Here we go again! Lazy days on the beach and cocktails are things of the past and now we have to sweat it out in the gym to lose those summer pounds again. Yippee! Sounds good to me! I’ve been active my whole life. From the time I was four, my parents made me participate in sports – which wasn’t a punishment at all! I always loved participating in sports from a social standpoint because I made lots of friends, but I also always relished the challenge of becoming better at something. Gymnastics, tennis, basketball, sailing, street dance, skating… What haven’t I done? I am so grateful to my mom and dad because I believe my active childhood helped me develop good muscle tone and coordination. At least that’s what they tell me at the gym. According to my trainer, Johnny Fernand (whom I go to when I feel like I really need to do some work), I pick up lessons quite quickly because I already built up a foundation playing sports and so my muscles are already used to certain exercises, like the techniques I used to use or balancing exercises I used to do at gymnastics or skating that I do now at the gym. My body recognizes the movements and so I transform and adapt more quickly. Thank you mom and dad! In addition to nutrition, my parents were also very aware of the fact that it is important to start being active as early as possible. I’m definitely enjoying the fruits of that investment now.
Worthy of note for mommies (to be), something I’d never heard and only learned recently from Ralph Moorman during the Hormone Trainer training, is that intense cardio sessions and long-distance running are not only taxing for your muscles, but also for your hormones! What? I was just about to sign up for the Dam to Dam run again because there’s nothing better than running non-stop for 16 kilometers, finishing in under an hour and a half, while burning off your cocktail belly at the same time. Right? No!
Funnily enough, you do burn fat, but you also burn muscle and, in doing so, you disrupt the hormones that keep you thin. Hormone disruption can occur as quickly as after an hour of fairly intense running because after about a half an hour of training, sugar reserves in the blood, muscles and liver drop off. The body then starts to make cortisol, which works to resolve the blood sugar deficit by turning protein from your muscles into sugar. Cortisol breaks down muscle tissue and stimulates fat accretion, primarily in the belly area. And after an hour of intense training, the production of testosterone and growth hormone is reduced. Consider the paradox of ultra runners who have low testosterone and growth hormone levels in their blood, while these hormones are essential to building muscle and burning fat. This is why it’s not really advisable to train for hours at a time, since you’re breaking down more muscle mass than you build. So, first of all, you don’t burn enough fat during a long, hard cardio session to really lose weight and second, you’re not only burning fat, you’re burning muscle too. Third, you’re actually disrupting the hormones that are supposed to keep you slim. Short and intense exercise is the best way to achieve an optimal hormone balance. That’s why, these days, my workouts never last more than 60 minutes. And high-intensity workouts are best! Especially now, when I have to work on my belly after all those lovely summer cocktails : )
Work that ass!