Au contraire to what conventional “wisdom” is telling us when it comes to exercise LESS IS MORE. I’ve fallen in the trap of trying to exercise more to lose my extra weight which doesn’t work at all. This I know since I’ve tried it for years not understanding what I was doing wrong since all I was hearing was exercise more…
First off diet determines 80% of what you look like so if you’re eating crap which I did and exercising 5 times a week nothing is going to happen. So start with checking out my post on eating for a healthy life. What’s more you are actually doing harm to your body exercising that much. I was at the gym wearing my body out instead of building it up. Chronic Cardio as Mark Sisson calls it is equally harmful. Exercising at a high a heart rate (more than 75% of your max pulse) day in and day out causes unnecessary stress on your body. This leads to hormone imbalance, injuries and burning sugar instead of fat and thus needing to replenish sugar which we don’t want. What I’ve learned instead from looking at the primal or hunter-gatherer way of exercising which we were built for is:
- Engage in physical activity (not exercise!) often. This includes walking, hiking, biking at a leisurly pace, swimming, playing and so on. This should be done at between 55-75% of your max pulse which means it should be EASY (you can talk, only breaking a slight sweat and feeling energized after). More and than that and it’s probably over 75%. Try to get 2-5 hours a week. This leads to improved cardiovascual function, improved musculoskeletal system, stronger immune system and increased energy.
- Lift heavy weights now and then. Use a a few basic movements such as squats, military press, chest press, dead lift, pull up, push up and plank. No need to use all the machines at the gym which only exercise one muscle at a time (unnatural). You want to engage most of the body so free weights are best. 30 min once or twice a week is enough.
- Sprint sometimes. Do interval training every 7 -10 days or so. The sessions should be conducted sporadically when your motivation and energy is high. Sprint all out for 8- 20 seconds and then rest inbetween. repeat a couple of times.
That’s it! No need to “put in” more time at the gym or on the tread mill. You will only be doing your body harm. Focus instead on finding and doing physical activities that you enjoy and HAVE FUN.