Big Fat Mistake 5:
Is Exercise Making You Fat?
Most people don’t recognize that the actual caloric burn of aerobic exercise is relatively minimal. In fact, “Burning off” calories through exercise is not the best way to burn fat and could even wind up making you fatter.
An hour on the treadmill burns off about eight Oreo cookies. Brutal.
Many people exercise constantly, experience cravings as a result, eat a ton, and never lose weight. For most people, it doesn’t matter how much they exercise if their diet sucks: the weight will catch up with them.
The good news is that you don’t need to grind it out on the Stairmaster or powerlift all day to achieve spectacular results. Simply following the right diet will achieve 80% of your results.
When it comes to getting lean and fit, your body responds to quality over quantity. Overtraining reduces your body’s ability to burn fat and, to add insult to injury, catabolizes muscle. This applies to both frequency and duration of exercise. Growth hormone and testosterone begin to decrease and muscle wasting increases after 60 minutes of weight training.
Exercise is only beneficial up to a point, after which you start wasting muscle instead of building it, retaining fat instead of burning it, and increasing the release of stress hormones that throw your metabolism out of whack.
Combining heavy strength training with heavy endurance training also compromises results – strength training sends the muscle an adaptive signal to become bigger and stronger and more efficient using glucose for fuel, while endurance training sends a signal to become more energy efficient and use more fat as fuel. So don’t expect to get ripped if you are training for a marathon.
The key to burning fat is to find an activity you like and engage in it often.
Active, unstructured fun is an integral component of overall health and a balanced lifestyle. Recreational activities such as tennis, swimming, water-skiing, Ultimate Frisbee, and motorcycle riding totally count as exercise, as do walking, cycling, gardening, hiking, and performing manual labor.
Find a way to integrate activity into your daily life. Simply by leading active lifestyles, it’s not uncommon for people to burn more calories through their daily activity than through structured, results-oriented exercise. This could include commuting to work and doing errands on foot or by bicycle, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing gardening and yard work, or walking briskly when you need some time to think. These seemingly small lifestyle adjustments add significantly to results.
You’ll discover which foods help you burn fat more than exercise coming up very shortly in the e-course – and the answers will surprise you. In the meantime…
Abel James, Drinker of Mountain Fountains
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