Is Exercising Making You Fat?

It’s basically our worst nightmare: you can work out so much that you actually gain weight! Now before you start adding this to the list of scary things you have to vaguely worry about all the time (like the fact that avocados are declining or that house cats eat people if given the chance), you should note that you’d have to work out a lot for this to be the case. Usually it’s everyday, twice a day. Who even has time for that?

Apparently, this is a trend that’s becoming more and more prevalent, as people struggling to get in shape (or stay in shape) figure that more exercise is always better. This isn’t actually the case, and can trigger something called adrenal fatigue, where you exhaust your body’s ability to “fight or flight” over a period of days, but you continue to push it after that. Your hormone levels go crazy because of this, and start producing more cortisol, which is a stress hormone that makes you retain belly fat.

Personal trainer Liz Letchford has seen it all before. “Your entire central nervous system is regulated by a complicated system of hormones. Throw them out of whack, and you’ve got some serious issues.” She recommends that people stay away from high intensity, long duration exercises, and instead pick only one of those. And she also says that recovery time after intense exercise is a key component that keeps you looking your best. Your body needs… to recover from all of the breaking down that has been happening during workouts.” See? A personal trainer is telling you to kick up your feet for once!