Big Week and Weight Gain

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  • #48678

    Happy Holidays,

    I am a 40-year-old woman and for my holiday break (I am a teacher) I have been putting in some decent days in the mtns. The days are back to back, decent elevation gain, good time on my feet, and winter hiking in the Whites of NH. It was a stressful fall and just wanted to get out and exhaust myself in a different way. (I have been playing and running in the mtns. for 20 years and have a solid base level of fitness with a number of ultra like events in my past.)

    I managed to burn off the stress and am happily relaxed, but am curious- I stepped on the scale- I am up 8lbs from the start of vacation. This was not the indulgence of the holidays. No big parties, maybe a few more Xmas cookies, but nothing to warrant this swing. I did just have a physical; I have no underlying conditions that it picked up and am in good health overall. I am just curious if there are any insights to what is the reasoning behind this?


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    Anonymous on #48684

    Happy holidays! I’m glad you’ve bene able to get out a bunch. Do you track your heart rate on your outings? How much did you eat while you were out? If you didn’t eat enough, or were going too hard for long periods of time, your body can go into storage mode. Stress can have different ways of affecting weight: it could be that you lost weight during a stressful time at work, or your body saw the increased training volume as a high stress and put on weight to save fat in the instance that you need to have a baby (thanks, evolution). My hunch is that you were during many more calories than you were taking in, or you were burning more carbohydrates than normal, so your body shifted to a more glycolytic metabolism, which uses more carbs than (stored) fat. Or, it could be you increased muscle, which weighs more than fat. So I guess all that is to say, we need more info! Do clothes feel tighter too, or is the number on the scale just different?

    jobois on #48686

    I do track my heart rate- going up it is around 130-145 and down much lower- the average for 5-6 hours is @115bpm. With about a 20lb pack on.

    I probably do not eat enough or drink enough during the hike but am super-mindful about refueling when I get down. That being said- probably run a bit on the dehydrated side, but do think I consume enough calories overall with a balance of fats, carbs, and protein.

    Tough saying about the clothes- I have been teaching remotely since Thanksgiving (Covid in school) and have been living in spandex to scoot out for walks and just plain more comfortable. But no, I wouldn’t say they fit incredibly different. I have not lost weight this fall but it has been stressful this year.

    With the exception of two pregnancies, my body composition has pretty much stayed the same since I was in my 20’s. However, I have noticed the fitter I am, I am on the higher side of my weight range throughout the years.

    Thanks for all your thoughts and advice.

    Anonymous on #48717

    One of the first responses to an increase in endurance training is an increase in blood volume. It would not be unusual to see you add a pint or even more in high volume period like this. If your close fit the same and your personal pinch tests seem normal I’d lean toward this as an explanation. I’ve often see people gain weight initially when they get started training with us.

    Maybe you are drinking more due to the highe volume and are just more hydrated than previously. Water is heavy too.

    Muscle weighs a lot more than fat. I doubt if gained 8lbs of muscle over vacation. If you did you could make a lot of money selling that plan to others 🙂

    The combo of all three might explain this. Just a guess though


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