbs, but she convinces everyone else to come along. Then, before people are done cursing and nursing insect bites, bloody knees and poison oak outbreaks, she’ll again run — away. She eschews a lot of the newfangled devices that are supposed to make you a better runner because she believes it’s what you put into your body, not on it, that really matters. (Footwear is the exception.) That includes proper nourishment of the mind, which we all know is what really makes the difference on the road…and the trail…and the track. At some point she started to realize that not everyone has run into an Alaskan grizzly bear, been pegged by police as a robber, lost her shorts in a major marathon, rubbed elbows with Olympians, mistaken movie stars for beach bums and watched a wildfire consume her suburb - yes, while she was on a long run. Whether it’s these unique situations, or the universal ones every recreational runner encounters, after she lives it, she loves nothing better than to write about it at Run DMZ.



76 Comments
  1. Blaine Moore (Run to Win) on December 3rd at 9:07 am

    I lose weight every time that I stop running. If I lift heavy at the same time that I stop running, then I might manage to maintain my weight, but if I am not active if I take an extensive layoff from running then I can lose 5 or 10 pounds in a week or two (after a week or two of not running, of course.)

    The weight comes back once I start running again. Since I have no desire to lose weight, I just keep running.

  2. Healthy Dose Link Time!!! | Medicine, Cancer, Health Blog on December 3rd at 4:40 pm

    [...] unfortunate relationship between running and weight gain . – Complete [...]

  3. Ovens to Betsy on December 3rd at 6:43 pm

    So are you saying Flamin’ Hot Cheetos perhaps AREN’T the best apres run snack? :)

  4. Irene on December 4th at 8:44 pm

    In my own experience, I usually don’t eat a lot of junk foods, and pay attention to things like fat/protein/carb ratios and sort of keep an eye on caloric intake without becoming obsessive, but not exercising/running and experiencing some weight loss leads me to think I’m losing muscle.

  5. Lucie on December 5th at 10:27 am

    I too was concerned that I’d pile on weight when I had to take a few months off witn an ankle injury.

    I was just a few months away from having to fit into a very small bridesmaid dress too!

    However I started to feel much less hungry straight away and even when I did fancy some junk food the “Well you can burn it off in the morning,” devil wasn’t on my shoulder so it was easier to resist and stick to fruit instead.

    Not something I hope I’ll have to go through but it was good to find out that a few weeks off wouldn’t instantly lead to a waistline explosion!

  6. Michelle on January 17th at 1:33 am

    I experience this same thing while training. If I just run shorter runs during the week and scale back my long run on the weekend I drop 7-8lbs in a few DAYS. If I resume my long runs again, it’s right back. So what I think is that it is possibly due to glycogen storage in the muscles and liver??? I must store a lot because 8lbs is a lot to me. I wrestle with the concept of if it is water weight, muscle inflammation or fat storage. However, I have never dropped 8lbs of fat in a few days. I have dropped that much in water that fast. My weight fluctuations wildly since I started running and I just don’t know if I want to even bother stepping on that scale! At least my clothes still fit like a glove…if that means anything. In fact my husband says I look leaner than a few weeks ago even. Interesting but the scale has this girl freaked sometimes. Ironically, when I have had to take time off from running and the scale dropped those 8lbs, I felt puffier and my clothes were tighter. I don’t get it. I am blaming my muscles and the fact that they apparently LOVE to store up that sugar!!!! This could be a great performance benefit but I am not so sure of that yet.

  7. Tina on February 6th at 6:39 am

    I too gain weight as soon as I start running again. My friends think I am crazy when I tell them this and always say “you must be eating more or differently”. The truth is that I’m not eating more or differently. When I stop running I will drop 5-8 pounds in a matter of a week or two. Can anyone really explain this? It is annoying and makes me want to stop running but yet again. Help!!

  8. Mia on February 6th at 4:48 pm

    I’m a 28 year old female and totally relate to this! I have just been running myself into the ground 40-50 miles a week on 1500-1700 calories a day in attempt to lose weight and gained 10 to 15 pounds. Have always told my friends while training for a marathon that I’m likely to put on 10 pounds and they always think it’s nuts. I thought that if I really regulated my calorie intake, I would lose, but not true. I also cannot explain what happens, and I definitely know in my case I am gaining fat for sure because my clothes fit tighter and I feel puffier all over when I’m running high miles. Have always been my thinnest after being sick and unable to work out for a couple weeks. Then people always ask how I’ve lost weight, and it’s usually because I’m not working out and not really all that hungry. Very bizarre. Actually just decided the other day to stop running so much to drop a few pounds. How ironic, huh? My clothes have been too tight, and they’re fitting better already just after a week off. Hahaha. Oh well, too bad I love running, because it would be nice if I could be slimmer when I’m running!

  9. Amy on May 7th at 6:29 am

    Wow! its quite comforting to read your comments! Im a 21 year old student and Ive been running since I was 9! Recently I’ve upped my mileage to around 60 a week and would say I eat well, and probably not enough! Although I love running sometimes I think I only do it to stay slim, but since I’ve increased my running I actually seem to have put on weight! I do think a lot of the time, however, I eat a little more so I have the energy to run! Ive had a few niggles lately so thought it would be a good opportunity to have a couple of weeks off and see what difference it makes to my weight! glad to hear im not on my own in this though :)

  10. Andie on June 7th at 2:29 pm

    I am 19 and recently started running about a month ago. I’ve never been a good runner so I decided to start training this summer. I only run about 3 miles a day in the mornings. I normally run every day of the week, sometimes only 5 days. I have not changed my eating habits at all and I am gaining weight. I keep track of what I eat and stay around 1200- 1300 calories a day. My diet consists of fruit veggies whole grains and lean proteins. Why am I gaining?

  11. Sabrina on July 11th at 12:37 pm

    I started training the end of May to run a half marathon, and have put on about 2-3 pounds. Not much, but I thought that I would lose weight! It’s great to hear that it is normal to gain because I thought that I was going crazy! haha. When I do lots of yoga I tend to lose weight, note to all of those out there who are interested in weight loss exercises. Heated Yoga and Ashtanga tend to do the job.

  12. Erin on July 12th at 2:48 am

    Well it seems to be unanimous. Over the last three months I’ve lost 15 pounds. I did by 1) stopping exercising and 2) vegan diet. As of two weeks ago, I felt so motivated and happy w/my new body (my mood improved) that I was ready to start being physical. I’ve been backpacking and running- burning up those calories. I kind of knew I might gain some weight b/c last year I gained 10 pounds and was a very active person (biking or running an hour a day 4-5 days a week then going to work where in the restaurant where I’m active all night long). Well as of two weeks ago I’ve gained five pounds back. Grrreat. I feel better though… l love the endorphin rush so much that I don’t plan to stop running.

    Also, my dad through-hiked the Appalachian Trail and told me that it’s quite common for men to lose weight and for women to GAIN weight, even though both genders are expending in the upwards of 6,000 calories a day! I’ve heard before that for men, exercise is more effective in weight loss whereas some women’s bodies go into “stress/defense mode,” and start storing fat, muscle, water, etc… from a biological standpoint think of it as women were not the hunter/gatherers… they don’t need to be lean to outrun dinner… they’re supposed to stay in the cave, care for the babies, and cook! haha. whereas when men increase activity, their bodies respond with fat loss. This may not be a little far-fetched, but I think it’s an interesting concept.

  13. Erin on July 12th at 2:50 am

    this may be a little far-fetched, not “this may not be a little far-fetched”
    I should have proofread my post…

  14. Holly on July 13th at 5:01 pm

    Im 21 and am training for the chicago marathon.
    2months ago i had a lot of free time on my hand, and i didnt change my eating (cereal&yog, fruit, veggies, wholegrain bread, wholegrain pasta, beans, tuna, quorn) but i started going to the gym for 2-3 hours every day only cardio and i am devastated to know i have put on 1 stone (i am now 1lb off being overweight) so i am 10stone. which is bad for my height. i feel terrible, bloated and fat, all my clothes are tight and stuff. so a few weeks ago i stopped my gym membership because ive started training plan, which is 30-40miles per week but i hate only being able to do that amount (build up gradually) because i like to workout every day, but to workout every day i would have to do less than an hour and when i am used to doing such long workouts i feel like im going to put even more weight on because ill be burning a lot less calories…no?
    i dont understand
    they say only lose wight if you burn more cals than you eat, but 40miles is only 4000cals ish – i would burn more than 2000 per day in my gym workouts but gained weight. i just feel like my body works against me, and i dont see the point. especially now its summer time and i feel disgusting and ont even want to go on holiday an d get in a bikini!

    x

  15. Alex on July 16th at 5:42 am

    This is so comforting to read – but also a bit depressing! I am really in to my running at the moment, getting my mileage per week up – I used to only manage about 6 miles a week, now I am doing between 13 – 20 dependent on how busy I am – and like the rest of you I am putting on weight too! :-( And I get married in 8 weeks and have been keeping up the running to maintain my weight!

    I don’t know what to do – does anyone know of any exercise that will help me to lose weight as opposed to gaining it!? All of my clothes feel the same and I checked my measurements and they are also the same so why do I weigh more!?

    x

  16. Alex on July 16th at 5:44 am

    By the way, I also have not changed my diet – I always eat wholegrain, good protein and loads of fruit and veg every day!

  17. SOG knives on July 18th at 5:53 am

    SOG knives…

    Interesting ideas… I wonder how the Hollywood media would portray this?…

  18. Laura on August 8th at 8:17 pm

    I’m feeling the gain also. My clothes are NOT fitting, I am looking dumpier, not more fit, and I am eating the same, or less. I have definitely gained muscle, both in my arms and legs, and possibly some around my middle, but even lifting weights, I never gained this much (~8-10 pounds). I have also noticed that I am full more quickly from my food, so that also contributes to my eating less…
    I used to be a personal trainer, and I do know that the body does tend to go into stress and defense mode from exercise. I can’t say I have ever heard of this kind of weight gain, but my money is on that idea. Water weight sounds plausible, but not to this degree? I would be interested to find out more about this “runner’s hormone”, and about the “runner’s stomach/runner’s middle”?
    Too bad the running feels so good!

  19. Farzan on October 18th at 12:16 am

    It’s interesting to see such a common problem. The culprit in my opinion and from my experience is 1) increased appetite, and 2) muscle gain. When you up your mileage through running you are actually tearing and rebuilding muscle, which weighs more than fat. Doesn’t mean that the weight gained is purely muscle, but it would be a good percentage of it.

    For those who are concerned (ie- have not changed their diets but have seen a weight increase while running), i suggest going for long walks instead. I’ve noticed that whenever i run, i gain muscle weight. However, when you walk you’re only burning fat (not increasing muscle), so a good amount of weight falls pretty quickly when you go on a pure walking regimen. Also, when you walk you’re more at ease mentally, so you have less of an impulse to binge afterwards.

  20. kelly Tarr on January 10th at 3:00 pm

    Hi all, I have the same problem, I started running as found classes at the gym to expense and I love to run however I have gainned 10 pounds and gone up a dress size !! I just do not know what to do as I love to run but I do not want to gain anymore weight any ideas ???

  21. Jon (was) in Michigan on January 11th at 7:29 am

    HI Kelly.

    I also saw weight gain when I first began running. Before that, I had been working out daily for about an hour on cardio equipment.. A few months after running, I noticed I had put on some weight.

    What I think happened was that I was only running between 3 and 5 miles, which was less than the previous hour-long workout. I had basically reduced my workout time each day. Yet, my eating had increased because I felt hungrier from running. So I ate more. A LOT more.

    What worked for me was 1) make sure I included the crosstraining on my off-days, and 2) be more careful of what I ate. I had the thought in my head “I can eat what Iwant because I’m running now”, and that is not true at all.

    Also, take a look at what you are eating. Has your diet changed at all? I know that I thought I needed LOTS of carbs, but in reality, if you are running averages distances and not doing marathon training, you are probably ok with normal amounts of carbohydrates. Make sure you get protein in there as well as your veggies.

    Sorry I don’t have some really easy answers here, but know that this is something that many runners end up experiencing. You are not alone. Good luck!

    Standard Disclaimer:
    I am not a physician. This is not medical advice. Seek professional medical advice from a trained and licensed medical professional before beginning any diet or exercise program. Any exercise activity contains inherent risk. Do not stand forward of the white line while bus is in motion. Close cover before striking.

    Jon (was) in Michigans last blog post..If you are reading this

  22. Karen on January 21st at 2:14 pm

    I am so happy yet discouraged to read some of your emails! I am happy that I am not the only one going through this. I have been running for over three months and built myself up to running approx. 3 miles four times a week. This isn’t a ton but its something. I have not however noticed a difference and have been eating the same amount to less than before and have gained weight. I took about 11 days off of running and lost weight but thought maybe it had to do with the medication I was on for anxiety, so I lowered my dose so it is the lowest amount possible and yet again after starting again the other day, gained the weight back that I lost while not be active. This is very frustrating and I have been searching for the reason as to this weight gain with little success. I am thankful however to coming across many of your comments- it makes me feel better that I am not the only one in this situation:)

  23. Nicole on January 21st at 7:10 pm

    I feel relieved that others are going through the same predicament as myself, but not better about the situation. I too, have increased my running from about 18-20 miles a week to about 30 miles a week and have begun to notice a weight gain coupled with a horrible bloated feeling. At first, I began to attribute it to quitting smoking but than I started to keep a food diary and my caloric intake has remained the same! I am filled with mixed emotions as the desire to continue to train for a marathon is exciting, yet the “fat, puffy” feeling is making me miserable…..any tips?

  24. Katie on March 2nd at 9:23 am

    Thank you! Thank you! I am not going crazy! I’ve always been a moderate exerciser and decided to train for a 1/2 marathon. 2 months into it, I am up to 20miles a week and 8 lbs heavier! I feel incredible so I’m going to have to let the scale go until I’m finished training and enjoy the weight loss after training.

  25. Brittany on March 11th at 1:41 pm

    I am a 22 year-old now “retired (haha)” athlete and this blog has made my day. One week ago today I had ankle surgery and am now looking at a few months of inactivity and being on crutches… boo! Months ago, when I found out I needed this surgery, I decided to up my workouts and was soo frustrated when a) i put on a few lbs, b) plateau-ed, and c) couldn’t lose ANYTHING! I even tried to vary my routine by buying workout DVDs instead of just running and lifting. Before reading this I was afraid that my sudden drop in exercise would cause me to gain weight, but it is refreshing to hear that I may lose it. THANKS!

    P.S. For anyone looking to get toned, I suggest trying kickboxing. I started it about a year and a 1/2 ago — AMAZING! You will work muscles that you never even knew you had, AND, even if you aren’t losing weight it sure does tone your body :)

  26. Gwen on April 3rd at 12:43 am

    Thank god I found this site – I’m not going mad afterall and have just read lots of these posts to my other half to show him I’m not going mad!!!

    I’m training for the London Marathon, for the past 6 weeks I’ve done a minimum of 1/2 marathon for my long run, now I’m up around 22 miles, plus a couple of 10 runs during the week.

    I noticed I’d put on weight about 8 weeks ago, so I’m now following Weight Watchers – haven’t lost a thing, still a stone heavier than I was before I started running – there MUST be a scientific explaination to this.

    I’m sick of people telling me muscle is heavier than fat…..I know what FAT looks like! Yes i’ve certainly built muscle on my thighs, but that doesn’t account for the big band of fat around my middle.

    Relieved to find this site, but still want an explaination! Everyone I’ve ever known who’s run a marathon has seen the weight drop off!

  27. Gillian on April 5th at 3:17 pm

    I actually thought I was going mad until i found this page. Ive put on a stone weight since last year after increasing my running duration.

    I feel bloated, fat, full, and heavy most of the time. I was contributing my weight gain to an under active thyroid!! (wont know until later this week whether I have it or not)

    My main problem is i love to run and feel even worse when i stop exercising (even though when i stop running i lose weight). Its a mental kick. I feel low at the moment because i havent been able to run in over two weeks due to illness. I feel heavy because im not exercising, yet i know when i go back running i’ll feel heavy and muscly again.

    I also find when im running i want to everything in sight! I do contain myself but im never satisifed as such. Like others on here, I started running to lose weight in the first place. I cannot believe it causes the opposite. I do find it keeps me a good shape. (provided i dont go overboard.. aka running for 2 hrs everyday – ive cut down to an hour 3 times a week now). Its ridiclious though. I fit into size uk6-8 clothing and people always comment on how tiny i look and that i need to put on weight. They are shocked to learn im 9.5stone!!

    Whats the explanation? Can it all be attributed to muscle gain?

    I read before running was great to tone the stomach muscles? I have crohns disease so i have a certain natural amount of roundness in that area. I remember that got me into running a year ago. It baffles me as to why this is happening. Its not fair. Sitting on your a*s makes u slimmer?

  28. Kristi on April 27th at 4:11 pm

    I absolutely relate.  I was injured (3 stress fractures and 2 ruptured tendons) after training for a marathon a 1.5 years ago…resulting in 9 months off of all exercise except upper body weights and seated yoga exercises.  I was in a cast and on crutches.  I initially freaked out believing that I would gain tons of weight.   Imagine my surprise when I lost 27 pounds!  I wasn’t overweight before the injury but was well underweight during and after the injury.  I ate extremely healthy while training and decided that I would simply listen to what my body wanted (no restricting!) and employ the principle of moderation.  And when I analyzed my diet, I was eating just as many calories…ingesting more fat and on no cardio.  I attributed the weight loss on the theory that the human body will expend many calories to heal the body…therefore minimizing weight gain.  I was happy (I’m generally more of a pessimist/somewhat depressed) and I felt healthy and balanced.

    I started to train for another marathon 6 months ago and have put on 15 pounds.  I know that some of it is muscle, but my body fat has increased from 19 to 27 percent!  And it seems that I am constantly stressed, depressed, and I carry around that “puffy” feeling.  My husband is very objective and observant and says he hasn’t seen me be unhealthy with my eating.  I love to run but when I holistically evaluate quality of life when I am running verses when I’m not…not running wins out.  Still there is that nagging feeling (or compulsion) to get out there and pound out miles…who knows what to do! 

  29. janet on May 17th at 10:02 pm

    Hello everyone,
    i know EXACTLY what you all are going through….. i, myself, have been battling this same situation myself. i wanted to get in shape, feel physically stronger and took up running in the past few months. i immediately felt so wonderful, especially after that first “runner’s high” lol :) i was so proud of myself, my motivation and have loved to go on my runs.. unfortunately, gaining weight instead of losing it myself…. i still plan to run some. i do know of one exercise d.v.d. in particular that i did a year or so ago and it WILL HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT….. in fact, i lost the d.v.d. and then bought another one off of ebay. the exercise i am talking about is called ………..”YOGALATES…….. it is a mixture of yoga and pilates….. it is most definitely a miracle worker….. if you use it as stated….. do all exercises at least 3 times a week and you WILL get the body that you want….. LOUISE SOLOMAN is the creator of these wonderful d,v,d’s….. there are several in the yogalates line….. any one will work, if you just stick to the plan of exercise……. stick with it at least a month and you will feel so relaxed, less stressed, and looking forward to each session……. the one i use is ….. YOGA AND PILATES TOTAL BODY TONER…… with 4 exercises….. i do the first 3 …. workout one is for abs, workout 2 is for upper body, workout 3 is for lower body and after a couple of months you can then advance to workout 4.. optional for total body workout in one session…… i hope you may enjoy this as much as i do…….. :)

  30. janet on May 17th at 10:17 pm

    IT’S ME AGAIN EVERYONE…… I MISSPELLED HER NAME…. IT IS LOUISE SOLOMON……….. SORRY ABOUT THAT !!!!!!!! :)

  31. Terri on June 9th at 4:44 am

    YAHOO! I’m not going mad. I just completed the Cork City Marathon a week ago, and in my 18-week training I gained almost a stone. Complete frustration. I’m going into a health club tomorrow to get a personal trainer’s advice about how to “get toned” after running “only” 400 miles in the last four months. INSANITY!!!!

  32. Ashley on July 10th at 7:14 am

    Wow. It’s amazing to hear from runners that are experiencing what I’m going through. I just joined the cross country team at my college and have been running close to 60 miles per week. In the three weeks I’ve been training, I’ve put on 6 or 7 pounds. I understand muscle gain and all, but I’m sure it hasn’t been that much. What’s worse, is I am the largest girl on the team. I don’t understand how all the other girl runners are sub 110 pounders and eat A TON. I guess it’s just thier body composition. Too bad im in love with running and can’t quit. Maybe once I graduate and retire from running, I’ll loose weight. Well thanks everyone for posting. Peace be the journey!

  33. Marnee on August 24th at 10:29 am

    I eat a zero carb diet and still put on some weight (5-8lbs but I’m only 5’6″ and 125lbs so I can’t complain) when I start running more than twice a week. I do start eating more, because I’m far more hungry. This is often reported by other zero carb runners that I know. I think there might also be a hormonal response to exercise as well that causes the fat storage — a survival response perhaps. Add surges of insulin (carbs) to the mix and up goes your weight. Yikes.

    I think though that the more you train the more you will eventually get over the initial weight gain (if zero carb!). But that threshold is going to be a little different for everyone (i.e. mesomorph versus endomorph). Good luck.

  34. sarah on August 29th at 7:40 am

    Um hello!!!! Has anyone ever heard than muscle weighs more than fat so when u start exercing you start losing the fat and muscle takes over which weighs more! Duh!! LoL

  35. Anne on August 29th at 9:02 am

    Sarah, Of course we know muscle weighs more than fat. This has to do with increasing calories to the point of overcompensation because running more makes you hungrier. Some of us are very muscular, and still struggle with those extra few pounds.

  36. Jon (was) in Michigan on August 30th at 7:57 pm

    Oh how I wish Sarah was right.

    Sadly, the 10 pounds of “muscle” I gained while training for the marathon, made all my pants fit too tight. :)
    .-= Jon (was) in Michigan´s last blog ..late night post =-.

  37. Lynn on September 2nd at 3:52 pm

    I am a woman training for my first half marathon and am discouraged to find that I am apparently depositing fat, not just adding muscle. I have shunned the scale because I know I will be horrified at the feedback; my clothes are tighter and I do not appear lean but softer. In my case, therefore, this is not a “muscle weighs more than fat” theory. I come from a genetic pool that reacts poorly to high-glycemic foods and loves to conserve fat cells, so I long ago learned to avoid simple carbs and limit even the complex. I am not as hungry as I was before training; however, I do use electrolyte/fuel supplements while I run. I am thinking that I might be overly-hydrated from the additional sodium and also perhaps that my body is in “starvation mode”, attempting to store reserves in the face of rapid caloric expenditure. I am not happy: I need to get on the scale at Weight Watchers for my monthly lifer check-in and I fear I will be penalized for going over my upper limit :(. Perhaps I can take a copy of this blog along with me as evidence…..

  38. Mimosa Gordon on September 2nd at 5:39 pm

    I did gain a few pounds initially and sometimes after long runs. Same thing happened once upon a time ago when I started a weight training regimen. I can have to do with increased plasma volume- in a sense, you are retaining more fluid- even though you sweat when you run, you also are circulating more blood plasma. I don’t know how long the effect can last, but it is not permanent.

  39. Peanut on September 25th at 6:56 am

    WOW!!!…you don’t know happy/sad this makes me. I have been running over 50 miles a week for 3 months and have always ran alot, but not as much as I am now. I have gained 10 lbs as well. I have been freaking out for the past couple of weeks and thought I wasn’t “doing something right.” Last year around this time, I injured myself and I had to stop running. My weight went down to 90lbs ( I am 5′ 2″ and have a very small frame) and I was eating the same foods as ever before (maybe even more).

    I was feeling great and started running again. Now, I am @ 100 lbs again. I feel heavy and bloated all of the time. I eat very healthy and all of meals consist of all veggies and maybe some chicken on the side. I am freaking out and my boyfriend is tired of hearing how fat I feel. I might just give up running for a bit to get my weight back down.

    I’ll come back to this site and tell you all how a feel in a few weeks!

  40. Lew Hopkins on September 25th at 6:43 pm

    I think all of you are CRAZY! No offense intended! When I started running I weighed 197 pounds (I am 5-10, apple shape, endomorph, big gut (43inches around) however you want to put it). After the 3rd month of running (going from 5mi/week to 17mi/week) my weight dropped DOWN to 186 pounds (41.5 inch gut: still big but not as big).

    Then came winter and i stopped running and my weight went up from 186 pounds to 202 pounds in 4 months! (waist/gut circumference went back up to 43 inches as well)

    Then came springtime! Started running again in April and my weight went from 202 pounds to 182 pounds here at the end of September. (back down to a 41.5 inch gut)

    I’m willing to bet though: If i keep running through this Autumn and WInter (treadmill) the weight will continue to fall, albeit at a more SLOW rate through the 170s and hopefully the 160s! (unless I eat too much JUNK FOOD over the holidays)

  41. ashley on October 8th at 5:28 pm

    I have been running for almost a year and now since I have upped my mileage by 20 extra miles a week,I have noticed the gain in weight…i lost over 100 pounds by running,but now since i am running almost 6 days a week I have noticed the weight gain.I am losing inches still,but the scale isnt tipping in my favor lol.I went from 275 down to my current size of 134.I also like the above poster use a treadmill.
    .-= ashley´s last blog ..Work At Home Forums Putting Forth A Professional Business Impression =-.

  42. Doug Everett on October 8th at 7:25 pm

    I am 40 years old and weigh 200 lbs. I am running 9 min miles 3 miles a day 5 x a week. I am not losing weight as i thought. Should i run longer or try going faster. if i go longer i will not beable to keep up that 9 min mile pace. I am trying to lose weight in the stomach area thats the only place i am big. any suggestions would be helpful. One more question do i get more out of running outside or on a tresdmill

  43. Sue on October 15th at 8:47 pm

    Hi
    I have been running for years, the day that l cut back my running from 6 days per week, to only 3 my weight fell off. I still run 3 days per week, but hate it, and am worried if l stop l will gain weight, but reading all this apparently not.

  44. Peanut on October 19th at 5:59 pm

    Ok, so I posted on Sept 25 and it is less then a month past that date. I have only run on Saturday and Sunday (only 14 miles a week). I have lost 5 pounds already and I have been eating the same foods. I agree with the people who say that muscle weights more then fat, but my FAT has come off and I look leaner now….don’t know what’s up with that. Very interesting subject to look more into. My jeans are FINALLY starting fit me again. THANK GOODNESS!!!!

  45. leah on October 21st at 7:53 am

    HI
    28/female/plymouth
    im sat in college reading this and had to post. i to am getting the same results and that is gaining weight. I do not eat more now that i am running if anything i am eating less because my weight has gone up slightly.

    I too was totaly shocked to see my scales start to creep up, thats the last thing you expect after starting a fitness regime lol

    Im going to have to put it down to muscle gain. I currently run about 4miles a day, i was doing 7 but im so busy i just dont have time at the moment, im also going to be going gym once a week so maybe that will help, i just wont go on the treadmill hahaha

  46. Connie on November 7th at 3:42 pm

    I am so glad I found this! I started running a month ago…to boost my metabolim becuase my weight loss had plateaued. I have gained every week since! While I am glad to see I am not alone, and I perplexed by this. At any rate, I feel better knowing this is not just my problem. I was worried something was medically wrong with me.

  47. Sue on November 10th at 7:44 pm

    Hi
    I would love to stop running and just walk on my treadmill instead at a steadier rate, but am scared l will gain weight, but going on what everyone is saying l probably won’t. But why am l so scared of stopping? How can l get motivated to stop for a while and just see what happens to my body? I just want to walk, as l know that l cannot maintain this intensity forever, and l am probably doing it all for not much.
    Can anybody suggest a way that l stop running for a few months and stay on track? Is there some sort of website that can motivate me to do that. I still want to exercise but only moderately and not go so hard. I just find running to hard now.

    Sue

  48. Asha on December 10th at 7:32 pm

    Sue! I feel you one hundred percent. I’ve been running for five years now, and I’m up to an hour a day. I love it…but I hate it, because it’s really started to take over my life. But I’m basically very afraid to stop and gain a bunch of weight. When I AM forced to not run, I do notice that my weight drops (quite a bit) and that I feel incredibly thin. But then I feel like, after a period, it begins to creep back on with a more permanent vengeance. I would love any advice as to how to keep fit, but run less and still maintain my current weight (or less). I do love the running-just not the feeling of needing to run that I’ve developed.

    Asha

  49. Asha on December 13th at 4:36 pm

    I have one more thing to add.
    I would really love to hear from anyone who has cut back on their running and EXACTLY how it all went. I love running but I NEED to stop doing it every day-it’s just not possible anymore, and I’m scared of the wear and tear my body might be feeling. I think three times a week sounds like a wonderful amount of exercise, so can anyone tell me how to do this? On those three days, should I do sprints instead of distance for less time? Should I use weights and do other workouts? I want a life where I can run when I FEEL like it, not because I think I have to, but I’m scared to start.

  50. Mark Patson on December 21st at 6:40 pm

    I’ve tried many weight gainers over the years and the Dr Max Powers Anabolic Stack is amazing. It goes down super easily with water without any residue or particles. It doesn’t fill you up or leave you bloated, apparently that’s how it kickstarts your body’s anabolic processes. The fact that it isn’t heavy or bloating also allows you to keep eating and really pack on those calories you need to build muscle.

    Give me great work outs.

  51. Nancy in MI on January 17th at 8:46 pm

    Yes. Well. What can I add. When I run I bulk up and feel horrible. I’m muscled up with a butt J’Lo would envy. I’m not FAT, but I get BIG and BULKY… when I stop running I lose all that muscle, but I get FLAB —- so what do I do? BIG and BULKY like a lazyboy chair ??? or choose small and soft and flabby like a bean bag chair? Mostly I run for my head… but at 5’4″ (think gymnast build) … boy, I really feel like a klunkin’ loser when one of those 6′ tall male marathoners WHIZZZ by me – (no breasts, no butt, nothing to weigh them down)…. I hate the feeling. Running is for my HEAD now… other people tell me I look great (not thin) but great. I don’t want great. I want thin. I eat healty just like all of you do… and I have the BOOTAY that is rock solid hard at OUT THERE – the kind people PAY to have – but on my height it looks absurd. I’ve gone through long periods of walking, only to need that “high’ of the run again. I eat carbs – with no carbs = no energy and no regular bathrooming habit / not for me… talk about bad mood!!!!!!!!!! Okay… so I run. And I hate the physical results. I eat what I want NO JUNK and I gain and gain – I don’t eat to excess. Honest. I’ll probably always hate my body – I think I just have to accept it. I feel bad and SO I go for a run and I feel better – at least in my head. NO one talks about this. Nike almost hit the nail on the head with it’s latest ad campaign (this is my butt ads)… when is bigger (hard muscle bigger body ) going to be okay in the USA? I feel so sad that something I love so much betrays me (even mocks) my own efforts with getting bigger. I can see why people quit. I really can.

  52. Sue on February 15th at 4:12 pm

    HI again,
    I can completely relate to you Asha, l used to run every single day, and l used to eat more carbs, then one day l said to myself, that’s it l am only going to run 3 times per week instead, and my weight just fell off me, and looked less bulky and really ate according to my hunger which went down, and l have stayed this way for 8 years. I would never go back to running each day, but l one thing l have changed is my eating. I eat so much less, but l eat what ever l want during the weekends and am pretty strict with myself during the week. Try it for a few weeks and see how you go. I am at a stage where running is just so hard for me now, and l often wonder why l push myself so hard, l find that even 3 times per week of running is far too much for my body. I would love to just give it all up and just walk, but l am scared l would gain weight.
    Now when l do run, l actually mix it up with sprints, so it is harder, but l do hate it.
    I know quiet a few women who were complete exercise freaks, and when they gave it up, they actually looked and felt better, they were pushing there bodies way too far.
    So maybe we need to listen to our bodies more, and do what it sais.
    Cheers Sue

  53. D on March 9th at 8:44 am

    <a href="http://lifeandpath.com/&quot; Life and Path
    This is such a great post. Dietary changes help (think BETTER calories, not just lower calories), but some weight gain from water will happen. Your body knows it needs to be able to use glycogen stores and needs water to do that. Omega 3’s will help reduce inflammation related gains.

    Happy Running Everyone!

  54. D on March 9th at 8:45 am

    Life and Path
    This is such a great post. Dietary changes help (think BETTER calories, not just lower calories), but some weight gain from water will happen. Your body knows it needs to be able to use glycogen stores and needs water to do that. Omega 3’s will help reduce inflammation related gains.

    Happy Running Everyone!

  55. Annie on March 12th at 1:18 pm

    I have gained 10lbs since I started running again (about one week ago)!!! I am 5’2 and very petite (was 100lbs, but now am 110lbs). And I am definitely eating less. My legs have turned into stocky tree-trunks, bulky and almost completely muscle. I want to look more feminine! I am going to continue to jog every day and massively cut my calorie intake and see if this works!

  56. meg on March 26th at 3:55 am

    i run 6 miles every day and will be going on vacation this weekend nad not have the opportunity to run. i am so scared i will put on weight from 2 days of not running! will I?

  57. Anne on March 26th at 4:24 am

    Meg,

    If your body is now accustomed to burning 600 calories per day from running 6 miles, and you’re scared of gaining weight from missing a couple of days, just adjust your diet and hold off on eating a lot on those days. (Hard to do on a vacation, I know, but if you’re fanatical about running every day, I’m sure you can do it.)
    .-= Anne´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

  58. david d on March 30th at 1:18 am

    im tryna to put on 10kg cuz im training for ufc so i googled running and weight gain and found this site. hoping the weight gain applies to males aswell as someone suggested it may only be a female thing. ps add ma facebook.com/dd90210 :)

  59. Sue on April 14th at 8:25 pm

    I would love to do a study on women who run regurlarly and have stopped for a certain period of time to see how there weight fluctuates and how they feel about themselves.
    I wonder if a study have ever been done.
    If so let me know.
    I know for me anyway, each day l run l feel extra hungry.

    Starving in fact and therefore eat more.
    I am really starting to think running is a complete wast of time as far as weight is concerned, not that l am overweight. I hate running, but l am just so scared l will gain weight.

    Sue

  60. Asha on April 17th at 6:30 pm

    Sue,
    If you’d like, I’ll be in your study. I’m going from being a daily runner to forcing myself to stop doing it all the time. I was really glad to hear that you were able to cut back! I’m going on a big backpacking trip soon and will have to stop (unless I want my friends to sit and watch me run tiny laps around foreign cities-no thanks). I haven’t quite gotten the courage to cut back on my running in terms of days per week, but I have had several breaks that I would never have considered before. I’ve noticed that on these breaks (one per month usually, from 3 days to one week) I feel terrific and don’t gain weight. I would love to see how cutting back more could help (right now I’m just tired all the time but afraid to stop).

  61. Erica on April 26th at 9:29 am

    I am so glad I found this blog! I have experienced what everyone else has- 8-10pound weight gain and it is so frustrating! At least I know it is common because I was beginning to actually think I am being sabotaged LOL.

    Good luck with your goals everyone!

  62. Sue on May 3rd at 4:50 pm

    I think we should start a club online and try an experiment together and blog our daily progress and feelings about not running. Would anyone be interested in this experiment?

    Cheers Sue

  63. MJ on May 8th at 5:11 am

    Sue, I would love that idea! I have been running on and off for ,many years. This past year I went 10 months (the most I have gone in while without exercising.) But, I am back on it now. I am trying to run about 3-4 miles each run at about 4-5 days/ week. I feel great, though, I will say I do wake up with my legs feeling heavier (muscley). But, I dont mind it, because I know it is muscle gain. I did get on the scale this morning and it is saying I am 136, though just a couple of days ago I was 134. I have been eating less and healthy foods.. Again, I think this is muscle gain, because of the way my legs feel heavier and muscely in the morning.

  64. TT on June 6th at 10:36 am

    im so confused! I just finished my first year of college, and although I did not gain the Freshman 15…thank god, I did gain around 6-8 pounds. It’s summer right now and I was hoping to take up running 5 times a week for the next 3 months, but i just weighed myself for the first time since summer started, and I gained a few pounds -_- I guess after reading all this I’m glad its normal, but what am i suppose to do?! I realized that I really like running (Runner’s high!), but i use to be so much skinnier without all this and its frustrating to me. I eat about the same at home as I did in HS, and definitely less than I did in college because a lot of midnight snacking and drinking was involved. I’m not really into the idea of just power walking :/ Does anyone have any suggestions? Will the weight eventually decrease or will it just continue to increase if I keep running?

  65. CJ on June 11th at 12:20 pm

    Muscle doesn’t weigh that much more than fat! I’m so frustrated.. .I’m not small. My BMI high at 28% so I need to loose 15-20lbs. Help! I run 4 x a week 2-4 miles each time, weight train 3x a week. I’m solid, but there seems to be this thick layer of fat all over my body that is IMPOSSIBLE to burn. I consume 1200 calories on a typical day, and I couldn’t tell you the last time I consumed over 1400. Scientifically isn’t this impossible? I had my thyroid tested and had a metabolic rate test that said my metabolism is high and that to maintain I should consume 1835 calories a day. I should be perfect by now. Any suggestions?

  66. Jon on June 12th at 7:27 am

    Hi CJ,

    You said your BMI was 28% so you needed to lose 15-20 pounds. I think you are equating body fat with BMI, and these two don’t always correlate. You may not actually have 15-20 pounds to lose, depending on your build. You didn’t give your height and weight or dimensions, so its hard to know for certain. I would have your body fat determined before you go trying to lose that weight. Use the body fat measurement to determine where you actually are in terms of healthy weight.

    Also, cutting your calories below your metabolic rate can backfire. Putting you body into “starvation mode” only teaches it to store energy for lean times. I would always make sure you are taking in enough calories for your basal metabolism.

    Good luck!
    .-= Jon´s last blog ..more thoughts =-.

  67. Toni on June 13th at 11:58 am

    I, too, gained 10 lbs after I started running with the intent of getting physically stronger, healthier, etc. I was 95 lbs, and after running a few wks, noticed that my weight started to increase. In a panic, I increased the distance of my runs and workouts only to find that the weight gain accelerated (as did my appetite). I was a 00P, and after five months of this, I had to go up to a size (I know – boo-hoo…however, this was devastating to me, as I was used to having my clothes look & fit a certain way). I continued to run b/c I wanted to run a half marathon or at least a 10 mile race. Well I ran a 10 miles race in May, and since then, I’ve cut back significantly on my running. I’ve already dropped 5 lbs. and noticed that my appetite is back to normal i.e. I’m not hungry all the time nor do I have an insatiable hunger. I try to limit my runs to no more than 1x/wk and no more than 3 miles. To supplement my exercise routine, I walk 3 miles at a normal pace (w/ my Yorkie) at least 2-3 times per wek, and take yoga or dance classes. Ashtanga yoga (2hrs) DEFINITELY seemed to kickstart something in my body (I’ve heard that it helps with your digestive system). For me, moderate exercise is the way to go to keep a slim and fit body. Anything more, will make me bulk up, which is not the result I’m looking for.

  68. Vee on June 21st at 11:21 pm

    all i know is that i gained about 20 lbs from no exercise and once I started running, I am looking leaner. No exercise makes me fat and running reverses this. I don’t know why it’s different for all of you.

  69. Jassimo on June 25th at 9:21 am

    From my own experience, here are a few things I believe are important for eliminating bulky muscles:

    1. get a good pair of jogging sneakers (some aren’t really designed for running or jogging)

    2. Before you run, give yourself 5-10 mins for warm ups and stretching. when you jog/ run, make sure to inhale and exhale deeply, and coordinate the breathing with your steps, find your own rhythm. keeping it as an aerobic exercise, after the run, you are exhausted but your muscles aren’t sore or tight. (soreness and tightness can cause bulky muscles). Lots of stretching after your run, if there’s any tightness and soreness, they would go away more efficiently after stretching. Then a cool shower.

    3. I do not know if this one affects directly… when i eat protein, i don’t eat carb/sugar, vice versa… and I have been eating protein mostly, with veggies. Protein consumes more calories to digest and to burn, it helps to get rid of water retention and fat… carbs makes you to store fat…

    I’d like to see more suggestions from experienced runners on this issue.

  70. Asha on June 26th at 2:55 pm

    Well, I’ve just returned from 6 weeks of backpacking. I was always well-fed, and I didn’t do any exercise. Granted, we were often on our feet to sightsee and such, but I just wanted to tell anyone out there who is afraid to stop running and gain weight-I didn’t gain! Now I’m so excited to start running less and actually enjoy myself. Running should always be about fitness and personal fufillment, not about a scale number. I’ve been through a battle with the mental aspects of running for only weight, and I can tell you that it’s not fun. Sue-I’d like to join that online club if you make one. I’d love to know what workouts (and amount of them) can leave people feeling trim and happy!

  71. Asha on June 26th at 2:57 pm

    Also, Vee, I don’t think that it’s “different” for all of us. I believe that we’ve taken our amount of exercise to a point that our bodies don’t need. It’s all about balance.

  72. Bee on August 19th at 7:32 pm

    I am so glad I found this conversation! i have the same problem with running that many of the women on here have. I’m in my mid-twenties and I’ve always had an “hourglass figure”. Over the years, I’ve varied from being atheltic and not and back again. My stomach has always been naturally flat, even without doing much exercise. But I notice that when I start running again, I start collecting fat around my abdomen. I love the way I feel when I run and I like being healthy, but I hate that my boobs get smaller and my tummy gets rounder!! I feel much more feminine, and attractive, when I’m not running. I don’t know how to explain it–I always eat healthy regardless of how I’m exercising. I feel less inclined to run because of how it makes my body look–I get way more compliments when I’m NOT working out!

    It’s so unfair. Boys work out and they look great–women work out and we look less feminine. I’m intrigued by the “stress/defense” mode some people mentioned here–maybe that explains the extra fat stores when exercising!

  73. dre on October 13th at 4:33 pm

    I struggle with initial weight gain when I first start running, but then definitely lose as I gain endurance and particularly once I hit 20 mi/week.

    After 1 year of not running, my weight went up 4# after one session of running (weighed before and after on the same scale). Some sort of fluid shifts for sure, but if I can hang with running through the initial ‘puff’ I start to lose.

    I always want to quit when I first start, but hang in there. I also lose weight after 2 week non-exercise vacations, but am skinny/flabby. =(

  74. Laura on October 24th at 6:08 pm

    My take on this after being a daily runner for seven years and someone who related exercise entirely to weight: stop. Do NOT relate running, or any exercise, to weight. Relate NUTRITION to weight, and don’t overlap the two. Do not think that because you exercise, you can eat ice cream. Eat ice cream when you WANT to eat ice cream REGARDLESS. Exercise for the benefits to your heart and body-excluding weight loss. I believe that once we get too involved in the exercise-weight connection, we overdo it, and forget that our bodies more or less are set in a particular shape. We get hooked on too much running, and this is not a good thing because we begin to feel stressed and guilty when we cannot run.

  75. Anonymous on October 27th at 8:48 am

    When starting back running or exercise you will gain weight due to your body not being use to the exercise. You will gain anywhere from 3-5< lbs. Then as you continually exercise you body will conform to your plan and say "oh this time he/she is serious."

    The body does tend to store fat around the mid section when doing an exercise; however it is only storing fat to push out the muscles. Then, with in a couple of months the fatty area will be a leaner area. When you exercise yes, you will gain weight. Not because you are fat but due to muscle weighing more than fat. Therefore, you clothes maybe fitting tighter(at first) due to muscle gain in the thighs, arms, and waist, etc.– It will more than likely take your body at least 10-12 weeks to get used to the routine and finally loose weight.
    Accompanied by running you may want to do weight training or at least abdominal training. As someone mentioned previously it is quite important to stretch before and after you run. Also, a secret to loosing weight more quickly when you run is to not the steady distance you run it is more so the intensity. You need to run in intervals. 30 second fast pace(as hard as you can) 45 second half pace/ normal jogging running pace. Then as reach your Plateau you will increase your intervals 45 second fast pace 1 minute rest and etc. until you are at your goal weight. Always cool down after intervals. [try hip hop abs]

    It is also important to have a proper running and breathing technique for jogging/ running long distances. You need to lengthen your strides as you run and your foot should be hitting on the balls of your foot not flat footed . Also when you run for endurance it is important to breath in through you nose and out through you mouth and really force out the nitrogen from your mouth. When running a faster pace it is important to have shorter breaths still breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.

    As for eating, pending on your type of training it is a good idea to not eat too many carbs like bready foods. However, when running you can eat some pastas. Have a balanced diet with a lot of colorful veggies, fruits, and lean protein like (cod/ salmon) fish and lean chicken breast. If you are a vegetarian eat a lot of veggies, fruits, and beans like black beans, navy beans, field peas, etc. A fruit that helps w/ the digestive system is a pear. Now if you don't like eating your veggies you can always make veggies fruit shakes with all of your servings of fruit and veggies that you need through out the day. [try naked juices] Try seeking a dietitian if you are still concerned.

  76. Anonymous on October 27th at 9:05 am

    Also try writing down what you eat to help keep track. You can go to: fitday.com
    This website will help what area of foods you are missing.

Bottom