WOMEN WHO RUN… And Why They Should Stop
You have plenty of company
You, and countless other women like you, run on that treadmill, often and hard, for a variety of reasons. You want to get in your cardio, NO you “need” to get in your cardio.
You’re training for a competition (which is the only real reason anyone should do hours of steady state cardio). You want to lose weight. You want to feel better. You want long-term health.
If you’re a woman, and you run for any reason besides competition preparation, you may have been told (wrongly!) that a lot of running is the way to achieve your health goals.
But it is highly unlikely you will reach any fitness goal by endless running. Worse, it is likely to harm your health, perhaps sooner than later. And there’s plenty of supporting medical evidence.
How come this isn’t working anymore?
You may have already noticed the downturn. Perhaps you’ve started to gain weight, maybe rapidly. You could eat anything before without it showing on the scale, but not now.
Perhaps your energy is down, way down. Perhaps your doctor has told you that you have developed hypothyroidism, meaning your thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone.
Perhaps you’ve increased the amount of time you spend on your cardio workout, but do not see or feel the benefits.
Kelly’s endless run to nowhere
My client, Kelly, is a case in point. She began running on a treadmill or elliptical, hard and often, and saw the results she wanted.
She lost weight, her energy was great and she liked the way she looked. Then the great results started to diminish.
What could be wrong? Kelly panicked, and thought the answer was to increase the length and intensity of her runs. But no matter how much time she added to her work out, she saw her initial results diminishing.
For Kelly, and countless others just like her, her metabolism was likely becoming damaged by overdoing the cardio. Not by walking, or by HIIT cardio (High Intensity Interval Training, which alternates between high and low-intensity exercise), but by running nowhere fast – except to her doctor’s office.
Her metabolism was slowing down because Kelly was spending too much time running, cycling, or using a stair-climber or elliptical, for hours on end.
How come nobody told me?
This is not new information, but there’s been a failure to talk about the particularly negative effects for women. While this also happens to men, a woman’s metabolism takes an even bigger hit.
Reliable studies have conclusively shown that too much cardio can harm the production of the T3 thyroid hormone, especially when combined with popular fad diets. And when you’re working out, aren’t you usually eating less to get faster results?
This all seems counter-intuitive
“This doesn’t make sense,” you might be thinking. “Why does this happen?”
Kelly asked the same questions as her symptoms began to mount and she watched the results of her hard work being reversed.
A visit to her doctor revealed that her T3 thyroid hormone level was indeed down, explaining why Kelly was putting on weight and feeling sluggish. When T3 levels are low, your body gains fat easily, despite a high level of exercise.
In fact, the high level of exercise (hours of steady state cardio) had created this problem in the first place!
Survival is the name of the game
Although Kelly didn’t understand it at first, it all made perfect sense to Kelly’s body. Her body was doing its best to keep Kelly alive. Her body responded as if her very survival was being threatened and acted accordingly.
If you are wasting your energy in these excessive workouts, your body slows your metabolism to attempt to conserve your energy. Fat cells stop releasing fat. Energy from fat stores decreases. And you can even begin to lose muscle mass and bone density.
Not to be the bearer of bad news but to make matters worse, you begin to restrict your calories too drastically thinking “maybe I need to eat less.” This will put fat on fast and send your metabolism on what will feel like a permanent vacation.
Get off the treadmill, literally
After several discussions with Kelly she was challenged to end her one sided relationship with the treadmill. She decided on a simple and effective course of action.
She stopped the excessive cardio and begin to train more safely and effectively. In a matter of weeks, her T3 levels had returned to a normal range, and she stopped packing on the pounds. Her energy improved, and she began a new, safer and more effective workout regimen.
Consult a doctor if you feel that damage has already occurred. Work with a knowledgeable trainer. Most of all, understand how your body works and make healthy decisions that will support you in reaching your goals.
If found this post helpful and realize you are just like Kelly, I’d like to extend an invitation for you to register for the 7 Day Fat-Blaster Course and learn how to get your metabolism working for you in a sustainable and holistic way.