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Why Is My Waist Getting Bigger with Exercise – Am I Doing it Wrong?

- Written By

DR Munazza Ashraf, Pharmacist

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This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts. Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument. This article contains scientific references. Read more about our process.

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Do you need more time with the recently started workout plan? Not getting desired results after sweating for hours in the gym? Worried about why is my waist getting bigger with exercise? I can help you by knowing the answers to all your whys and hows so you can get where you want to. 

Exercise doesn’t only help with weight loss, but there is more of it. You can reap the benefits if you know which type of exercise aligns with your fitness goals.

Are you wondering why your waist is getting bigger with exercise? An increase in waist size with exercise could be due to various factors, including muscle growth, water retention, and improper diet. It may also happen because you opted for the wrong practices that make it worse to reduce your belly size. 

How Does Exercise Impact Your Waist Size?  

You have been putting all your blood, sweat, and efforts into getting in the perfect shape, and I believe you have not achieved your goals. I can see the frustration and demotivation you are going through. 

Related Article: Best 19 Dumbbell Tricep Exercises For Perfect Shape

It sucks when you opt for a training regime to reduce your waist circumference and end up with a broader waist than previously. 

You may often think should I stop exercising? Not really. 

It would help if you had different exercises to strengthen your core muscles than required to reduce belly fat. Similarly, some exercises help you achieve a slim waist, while the case is otherwise with others. 

It’s because different exercises target different sets of muscles. There may be other factors as well. This article will pinpoint all the potential causes of why is my waist getting bigger with exercise, to know where you are going wrong. 

Why Is My Waist Getting bigger with exercise – Working out?

Firstly, you must embrace the truth that it’s unnecessary for a specific training to work for you if it did for your friend. Each body responds differently to particular workouts, diet programs, and other lifestyle modifications.

You don’t need to put yourself in stress because you will be surprised when I tell you that it’s a part of the workout. 

Related Article: Buffie The Body Workouts: Lower Body Workouts & Diet Plans

1) You Might Be Doing The Wrong Exercise 

Women love six-packs, and men adore slim waist. These body shape preferences you look for in opposite genders make them ambitious to achieve the ideal figure.

But do you know that your exercises to get toned abs, a flat stomach, and a more robust core make your waist look wider?

  • Typical abdominal exercises, including crunches and planks,
  • Core-engaging workouts like sit-ups, squats, and deadlifts
  • Heavy weightlifting and strength-building activities such as weighted side bends

Though they target muscles of different areas, all of them share the same goal of building muscle mass. Hypertrophy (muscle growth) is the ultimate gain of the exercises, as mentioned earlier, which adds a few inches around your waist.

Related Article: How To Build Back Muscle With Gorilla Rows?

Yet there’s NO need to quit any of these exercises. I’ll share a secret about how you can get toned abs without a thick waist. 

2) It’s Because You Are Over-Exercising

You must have heard of lean and bulk muscles. Which one is more suitable for you?

Well, there’s no strict rule about which path you should follow. Your fitness goals should take precedence—whether aiming for a more defined look or a bulkier appearance. For instance, bodybuilders aspire to gain muscle mass, while fitness enthusiasts strive for an athletic look.

It can take a toll if you’re dedicated to achieving a toned, athletic body and push yourself relentlessly towards that goal. You won’t reach the coveted hourglass figure by overworking your obliques and abdominal muscles. Instead, you might build more muscles around your waist, causing it to appear a few inches wider.

3) It’s Fluids That Gives The Impression of Wider Waist

It’s essential to know for someone who has just embarked on the journey of fitness training that you might observe unexpected results in your initial days. If you need clarification about why my waist is getting wider from working out, let me tell you, it’s the beginning. And you will gradually achieve your goals.

When you start working out, your body composition changes, and adapting takes time. Your muscles tear, leading to swelling and inflammation.

Temporary water retention also contributes to the appearance of a wider waist. However, it’s a short-term phenomenon, and you can return to your slim and trim waistline once it is over.

Exercises Burn Belly Fat: Is It A Myth?

A lean and toned body is everyone’s fantasy. However, one must understand that not all exercises are meant for weight loss.

Related Article: Jason Lee Weight Loss Journey

Thinking that starting any workout can make your waist slim is a misconception. Exercises that aim to build muscles will add more weight to your midsection.

Does Exercise Alone Can Reduce My Waist?

You might be wrong if you have assumed that working tirelessly in the gym alone can help you reduce your waist size. 

Check for the following factors to learn if you need to look into certain aspects in addition to picking up the wrong workout regime.

1) Eating Essentials 

Don’t be misguided by all those false claims that you can indulge in any food just because you will burn it off during exercise. What you eat and how much you eat affect your waist size.

It’s high time to reflect on your eating habits and cut down on anything sugary, processed, and fiber-less. 

2) Calorie Check 

As you progress in your training regimen, your appetite increases. Exercises burn calories and boost your metabolism. That makes you feel hungry, craving for more food. If you leave your calorie intake unchecked, you can hit the aim for a while. 

3) Hormonal Balance

Cortisol, the stress hormone, and testosterone, the sex hormone, are also linked with muscle growth and impact waist size. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep their levels in check. Otherwise, hormonal imbalance may result in a broader waist. 

Exercises To Avoid Thick Waist

Are you tired of influencers beating around the bush and not delivering satisfying solutions?

Want us to reveal how can I slim my waist? Here are the tested exercise tips for your ‘thin-looking’ waist.

1) Move to Lose: Aerobic Secrets for a Trimmer Waist

In order to find out the answer to you question that why is my waist getting bigger with exercise, this point is very considerable. You will experience a significant change in your waist size by incorporating aerobic exercises into your routine. They help you burn calories by increasing your overall energy expenditure.

Aerobic activities allow your body to utilize stored fat as an energy source. When you burn more calories than you consume, you start losing weight and thus achieve a narrower waist. 

Some common aerobic aka cardio exercises are:

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Running or jogging 
  • Cycling
  • Skipping rope
  • Dancing 
  • Elliptical training 

Alongside the calorie deficit, they also boost your metabolic rate. This helps you shed more belly fat and reduce the waistline. 

2) Shape Up, HIIT Hard: Crafting a Cinched Waist

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is another unique and relatively practical approach to trimming your waist. HIIT is a very crucial and considerable point in terms of why is my wast getting bigger with exercise. This workout method involves short bursts of intense exercises followed by brief rest periods or less intense activity. Why is my waist getting bigger with exercise?

This workout creates an “afterburn” effect, known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), where your body continues to burn calories even after the movement. Hence, it promotes a higher resting metabolic rate essential for weight loss and a leaner waist appearance. 

Besides, a combination of resistance training and core exercises without added weights can effectively bring you close to achieving the desired outcome. 

Things You Can Do Outside Exercise To Trim Your Waist

Exercise is only one of the standalone options if you want to lose a few inches around your waist. Adopt the following practices and see how you reach your target size 10x faster. 

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet as it’s a powerful adjunct, aiding your exercises for reducing BMI. Adding whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and veggies will do the job. Small shifts in your choices can yield transformative results.
  • A significant drop can occur in your waist measurements by staying hydrated. Water is a potent appetite suppressant, burns calories, and elevates metabolism. Drink More to Shrink More! 
  • Taking good 7-8 hours of sleep can also augment the results of your efforts to reduce waist size.
  • Managing stress through yoga and meditation can help reduce its impact on your waistline. 


Temporary post-exercise bloating can occur due to increased blood flow and water retention. It’s not fat gain; staying hydrated and patient helps the body normalize.

If done excessively, heavy abdominal exercises can lead to muscle protrusion. Opt for a well-rounded workout routine to maintain muscle balance and avoid overemphasis.

Prioritize a balanced diet rich in whole foods and practice cardiovascular and strength exercises to help manage your waist size effectively. Why is my waist getting bigger with exercise? Can it be controlled with any other means? The answer is yes, with proper method of Movements and Reasonable diet.

Muscle gain can contribute to a slightly increased waist size due to muscle hypertrophy. However, a well-rounded fitness approach will help keep proportions in check. Why is my waist getting bigger with exercise? it does have something to do with the muscle gain.

The Bottom Line

Now you have discovered why my waist is getting bigger with exercise. From the right choice of activity to eating a balanced proportion, I have discussed everything that helps you get closer to achieving a slim waist. 

So, fear not if your waist gets more expansive in the initial phase. Continue with your exercise regimen, and remember to reconsider your choices if you miss out on something I mentioned in this blog. At this point, we hope that your questions regarding why is my waist getting bigger with exercise or why is my waist getting bigger with exercise/workouts might have been answered with full accuracy and factual information.

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Trend Of Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy

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