Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Over Exercising Decreases Your Results

Many people have heard that diet and exercise are the keys to achieving your weight loss and health goals. While this statement is true, there are many differences in opinion as to how much exercise is required and what type of exercise you should be doing.

Many people tend to rely on a scale to measure their goals to achieving a healthier lifestyle, however this is a very bad indicator!! When you step on a scale (especially if you're measuring your body weight more than once a week) you are measuring the weight of your muscle, fat, and water retention as well. However many people don't realize is that muscle weighs more than fat. So in fact, if you're building muscle with your workout your weight may actually not change or it may increase if you rely on a scale. Muscle is also where your body's metabolism lies, so if you're trying to lose fat and be healthier you must build your muscles to reach your goals. This means weight lifting and using your body to perform natural movements.

People that are exercising and noticing a drop in weight may actually be losing excess water or they may actually be losing muscle mass and thus lowering their metabolism. Short term the dropping scale numbers may make you feel good, but over the long term you are decreasing your metabolism and making it much easier to put on weight later on. This is why people that tend to reduce calorie intake and cut down on eating while dieting tend to have a much easier time gaining the weight after their diet.

In a recent study from the University of Copenhagen, researchers found that in comparing exercise times and intensity it was essential to make sure that you weren't exercising for long of a period of time. They found that in comparing 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise there wasn't a significant difference, however past studies have found that exercising for longer periods of time actually tends to decrease your results and expenditures.

So what can we take from this?
1. Don't rely on a scale. Take measurements around arms, legs, hips, and waist on a weekly to bi-weekly basis if you really want to measure fat loss.
2. Don't cut your calories. Your body will decrease its metabolism and these changes may cause it to be easier to gain weight later on.
3. Make sure to build muscle while exercising. This will ensure you're effecting your metabolism in a positive light and keep bone density more stable.
4. Keep exercise around 30 minutes daily and try to vary your workout so that you're building muscle in different parts of your body rather than one area. Don't be scared to add some cardio a few times a week rather than weight lifting. Your workout will have better effects if its varied and keeps your body guessing.

If you'd like more personalized recommendations, feel free to setup a consultation in my office to get some advice on how to reach your health goals. Give us a call at (309) 689-6200!