Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cardio could actually be making you fatter!

Cardio could actually be making you fatter!

Okay, let’s clear one thing up here.

I have nothing at all against aerobic training. I have no vested interest in writing it off.In fact, you may see me jogging at Lost Mountain Park or up and down Acworth Due West Rd. I do this for pleasure NOT for rapid fatloss results.

A quick recap on my background, I’m a personal trainer and my mission is to help individuals permanently take control of their health and their lives by
empowering them to nourish their bodies and develop effective exercise plans.

I consider myself a great motivator whose approach is heavily focused on metabolism-boosting to help my clients turn their bodies into fat-burning machines.

You’re bound to have some misconceptions and resistance to change so let’s look at some of the most common ones:

1- I’ve never seen a fat runner:
I’ve never seen one that looks healthy either!
Question. Who’s leaner-a long distance runner or a sprinter? You’d bet it was the one that did the most cardio right? NOPE. That’s a NOPE. Sprinters- who never run longer than 30 seconds at a time are much the leaner of the two athletes. We’ll look at why later.

2- But Cardio Burns Calories:
Yep, I won’t argue with this, steady state cardio DOES burn calories WHILE you’re doing it, but what about the other 23 hours of the day when you’re not exercising. This is where we’re falling down. Other types of exercise can burn calories LONG after training

3-What about the fat burning zone?
Total myth. FULL stop.
Okay the fat burning zone is a concept that states that the body, your body will become more efficient at burning fat. Sounds great huh? Well actually, it’s the opposite. Think about it, if your car is efficient at burning fuel, doesn’t that mean it burns less?

So why would we choose an exercise that means we end up using LESS fuel.
You see the ONLY tissue in the body that can BURN fat is MUSCLE. Aerobic exercise actually DECREASES muscle mass.

So the very thing that keeps your metabolism high and your body burning calories ALL DAY LONG, is the very thing that you're losing- Skinny runners anyone?

I’ll quickly explain how this works:

The longer we engage in higher-level aerobic activities, such as those typically included in a workout, the more we secrete a nasty little group of hormones called 'glucocorticoids', with the stress hormone 'cortisol' chief amongst them.
One of the lesser-known qualities of cortisol is that it is catabolic in nature, meaning that it breaks down muscle tissue along with fat in order to metabolise this stored energy for immediate fuel.

Why is this bad?

Well, it's our muscles that give shape and definition to our bodies. If we lose muscle faster than we lose fat, then proportionately we're fatter, even if the scales tell us we're several pounds lighter! In a society that places a higher priority on what we weigh, this is a difficult concept to grasp, but nevertheless it's true just the same.

So what do we need to do?

Well,apart from the resistance work that I always talk about.

There is also anaerobic exercise- Basically, the opposite of aerobics.

Anaerobics are activities that are carried out 'without oxygen' (note: in anaerobic exercise we're never truly without oxygen, it's just that oxygen cannot meet the demand of the activity) and involve higher-intensity, shorter-duration bursts of activity to produce the training effect.

Some of the benefits of this type of training include:
Massively increased metabolism,
Shorter, more effective workouts
Higher calorie consumption
It is anabolic in nature, meaning it actually promotes lean tissue- remember the very thing we need to get and stay lean!

Try sprinting "as most of you know - my favorite" for 1 minute, recovering for 2 minutes repeating 6 times. You can do this on a bike, rower, treadmill, whatever you like.


• A 2004 diet study that shows a simple change can increase dietary compliance and fat loss (by 96%) -- (and it's not "eat less"!)

• A 1998 study that showed that the addition of 45 minutes of hard aerobic training, 5 times a week for twelve weeks - had no effect on fat loss

• A 2007 study - that showed the addition of 50 minutes of aerobic training, 5 times per week for six months - also had no effect on fat loss

• A 2008 study showing 40 mins of aerobic exercise three times per week for 15 weeks actually resulted in the participants gaining fat!

• A study from 1994 showed a specific cardio training method that actually reduced body fat (actual skinfold measurements) nine times more than traditional cardio training -- despite taking less time, and actually burning less calories per session!

• Another study (1999) showed that the addition of a specific resistance training program increased fat loss by 35% over diet and aerobic training.

• That same study also showed that 3 aerobic sessions of up to 50 mins, for 12 weeks (36 sessions) only increased fat loss by one pound over dieting alone

• A 2002 study on metabolic resistance training-type approach to training - and showed an elevation of metabolism for 38 hours post workout.

Please feel free to post any comments: