Is fat loss your goal? Why your workout might not be as effective as you think. 

Gym’s, boutique studios, yoga hubs and Crossfit boxes are popping up all over town, and because of the variety, you have endless choice on how you want to burn fat, gain muscle and mobilise your body. 

But just how much is exercise is necessary for fat loss or even health? 

is fat loss your goal?

Going to do a class or a workout session has a lot of benefits, but if you’re looking for fat loss, you might be using the gym as an excuse to consume more calories than you would normally.  This is called compensatory behaviour: we’ve done our hours penance, so we deserve that brownie. We need the extra food. We ‘deserve’ to indulge. This is a problem for a few reasons. It gives us an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise – neither should be a reward or a punishment. If you hate lifting weights – don’t do it! Go to a Zumba class or maybe yoga. Compensatory eating is also very inaccurate. We have no idea really how many calories we burn, or how many calories are in a particular food. There are discrepancies in food labels, and differences in how every body burns calories and how much. 

Far healthier and more helpful to weight loss goals to incorporate activity that you enjoy, than kill yourself doing something you have just so you feel like you have ‘earned’ your meal. 

Another reason to skip the gym? Are you a fan of a lunchtime or early morning HIIT session? But if the rest of your day is spent at a desk or being sedentary, you may not be doing yourself any favours. Research has shown that there can be a ‘metabolic rebound’ effect, which simply means that if you are sedentary majority of the time, then take your body for a grueling workout, then go back to being sedentary, this can actually SLOW down metabolism. I know, this was news to me too. 

If this is the case for you, maybe rethink your work day HIIT class for a moderate pace walk, or even a low impact weights or yoga session. 

Lifestyle management

In these modern times, we are living with countless pressures and stressors – money, career, social, relationship, and added to the that the pressure of doing it all and making it look easy – oh, and capturing it all for Instagram. Naturally, majority of us are working at least at a moderate level of low-lying stress. A heavy workout, or training WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO, is only going to increase that stress. High impact training IS a physiological stressor on the body. It follows a U-shaped curve: too little, and the body doesn’t work optimally; too much and the same thing happens. 

Having chronic, ongoing stress has major implications, not only for weight and fat loss, but also for cardiovascular disease, anxiety and depression. 

Again, trying yoga, meditation, Pilates can help keep stress in check. 

My final message?  Keeping ACTIVE doesn’t necessarily need to mean the gym. Housework, walking, cleaning, going shopping, playing sport all play a role in keeping you healthy and keeping stress down. 

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Written by Ali Silver, to visit Ali's website click here