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Cardio and weight gain

by Puja


Exercise is a great way to understand the needs of the human body. Experts have been ensuring people struggling with their weight that the formula for losing weight is simple: burn more calories than you consume. Unfortunately, when people set out to achieve a calorie deficit, by running or spending time on the elliptical, they’re met with less-than-stellar results. For some people, after a month of regular cardio, the scale may not budge and they might gain weight. One of the main reasons people either don’t lose weight when they engage in the regular cardio activity is because every movement makes them hungrier.

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There are no tried, tested and true methods for weight gain or weight loss. For some people, cardio isn’t an effective way to lose weight but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Let’s take a look.

  • As per the theory, one of the main reasons people don’t lose weight when they engage in the regular cardio activity is because all that movement makes them hungry. While this concept has been studied for years, the latest research saw some interesting results. The bottom line is that every person is different and for some people, eating a heavy meal after exercise might have less to do with appetite and more to do with other factors.

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  • Many people who struggle with their weight, mistake dehydration for hunger. While cardio can make you hungry, it’s in your head. Make sure you are hydrated and giving your body nutrition it needs. Many people are addicted to carbohydrates which mess with hunger cues. Breaking the addiction is key.
  • Exercise has several benefits such as decreased stress to a reduced risk of heart disease that has nothing to do with weight loss. It can be an effective medium to lose weight if you do it right. Cardio fitness, strength training and mobility must be incorporated in a weight-loss program. There are the right way and a wrong way for every person depending on their level of fitness and their goals. A blend of the three is the best, but strength training or strength combined with cardiovascular training can be more effective in a shorter amount of time than just cardio activity. The reason for this is that cardio training does not build lean muscle mass, which is key for increasing metabolism and helps burn more calories and aids in weight loss.
  • It is believed that cardio as a good way to lose weight. But it isn’t necessarily always the case. People might stay at the same weight or even gain weight despite cardio workouts. This could be due to several reasons such as overestimating the cardio activities you’re doing or underestimating the calories you’re consuming. Above all, proper nutrition is key. Exercise is important for many reasons, but changing your nutrition can be the only thing you need to do if your goal is just weight loss. Any sort of exercise will aid in weight loss but make sure you’re nourishing your body properly is the most important thing you can do.

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  • Ineffective Cardio exercise methods can lead to weight gain. A lot of cardio sans high intensity level and resistance training as well may lead to weight gain. An hour of resistance training would burn calories as well as helping build muscle. Adding muscle increases your metabolism, as muscle takes more calories than fat. About one-fourth of any weight you lose without resistance training will come from muscle instead of fat. Hence, it’s important not to skip this kind of exercise. If you consume too many calories, your exercise may lead you to gain muscles without losing weight. This also explains the weight gain.
  • Whenever a person gains weight, the thought of doing cardio to burn fat is common. Excessive of anything can have an adverse effect. This theory also applies to cardio exercises. Excessive cardio creates hormonal imbalances. It can make you gain weight eventually. Apart from calories, there are many things involved when it comes to burning fat and developing muscle.
  • According to a study, people who are engaged in a longer duration of low-intensity cardio had suppressed levels of the T3 hormone. It is a vital hormone that is responsible for burning fat. Overdoing can make an increase in cortisol production. Exercising too vigorously and too often has its own set of drawbacks. If you are not taking the proper rest means that the body never restores and recovers completely. If you overwork for a long duration, you can get exhausted. One side effect of adrenal exhaustion is the incapability to lose belly fat, even if one is eating well and exercising regularly.  It is because the body is already stressed. It releases and overproduces the cortisol which makes it difficult to burn extra fat.

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A long session of low-to-medium intensity cardio may result in muscle loss, rather than using fat as fuel to burn calories. The body will work through its restricted glucose stores and then lean muscle as fuel. Hence, one will be left with more fat than muscles. Unless one is training for a specific event, you need just three days of cardio exercise per week, in addition to strength and resistance training. Remember, every person is unique. Your body might prefer one to two days of cardio. If you feel like you are not getting results from your workouts, try cutting back on the cardio. You might be satisfied with how your body reacts.