In an age of ‘fitspiration’, it might come as a surprise that new research claims that exercise is in fact what is sTOPping us shedding those dreaded love handles.
The survey conducted by the Weightloss and Health Institute asked over 1000 Australians to share whether their exercise and weight loss methods were proving effective. More than half of those who participated admitted that while they exercise, they can’t seem to reach their weight loss goals.
健康瘦身研究所（Weightloss and Health Institute，以下简称WHI） 日前对1000名通过运动减重的澳洲人进行了调查访问，请他们推荐我们的训练减肥办法是不是真的行之有效。其中超越半数人承认，虽然他们进行了训练，但好像一直不可以达到自己所定的减肥目的。
The biggest factor the WHI found that was leading to stilted weight loss was the direct link between strenuous exercise (any exercise seen to over exert the body) and the need to ‘reward’ or ‘treat’ yourself after your workout.
Results also found that those who solely exercised to lose weight would disregard their diet – with 53 per cent admitting they actually eat more after exercising and 41 per cent rewarding themselves with sugary treats after.
Leading Australian weight loss coach Geoff Jowett says this ‘reward system’ is one of the most common reasons why exercise is leading to weight gain.
‘It’s been found that statistically if women participate in strenuous exercise they are likely to reward themselves after with something sweet,’ says Jowett.
‘What happens is they will do a Cross Fit class then go and eat a piece of cake because they think they deserve it. Which means you can become fit and fat at the same time,’ he said.
A study conducted by Arizona State University also recently found similar results when they studied the effects of aerobic exercise on overweight women.
The researchers asked 81 women who had a sedentary lifestyle to participate in a 12 week aerobic exercise program involving three treadmill sessions a week. They were also asked not to alter their diet.
The end result found that while they were fitter after twelve weeks, they also were fatter. There was no noticeable weight loss amongst the group and almost 70 per cent of the women had piled on some fat mass during the program.
Jowett says the important thing to note is that fitness and weight loss are different ball games. He believes it’s a 80/20 ratio with 80 per cent being about what we eat and 20 per cent exercise.
So what counts as strenuous exercise? ‘Anything that you assess on a "Relative Perceived Exertion" scale, with one being easiest and ten being harmful,’ says Jowett.
‘A brisk walk is good because you can still talk, but if you’re doing exercise that feels above a seven like running, cycling, aerobics, Cross Fit, then it won’t be good for weight loss,’ he said.
Jowett also notes that the exercise on ‘The Biggest Loser’ is not sustainable for people who are dramatically overweight because apart from the likelihood of injury and muscle strain, workouts like running are too strenuous on the body and lead to a spike in hunger which results in sugar cravings, high insulin levels and weight gain.
The solution Jowett believes is to separate fitness and weight loss. Address the weight issue first by taking steps towards healthy eating and then also adopt a simple 10,000 step a day approach.
For those who aren’t sure how to tackle the basics, Jowett has also developed new weight loss app ‘Trim for Life’ that assists you with a holistic health plan including: personalised recipes, motivation and expert tips from some of Australia’s best health and fitness coaches (including celebrity trainer Luke Istomin).
If fitness is still a priority, Jowett says you can always step up the hardcore exercise later.
As for whether exercise is necessary at all – Jowell says if it’s to drop kilos, forget about it.
‘Strenuous exercise is not the right prescription, it’s like cough medicine for a toe infection, it’s just not the solution for weight loss.’
love handle: 腰间赘肉