Muscle vs fat


8 messages
07/03/2013 at 07:38
I am training hard for London and feeling really strong, not the fastest of runners but am running faster than ever for me. I was surprised to find that when I stood on the scales I now weigh around 5lbs more than earlier in the year. Clothes still fit etc but thighs are bigger. Is the 5lbs muscle or am I kidding myself and just eating too much... I don't pay a huge amount of attention to watching my diet, I eat a healthy mix but don't cut anything down or out when training. Thoughts please - wondering now if I should cut down to take the weight off. Will it improve my running? How do I know what weight I really should be or again is that impossible to judge as all individual? Thanks
07/03/2013 at 07:55

without knowing you or taking body fat measurements i dont suppose anyone will know, 5lbs of muscle in a year is quite possible, like you say, if your clothes are the same size, waist etc, and your body shape has remained the same except bigger legs, (if they are toned/hard when tensed and pressed) then i would suspect it probably is muscle gains.

07/03/2013 at 09:25

if you've been training well for a couple of months and not eating like an absolute nutter, you may not have put on 5lbs of anything.  Some of it may be down to day-to-day weight variation. I agree with DF3 that you are unlikely to have put on 5lbs in muscle no matter what's happened.  But maybe you've put on 2-3 pounds in a combination of muscle, fat, and water.  Exercising the muscles not only builds muscle but also can increase their glycogen-carrying capacity, which in turn requires more water for storage.  (I'm getting slightly out of my depth here to say whether this can and does actually occur over such a short period of time, but it's an indication of how body weight composition is less than straightforward!)

Bottom line: keep training consistently, fuel well but don't overcompensate for marathon training fuel demands by eating too much, or thinking you can get away with eating more bad things.  If anything, the increase in exercise makes it more important that the food you eat is good quality and nutrient rich.  But do keep using clothing sized as a guide to whether you're putting on any lard.

Edited: 07/03/2013 at 09:26
07/03/2013 at 11:27

My thighs are massive (years of riding a really rubbish bike with no gears) but if that's the main area that's got bigger it should be pretty easy to tell if it's muscle or fat based on whether it's squishy or not and what shape they are.

Also, re. what PhilPub says about day-to-day weight variation, if you are a woman it might be hormonal too. My weight fluctuates by up to 5lb depending on the time of month. And not just because I crave pizza.

07/03/2013 at 11:39

Yeah, pretty much like that, give or take an inch or two.

07/03/2013 at 12:47

same happened to me...i was eating too much carbs! we tend to over eat and forget that running doesn't really burn all that much calories!

07/03/2013 at 14:13
David Falconer 3 wrote (see)


Ah, freaky German sprint cyclist Robert Forstemann.  If you want to see his thighs in the flesh, word has it he will be taking part in the Good Friday meeting at Herne Hill Velodrome.  (In case anyone was interested.)

07/03/2013 at 15:32

I think DF3 should post a picture of his legs for comparison..


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