As I said yesterday, I've posted this before and thought it'd be a good time to repost....

Yesterday we discussed the idea of calories and about how eating less calories does not lead to permanent weight loss.

Today I'm going to discuss the ideas behind exercise for weight loss.

The prevailing theory again is based on calories.  If we burn more calories then we intake we should lose body fat.  Again, that ideas seems simple, but it just simply isn't true.

Your body has a set point weight that it thinks it should be.  For people who carry excess body fat, that set point is set higher then it should be.  When we exercise based on calories, the idea of running or "cardio" comes to mind, we do burn some excess calories.  If you run 3 miles you'll burn roughly 300 calories.  The deal with that again is the body adjusts accordingly, so if you're consistently running, the body will adapt to that stimulus.  It will adjust to burning those 300 calories and it'll adjust you to account for it.  It usually manifests itself into making you eat more or lowering your activity outside the workout in order to account for those 300 calories.  Your body is always trying to maintain homeostasis. 

The real issue at play for fat loss and muscle gain has to do with hormones.  Hormones control most things in the body and they act as regulators of body fat and muscle.  I will discuss the hormones in more detail over the next few articles but today I am addressing exercise. 

Here's the deal.....

It's not the amount of exercise that you do.  More exercise does not equal more fat loss.  It's the hormonal response to the exercise that matters.

What does that mean?  It means....

YOU DON'T NEED MORE CARDIO.

Whenever you exercise it is received as a stress on the body.  That stress if done properly is a good stress called Eustress.  Eustress creates a stress on the body that the body adapts to in a positive manner.

For example, studying for a test and stressing the brain is a eustress.  Exercise positively is a eustress.  You get the point.

With exercise you have to train within certain parameters for the body to not go into negative stress mode.  What I mean by that is if you train incorrectly it will increase your cortisol levels.  Cortisol is a stress hormone.  It's made for a fight or flight response.  When it's released our heart rate goes up, sugar is dumped from our liver into our blood stream and we are able to react to a potentially dangerous situation. This is very useful if we are running from a lion or about to get into a fight.  It's not so useful if we are trying to lose body fat and end up with chronically high cortisol levels.  When that happens we end up with stored body fat specifically around the mid section.  The exact opposite of the intent of exercise.

Long slow distance exercise such as running for long periods of time are notoriously known for creating elevated resting cortisol levels.  The reason why people lose weight initially while running is because it does burn some body fat but constant or long term exposure will cause a decline in body fat loss.

What about those people that run all the time and get really skinny or lose a bunch of weight? 

Usually the weight they lose is initally body fat, but then due to high cortisol levels they begin to lose muscle mass as well.  Since they are constantly training to do long slow distance, their body responds by making them lighter with smaller muscles, (think elite marathon runners #googleimagethat). The result there can actually lead to a small unhealthy person with who is skinny but what we call skinny fat with a high percentage of body fat relative to body weight.  It's not a healthy state to be in.

Let me be clear.  Not all running is bad.  I'm simply making a case against the hormonal response of lots of exposures of long slow distance running all the time.

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8-22-18

Strength:

Bench Press while resting complete sets of auxiliary work

MetCon:

250m row

Rest 1 min

10 rounds




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