The following is an exerpt from Art Devany’s website that I found very interesting… He explains a phenomenon that I see at the gym all the time…
Too Much Cardio and Long Workouts Make You Fat
One of many paradoxes about human fitness and body composition is that too much exercise makes you fat. How can this be since exercise burns energy?
Well, because in the long run a lot of low intensity exercise does not burn energy and it redirects energy flow to fat. Human metabolism is highly adaptive; if you burn more fat, the body will resupply more of it.
Why doesn’t a lot of low intensity exercise burn off fat? It is easy to see in the gym that it doesn’t. What are all the fat people doing in the gym?
Walking on treadmills and cycling endlessly and at a very low level of intensity. The evidence is there for anyone to see. The same point is true of bicyclists and joggers; they have a high fat content (fat, skinny joggers).
The point is equally true of guys who work out endlessly, doing multiple sets of high reps. Nearly everyone in the gym is too fat, not just in the real world outside, it is everywhere.
I made this point long ago in an interview with a performance publication; too much cardio makes you fat. Now just the other day I saw the point on a sign in Gold’s. So I asked one of the trainers, who had no real explanation for it. Few likely do know how or why this happens and are less likely to see the same problem with body builders.
The basic reason is…
Read More ?
that too much cardio or body building increases stress hormones and down regulates hormones, like GH and testosterone, that preserve muscle. In addition, elevated stress hormones make you insulin resistant and leads to over eating as well as eating the wrong things that cater to insulin resistance, meaning simpler carbs.
Runners and bikers are taught to live on carbs and the path from excessive cardio to insulin resistance to poor body composition to frank diabetes is one that has been trodden by many an endurance athlete. It is one that keeps obese individuals from losing fat when they begin training in a gym and really dooms them. The success rate for the obese in the gym is poor.
Body builder types have similar problems, but I find that more of them are fat than they ought to be. Then again, they do too much volume (stress response) and eat really poorly. Protein powders, gainer drinks, carbs, carbs, and carbs to get big. To get fat really.
The excess volume is similar in its effects to running excessively. Both convert expensive fast twitch muscles into slower and less energetically expensive intermediate and slow twitch fibers. Both diminish muscle mass and this means your basal metabolism falls. Thus, you burn less energy.
This is one of the standard problems with first order thinking. If you focus on burning fat (cardio) you do burn fat. But, you set off all sorts of second and third order effects that alter the result.
In the end, you lower your total energy expenditure by lowering lean muscle mass and reducing hormone drives and muscle fibers that burn energy. To reach a new metabolic equilibrium you have to eat more fat or convert intake into fat.
This is fine, but if you also lower total energy expenditure and alter hormones in the process, the end result will be an altered body composition; more fat, less muscle.