Training regularly, watching your food intake, trying to eat a good diet, but the weight stays the same, or gets worse? Sound familiar? The truth is you can train for 20 hours a week, eat a healthy, nutritious diet and yet continue to grow ever fatter.
Why is this and what can be done about it? If your training consists of steady state cardio and little else (true for perhaps the majority of the exercising public), then you have probably reached a plateau and you won’t encourage the body to change unless you change your approach because the body has an inbuilt mechanism called homeostasis which seeks to maintain the internal status quo and keeps putting you back where you were.
The solution to this problem is to jolt the body out of its comfort zone with a mix of resistance training and high intensity cardio, whilst allowing plenty of time to recover in between – this can include active recovery in the form of low (NOT STEADY) intensity aerobic exercise like walking or GENTLE swimming or LIGHT jogging. Make sure the body is fully recovered before undertaking another session where you push your limits. Judge the success of a session not by duration, but by intensity achieved, even if only for a few seconds. This forces the body into radical adaptation. We develop stronger muscles, including the heart, which is a muscle like any other.
As our muscle mass increases, our body fat diminishes and our basal metabolic rate rises. This means that we burn more calories at rest than previously. So if we continue to eat the same as before, we will lose our body fat.
I currently have personal training clients who are following individualised programmes designed around these principles, taking into account their particular circumstances, and getting some great results.
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