Too much exercise could actually stop you from losing weight

Yes, really

Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde

When we were told that this is the average amount of time people spend on exercise every week, we panicked and booked an extra HIIT class. And when we found out that this is the most dangerous place to carry excess fat we vowed to do YouTube abs videos every night before bed.

But if you think you’re pretty clued up on getting fit and losing weight, think again. Science has come along to crush everything we ever thought to be true about slimming down and it’s kind of annoying.

According to nutritionist Jessica Sepel, exercising too much might stop you from shifting any extra weight. Yep, if you’re trying to drop a few pounds and have signed up to every intensive class at the gym you might not be doing yourself any favours.

‘I can tell you that over-exercising can do more harm to your weight than good,’ she claims.

‘I see clients all the time who exercise every day (sometimes twice) and still can’t lose the weight. When you work out too much, your cortisol levels spike – your body doesn’t know the difference between exercise stress and normal stress.

‘Then, when you stress out about working out, your cortisol levels go crazy. And high cortisol means your body can’t burn off fat – it’s too busy trying to balance out your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.’

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should ditch exercise completely – we all know about the benefits of a regular work out. But if you’re trying to lose weight, think about picking up some yoga or pilates classes instead of loading up your gym schedule with intense HIIT classes or an epic spin slog.

Jessica claims that punctuating hardcore sessions with lower intensity work outs will help you sleep better, increase your energy level and, if it’s your goal, lose weight.

‘Let go of any guilt you feel around exercise and stop putting the pressure on yourself every day to be exercising intensely. We know that moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, maybe two sessions of interval or high-intensity training a week and then lots of yoga, pilates and walking, seems to work,’ Jessica says.

Excellent news for anyone who fancies laying off the burpees.

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