Fighting Calories With Cardio
Fighting calories with exercise.
A negative pattern that myself and many other trainers see quite frequently is clients eating crap calories then trying to "balance the equation" by doing a little more exercise.
These people end up both literally and figuratively running on a treadmill to stand still. I can see the logic. "I ate 300kcal of bad food so if I burn 300 kcal through machine cardio I wont get fat". Unfortunately this is flawed on many levels.
My hope here is not to rant, but to provide a little perspective for anyone who is caught in such a cycle. You may not see yourself here, but I bet you know someone who fits the bill. Please share with anyone you think can benefit from this post.
Reasons why this is an awful idea:
1. Hard training uses vital nutrients for energy production, controlling inflammation etc. Crap food does not provide these nutrients back to the body. In fact it further depletes them. Eating crap simply worsens the bodies ability to recover.
2. Food is supposed to be fuel for recovery from training. Training is not supposed to be the punishment for eating crap. The psychological relationship with both food and training is destructive here. It's never going to make you happy.
3. Eventually this pattern can lead to;
a. Adrenal fatigue
b. Thyroid problems
c. Sleep disorders
d. Depression - like symptoms (the symptoms of overtraining are notoriously similar to the symptoms of depression)
e. The plethora of secondary problems that the above conditions will then lead to.
4. Over (not very much) time, performance will drop, so training will never progress, injury will likely result and often even more training seems the only answer (which it is not).
If you find yourself in this destructive cycle. It may be advisable to try to get to the root of why you cheat and why you see more exercise as the answer. Every person is different but here are some solutions you may wish to explore.
1. Eat more good food. You will crave less, control craving and it's very hard to gain fat on vegetables, lean meats and smart fats.
2. If you want to train more you must consume more nutrients, not empty calories.
3. Track your performance in the gym. If you're getting weaker and slower whatever you're doing is not working and you need to reassess.
4. Track changes in body composition. If you are getting fatter or losing muscle you need to reassess what you're doing.