The Big Exercise Myth, and What You Really Need to Do to Get Fit
For years, we’ve been told that exercise is crucial to good health and weight maintenance. But all those hours at the gym may turn out to be more harmful than helpful.
If you are struggling to find energy or lose weight, you may be lacking important minerals. It’s much more difficult to sufficiently absorb nutrients and lose weight when you are tired and your digestion is impaired. Ancient Earth Minerals can help “feed” your thyroid and adrenal glands so that your energy remains high, in and out of the gym.
If you’re stressing your body with intensive, daily exercise and still not losing weight, maybe it’s the exercise itself that’s the problem. In 2009, Time magazine ran a popular story about how exercise — especially the long and intense variety — may actually cause us to consume more calories than we expend, therefore negating all that hard work on the elliptical or treadmill.
John Cloud, writing for Time, concluded that, “In short, it’s what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off, that matters more in losing weight. You should exercise to improve your health, but be warned: fiery spurts of vigorous exercise could lead to weight gain.”1
As it turns out, Cloud was onto something. Eating healthily is actually a bigger contributor to overall fitness and weight management than exercise. Aaron Caroll, writing for The New York Times in 2015, confirmed Cloud’s earlier “theory.” With supporting research on his side, Caroll said that exercise, while beneficial, isn’t the sole determining factor for weight loss — a healthy weight depends far more on what you eat.2
What’s So Bad About Exercise?
We’re not suggesting, of course, that all exercise is bad. In fact, a daily walk or bike ride and activities such as gardening and carrying groceries to your car are excellent ways to keep your muscles — including your heart — strong. According to a 2014 Australian study, moderate to high-intensity exercise is considered the best medicine for older women, reducing their risk of death.3
But too much exercise can stress out your body, cause injury, and ruin weight loss attempts.
The theory is that excessive exercise, such as using the elliptical machine for an hour every day, makes you voraciously hungry as your body fights to make up the calories it just burned. After intense exercise, people often overeat, setting the stage for weight gain and a cycle of frustration. City University of New York researchers discovered in 2016 that engaging in more physical activity won’t necessarily cause you to burn more calories. It’s a moderate amount of physical activity in the “sweet spot” that provides the most benefits to health and weight.4
The key is balance.
An active lifestyle is far more important to weight loss than labored work in the gym. We’ve seen avid exercisers and professional athletes take it too far before, with devastating effects. In 2012, the accomplished ultra-marathon runner Micah True, 58, who often ran 100 miles in a day, died during a 12-mile training of lethal heart arrhythmia caused by excessive endurance exercise.5 Just a few years later, research confirmed what we already suspected — too much high-intensity exercise can compromise heart health.6,7,8 A 2014 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings added that “more is not always better” since excessive exercise could increase the risk of cardiovascular death for heart attack survivors.9,10,11
Keeping an active lifestyle is as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and playing outside with your children. Find an activity that you love. How many of us truly love running on a treadmill every day? Pick an exercise that you enjoy doing, and you’ll be prone to pursue it often.
Try to get your walking or cardio (rebounding is recommended) in when you wake up — the morning is the best time of day for physical activity. Walking around the neighborhood in the morning can increase mitochondrial density and also the vascularization in muscle tissue, if exercise is performed in the early hours. On the other hand, weight training may offer more benefits in the late afternoon. While weight training only provides a short-term increase in energy, it can make you sleepy and stimulate the human growth hormone (HGH). Weight training from 4 to 6 p.m., at a time when your body is in its most anabolic state, can stimulate HGH and encourage more restful sleep.
Diet Plays a Bigger Role in Weight Loss Than Exercise
You’re probably aware of the weight loss mantra, “calories in versus calories out.” In many ways, this is an accurate statement, if not a bit oversimplified. We store extra calories as fat, and when we burn more than we consume, that’s when weight loss occurs. But the debate continues over the best and most effective way to burn more than we consume. A common misconception is that we can dramatically reduce the number of calories we consume by eating much less. But this method is not sustainable and will only end up making you feel dissatisfied and prone to binges.
Instead, focus on the quality of foods you’re eating and how you’re eating them.
At Body Ecology, we stress foods and drinks that have a dual-purpose of satisfying your hunger and creating a healthy inner ecosystem, so that you can absorb more nutrients without having to consume more calories.
Here are some of our best weight loss tips:
- Eliminate sugar from your diet. Eating sugar will only make you crave more of it.
- Avoid processed foods. While they’re marketed as being easy and convenient, most are full of chemicals, preservatives, and sugars. Cutting out gluten especially can make it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Eating organic and non-GMO foods is recommended.
- Consume fermented foods and drinks. Probiotic-rich foods, like cultured vegetables and probiotic liquids, will help you naturally boost your immunity, build energy, and aid your digestion, making it easier to lose weight and tone up your muscles.
- Practice mindful eating. Chewing food slowly and mindfully can not only support digestion and regulate the appetite, but it may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease by improving glucose levels and heart health.12
- Practice the Principle of Food Combining. Your body will most efficiently absorb and use nutrients when you eat the combination of foods that are most friendly to the gut. The full Body Ecology Food Combining Chart can be found here. Taking digestive enzymes with each meal will also help to make sure food is thoroughly digested.
- Connect with friends and family. Having a strong social network can be just as important as diet and exercise, when it comes to improving health across a lifetime.13
Many people drink diet colas and energy drinks in order to have enough energy to support an active lifestyle. Interestingly, the harmful chemicals and artificial sweeteners only serve to add pounds, not drop them. They’re more like candy in a bottle. So what can you do instead? Drink probiotic liquids, like InnergyBiotic. InnergyBiotic builds energy from the inside with whole food ingredients and probiotics, which help to boost energy and aid digestion — just what you need for your weight loss efforts.
Additional Support for Your Healthy Diet
To sustain a moderate amount of physical activity — not too little and not too much — your body needs fuel to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Mixing up a nutritious shake made with fermented vegan protein can support your body’s ability to build lean muscle mass, while encouraging weight loss. Body Ecology’s Immune Power Protein Shake contains 15 grams of vegan protein per serving, and best of all, it’s made with a hefty helping of probiotics to strengthen the gut and improve the bioavailability of nutrients.
If you still find yourself reaching for the junk food after a tough workout or late at night when boredom hits, your body could be trying to tell you something.
Much of today’s overeating is actually a result of a body that is starving. If you are eating processed foods, your body lacks important minerals, and you may binge eat as a result. In many cases, diet isn’t enough to get the minerals you need. Body Ecology’s Ancient Earth Minerals are just the solution if you want to boost your minerals and feed your adrenals.
Don’t be a slave to the gym
Instead, focus on eating a healthy Body Ecology Diet, including fermented foods and drinks, while boosting your metabolism with mineral-rich supplements. Find outdoor activities, like bicycling to the farmer’s market, that you’ll truly look forward to.
As it is in all other aspects of life, and especially in nature, exercise is all about balance. While regular physical activity is important, researchers have reminded us time and again that you can’t “outrun a bad diet.” When nourishing foods and moderate exercise are combined, it will be almost impossible not to see a change in your health, your weight, and your energy levels.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Slaving away at the gym may not have the effect you hoped for. Exercising too much, too often, and too intensely can put stress on the body, with the potential to sabotage your weight loss plan. As researchers have discovered, exercise is important for lifelong health, but what you eat may matter more to maintain a healthy weight.
One of our favorite Body Ecology philosophies is “balance,” and this could not apply more than to your daily level of physical activity. Exercising moderately by doing an activity that you love can support weight loss and encourage optimum health. You can also maintain a healthy weight by cutting out sugar and processed foods and including cultured vegetables, probiotics, and digestive enzymes at each meal; mindful eating can help to improve digestion and regulate the appetite, while reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease; food combining can help your body to best absorb the nutrients you eat at each meal; and having strong social connections can have as much impact on living a long and healthy life as diet and exercise.
When you do exercise, it’s important to have the right fuel in your tank. Body Ecology’s Immune Power Protein Shake is a rich source of vegan protein and also contains protective probiotics to strengthen the gut and improve nutrient absorption. Ancient Earth Minerals may help to remedy exhaustion by nourishing the adrenals, while supplying the body with the essential minerals it needs to reduce cravings. Right in that “sweet spot,” you’ll find your best health — when you exercise moderately, eat well, and care for the body you have been given.
- Cloud, John. “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin.” Time.
- Carroll, Aaron E. “To Lose Weight, Eating Less Is Far More Important Than Exercising More.” The New York Times.
- Debra Anderson, Charlotte Seib, Laura Rasmussen. Can physical activity prevent physical and cognitive decline in postmenopausal women? Maturitas, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.06.010.
- Herman Pontzer, Ramon Durazo-Arvizu, Lara R. Dugas, Jacob Plange-Rhule, Pascal Bovet, Terrence E. Forrester, Estelle V. Lambert, Richard S. Cooper, Dale A. Schoeller, Amy Luke. Constrained Total Energy Expenditure and Metabolic Adaptation to Physical Activity in Adult Humans. Current Biology, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.046.
- James H. O’Keefe et al. Potential Adverse Cardiovascular Effects From Excessive Endurance Exercise. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 87, Issue 6 (June 2012) DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2012.04.005.
- N. Drca, A. Wolk, M. Jensen-Urstad, S. C. Larsson. Atrial fibrillation is associated with different levels of physical activity levels at different ages in men. Heart, 2014; DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2013-305304.
- E. Guasch, L. Mont. Exercise and the heart: unmasking Mr Hyde. Heart, 2014; DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2014-305780.
- E. Guasch, L. Mont. Exercise and the heart: unmasking Mr Hyde. Heart, 2014; DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2014-305780.
- Paul T. Williams, Paul D. Thompson. Increased Cardiovascular Disease Mortality Associated With Excessive Exercise in Heart Attack Survivors. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.05.006.
- Nuria Garatachea, Alejandro Santos-Lozano, Fabian Sanchis-Gomar, Carmen Fiuza-Luces, Helios Pareja-Galeano, Enzo Emanuele, Alejandro Lucia. Elite Athletes Live Longer Than the General Population: A Meta-Analysis. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.06.004.
- James H. O’Keefe, Barry Franklin, Carl J. Lavie. Exercising for Health and Longevity vs Peak Performance: Different Regimens for Different Goals. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.07.007.
- Jennifer Daubenmier, Patricia J. Moran, Jean Kristeller, Michael Acree, Peter Bacchetti, Margaret E. Kemeny, Mary Dallman, Robert H. Lustig, Carl Grunfeld, Douglas F. Nixon, Jeffrey M. Milush, Veronica Goldman, Barbara Laraia, Kevin D. Laugero, Leslie Woodhouse, Elissa S. Epel, Frederick M. Hecht. Effects of a mindfulness-based weight loss intervention in adults with obesity: A randomized clinical trial. Obesity, 2016; DOI: 10.1002/oby.21396.
- Yang Claire Yang, Courtney Boen, Karen Gerken, Ting Li, Kristen Schorpp, Kathleen Mullan Harris. Social relationships and physiological determinants of longevity across the human life span. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201511085 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1511085112.