Visit most big box stores or franchised gyms and you’ll be hard pressed to find an open piece of “cardio” equipment...or whatever is the “shiny” new object of the moment. And this was true even before COVID.
The marketing of such facilities does an outstanding job of making us believe that “cardio” is the primary way to drop pounds. After all, the cardio machines keep a running count of the calories you’ve burned...like exercise is a video game and the goal is to get the highest score. The BIGGER PROBLEM is the idea that the number of “calories burned” in your workout is the deciding factor in weight loss.
Same is true for the HIIT type workouts...which involve LOTS of burpees, weight swinging, box jumps, thrusters, and skater hops.
And please don’t misunderstand me, I get the benefits of both workouts. We should take care of our heart, lungs, blood vessels...increase our aerobic fitness and work capacity. BUT at what cost?
How the Human Body FIGHTS BACK:
• Workouts that use a lot of energy often stimulate our appetite and not only replace the calories burned, but you may even eat more!
• Thanks to a phenomenon, moral licensing, it’s easy to convince yourself that enduring long, tedious, “beat down” workouts means you can eat anything you want.
• The longer or harder the workout, most likely, the less movement you’ll do outside the gym while you’re recovering. That compensatory decrease in non-exercise activity can NEGATE the calories burned during the workout.
Diet and exercise are DIFFERENT tools with DIFFERENT strengths. When it comes to losing fat, the food you eat (or don’t eat) is A LOT more important than what you do in the gym or your living room.
And human metabolism is way too COMPLEX to allow you to manipulate one aspect of it without affecting other aspects.
The TRUTH is...we actually burn more calories after a weight training session with adequate load because we’re tearing down muscle which requires caloric expenditure to RECOVER.
Skeptical? Try it for yourself this week! I encourage you to compare your cardio workout and your strength training session, taking note of any differences you might feel. How fast do your muscles recover? How hungry are you afterwards?
Let me know how it goes and what comes up for you. I’d love to hear! Together, we can IMPROVE our strength, muscle and movement quality, endurance, and work capacity. And all will contribute to a longer and healthier life!
Dedicated to your health and longevity,