Our expert says:
It's actually not that unusual to gain weight through exercise, and there are a few factors that can cause this. One is your current weight. It seems that there is an ideal body weight for each person, and the body is so clever that it knows just how to keep you there. So, it may be that you just have no weight to lose, and so from that point of view, you are better of going for toning and improved fitness and not worrying about the scale.
The second is diet - often people subconsciously increase the energy intake when training harder. Let's say you train harder and use a few hundred more calories a day - you have a little more to eat or drink, and it means that the balance is still there as if you didn't train harder. I am not saying you should count calories, I think that is risky and hazardous at best, but I would say be aware of what you are eating. The other thing that often happens, is that because you are now exercising every day, you might take it a little easier during the rest of the day. In otherwords, you may be a little less active outside of the gym, either because you are subconsciously trying to save energy, or because you are actually very tired from training and don't get around as much. Either way, you are likely to use less energy, and that may even cancel out the effect of training.
Finally, the most likely issue - any form of training will increase muscle mass. People seem to have a conception that weight training causes muscle mass to rise, and cardio training burns fat. While this is largely true, you must remember that there is considerable overlap. So, let's say you are cycling, this means that if you are cycling along at 90 revs per minute this basically means that you are doing 90 contractions of the muscle per minute. Do this for 10 minutes and you have 900 muscle contractions, and so even though the force per contraction is low, you will still build some muscle. What i am saying is that even though you are not doing only weight training, it's still feasible that you will gain some muscle by doing cardio.
Very importantly though, this is nothing to worry about. In fact, it's a good thing, and I guess the bottom line is that you must really focus on how fit you are, how you are feeling and perhaps how you are looking, rather than on the scale. Even aiming for centimeters can be misleading, especially early on, because it takes much longer and can be a little bit of a futile and very frustrating goal. So my advice is really to go for fitness - try to get faster and fitter on those cardio sessions and the results will take care of themselves.
Keep up the good work, remember that it takes time, but have faith that you are on the right track!
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