Thursday, May 27, 2010

Why Longer Workouts Can Defeat Your Weight Loss Goals

Why workout longer? Just workout smarter. Longer is not necessarily better.

Here is what I see happening:
• Working out longer at moderate intensity causes your body to solely utilize the glycogen energy system - or in plain English, makes you use carbs for fuel.
• As you get more fit, you become more efficient at burning glycogen (carbs) for fuel, which means you can go longer without using as much energy.
• This creates a vicious cycle of having to workout longer as you get more fit and lose more weight.
• And the harder and longer you workout the more you need to consume refined carbohydrate foods to replenish your depleted glycogen levels so you can keep up your “fitness” regimen.
• The more refined carbohydrate foods you take in the more your insulin spikes and eventually can lead to insulin insensitivity.
• Insulin insensitivity can cause weight gain, obesity, diabetes and even heart disease.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that you stop doing long duration exercises at moderate intensities all together…just that you decrease the frequency and change up your durations, intensities and activities more often. I think doing longer duration exercises once or twice a week is more than sufficient. This way you have plenty of time to recover and replenish your glycogen levels without having to resort to consuming refined carbohydrate foods to keep your energy up.

I also recommend doing more short duration high intensity activities. It is simply the best way to burn fat and get lean. Also, shorter duration prevents your body from having to dip into the glycogen storage as much, making it much easier to replenish after working out. This will allow you to keep eating unrefined carbohydrate foods without worrying about not having enough energy to workout.

High intensity short workouts also promotes more efficient fat utilization by increasing your metabolism, so you can burn more calories throughout the day.

Try and keep yourself moderately active throughout the day. Park far away from the door at work, the store, etc, use the stairs instead of the elevator, do some walking, etc. By sitting 2 hours less a day, you can burn an additional 350 calories or a pound of fat in less than 10 days.

Here is a quick summary:
• Decrease the frequency of longer duration exercises to once or twice a week.
• If your body requires you to consume refined carbohydrate foods in order to refuel and keep up your fitness regimen, you’re doing too much.
• You should be able to eat unrefined carbohydrates and have plenty of energy to perform the activities/workouts.
• It’s better to workout shorter at higher intensities if you want to lose fat, get lean and achieve optimum health.
• Implement as much low level activity, such as walking, as part of your daily activity in addition to short intense workouts to really accelerate your fat burning capabilities.

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