When Exercise Backfires

If you ask me what the worst, most destructive weight loss myth is, I would say it’s the ‘eat less, exercise more’ mantra.

Guys, this mantra sucks. Weight loss is not linear like that.

We know for one that when we eat fewer calories than we need to function, our metabolism slows.

And today I want to address the ‘exercise more’ part of that saying. Our society loves the more is better mentality, and we regularly applaud people who clock in 2+ hours in the gym daily.

But let me tell you what happens when you do too much exercise: you basically put your body in a permanent fight or flight mode. Your system acts the same as if it were being chased by a tiger or in grave danger. There are two major ways this can sabotage weight loss: first, your levels of the stress hormone cortisol are jacked way up, causing you to store fat around your middle. Secondly, because your body is under duress and eating/digesting is the last of its priorities, it can cause you to hold onto a little more fat than optimal as an easy-access energy source. Think about it; if your body doesn’t know when it’s next going to be able to relax and eat, it will store some extra.

The message in all of this is I guess is to say that if you’re spending hours running on a treadmill or doing too much high-intensity training week after week, there’s a reason why you might not be getting the results you want. More is not better.

So let’s instead consider the mantra ‘eat better, exercise smarter’. The perfect exercise routine for you is one that engages you mentally, excites you, and challenges you but only to that sweet spot where you feel invigorated, not burnt out. I know it’s hard to believe that swapping some of your workouts for more low-intensity activities like barre or yoga would be less fat burning because you’re not torching calories, but it’s about what the effects of these activities have on your hormones. Experiment with a mix of intensities and pay attention to what combination gives you the body you want.
And then own it unapologetically. No one feels threatened by the girl doing back to back treadmill sessions if they themselves feel fan-freakingtastic.

Got a question for me? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to email me jennazoe@foodstolove.co.uk

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