You Can Out-Train a Good Nutrition Plan: Why You Aren’t Losing Fat
When it comes to physique goals, everybody loves to remind each other that “It’s 90% diet and 10% training”, or something similar. While sound nutrition is absolutely crucial for meeting physique goals (and for the sake of our health), certain training can actually derail all of our hard work in the kitchen.
“You can’t out-train a bad diet”, but
you can out-train a good nutrition plan!
Exercise is excellent in the right dosages, but too much or too little can be problematic. I hear from clients and friends all of the time about how hungry they are and that they can’t control their appetite. It’s also these same people that are going to the gym and exercising like a maniac for hours at a time, five days per week.
Hmmm. Think there is some correlation there? You betcha.
It happened to me
When I lived in Las Vegas, I taught group fitness classes; tons and tons of group fitness classes. Body Pump, kickboxing, Spin, Pilates, yoga, you name it and I taught it. (Well, except for Zumba. These hips don’t lie.)
I was teaching 2-3 classes per day, along with doing my own workouts. On many days, I was doing upwards of 4 hours of cardio per day. That, unfortunately, is not a typo.
I remember being so puzzled about why I wasn’t getting any leaner.
“But… I’m burning like, 3,000 calories per day!”
There are two explanations for the absence of fat loss in the above scenario.
The human body is absolutely amazing, and not only does it handle all kinds of insane things we throw at it, but it is also quick to adapt.
This is why it’s not uncommon to see many overweight people crossing the finish line of a marathon. They have burned thousands upon thousands of calories in their training over the course of a few months in order to run that 26.2 miles so in theory they should have lost quite a bit of weight, but in reality, most only lose a couple of pounds, and I’d bet my bottom dollar that the weight lost was precious muscle, not fat.
This exact same principle applies to people that overdo cardio and group fitness classes. Their heart rate monitor may say that they’ve burned 700 calories, but their body has not only come to expect that kind of energy output, but also demand it in order to simply maintain where they are currently at. This means that you have to keep doing more and more and more cardio in order to get anywhere, and ain’t nobody got time fo’ that.
Hangry (so hungry you are angry)
The second problem with overdoing cardio (or any activity) is that it leaves you famished. I know because that is exactly what happened to me when I was participating in that cardio madness, and it’s exactly what all of my cardio bunny friends dealt with, too.
We would absolutely hammer down food at night. It wasn’t uncommon for me to get home in the evening and eat chicken, sweet potato, a huge sandwich, a thing of yogurt, a few slices of bread, a granola bar, and several cookies.
I became an exercise-induced bottomless pit, and I think it’s fair to say that my daily gorging didn’t do anything positive for my physique or my eating habits.
The lesson here:
You can out-train your nutrition plan.
Cardio is a tricky fat loss tool. Too little and you may not progress, but too much will make you extremely fuel efficient. This sounds like it’d be awesome, until you realize that fat is fuel and you’ve essentially turned your body into a little hybrid Smart car, which means that you can do a whole lot without expending much energy. Wah-waaaah.
When it comes to cardio, it’s vital that you do juuuusst enough to push progress along without wreaking havoc on your appetite or causing your body to get so used to it that it comes to expect it’s daily dose without any return.
Strength Training: Too Much of a Good Thing
Cardio bunnies are not the only ones guilty of overdoing it in the gym.
Some women are taking strength training waaaay too far. They are heading to their gym to lift for hours, then train Strongman events, and then doing some type of conditioning or HIIT.
Meanwhile, 3 hours of activity later, they are friggin’ starving, and gnawing on their seatbelt as they race home to stuff their face with everything they can find.
Just because it’s a “post-workout window” does not mean that it’s a free-for-all, and I see people making this mistake over and over again. Yes, strength training and lifting heavy is great, but overdoing it is causing them to overeat, which hinders fat loss goals.
I’m not a fan of two and three hour training sessions for people that want to get leaner, because I can almost guarantee that the hunger alone will derail them.
If their voracious appetite doesn’t do them in, then the mindset certainly will, as they convince themselves that they earned the right to shovel back copious amounts of food; far more than what would help them lose bodyfat.
This is another example of how
You can out-train your nutrition plan.
Think of fat loss and training on a teeter-totter, with one on each end. In order to get leaner, you have to find a good dose between the two so that they can work together. Too much or too little food – no matter how “clean” the sources are – will put a stop on fat loss, just like too much or too little activity will.
|Your appetite is winning.
I see people posting on Facebook and Instagram all of the time boasting about their twice daily lifting and/or cardio sessions. “Two-a-days, baby!” Um, no. That shit cray. Interestingly enough, it’s also these same people that are constantly posting about how starving they are.
We must keep in mind the golden rule of using the minimum effective dose
when it comes to diet and exercise for fat loss: You want just enough
of each to compliment each other and generate a favorable response, but not a drop more.
Going to the gym and absolutely killing it for hours may be fun (I get it!) but it’s not conducive with fat loss.
60 – 90 minutes. Get in, get out, and get on with it. Modify your intensity, volume, and duration of your training so that it coincides with your nutrition plan. Your physique will thank you.
How long do you train for?
Do you find that overdoing it revs up your appetite to uncontrollable levels?
Let’s chat! Drop me a line below.