“Backyard cricket or 50 burpees….hmmm I know what I’d prefer!”
My wife has just started doing yoga recently.
Not for weight loss or anything.
It’s just that since #2 came along she wanted to do something to feel good about herself.
And she loves it, which is great.
…since she has started her appetite has gone through the roof…particularly for sweets.
She has never been a big eater.
But now she is polishing off blocks of chocolate, eating cereal every morning, finishing her dinner and having dessert most nights.
I’ll come home to find she has polished off a box of maltesers, tim tams or whatever else was lying around. (Think I gotta start hiding my chocolate!)
But at the same time disappointed there is never any leftovers now haha
She has now started noticing a bit of weight gain.
This got me thinking about how common this is when people start “Working Out” and why I think exercising to lose fat isn’t the most effective way to go about it.
Back in 2009, I got in the best shape of my life eating whatever I wanted after struggling for over 7 years previous with strict fad diets.
However I was also doing brutally intense 15-30 min workouts everyday.
I thought it worked so well I ran a bootcamp for 2 years doing so.
But as life got busier.
I got married
a busy stressful job
and niggling injuries…
I managed to maintain a much better body than I did in my early 20s (averaging 5-10kg lighter), however I never had my 6 pack. I was comfortable and didn’t really care though.
The thing was, I was still training hard when I had the time…or could be bothered. (Lets face it, training until you are on the verge of passing out doesn’t exactly make you leap out of bed with excitement to get after it everyday)
But I noticed that I was binge eating more than ever. Like at least 4 times a week, oftentimes every night.
What I have only now realized is that these intense workouts left me….
…And with a much more ravenous appetite!
So after an intense morning workout and a full day at work, I would get home absolutely knackered trying to keep up with 2 kids who have been waiting all day for me to get home and play with them!
So what did I do?
I did what any normal man would.
And a banana wont suffice. I was tired and hungry.
I needed to carbo-load!
So I ate and ate and ate.
Because once I start I cant stop.
So for 4-5 years I was just spinning my wheels. Working out hard, only to binge most nights offsetting the work I had done.
Now here’s the deal….
At best those intense “Fat Burning” workouts would burn 400-500 calories. But they stimulated my appetite and left me so drained that I would end up eating much much more than that.
It wasn’t until I had a hip injury which I hobbled on for 18 months before getting the surgery, then doing very little for the next year…
That it practically FORCED me to stop relying on exercise to stay in shape.
Instead I simply focused on eating less to create that deficit.
And you know what?
I got back into the best shape I have been in, in 6 years. (Not as lean but perhaps my best shape ever.)
The best part is by eating less instead of “burning” it off with exercise it…
- Enabled me to get a much better grip on my bingeing as I didn’t have dramatic energy crashes or spikes in my appetite
- Gave me more energy to keep up with 2 kids
- Maintained muscle and improved strength. I lost so much muscle in 2009 doing circuit stuff to get lean that friends thought I was sick. (Probably because my head looked too big for my body haha)
- Freed me from being “Addicted to exercise”. Let’s face it, the majority of people who transform themselves through exercise don’t do it in moderation, they become obsessed which is unhealthy (and then they become personal trainers and expect their clients to do the same!)
Here’s the problem as I see it:
People OVER ESTIMATE how much they burn exercising, and UNDERESTIMATE how much they eat.
The amount of calories you burn is minuscule.
It actually causes you to be less active for a period of time afterward until you return to normal
..and it stimulates your appetite (which if you are like me is a bad thing!).
If you are overweight it’s because you eat too much so it’s best to combat that instead of trying to make up for it by exercising more. Intense workouts, due to appetite stimulation may be counter-productive, causing many of us to eat more than we initially burnt off, offsetting all the hard work we have done.
Am I saying to not exercise?
Of course not.
What I am saying is don’t rely on it for weight loss.
Let the “eating less” take care of that.
This will free you up to embrace and enjoy moving more.
You should exercise for…
- Stress relief
- Bonding with your kids.
Not because it’s a necessity to lose weight. That sucks the fun out of it, gives exercise a negative connotation and screws up your whole mindset towards enjoying movement and exercise like we were meant to.
Exercise should be fun and enjoyable…never a chore!
Here is my whole approach to weight loss…
….Lose weight by eating whatever you want and creating a “Weekly” calorie deficit. By doing it weekly it gives you flexibility to eat more on days where you want to whether for dinners, social gatherings, or just feel really hungry etc
…Save most of your calories for the time in the day where you want to eat the most (So you can still eat BIG meals)
…Do some basic, strength training 3 times a week for health, muscle and strength
…Don’t do formal exercise to burn fat but look to get more active in your leisure. Walk, join a social sports team, box, martial arts, do something you enjoy or have always wanted to try and play with your kids with more intensity and undivided attention (and not like it’s a chore with 1 eye on your phone)
Eat less to lose weight.
Move more for fun and health.
All the best,