3 Min Read
How to Exercise Less and Finally Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals
Have you ever looked at someone busting their butt on the treadmill and think to yourself, "How is that person still so jiggly around the middle?" Maybe that someone is you!
The dirty little secret in the fitness industry is that weight loss comes mainly from a dietary change, and only about 20% of results are due to exercise. Most people grinding away on the Stairmaster aren't there for a sexy backside. They want to burn calories!
So, are we telling you to ditch the gym and start crunching on a stalk of kale? Of course not. Would exchanging your midnight pizza delivery for intermittent fasting make a difference? Absolutely! But we're not here to talk about diet today.
Feeling the burn
All that time on the treadmill, stair machine, or rower blasting out the cardio is less effective than you think. Keep in mind that the more you weigh, the faster you'll burn those calories. That's why your weight loss plateaus quickly during cardio exercises.
Here's a handy guide to how long it takes to burn off some of your favorite "healthy" foods:
- Small bowl of cornflakes in 2% milk (172 calories) = 31-minute brisk walk or a 16-minute run
- Bagel with cream cheese (386 calories) = 51-minute hike
- 6-inch Subway Club sandwich (252 calories) = 46-minute brisk walk or a 24-minute run
- Single-cup of granola (597 calories) = 90 minutes of boxing
- Cobb salad with two tablespoons of ranch dressing (760 calories) = 120 minutes of aerobics
What happens if you decide to go out for dinner?
- Chips and queso (740 calories) = swimming for 130 minutes
- Five Guys cheeseburger (840 calories) = 9.44-mile brisk walk
- Two slices of Little Caesars pepperoni pizza (560 calories) = cycle for 60 minutes
- Outback Bloomin Onion (1,954 calories) = walk for 21.96 miles
That's a lot of sweat and tears just to maintain your baseline weight. If you want to lose weight, you'll need to go much, much farther. Oh yeah, we almost forgot to mention, cardio results in cravings and a need to eat more. Do you see how you might be doing it all wrong?
Why we exercise
Now that you know that exercising to burn calories is a ridiculous waste of energy, why should you still hit the gym regularly?
Exercise should be about achieving hormonal and metabolic changes that maximize fat burning and build muscle. Think about training as you would medicine. The correct dosage heals, while an overdose can be fatal.
The goal of your workout regimen should be to maximize the positive effects without reaching the point of diminishing returns. The optimal dosage is short bursts of intense exercise and resistance training a few days per week.
Model the experts
Did you happen to watch the track and field events at the Tokyo Olympics? What athletes do you think looked the healthiest - marathoners or sprinters? Marathon runners are emaciated and gaunt, while sprinters look like the Greek Gods of Olympic lore.
Running or training for a marathon knocks your hormones out of balance and unloads stress hormones on your system. As a result, your body is in constant recovery and fat storage mode. It doesn't know what's coming next, so it prepares for the worst.
For us regular guys pounding away on the treadmill, what we're doing is sending the signal to our bodies to become more efficient. In the weight loss world, efficiency equals a lack of progress.
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) signals that your body needs to adapt by becoming bigger and stronger. These muscles need more fuel and burn glucose instead of fat. Interval training prevents us from storing more fat. The most significant step to losing weight is to stop gaining it.
Endurance training turns glucose into stored fat to fight the starvation response and metabolic slowdown. Ever see how many carbs a marathon runner consumes the night before a race? What's he doing? He's storing glucose as fat to use during the race.
If you're questioning how your body might respond to losing the hours of daily cardio, try a simple A/B test.
Do two weeks of HIIT training and monitor your energy levels after your workout. Keep a log including everything consumed during that week, your appetite after exercising, and the number on the scale. Then, complete the same procedure doing cardio for another two weeks.
The numbers should be all the proof you need.
Anther. Male wellness where it counts.