High intensity or endurance training becomes a problem depending on who is doing it.
How can that be? Haven’t we always been told that exercising is good for us?
Well yes…and no. From years of being a Personal Trainer both in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and in the City of London - the home of the overachiever/workaholic - it became apparent the issue here was much more than what my clients were doing inside (and outside) of the gym, but was in fact what they were doing that wasn’t related to exercise. They may have eaten clean and done what they were told and gotten the big tick from me for their 5 day workout week but what dumbfounded me for a long time was, why were some clients who were theoretically doing all the right things, still not getting the results we wanted for them in the way of weight loss?
How come almost all of them were my females?
Let’s start here.
We have to be realistic. What worked 50 years ago i.e. a simple prescription of "eat less, exercise more" is probably not going to work today. This is because of the incredibly DIFFERENT lifestyle we lead TODAY. Being alive today means we are not only producing different chemicals in our own bodies, but also are exposed to strong foreign chemicals also, which is creating an epidemic of PREVENTABLE DISEASE AND ILLNESS.
And the particular chemical that can REALLY push our results in the opposite direction that we produce (particularly when it comes to moderate - high intensity exercise) is cortisol. This is not the case for everyone though, so read on...
Cortisol is the hormone that your body produces when feeling threatened, panicked but also amped up and over-excited (e.g. the feeling before adrenaline pumping activities like sky-diving). Unfortunately those of us who mentally stress and worry constantly get a chronic cortisol issue, and like any kind of inflammation of a muscle, doing MORE exercise using that muscle until it heals is going to mean a compounded worsening of the problem. What sucks more is that when cortisol is too high it holds onto our fat like crazy! If the more you’re doing, the more stubborn your love handles are, this could be you.
Studies have shown HIIT (high intensity interval training) over an hour but also SSC (steady state cardio) over a period of about 30 minutes starts to steadily increase our cortisol levels - it’s merely a by-product of putting physical stress on our bodies, which might have been perfect for you in the past, but if you're honest how do you REALLY feel after intense or prolonged exercise?
Stay tuned for Part 2 which exposes the secrets to beat high cortisol...