When Exercise is a Waste of Your Time
Yep, you heard that right.
There are times when that thing you’re doing at the gym is a waste of your time.
And if you were unknowingly wasting your hard-earned time at the gym, you’d want your best friend to tell you, wouldn’t you?
So, I dedicate this article to my sisterly love for you and your skinny jeans. Here, I present my top 3 truths on exercise:
Truth #1: You’re wasting your time on the treadmill
If you think you’re jogging your way to a leaner, meaner body, think again. Extensive cardio is one of the least desirable methods to burn fat.
Now, if you’re a weekend cardio-bunny, or you do the occasional run, cycle, dance class or walk around the park, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to the 10K+ troopers, the super-duper-spin cyclists, the run-on-the-treadmill-everyday-for-an-hour-or-more-marathon martyrs.
If you’d like to read a well-written article on the matter, with references and footnotes and all that official stuff, you can find it here.
But if you want to get the Coles notes version, here is what you want to know:
- Extensive cardio trains the body to store, not burn, fat as a protective back-up source of fuel.
- It breaks down precious muscle. You’ll lose the tone and shape of your body, and decrease your base metabolism, which could set you up for rapid fat gain later.
- It can wreak havoc on your hormones; increasing cortisol (your stress hormone), and decreasing thyroid hormones (your fat-burning regulator)
So, what should you do? If you are a die-hard cardio buff, try switching to high-intensity interval instead of steady-state cardio. Or else go lift some weights… which brings me to my next ground-breaking truth:
Truth #2: If you’re not aiming to get stronger, you’re in maintenance mode, not fat-burning mode
If you squeal with delight every time you look at yourself nekkid in the mirror, then just keep doin’ what you’re doin’ and rock on with yo’ bad self.
But if you’re aiming to lose fat, you gotta give your body a reason to change. You need to be constantly striving to get stronger, fitter, faster, better. Otherwise, you’re just going to maintain what you have.
And to prove my point, here is a video of one of my more recent heavy lifts of 135 lbs. That, and I want to show off my new red weightlifting shoes. Aren’t they pretty?
Truth #3: Eating a balanced diet could be sabotaging all your efforts in the gym
HUH?!? Did you read that right! You bet your bottom dollar ya did!
Alright. Eating a balanced diet is healthy and good for you. I will admit that. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with eating balanced.
It’s just not gonna help you lose fat.
Certain foods that we consider healthy, such as fruits, whole-grains, and dairy, can sometimes prevent fat-loss, partly because it can inhibit the regulation of the hormone insulin, which is a critical hormone that controls fat loss.
Many of us have a less-than-optimal insulin function. And the more dysfunctional it is, the stricter we need to be with our diet to get the desired result.
How do we regulate our insulin? Eat plenty of foods that do not spike insulin. In other words, eat lots of vegetables and some animal protein with healthy fats. Cut down (or even eliminate) grains, fruit, and dairy.
If you would like to read more about it, I’d recommend the “Paleo Diet” by Dr. Loren Cordain as a great starter. It’s an easy read and pretty informative, too.
*Disclaimer: there is a small percentage of you that can make teeny, tiny changes to your diet and still get great results. Like, instead of eating two bowls of ice cream every night, you cut down to one. And the fat falls off you like melted butter. And if you’re one of those girls…. well, I think I hate you – and by the way, why the heck do you need to be reading this article, anyway? Sheesh.
But for the rest of us normal gals, we have to make some serious changes to get the results we want.
Well, there you have it. Some new truths to arm yourselves next time you hit the gym.
And if you’ve been guilty of any of the above, that’s okay! Just get off the treadmill, lift some weights and replace your banana smoothie with a steak. And then share in the comments below what difference that’s made for you.
In health and high heels,
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