What you do - or do not do in the gym has a greater impact than we realize our over all health and inflammation level.
Not many in the fitness industry stop and ask themselves what impact the workout they are having their clients do has on their clients Body. What does that mean? They focus on one or two factors: how much weight lost and how many calories burned!
What most personal trainers and group fitness instructors miss is the cost of chasing just those goals. “No pain, no gain”, right?
Let's take a look at what happens when we chase weight loss. The goal of weight loss is likely the number one reason why people hire personal trainers. Our society’s obsession with weight and the ease with which something like weight can be tracked add to this. Wouldn't it be awesome if we all walked around talking about how low our blood sugar was (a much better indicator of health by the way than weight)? Some day, I hope! … More on blood sugar levels later.
Chasing a weight number is like shooting at a moving target and if your goal is to look and feel better, it can actually lead you down a dangerous life-shortening path.
Here is how:
When we increase the intensity of our workouts and cut calories, we exponentially increase this magical tool the body has… inflammation! No worries if you’ve done this or do this now. It’s based on a dogma that calories in versus calories out is actually how the body works.
But wait, I just said inflammation was a "magical tool" like it was a good thing. Yes, it is a great thing! Inflammation gives our body the ability to continuously adapt to our surroundings via a stress and heal cycle. It is what allows us to get stronger and it is also the thing that can shorten our life if it goes unchecked. As with most things in the human body, more is not always better.
If you were to do a search on pubmed today you would find 2,625 studies linking inflammation to weight gain, more specifically, FAT gain. If we regularly subject our bodies to a workout that is designed to breakdown our muscles and cause inflammation, isn't that going to make us fat? The short answer is YES. This is especially the case if we allow that inflammation to become more of a chronic state in our body.
Now add a “good" old fashioned caloric restriction diet.
When we do an intense workout, our body will immediately start to alter the environment inside the body to begin the healing process. That process happens mainly while we sleep, but the priming of that healing engine starts shortly after our workout. If we restrict the building blocks that our bodies need to recover, when it comes time to sleep and repair tissue, your body might only be able to heal 85% of the way (for example).
You get up the next day and feel a little tired, maybe sore from the workout the day prior. And you do another workout. The process of healing starts again, except today you are already behind the 8 ball because you never fully healed the night before, so that night you heal to maybe 75%. At this point, inflammation is even higher and your system starts to fight back.
You likely become more insulin-resistant due to the hormonal changes in the body caused by the inflammation… and now your body is literaly taking every nutrient it can and holding on to it, in the form of fat, in an attempt to better manage energy flow in the system.
The problem is that you are not giving it what it needs to ever heal that tissue completely! So you have just jumpstarted a cycle that will leave your body more inflamed and holding onto more fat.
Yes your weight can go down simultaneously
- usually for just a short period of time - to the point where your joints and connective tissue start to fail. Guess what that does? It creates more inflammation. Then pain sets in and you have to stop working out as intensely. In response to the ever-increasing insulin levels in your system, you start to crave more and more carbohydrates… which leads to more fat being retained by your body… and on and on and on.
Then! At some point, you will have to stop working out and your daily level of movement will decrease. Ultimately this leads to you moving less and gaining weight.
This amazing tool the body uses to keep your entire body adapting to the stresses imposed on your body (INFLAMMATION) has run a muck, and now is the undoing of your health. All of this could be helped by keeping your inflammation in check.
How can you do your best to keep inflammation to a minimum? Two things you can do - make sure your training program and nutritional guidance take inflammation into account.
Don’t let inflammation stifle your chances of living in the body you want!
Give us a call to set up a consultation to learn more about how the team at Fitness-Tek could help you minimize your inflammation.
Yours in health,