There is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to the best type of exercise for weight loss. It is commonly drilled into us that the more we exercise, the better.
And is cardio is the best way to lose weight? Nope!
We now know that there are so many other factors that come into play besides just calories in, calories out when it comes to weight loss. Hormones and stress are just as important and sometimes more significant when you are trying to lose weight and burn fat. Excessive cardio and overexercising can end up doing exactly the opposite of what you are trying to do - hault your weight loss progress, and actually cause you to hold onto fat.
Here are a few of the worst types of exercise for hormone balancing:
Why are these types of exercises not optimal?
Doing too much cardio or HIIT can actually slow down your metabolism and cause your weight loss to plateau. The more you do cardio, the more your body will adapt to that cardio - and you’ll need to keep doing that much to maintain your weight.
So, if and when you take a break from excessive cardio, you can end up gaining weight.
Excessive or intense exercise also increases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a key player when it comes to maintaining a healthy body weight - too much can cause weight gain. It can signal to your body to hold onto fat especially, around your midsection.
Elevated cortisol can make it almost impossible to lose fat or build muscle, not to mention it’ll disrupt your sleep, making it even harder to lose fat. Excessive cardio also signals to the body to burn muscle mass. Your body will want to get better at cardio and it does that by reducing muscle mass, since it’s so heavy. You lose healthy lean muscle tissue that is beneficial for your metabolism, causing a slow down in your metabolic rate. Excessive cardio can also lead to injury, doing more harm to your body than good.
Exercise, while usually a positive stressor, is still a stressor. And doing too much of the wrong kind leads to chronic stress, putting your body in a sympathetic state, resulting in improper digestion and a leaky gut.
If you are experiencing excessive bloating, fatigue, mood swings, or trouble concentrating, this could be a clue that your hormones are out of whack and it’s probably worth taking a look at your exercise routine.
In women, excess cortisol can mess with your reproductive hormones. When the body is producing too much cortisol, hormones like progesterone decrease to make up for it. Over time, this can lead to more significant hormone imbalances, cortisol imbalances, and thyroid dysregulation.
When dealing with hormone imbalances, your body needs to be in a parasympathetic state to be able to heal and rebalance. Overdoing cardio and HIIT is just adding frequent cortisol and adrenaline spikes to an already stressed out body- not optimal for hormones, and won’t help you reach your goals!
So what exercise should you be focusing on?
Strength training! Strength training is your best friend when it comes to fat loss and weight maintenance. The more lean muscle mass you have on your body, the faster your metabolism will be. This means you can eat more, lose fat easier, and take breaks from exercise when on vacation and not have to worry about a change in body composition.
Increasing your lean muscle mass allows you to be more efficient with fat burning, so you’re not spending hours in the gym - your body will burn fat in its resting state. Strength training is also the best thing you can do for your body to keep your bones and joints happy and healthy.
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