Earlier this week I told a client to scale back her workouts and do less. Yes, you read that correctly. I advised her to take more recovery days and lay off the high intensity work.
Ladies. You’ve been told for years that if you want to lose weight you need to eat less and exercise more. It’s ingrained in our brains. In all that we do actually. We praise each other for getting tons of shit done each day. We take multi-tasking to a whole new level. We’re superwomen!
It’s bullshit. You need to stop. Take a breath. And perhaps lay off the exercise for a bit.
Let me explain. Most women these days are stressed 24/7. And exercise is an additional stress.
Breaking it down even further. Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands (located at the top of your kidneys). Cortisol is actually a good thing if it’s released briefly and infrequently.
- Cortisol breaks down ingested protein into amino acids (the building blocks of protein).
- It aids in the inflammatory response, used in the recovery process.
- It maintains a stable level of glucose in the blood
On the flip side, chronically high levels of cortisol is not good. Low carb intake. Dehydration. Inadequate nutrition. Training stress. Psychological stress. All lead to higher than desired cortisol levels.
- The immune system weakens and decreases white blood cells.
- Our cortisol levels increase to release more energy. Which in turns increases our appetite, and may cause the body to catabolize (break down) muscle protein for energy.
- We become much less sensitive to leptin, the hormone that lets our brain know we’re full. Awesome. Which means our bodies will want to eat more to survive.
- And after months of chronically being stressed, cortisol and insulin will remain elevated in the blood. So all the extra glucose will get stored as fat. In the abdomen and thigh area.
Fun little side note. Scientific research has found that fat cells have special receptors for cortisol. And these receptors are found more on the fat cells in our abdominal area. #bellyfat
Women take note. Think about your day to day life. Running from one task to another. Never feeling like you’ve crossed everything off the to-do list. Barely taking a moment to come up for air. And then throw in some workouts. A good sweaty spin class. A hit session. Crossfit. Sprints.
All those things theoretically are good for us. BUT our bodies have a limited capacity for enduring stress.
If you have a stressful lifestyle. Poor sleep. Okay diet. You have not earned the right to train hard. Period.
You are causing more harm than good to your body. And you will not see the results you are killing yourself for in the gym.
Okay, now that I’ve depressed you…and totally gone against what you’ve been told to do (in terms of fat loss), I’m going to tell you what to do instead.
- Step back from the high intensity work and discover yoga, stretching, walking, and meditation. I know. You are trying to lose weight. So I’ll repeat myself. Step back from the high intensity work and discover yoga, stretching, walking, and meditation.
- Include lots of rest and recovery. Between workouts and training sessions.
- Eat regularly to keep blood sugar stable. AND try eating with cortisol’s naturalschedule. Meaning eating your largest meal earlier in the day, as cortisol levels rise in the morning and lower throughout the day.
- Stop with the multi-tasking madness. And even more importantly, stop praising women for being “supermoms” and “wonder women” for getting so much done each day. #fthat
- Breathe. Consciously take a few deep breaths each day. Let your body know that there is no crisis or bear chasing you.
Go hard or go home right? Um yeah, f that. I am on a mission to get women to slow down and tune into themselves as much as they tune in to everyone around them. To not only listen to their bodies, but trust what their bodies need. Even if it goes against what they’ve always been told. Take a walk instead of an high intensity interval session? Perhaps.
This is why I created Custom Fit, my signature workout program AND teaching tool. It not only shows you how to choose the most appropriate type of exercise for your energy each day, but also the exact workout to perform.
Consistency and self-sufficiency.
It's only available for 4 days! Check it out here.