THE 5 WORST EXERCISE MISTAKES THAT DAMAGE YOUR METABOLISM…
Here’s the take-home point—not all exercise is weight loss exercise.
There are certain types of activity, that can actually work against your weight loss goals, make you tired and screw with your metabolism.
If you are exercising regularly but still can’t lose weight or feel tired all the time, there is a good chance you are damaging your metabolism by making one of five key exercise mistakes. I am going to teach you about these 5 mistakes, what they are and how to make minor adjustments to correct the issues.
This is important because overdoing exercise, or doing the wrong types of exercise, can in some people, cause harmful metabolic damage, destroy your ability to burn fat and send your energy levels plummeting. If you have ever seen a broken down, worn out overweight or flabby runner or aerobics instructor, then you know what I am talking about.
Yes, these people do exist, and you don’t have to become one of them, When exercise is taken to the extreme you will create metabolic changes that lead to hunger, unpredictable energy, cravings and metabolic slow down. This is called metabolic compensation. When most people encounter metabolic compensation, they rarely get smarter.
Instead they double down on their extreme efforts. They may get some short-term gains with this approach, but in the long-run they make things worse. At this stage, you can’t lose weight no matter how much you exercise. This is called metabolic resistance. Given time, and with continued abuse to your body, you get into full blown metabolic damage.
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At this point, weight loss is the last of your worries as you will now have digestive complaints, chronic fatigue, thyroid issues and a host of other issues.
To keep this from happening, I am going to teach you the 5 hidden workout mistakes that are killing your metabolism. And then I am going to give you some critical lessons on how to avoid them and make your metabolism more resilient and flexible so you can burn fat and stay vitally healthy no matter what life throws at you.
#1 MISTAKE: EXERCISE THAT IS TOO LONG…
When you are looking at exercise from a math perspective, you will always see longer as better. When you are looking at it like a chess player, longer can be a strategic disaster.
The longer you exercise the more your body will be under stress. You will begin secreting large amounts of stress hormones, especially cortisol. Cortisol, when it is controlled and released along with growth promoting hormones like growth hormone and testosterone, can help you burn fat and adapt to stress. In this case, cortisol can be your best friend. But when cortisol is released in large amounts that exceed the levels of testosterone and growth hormone, it will turn into your worst enemy.
When released in large amounts in the absence of growth hormone and testosterone, cortisol will cause you to lose muscle from your upper body and store fat in the middle of the body. It will also wreak havoc on your nervous system and your immune system. What’s worse, high levels of cortisol, are also associated with cravings for highly palatable food rich in fat, sugar and salt. Imagine exercising for a few hours thinking you have burned all those extra calories only to realize what you really did is burn up your muscle, damage your metabolism and make it more likely you will end up freebasing a cheesecake in a few hours. Instead of going longer, make your exercise shorter and more intense.
Keeping your workouts under 40 minutes or better yet under 20 minutes or less, allows you to create the opposite effect. Shorter harder workouts are better at burning fat, building muscle and have less of a negative effect on metabolism.
To make sure you are not over exercising remember these two pointers:
• Try to keep all intense exercise sessions under 40 minutes. Unless the exercise is relaxing, like going for a slow leisure walk, going too long can become an issue.
• Pay attention to Hunger, Energy and Cravings (HEC). Pronounce the acronym HEC as “heck” and remember to “keep your HEC in check”. If HEC is not check, it is an indication exercise has become too stressful. Long, drawn-out exercise sessions are notorious for disrupting HEC.
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#2 MISTAKE: EXERCISE THAT IS TOO FREQUENT…
The body is designed to push hard and then recover. In order for the metabolism to function optimally, it requires time to recover, repair and then adapt. One of the biggest mistakes many make with exercise is the “more is better” misunderstanding.
More is not better, better is better. The beneficial effects of exercise actually don’t occur during exercise, they occur after. It’s just like when an earthquake destroys part of a building. What happens during recovery? The construction workers repair the building and outfit it with new and improved earthquake resistant material, right? That is what you need to give the body time to do. Give it’s self a “metabolic upgrade”. Daily long-duration exercise, multiple sessions in one day and even hard workouts that are done too close together can result in a metabolic crash.
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To keep the metabolism from crashing, follow these rules:
• Never exercise more than 5 days in a row without a recovery day. Remember, walking is not exercise. It’s a form of transportation. Walking is restorative to the metabolism.
• Always try your best to separate cardio days and weight training days. This lets the metabolism focus on one thing and reduces stress. Also, pairing a running day after a weight-training day may actually aid recovery.
• Never do two heavy weight-training days back to back. This is especially true if you are working the same body parts. • Space long runs (any runs lasting of 60-90 minutes) at least 3 days apart
• Make sure heavy weight training sessions are at least 2 days a part. You would not want to do maximum weight training for the upper body and follow that immediately the next day with maximum training for the lower body.
• If doing cardio and weights together in a single workout, give at least 1 day of rest between sessions.
• Take regular active rest and recovery days (massage, sauna, walking, stretching, foam rolling, tai chi, etc.) By taking care to pair your exercise sessions in a way that maximizes work days and recovery days, you will be able to keep your metabolism healthy and functional.
#3 MISTAKE: EXERCISE THAT IS TOO INTENSE…
Short, intense exercise is best. Which is why I prefer and recommend metabolic workouts (learn more about those here)
But intense exercise can still be a stress if it is done too often. Pushing yourself too hard too often is one of the easiest ways to induce metabolic damage. This is usually taken care of by simply using the frequency strategies mentioned above.
But sometimes you may be pushing too hard without even knowing it. Because of that, I am going to give you some tips to make sure you are not overtraining. Heart rate recovery is a great tool to use to measure training stress. To see if your body is responding, you can monitor the flexibility of your max heart rate and how fast it falls back to resting after a period of exertion.
Periodically throughout your workout, and after an intense burst, take your heart rate immediately. Then take it again in exactly 60 seconds.
A healthy, flexible metabolism will respond by allowing your heart rate to quickly recover. An optimal, healthy response would be a heart rate that comes down at least 20 beats in 1 minute.
As a workout progresses, you can monitor the flexibility of this response. Heart rate is controlled by a tight balance between the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight system), and the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest system).
When your system has been over-stressed during exercise, you will see the balance tilt towards the sympathetic response and heart rate recovery will happen more slowly. If your heart rate is not recovering at least 10 beats in a minute, or changed by more than 20 beats difference from when you started, then you know the workout is becoming too stressful. It may be a good idea to end the session at that point.
You can also use biofeedback sensations during repeated workouts to determine how your exercise training has been going. If you start experience nausea, cramping or twitching, in your workouts, then consider backing down the intensity or taking an extra rest day or two.
This is especially true if you have never experienced these sensations before. Fragmented sleep, daily fatigue and lack of motivation for your workouts, is another indication you are pushing the metabolism too hard.
#4 MISTAKE: EXERCISE THAT IS TOO VARIED…
Beware of the “circus workout”. What is a circus workout? A circus workout is a workout that has you jumping around so much from one thing to the next that you never adequately stimulate the muscles in a way that forces them to respond. If you are going to get benefit from exercise, it’s important to understand it’s not just about burning calories. Too many trainers and exercise enthusiasts miss the most important and beneficial aspects of exercise.
When you exercise you want to create a “metabolic disturbance” in the body to force it to respond. But you don’t want so much of a disturbance that the body is too stressed out. It is like goldilocks. You don’t want too much, you don’t want too little—you want it just right. When you jump around from one thing to the next so quickly, you run the risk of creating all the negative aspects of exercise and getting none of the good benefits. Exercise is about creating a stimulus that will help you adapt and get better. To do this, you need to vary the workout just enough, but not too much.
When you hit this magic sweet spot, you will not just use a huge amount of energy during the workout, but you will adjust your hormonal chemistry in a way that continues to use large amounts of energy (mostly fat) during recovery, repair and adaptation after the workout. And it will keep your metabolism healthy. To get the right effect, stay away from the circus. Overload the muscles.
Make them strain (lift heavy weights) and make them burn. And overload the same body parts several times, rather than trying to blitz the entire body. There are many different types of exercise that focus on different types of goals. But if it is body change and a healthy metabolism you want, the circus workouts are not going to be your best bet.
Here is an example of a circus workout:
• Bang this rope up and down.
• Now run over here and do some jumps.
• Come over here and do some burpees.
• Run back over here and pat your belly and rub your head.
• Come back over here for some pushups.
Get the point?
Here is an effective workout for body change:
• Do some pushups.
• Now do some pull-ups.
• Now do some pushups again.
• Now do some pull-ups.
• Now do some chest press.
• Now do some bent-over rows.
Oh, you’re getting tired?
• Do some more pushups.
• Do some more pull-ups.
Oh you’re getting bored?
• Do some chest presses
• Do some bent-over rows.
Oh you’re almost completely spent?
• Do one more set of pushups.
• Do some more pull-ups. Good workout.
As you can see, both workouts above provide stress, but one is taxing the entire body in a way that stimulates the lungs and the stress centers without providing much stimulus to the muscles. The other is more directed. It’s intense, but the area of focus is narrowed. This allows for a more directed stimulus and a less stressful effect.
Here are a few hints to keep this effect going in your workout.
• Choose an area of focus like the upper body or the lower body or even a few body parts.
• Pair antagonist exercise. An antagonist is a body parts opposite. So, if you do a chest exercise, pair it with a back exercise.
• If you’re going to combine cardio and weights together, put the cardio bursts in between the weight exercises.
• Make sure you repeat the exercises 3–4 times to assure the muscle gets an adequate stimulus Making these little tweaks to your workouts can make all the difference.
You will be able to enjoy the benefits of exercise, while making it less likely you short circuit your metabolism.
#5 MISTAKE: TOO MUCH CARDIO NOT ENOUGH WEIGHTS…
Remember the area of the gym we called the “rainbow room”. It is was where all the bright neon lights were. It was where all the cardio was done. And any weights in that room weighed no more than 5 pounds.
Cardio can be a great healthy activity, but too many make the mistake of doing it too often, for too long, too intensely and without any weight training to balance it.
To keep your metabolism from getting in trouble, AND to assure you get good results here are two powerful workout hacks for you:
1. More weights than cardio. Keep your cardio and weight training sessions to a 2:1 ratio. For every one session of cardio you do, do two sessions of weight training.
2. Lift weights faster. If you really are a cardio junky, and need to do more cardio then just do what one of my favorite female strength and conditioning coaches says, “Lift weights faster.” In this scenario you do traditional weight training exercises, you just go a little faster and take less rest between sets. Think circuit training without rest.
By using weight training and shortening your rest periods, you get some of the benefits of both worlds. This also allows you to train shorter, do fewer sessions in a week and get better results.
The metabolism is a lot like one of those thin rubber bands. It works perfectly well within a particular range, but stretch it too hard and it is bound to pop.
It reminds me of a client I had named Jami. She was a competitive endurance athlete, but as she aged and kept pushing her body to the extreme, she started feeling uncharacteristic fatigue. Her workouts became more difficult and her motivation was zapped. She also started to gain weight despite doing more and more exercise. She seemed to defy the laws of physics. Then she twisted her ankle and all hell broke loose. By that time her metabolism was already deep into metabolic resistance and the stress of the ankle injury threw her over the edge. Her regime of exercising more, and eating less abruptly transitioned into a eat more, exercise less scenario. Because her metabolism had lost its flexibility, she gained weight like a swelling water balloon. At that point, her metabolic rubber band snapped. It took some time to get her back on track, and when we did we instituted the strategies I outlined for you above. She no longer competes, but her metabolism continues to function well for her. These strategies will work for you too.
Exercise is one of the greatest medicines on the planet, but like all good medicine it can also become a poison if you overdose. The strategies above will keep your metabolism humming.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to a healthy metabolism that burns fat and shapes muscle.
However, if you are looking for a more specific program, one that you can just follow, I’ve recently released a complete metabolic repair and acceleration exercise program that follows all of the rules you read about here. The workouts are only 15 minutes a day, 3 days a week and will get your muscles shaping and your fat burning in a snap.
Why Metabolic Workouts Are The Key To Fat Loss
Ok, so you’re going to skip the cardio and you understand too much exercise can actually lead to weight gain.
What should you do?
I’m not going to tell you to start doing Crossfit 4x per week or to spend $1000s on big-box gym personal trainers that try to sell you supplements or even to spend $100s on programs like P90X or Insanity.
What I am going to introduce you to, is a BREAKTHROUGH form of metabolic exercise that burns MORE calories than cardio AND builds metabolically active lean muscle tissue.
(Remember, metabolically active tissue is the only tissue that BURNS fat.)
The Flat Belly System provides you with over 24 personal-trainer guided workout videos to help you understand and see results from short metabolic workouts.