Use it or lose it, right?
Modern society has been engineered for sitting. As a result, humans spend more time off their feet than ever before.
People Are Sitting More Than Ever Before
The idea that sitting can be harmful seems ridiculous at first thought.
Sitting is a default human body posture, and when people work, socialize, study or travel, they often do so in a seated position. It’s second nature.
However, that doesn’t mean sitting is harmless. It’s like eating — necessary, yet incredibly harmful if you do too much of it.
Unfortunately, sedentary behavior, or sitting too much, is now at an all-time high. Over half of the average person’s day is spent sitting, doing things like driving, working at a desk or watching television.
In fact, the typical office worker may spend up to a whopping 15 hours per day sitting. Agricultural workers, on the other hand, only sit about 3 hours a day.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if we don’t move enough, we won’t be burning calories, and thus we will have trouble losing weight. In fact, we’re much more likely to gain weight, especially if we continue eating higher amounts of the wrong foods.
Your everyday non-exercise activities, like standing, walking and even fidgeting, still burn calories.
This energy expenditure is known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), the lack of which is an important risk factor for weight gain.
Sedentary behavior, like sitting or lying down, involves very little energy expenditure. It severely limits the calories you burn through NEAT.
To put this in perspective, studies report that agricultural workers can burn up to 1,000 more calories per day than people working desk jobs.
This is because farm workers spend most of their time walking and standing, rather than sitting in a chair.
Bottom Line: Sitting or lying down uses far less energy than standing or moving. This is why office workers may burn up to 1,000 fewer calories a day than agricultural workers.
The Longer You Sit, the Fatter You Get
When it comes to weight management, the fewer calories you burn, the more likely you are to gain weight.
This is why sedentary behavior is so closely linked to obesity.
In fact, research shows that obese individuals sit for an average of 2 hours longer each day than lean people do.
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Check out these frightening statistics: According to a 2008 Vanderbilt University study of 6,300 people, it was estimated that the average American spends 55 percent of his or her waking hours (7.7 hours) sitting or sedentary. 14 A 2010 study by the American Cancer Society found that women and men who were inactive and sat for more than 6 hours a day were 94 percent and 48 percent more likely to die prematurely, respectively, than their counterparts who sat less than 3 hours a day. We also have to take into consideration what happens inside our bodies when we’re sitting down.
Sitting decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which helps burn fat. Too much sedentary time decreases bone mineral density without increasing bone formation, which raises the risk of fracture.
We also have to take into consideration what happens inside our bodies when we’re sitting down.
Sitting decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which helps burn fat. 15 Too much sedentary time decreases bone mineral density without increasing bone formation, which raises the risk of fracture. Furthermore, excess sitting increases blood pressure and decreases the diameter of your arteries, both of which make heart disease more likely.
The answer is not killing yourself in the gym
What’s even crazier is that these findings were just as strong in people who exercised regularly!
[Related article: Worst Exercise to do for over 35s women and what you should be doing instead]
In our modern world, we believe that we can go to the gym for an hour and wash away all of our sedentary sins, but it just doesn’t work like that. If you work in an office, commute by car, and watch a few hours of TV each night, it’s not hard to see how you could spend the vast majority of your waking life (up to 15 hours a day!) sitting on your butt. This is a far cry from the evolutionary norms for humans and has serious consequences for our health.
However, the solution is NOT to kill yourself in the gym to burn off those extra calories. In fact, doing so only makes matters worse, especially if you rely on this one popular type of exercise.
Did you know that is all too common exercise, once deemed the “holy grail” for losing weight, is actually making it near impossible for you to lose those stubborn pounds and keep them off?
I’m telling you that long cardio workouts – the ones where you’re spending 20+ minutes on a cardio machine (or running outside) several times per week – are terrible for your body because…
Even though they may help you lose weight in the short term by creating a slight caloric deficit…
In his book, Yuri Elkaim of the All Day Fat Burning Diet notes that long cardio workouts are actually eating away at your metabolism, like termites under a wooden house, and destroying your fat loss hormones which makes it almost impossible for you lose weight and keep it off in the long run.
Cardio Sends Your Fat-Storing Stress Hormones Through the Roof
According to a 2011 study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology, too much cardio increases cortisol, your body major stress hormone. Not only is too much cortisol undesirable for better overall health…
It also sabotages your fat loss efforts because high cortisol levels force your body to store belly fat.
To make matters worse, high cortisol levels have also been associated with muscle loss. This means that long bouts of stress-inducing cardio can actually begin eating away at your precious muscle for fuel.
This is the last thing you want because muscle preserves your metabolism. It is the hot-burning wood that keeps your metabolic fire raging hot. The more muscle you lose, the more your metabolic fire dwindles away and the tougher it is for you to lose that stubborn weight.
But that’s not all…
Chronically high levels of cortisol also hurt your thyroid gland! This can lead to hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid), which again results in the slowing of your metabolic rate, which literally STOPS any possibility of losing weight.[Related article: How to Boost Metabolism to Overcome Hormonal, Thyroid and Adrenal Fatigue issues to become a fat burning machine]
Researchers at University of Colorado found that endurance athletes have higher levels of cortisol and body fat versus athletes who do not overdo their cardio.
Among the athletes monitored, those who put in the most distance and time during their cardio sessions had the highest levels of cortisol and percent body fat. Isn’t that crazy?
Even though you may think runners are generally thin, don’t be misled by the “skinny fat” phenomenon. It’s the same process that often occurs when you solely rely on dieting to lose weight, in which case you may lose some weight but your body is still loose and jiggly, instead of firm and toned.
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Cardio Eats Away Your Muscle By Plummeting Growth Hormone
As you’re starting to see, your metabolism is a major factor in your ability to lose stubborn fat for good. And since your lean mass (aka. muscle) largely determines your metabolism, you want the hormones that support your muscle to be intact, right?
One of the most important muscle-preserving hormones is growth hormone. This is the hormone that is released during deep sleep and certain types of exercise (as you’ll see on the next page) that is largely responsible for ALL growth, repair, and maintenance your body has experienced since you were born.
But yet again, cardio is here to crash the growth hormone party too.
A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology showed that long duration cardio workouts decrease growth hormone, which further compromises your muscle and metabolism.
Plus, low levels of growth hormone are a well-known contributor to accelerated aging, especially when accompanied by higher body fat percentage, as was shown a review paper in the journal Endocrine Reviews.
So, if you want a slim and toned body, the last thing you want is plummeting levels of growth hormone.
Going to the gym 5 to 7 days a week and killing yourself for up to 2 hours at a time creates a time bomb inside of you just waiting to go off. It might produce results in the very short run, but that level of intense activity is impossible to sustain. That’s precisely why pro athletes fizzle out by the time they’re 35 years old: Their bodies get beaten up and bottom out. It’s impossible to sustain decades of the intense daily exercise they put themselves through.
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Sleep, Fat, Muscle, and Bodybuilding
Most people realize sleep is important but few realize how incredibly important it is for bodybuilders, athletes and people wanting to lose a few pounds. If you want to gain muscle, lose fat, or maximize your athletic performance you cannot be sleep deprived. We live in a world of sleep deprived people. With every passing year there are more demands on our time: school, work, family, friends, facebook, television, the internet. The average person sleeps an hour less each night than those a century ago and its not because we need less sleep. If you are serious about losing fat or bodybuilding then you must get enough sleep, lets look at why its so important that you turn off the TV and go to bed early.
If you are sleep deprived:
- You get fatter
- You burn muscle rather than fat
- Your athletic skills decrease by 9%
How is that for three great reasons to get enough sleep??? The easiest way to lose fat is to get enough sleep! Sleep is very important in regulating hormones. Turns out that when you are sleep deprived your leptin decrease and your ghrelin levels increase which causes your metabolism to slow down. It also makes you hungrier so that you eat more. Sleep deprivation is a double-bad for people trying to lose weight – it makes you burn off fewer calories AND it makes you eat more, so you get FAT!
Sleep deprivation makes you burn muscle rather than fat! If you are dieting while sleep deprived, you will burn twice as much muscle and only half as much fat. The message is clear, if you are on any sort of a diet trying to get ripped you MUST get enough sleep or you will lose muscle instead of fat! If you are eating less than your TDEE in an attempt to lose weight, you must get enough sleep or the weight you will be losing will be muscle instead of fat.
Every night when you’re asleep, your body is busy repairing itself from all the wear and tear you subjected it to during the day. You may think you’re getting stronger when you work out, but in actuality, you’re getting stronger when you sleep, as this is when your levels of growth hormone increase.
Just as growth hormone is supposed to increase when you’re sleeping, there’s also supposed to be a decrease in another hormone called corticotropin-releasing factor. It’s basically a message sent from your brain that tells your adrenal glands to chill out so you can relax and go to sleep.
Now I know that most of you say you get enough sleep but most of you are just fooling yourself. We are a planet of sleep deprived people. I have a very simple definition of sleep deprivation – if an alarm clock wakes you up, you are sleep deprived – period. You have been awakened before your body was fully rested and all its internal housekeeping is done. Most people use alarm clocks but you don’t have to, its all about time management.
All the time I hear people say “I don’t need a lot of sleep” – I don’t buy it. If sleeping too much makes you groggy and tired then you should see a doctor asap because you probably have sleep apnea. If you “only need 6 hrs sleep” its probably because of stress, anxiety or too much caffeine consumption. Although many can fall to sleep when very tired if they have residual caffeine in their systems or are stressed about something, when they wake up in the middle of the night they have real trouble getting back to sleep – this is not an indication that they don’t need more sleep! Its an indication that they have a problem that needs solving so they can get the sleep their body needs!
So that’s it, four great reasons to get enough sleep:
- makes you leaner
- makes you lose fat rather than muscle
- helps you gain muscle
To find out more about the right amount of exercise, you can purchase the Warrior Goddess Body Book here for only £12.99: www.lisabarwise.com/warriorgoddessbody