WASHINGTON — A new Arizona State study is generating a lot of talk on the
subject of why
women gain weight after starting an exercise regimen.
New York Times physical education columnist Gretchen Reynolds
says the group
cross-section of relatively sedentary but healthy women in their 30s who were
“They walked 30 minutes three times a week, and at the end of 12 weeks, most
group of women had gained weight. And they have gained fat, not muscle,”
The eating habits of the women were relatively normal and didn’t change after
study began, Reynolds says. Scientists noticed women were gaining or losing
about a month into the study.
The study did find that the women who lost weight in the first four weeks
continued to lose weight.
But the study, which was published last month in The Journal of Strength and
Conditioning Research, did not track the eating habits of the 81 women. Nor
did the study track the women’s movements away from the
So, it is not known whether the women who gained fat ate more after
or rested more after exercising.
“So the takeaway is, if you want to use exercise to lose weight, get on the
bathroom scales after a month, and if you’re not losing weight, look at the
your life — make sure you’re not eating more [or] sitting too much and you
succeed in losing weight,” she says.
Scientists never figured out why the women gained weight, but they know they
changes in their weight about a month into the new regimen.
“But all of them also became more fit, and that’s the most important thing in
of being healthy. … They succeeded in that,” she says.