A lot of the time, when people start planning their weight loss journey, they focus too much on exercise without really knowing if what they are planning on doing is going to be any good for them.
Although for the majority of people working out will support their weight loss efforts, for a fairly large portion of the population (especially menopausal women) this isn’t always true.
Over the past few weeks I have been talking to a lot of women going through their midlife. They all said that they were making the most of the lockdown by ramping up their exercise efforts and doing HIIT workouts but they weren’t seeing any results.
This frustrates them and makes them want to give up on exercise altogether.
The main issue here is that, like diets, most workouts will be beneficial to everyone “straight out of the box” but will soon stop giving results if your metabolism doesn’t like them.
In fact, in some cases, the same workouts backfire in spectacular fashion and instead of helping you balance your metabolism they upset it to the point where you start gaining weight instead of losing it.
You see the metabolism is non-linear and unpredictable.
Therefore you can rely on it to be unreliable when it comes to calculating the effects of exercise on your calories expenditure for the day.
The most popular way to try and predict the effect of exercise on your calories expenditure is the same model used by most online calories counters.
You take the calories you need to survive on a day to day basis (BMR = Basal Metabolic Rate), then you add the calories that you consume and then you subtract what you burn through exercise to create a deficit.
Your BMR is 2,000 KCal / day
You eat 2,000 KCal
Intake from food 2,000 KCal – BMR 2,000 KCal = 0 –> nothing changes, your weight remains the same.
If you then subtract a further 500 KCal from exercise you expect to end up with a negative balance.
Except it doesn’t always work like that.
Recent research shows that for some people the metabolism follows a constrictive model, i.e. when you burn 500 KCal exercising it reduces the BMR by 3-400 KCal, so in reality you have only created a 1-200 KCal deficit.
You can easily wipe this out by eating an extra spoon of almond butter or a portion of crisps.
KCal in = 2000 – BMR 1600 = 400 KCal – Exercise 500 = -100 KCal deficit
You can read the research here (it’s a free article): https://buff.ly/2z13AWk
But wait! There’s more… 😉
For some people the metabolism throws a different curveball: when they exercise it makes them crave highly palatable foods rich in salt, sugar, fats and even alcohol. In other words, exercise drives them to overeat.
Another recent study carried out on post-menopausal women who took part in intense aerobic workouts showed that although all of them experienced changes in body composition, over a quarter of participants gained weight as a result of exercising.
This was the result of the combined effect of the metabolism working in a constrictive way plus overeating.
These women would have been better off NOT exercising at all!
You can read the full study here (it’s another free article): https://buff.ly/36VDwrT
These unexpected responses are usually the consequence of over exercising, so knowing what to do and when to stop exercising is key when planning your weight loss journey.
The worst type of exercise for weight loss, especially for women going through midlife, is long duration steady cardio because it can cause your hunger to increase.
And to be clear I am talking about running on the treadmill for hours, spending 10 minutes on every cardio machine your gym owns, or the usual cardio based classes you get at most gyms that last an hour or so.
Some of these classes will be advertised as HIIT and most people will sign up because they believe they will help them lose weight. Unfortunately, they simply go on for too long and, unless they are one part of a comprehensive exercise plan, they will hinder more than help.
But they are fun, I get it.
The trick is to be aware of the consequences and what issues they may arise if you take part so you are prepared.
To avoid triggering unwanted responses it’s best to stick with:
👉 short duration HIIT workouts (HIIT workouts will stimulate hunger after an hour or so)
👉 short duration but intense weight lifting sessions (these can also stimulate hunger)
👉 leisurely walking (this is more or less neutral in terms of increasing hunger)
Hope this doesn’t confuse matters too much 😎
As always if you need support with creating a personalised plan that will work for you simply reach out.
My 12 week coaching program will help you reclaim control of your body, stop the middle age spread so you feel ageless as you enter the best years of your life yet.
I will help you understand what’s keeping you stuck in a place where you are unhappy and how you can manage your metabolism so you can finally see the results you want and feel confident.
It’s all about reinventing your life through little changes that can have a big impact.
It all starts with a chat.
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