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Why Is My Waist Getting Bigger with Exercise?

Have you started a new routine and noticed your waist getting bigger with exercise? That can be disturbing, especially when you’re trying to reduce your waistline, not add to it. With this, you would want to know why your exercise has the opposite effect.

Your waist is getting bigger with exercise because you’re developing the muscles that are beneath. After an intense stomach exercise, the muscle fibers repair, making them grow bigger. Eating the wrong meals and doing the wrong exercises also contribute to a wider waistline. The best way to avoid this is to change your routine and watch what you eat.

If you’re worried about having a thick waistline, you’re in the right place. Here, we shall discuss the reasons for getting wider waistlines with exercise and how to avoid them.

How Does My Waist Get Bigger with Exercise? 

Before we explain how this happens, let’s look at what the obliques are. If you’ve been exercising a while, you must have heard about these stomach muscles a lot. 

For starters, there are two kinds of obliques in the human body. These are the interior and exterior obliques

The internal obliques are located directly beneath the exterior muscles. Exterior muscles are on each side of your torso. These muscles are arranged diagonally downward, but they run in to form the letter V. 

You can bend from side to side, flex the spine, and rotate your midsection with the interior and exterior obliques. As a result of their location, targeting them when exercising causes them to expand, making your waist thicker and broader.

This doesn’t imply that you should quit exercise. It’s crucial to exercise these muscles and keep them in good shape because they are vital for your core strength. However, you might have to cut down on using weights when working them.

Other Factors That Influence Your Waist Getting Bigger with Exercise

Developing Muscles underneath the Fat

It’s essential to remember that exercising does not cause fat to melt or burn magically. Losing fat from your midsection can only be accomplished by a strict diet plan. If you don’t shed the excess fat, your waist will continue to expand since the muscles are hidden beneath it.

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Swelling Following a Workout

A newbie to working out might not be aware of this truth yet. When you exercise, your heart sends blood to your muscles and organs, causing your stomach muscles to swell and appear larger for a short period.

Besides this, exercising produces small rips in the muscles. Tears in your muscles and inflammation from the healing process will give you a larger abdomen and waist for a short time as they mend.

Consuming More Calories Than You Burn

Making healthier eating choices and keeping track of your calorie intake will help you lose weight faster than only exercising. It doesn’t matter if you do a daily combination of sit-ups, crunches, and planks. As long as you consume more calories than you expend, your waist will expand, regardless of how hard you work.

How to Avoid Your Waist Getting Bigger with Exercise

Though there are several reasons for your waist getting bigger with exercise, there are also some ways to prevent this situation. Here are a few things to do when you notice your waist getting bigger with exercise:

Eat Right

Weight gain during exercise is unusual. You may be overeating because your appetite has been heightened by physical activity. However, don’t assume that you can eat anything you want because you’re working out.

You can start by keeping track of your daily calorie intake to see if you’re eating a reasonable amount. Healthline recommends that active women consume 1,500 calories per day to lose one pound of weight per week. That’s a daily calorie shortfall of 500 less than the 2,000 required for weight maintenance.

Avoid or limit refined carbs, alcohol, sugar, sodium, and processed foods in your diet. Opt for a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables instead. Furthermore, include healthy fats like those found in nuts and avocado in your diet. These heart-healthy fats are easy to digest and helpful for your body.

Exercise Correctly

When you notice your waist getting bigger with exercise, you’re probably doing something wrong. Exercises such as HIIT, yoga, and planks can help you lose weight. Yoga and planks can help tone your abs and burn calories. Still, HIIT may be a better option for reducing abdominal fat.

Aerobic exercise, in general, is more successful than spot-reduction workouts in burning calories and lowering fat in a specific “problem area.” However, while many activities can help you lose weight and trim your waistline, there are several that you should avoid.

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The primary thing to avoid is ab exercise with weights. Weighted side bends, a specific workout that targets your oblique muscles, can increase your waist circumference.

So, if you want to work on your abs, skip the weights. You should notice inches drop off your tape measure if you follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Important Points to Remember

If you want to avoid your waist getting bigger with exercise, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Avoid Target-Spot Exercises

Think twice if you’re performing crunches to shed inches from your waistline. Reducing your overall body fat level is the only way to lose stomach fat. Overworking your abdominal muscles might bulk up your midsection.

Do More Aerobics

One of the best ways to avoid your waist getting bigger with exercise is doing aerobics. Walking, jogging, and aerobic exercises help you lose weight by burning calories. So, keep performing your sit-ups, but mix in some additional strength and aerobic activities to slim down your waistline.


So, when you notice your waist is getting bigger with exercise, it’s a result of several factors. Fortunately, you can avoid this by eating the right food and remodifying your routine.

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