It’s a pretty common belief that you NEED to exercise to be healthy. And this idea seems to make sense.
People who exercise appear healthier than those who don’t.
Exercise is important.
But it’s not a magic bullet that fixes all of your health problems.
Let me explain.
Exercising When You’re Already Unhealthy Ruins Your Health
If you’re already fairly healthy, exercise will change how your body works.
- lose weight
- build muscle
- lower your blood sugar
- lower your insulin
- increase your testosterone
- and improve other areas of your health
But when your hormones are already out of balance from eating an unhealthy diet, exercising will actually make you fatter and sicker.
- raise your cortisol levels too high
- lower your testosterone and DHEA
- promote excessive inflammation all over your body
- weaken your immune system
- develop insomnia and other symptoms
Check out these studies related to overtraining on the National Institute of Health:
- Blood Hormones as Markers of Training Stress and Overtraining
- Overtraining, Exercise, and Adrenal Insufficiency
- Hormonal Responses to Endurance Training and Overtraining in Female Athletes
- Chronic Endurance Exercise Training: A Condition of Inadequate Blood Pressure Regulation and Reduced Tolerance to LBNP
What Does Fairly Healthy Mean?
You have healthy hormones.
When your hormones are balanced, so is the rest of your body.
Get some lab work and find out where your hormones are at if you can afford it.
You work with a doctor to track the results over time to figure out what you can do to get healthy.
Here’s a great post by Dr. Jack Kruse on what labs you need to have done to optimize your body.
If you have low body fat, you feel good, and you sleep very well, then you are likely fairly healthy. But without labs, it’s hard to tell exactly where your at.
What Does Unhealthy Mean?
Your doctor will tell you that your labs are a mess.
You’ll be overweight, and not feel very well if this is the case. Unhealthy people know their unhealthy most of the time if they are honest with themselves.
If this is you, you can fix yourself. It’s not too late to do something no matter where you’re at, even if you can only reduce your symptoms.
What Kind of Diet Is Healthy?
I recommend the low carb high fat ketogenic diet to lose weight and get your hormones back into balance.
This diet has reduced or completely reversed diabetes symptoms in thousands, if not tens of thousands of people around the world.
It is low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and high in fats.
Eating like this causes the body to burn fats, called ketones, as an energy source instead of sugar.
Here are some of the benefits of the ketogenic diet:
- rapid weight loss
- decreased appetite
- reduced inflammation
- better memory and focus
- cancer treatments
- reduced symptoms for Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s patients
- seizure management for epileptic patients
You can learn how to start the ketogenic diet today in this blog post.
If you need help you can join my support group: Love Low Carb High Fat Ketogenic.
We’ll answer your questions, share recipes, and teach you everything you need to know about getting yourself better.
A Healthy Diet Is Necessary to Get Maximum Results with Your Exercise
photo credit: Bahrain personal fitness
When you eat a healthy diet and live a healthy lifestyle, your body works great.
You naturally start losing weight and building muscle.
You look better, feel better, and other health issues improve or simply go away.
This is because you’re providing your body with more vitamins and minerals. And you’ve cut out all the toxic chemicals in processed foods.
Your body finally has a chance to begin detoxing and rebuilding itself.
If you were slim and sexy at one point in your late teens or early twenties, think back to that time. That’s when your hormones were more in balance.
You’ll start to look more like that again if you commit to eating healthy from here on out.
If you’ve been heavy and/or sick since you were a kid, don’t worry. You can fix yourself. There are so many people that have.
Don’t believe me?
Dr. Jack Kruse used to weigh 300 lbs and is now healthy as ever.
Entrepreneur and Health Enthusiast, Dave Asprey had a similar transformation.
Have You Tried Many Diets and Exercise Routines and Still No Results?
You could have a hormonal imbalance that’s stopping you from losing weight and getting better.
You need to fix this issue before you start exercising or you’re only going to make it worse.
How Do You Know When You’re Ready to Start Exercising?
First you need to get your body leptin sensitive.
What Is Leptin?
Leptin is a hormone secreted primarily in fat cells, as well as the stomach, heart, placenta, and skeletal muscle. It tells you when you are full.
Ghrelin is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach. It tells you when you are hungry.
Your fat cells are in constant communication with your brain.
They tell your hypothalamus, a major endocrine gland in the brain, how much fat you have by releasing leptin into the bloodstream.
When you have a sufficient amount of fat on your body, your fat cells release an adequate amount of leptin and your brain tells you to stop eating.
This is how hunger is regulated.
The problem with our society is that we eat WAY too much. And we eat the wrong kinds of foods.
Because of this the majority of the United States population is leptin resistant.
What happens is…
People overeat at almost every meal. Then they snack in between each meal.
This causes leptin to get released into the bloodstream so often that the hypothalamus becomes desensitized to it.
This is also the beginning of insulin resistance and the beginning of getting fat and sick.
Leptin resistance comes before insulin resistance.
Once your body becomes leptin resistant, your other hormones start to go out of balance.
Your body no longer has a way to tell how much fat is on it, so it can’t regulate hunger.
Have you ever driven a car with a broken fuel gauge?
You can’t tell how much gas is in the car, so you need to fill up at a quarter tank to make sure you don’t run out.
This is basically what leptin resistance is like in the body.
Your hunger gets out of whack.
And you end up feeling the need to eat frequently because your blood sugar doesn’t stay stable.
What a mess.
photo credit: Ljupco Smokovski
So How Do You Become Leptin Sensitive Again?
To become leptin sensitive, you need to eat a healthy diet.
Try out the ketogenic diet and see how it goes for you if you think it’s a good fit.
Commit to it for at least 6 months to see the results.
Be sure to stick to the diet and follow the principles exactly.
You need to know what works for you and what doesn’t if you really want to get healthier.
For more information on leptin check out this post by Dr. Jack Kruse.
Exercising Too Much Will Ruin Your Health… Ask Any Elite Athlete
It’s not whether or not you exercise that matters.
It’s how you exercise.
A lot of people exercise too much. They seem to think that it’s all or nothing.
They work out to the point of exhaustion day in and day out thinking they are losing weight faster.
They think workouts need to be stressful to be a workout.
Most people who exercise also feel justified to eat more junk food. Have you heard about ‘working out for an appetite’?
Exercise has become a license for some people to eat more!
Especially when your body is depending on burning glucose for energy, you eat before, during and after the exercise. And then you get ravenous after a workout, and eat a big meal after that.
I call that the Rat Race. It defeats the purpose of exercise.
Most people who are keto adapted (which when the body is burning fat for energy) do not need any food before, during, or right after exercise.
I am one of those people.
That’s because our body is constantly burning fat for energy. Every hour that we spend on exercising we are burning stored body fat and building muscles. Not burning the junk food that we’ve just eaten.
Too Much Exercise Ruins Your Hormones
It causes you to produce too much of the stress hormone, cortisol, and throws your other hormones out of whack.
Excessive cortisol causes your gut lining to get worn down, eventually leading to leaky gut.
This makes you fat, depressed, and unable to sleep.
Have You Been Exercising for Months or Even Years with No Changes in Your Weight? Is Your Sleep Suffering?
You’re probably exercising too much.
If this is you, check out this blog post by Triathlete, Ben Greenfield. He writes about overtraining and what you can do about it.
Movement vs. Exercise
photo credit: hatchetresort.com
So after all this talk about exercise, let’s get into how to exercise.
Exercise is defined as a period of time where we move certain parts of our body in a certain way.
Reasons to exercise are to build muscle, lose fat, look better, and reduce stress.
Exercise Can Be Broken down into the following Parts:
- mode – the type of exercise; for example running, crossfit, high intensity interval training, etc.
- duration – how long you perform the exercise.
- frequency – how many times you do it over the duration.
- intensity – how hard your body worked; generally measured by heart beat.
Movement, Refers to Any Motion Made by Body. Examples Include:
- squatting to pick up something
- moving your jaw to chew food
- walking to forage for food
Exercise includes movement, but movement is not always considered exercise.
Movement is a requirement for your body. Exercise is not.
Do you remember how I said that people who exercise appear healthier than those who don’t?
This is because many people who exercise are sedentary the rest of their lives.
They go from chair to chair throughout all day, only standing when it’s absolutely necessary.
They exercise to make up for their lack of movement, which makes them look slimmer.
But this doesn’t make up for what’s happening to their joints and hormones from sitting on their ass all day.
Up until very recently, even less than 100 years ago, humans and their ancestors before them moved throughout the day to meet their needs.
- foraged wild foods
- hunted wild game
- built shelters
- walked miles a day
- and performed many other tasks
Switching from these habits to sitting in chairs all day is a huge change for our physiology.
Now that we all work from offices there’s really no need to stand up to meet your survival needs, so lots of people just sit on their ass.
And of course they do, the human body is designed to conserve energy when it can.
Why not sit to save energy for a stressful day at the office?
It’s not healthy to deviate from our animal nature.
Our Bodies Were Designed for Movement
photo credit: Joanna Roque de Pinho
When you just sit on your ass all day, your bones, joints, ligaments, and whatever else all come out of alignment.
Did you know that being sedentary can slowly tear your meniscus over time?
Your hips and knees slowly come out of alignment from sitting on your ass.
Movement is required to bring blood to your joints. When you don’t move, nutrients can’t get to those areas.
Your body can easily adapt to natural movement because your DNA has spent the last 200,000 years doing just that, moving.
Your body cannot adapt to doing the same exercise over and over again though. Exercise is unnatural for the body.
Where in nature do you see humans repeating the same movement patterns over and over again to the point of exhaustion on a daily to weekly basis?
Repeating the same movements over and over again puts too much stress on those areas of the body.
Varied movement is required for health.
You can still go to the gym a few days a week, but keep your exercise varied. And don’t think that you are healthy only because you do that.
Working out is not enough.
You need to move your body in a variety of ways throughout the day, week, month, and years.
Change up how you move. Learn new patterns. Push your body to grow. Then recover as much as you need. Then repeat.
Do a little yoga when you wake up. Take a walk break at lunch. Move your body!
photo credit: jacksonholetraveler.com
This Year, Exercise Less by Katy Bowman
The Movement Diet : Interview w/ Ido Portal
Dr. Jack Kruse’s Thoughts on Exercise
Exercise Alone Is Not Enough: Weight Loss Also Needs a Healthy (Mediterranean) Diet?