People, especially potential clients often ask us about the need to do more exercise or how much cardio activity is needed. Over the years we have become wary of this question. If you’re asking because you want to lose weight then you may be disappointed.
The example we often offer is our own personal training in preparation for marathons and even ultra marathons. The amount of cardio we do building up to a 4 to 8 hour race is…a lot… yet our body fat levels don’t change much. So if we don’t lose weight from hundreds of hours of cardio we must be eating a lot more right? Nope.
You see the human body reduces your metabolic rate after it has been required to burn body fat for fuel. As well, your ability to convert food calories into body fat increases after activity – activity which caused you to go into what is technically known as “lipolysis” (fat burning – https://biologydictionary.net/lipolysis/ ). Finally you also receive chemical signalling in the hours and days after activity to increase your appetite.
In other words you are perfectly designed to expend energy without losing body fat. You can restrict the amount you eat to below what you burned BUT if your activity isn’t heavy weightlifting which stimulates muscle growth…then a quarter to a half of the weight you will lose is just water and muscle which further slows your metabolism.
Anyone past about 38 years old will find it next to impossible to lose body fat let alone keep it off through cardio activity. You have stopped growing and are slowly losing your metabolically active muscle. Additionally you probably have more responsibilities and find less time to be active in general.
Next post – what to do?
Be well, be strong,
Andrew and Tierney