One of the biggest mistakes I see amongst new clients at Total Fitness is overtraining in cardiovascular exercise.
What does this mean? An example: A recent new client had been following one of the best-selling books that promises you too can look like a stud or studette. My new client had been faithfully following the program of high intensity cardio and weight lifting, but his EKG showed he was still in an extreme state of stress, his resting heart rate remained high, his blood pressure was not improved and his blood sugar was too low. I could tell all this from our initial evaluation.
All he noticed was that despite working out like a dog, he wasn’t losing weight. If you want to lose weight, train your body to burn fat—don’t train your body to burn sugar. I personally work out virtually every day of my life. I vary my workouts and I ALWAYS make sure I get in a few walks every week. Why: Walking trains your body to burn fat, not sugar. Aerobic exercise burns fat. Anaerobic exercise trains your body to burn sugar.
Many forms of exercise that most people believe are aerobic—aerobic classes, spinning classes and often running—are, in fact, anaerobic for most individuals. I have seen numerous women clients who fell into eating disorders while running and doing spinning classes. Other male clients will run for years without losing an ounce of fat. If you are in a good state of health, you want to think about balancing your workouts to include BOTH anaerobic and aerobic exercise. Walking restores chi.
Studies have shown that even patients with chronic fatigue syndrome—in severe states of stress and exhaustion—can significantly improve their energy by walking 1 hour, 10 minutes every day over a three-month period. Walking combats Seasonal Affective Disorder.
In Atlanta, we live at such a latitude that even during the winter months, we can get enough sunlight to stimulate the pineal gland in the brain to prevent SAD just by being outside. If you tend to be depressed in the winter, make sure you walk to boost serotonin levels. The negative ions in fresh air are also proven to lift your mood. Walking can be part of a stress management program. Are you too antsy to sit and meditate? You can train your brain into a meditative state by walking silently and focusing on your breathing.