Losing weight is a very common goal -- trouble is, many people don't know how to shed pounds in a healthy, sustainable way. They reduce their calories, and up their cardio, only to be disappointed when they don't see dramatic results.
The metabolism is at the heart of all weight loss goals and if it is not functioning properly, you won't meet those goals.
A bad diet is a hormonal nightmare for your metabolism. Whether you are eating too few calories or still binging on junk food, it needs to be addressed.
Why you can't out train a bad diet
The metabolic, hormonal and biochemical environments in the body govern weight control and are meant to work as a team. When one of these elements is out of sync, the others will not be able to function properly. More often than not, this type of dysfunction will stop your weight loss in its tracks.
Feeling panicked by this stall, most people compensate by increasing their level of exercise. Unfortunately, after a certain point in the process, more exercise does very little to help. It will not "reset" your system and will only make you feel exhausted without having any impact on your hormones or your metabolism. This is especially true for those who are overweight.
In overweight people, high doses of exercise can trigger compensation methods that work against their efforts.
Compensation and fat hoarding
When you add more exercise to your life, your body makes hormonal and biochemical adaptations. Adding too much can trigger a "fat hoarding" response in the body.
We know that when we dramatically restrict our calorie intake, our body starts to panic and holds on to fat to use as an energy source during times of scarcity. The same thing happens with excessive cardio. This means that your body will start to use lean muscle tissue as an energy source in place of fat.
Aside from these adaptations in the body, when you overexercise, you increase your risk for injury. And if you are working so hard and not seeing any fat loss, you are bound to become disengaged from your routine and quite understandably, your motivation will take a big hit.
Why work so hard if exercise doesn't work? The problem isn't exercise -- the problem is how
you exercise and what
you are eating.
The faulty focus on calorie burning
In a rather unfair twist of fate, the issues mentioned above are more pronounced in overweight individuals. Instead of focusing on the number of calories burned during exercise, one should play closer attention to syncing the hormonal and metabolic systems.
When trying to correct your metabolism, the type of exercise you do is important. Cardio, unfortunately, is not the answer.
A new fat-burning path
To put things simply: do less cardio, lift more weights. In fact, traditional bodybuilding techniques are the most effective form of exercise when it comes to correcting metabolic and hormonal functioning.
Don't just focus on the amount of weight you are lifting, think about the number of reps you are doing. T-Nation suggests, for example, doing "15-20 reps per set with low-rep strength sets sprinkled in."
When it comes to losing weight, lifting weights is absolutely vital. (Need strength training gear
, we've got you covered!) There is no need to be afraid of the weight room. You will not walk out of there looking like the Incredible Hulk. But, with a little time, and a little effort, you will walk out there a fat-burning machine.
Have you added weight training to your routine and lost more weight? Tell us about it!