Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I have noticed a lot of people posting lately that have mentioned that they are not losing weight, even though they are doing multiple hours of "cardio" each week. I'm assuming they mean treadmill, step class, spinning, etc., and some mention that they will go non-stop for an hour or more.

Is it possible that too much exercise could be your problem? This may fly in the face of conventional thinking, but I read something interesting in Dr. Atkins' Age Defying Diet Revolution on pages 227-228:


If mild exercise is good and moderate exercise is better, does that make heavy exercise the best? Precisely the opposite. Aside from increasing the chances of an injury, heavy exercise makes you produce an overabundance of free radicals, has a detrimental effect on your immune system, and makes you release more of the damaging stress hormone cortisol. That's why I don't recommend running or jogging as exercise. Swimming, walking, yoga, and other slower, gentler activities - even housework - when done regularly, have just as beneficial an effect on your body without all the extra wear and tear.

Cortisol is the hormone that packs on the pounds in the abdomen.

He also recommends cardio and resistance training, as long as it is not overly strenuous.

When I walk, I have been trying to make sure my heart rate stays between 121 and 138, for the aerobic benefits. That's 60-70% of my maximum heart rate of 173. At first, I was getting up to 160, which was 92%, which is in the "Red Line" zone, and probably dangerous for a person who is out of shape, not to mention the things that Dr. Atkins pointed out above. To read more about this, right click here.

It was tempting, though, because I thought that the faster I walked, and the faster my heart beat, the more calories I burned off. And that's good, right? But it can be counterproductive, as Dr. Atkins mentions. The last thing I need is to overproduce cortisol!

This is not the only place I have read this. Diane Schwarzbein also spoke about it in her books on nutrition.

Something to think about.

This is a program that shows research that non-stop, intensive cardio is counterproductive for health and weight loss.

Far from being anti-exercise, this program gives a step by step program for using cardio in a more healthy way, and using calisthenics to build muscle rather than weight lifting. It also incorporates increasing intensity, but not non-stop intensity like many people are doing.

One of the things I like about it is that it shows how although traditional "cardio" supposedly burns off calories the more you do it, this program shows how doing cardio the right way burns off more calories after you are finished, in other words, while you are resting! It also promotes spending far less time in the gym, which is something that appeals to people who just don't have the time to spend an hour or more in the gym every day doing "cardio" and weight lifting!

I found the research fascinating, and I have just started this program, so we'll see how it goes!

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