Could exercise be actually standing in the way of weight loss and better toning? According to Julia Buckley, a 37-year-old fitness fanatic, it can be. She explains that running, while great for fitness, is not always the ideal activity if someone is looking to primarily lose weight.
Her experience has taught her that slow-endurance exercise, rather than toning down the body, teaches it to become endurance-focused. And endurance means storing fat so that you have a continual source of energy during your run. Buckley herself was once training for marathons and wondering why she couldn’t stubborn pounds, even as she was running more and more. Trying to solve by running extra ended up making her ill, and she realized that she was approaching her exercise routine the wrong way.
“I certainly had some stubborn extra pounds I just couldn’t seem to shift. And for a fitness writer, that is not a good a look,” she explained. She discovered that doing less lengthy, but more intensive workouts helped her to replace spare pounds with muscle. Of course, she doesn’t think that people should stop running, since it can be a great way to stay in shape. It just shouldn’t be anyone’s single tool if weight-loss is the goal.
“When I switched from long steady exercise to short, high-intensity sessions and added more variety and strength training into my training mix, my body changed,” she explained to the Daily Mail. “The fat came off, my energy levels soared and I became healthier, stronger and fitter.”
Buckley herself still runs, but tries to stick to shorter and faster runs that take 30 minutes instead of an hour or more. Although many people see exercise just as a means to an end when it comes to weight loss, it’s an important part of lifelong health. People who exercise four to five times a week have more energy and are less likely develop serious health problems later in life.
As a recent article in Time points out, the old adage “eat less and exercise more” often isn’t really true — the more important factors are the quality of the food and workout. “Simply looking at calories is misguided at best and potentially harmful because it disregards how those calories are affecting our hormones and metabolism — and ultimately our ability to stick to a diet,” said Doctor David Ludwig, of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.