Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Exercise Makes You Fat?

Depending on "who" you read, yes ... and no.

  • There's lots of articles out there that contradict each other: 
  • exercise isn't good for you, can make you fatter, can cause you to eat more
  • exercise makes you burn fat, so exercise more
  • exercise makes you eat more, so exercise less
  • do this cardio exercise and you'll burn the most fat
  • building muscle helps you lose fat, so lift weights
  • jog 5 miles a day and you're guaranteed to lose weight
  • don't jog it's bad for your joints
  • walk at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a day
  • workout 3 times a week for 30 minutes each time
  • workout 7 days a week for an hour each time, sweating til you drop
Two women on a walking trail.
sigh ... yeah. Sometimes the web search doesn't really help, does it? You're still wondering what to do.

The answer is actually pretty simple, but finding your answer takes time and effort, and maybe a lot of trial and error.

Because the truth is, none of the above is true, and all of the above is true. You see, not everything will work for everyone, as several studies indicate. Some things that work really well for one person, are not necessarily going to work well for another.

Take this woman (Exercise Mistakes I used to Make) ... she says she pretty much exercised to death and was unhappy, and really got nowhere. She changes her form of exercise and that made a difference. What she does works for her, but that wouldn't work for me. I've already done what she's doing, and got nowhere doing that. To be fair, she's done a lot of other things (health wise) that also wouldn't work for me, BUT, they work for her. She had to find out by trial and error.

A man dressed in coat and cap riding a bicycle in the early dawn.
Then you read stuff like this in newspapers (Exercise May Pile on the Pounds - Daily Mail) and wonder, right? Women's Health Magazine (Can Exercise Make you Gain Weight) researches some studies and notes that sometimes, even in the studies, some data is lacking and it's that data which might make a difference in the actual outcome or results from the studies (worth reading so please do).

Not everything is as it appears, even when you read well written articles!

So ... what to do?  That of course, has to be up to you. Not up to me, or to any other article you read. If you're very sedentary, it's probably not good to start off with a 1-hour sweat-til-you-drop workout.

The best thing is to see your doctor first. If you haven't had a physical in a while, it's a good idea. You wouldn't want any hidden or undiagnosed health condition to be made worse by starting a workout regimen that involves things you shouldn't do.

After my husband's last 5 years of surgeries I made him talk to his surgeons and oncologist when I realized he was probably pushing himself a little too much. As a result, we altered his workout routine to remove the leg press because it puts too much pressure on replaced hip joints, the vertical knee raises and chin ups (back and neck surgery and degenerative disc disease), a slower pace on the treadmill, and build muscle with a lesser weight (for now). If he hadn't checked with his doctors, he could be in the hospital having his hip replacement replaced again!

Talk with your doctor to find out what level you should begin at. Then, seriously, get a trainer to get started.

A set of chrome weights on a barbell.I started out on my own (years ago) and was doing okay but most of the gym machines intimidated me. I hired a good trainer (he was pushy, no guff) for 8 weeks (twice a week). Before we started, we discussed my health, my goals, what I'd accomplished so far (weight loss), what exercise I'd been doing at what levels, and he gave me a trial routine to test my strength and my flexibility, then, taking into account my health issues, worked out a progressive routine.

It was worth the money to get the trainer. I never once regretted spending it.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you what's going to work for you. What I did might not be what you need to accomplish your goals. It's trial and error ... and some things will work "at first" and you might have to change to others later.

We change, our bodies change, our eating habits change and we need to adapt our routines with them.

Does it seem daunting? Yeah, I know. It probably does. But the journey you take to get there isn't much different than life ... we learn as we go. If you really want to, you can do it.