Why the Treadmill Alone Doesn't Cut It

ASK THE COACH
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
WHY THE TREADMILL ALONE DOESN'T CUT IT
Why the Treadmill Alone Doesn't Cut It

Dear Coach,

 

I am in my early 30’s and about 20 kilos overweight. I recently bought a treadmill and started walking and jogging for about two hours every day – and sometimes even more than that. My exercise program is restricted to the treadmill. To me, it seems all good because I am losing weight, which is my objective. I have lost around 9 kilos so far.

 

Nevertheless, I have some concerns about my program. It would be great if you could address the following questions:

 

1-      Is exercising on the treadmill regularly enough?

2-      Is exercising for more than two hours daily on the treadmill beneficial or not?

3-      Should I include other routines in my regimen?

4-      What other types of exercises should I incorporate?

 

Best regards,

 

Diane A.



Diane A.

Dear Diane,

 

Let me start by reminding you that you need to look at your body, shape, and health holistically. You need to take into consideration your height, weight, morphological potential, ability to maintain an exercise program (considering the time you invest everyday), and many other factors. In addition, when considering an exercise routine that will provide results, you need to focus on the quality of the program, not only the duration of it. It is important to choose the program that works best for your body type.

 

With the little information I have regarding your body type and shape, I’ll address your questions in general terms, which can work for the majority of people. Performing cardiovascular activity for over two hours every day is considered overtraining and excessive; this surely would result in muscle loss since you are not allowing your body to perform its natural cycle of bouncing back and forth between protein breaking-down cycles and protein-building cycles. It would be safe for you to do 50 to 60 minutes of daily aerobic activity (being jogging, swimming…) 5 to 6 days a week, assuming you are providing your body with appropriate nutritional support.

 

Jogging or walking on the treadmill alone is not enough, and it will not help you build muscle, which is an essential element for good health. You may become thinner, but you will not develop muscles by simply walking, jogging, or even running. Weight lifting is also a great way to burn calories. In fact, your body continues to burn calories at a higher rate for several hours after your workout. You seem to be happy because, according to your scale, you are losing weight – which just about anyone would lose in the beginning of any exercise program. But… the million-dollar question is, “Are you losing fat or muscle?” The answer to this question lies in the following questions:

 

 

1-      Do you include weightlifting in your training program?

Weightlifting has been associated with many misconceptions, but the reality is that weightlifting has many benefits and advantages. It increases your muscle mass, consequently boosting your metabolic rate during and after your workout. It can also enable you to see fast results in your body shape, and this can serve as a great motivator. Weightlifting can also increase your stamina and allow you to perform your cardio with less fatigue. And if you still need another reason to train with weights, think about how beneficial it can be for your bones. In fact, lifting weights increases your bone density, and can prevent you from developing osteoporosis in later years.

 

2-      Are you consuming enough protein and carbohydrates?

Protein: Eating enough protein can provide the necessary calories and amino acids to enable your body to build and repair the hard working muscles. The daily amount of protein intake varies, and it depends on your ideal body weight. The minimum recommended amount is 0.45 grams for each kilogram of your ideal weight, and the maximum recommended amount is 0.8 grams for each kilogram of your ideal weight.

 

Your ideal body weight is calculated as such: for 150 centimeters in height, you should weigh 45 kilograms for women (48 kilogram for men). For each additional 1 centimeter, you add 0.85 kilograms for women (1 kilogram for men). You need to remember that meat is not all-pure protein; therefore the daily recommended consumption of lean meat is between 55 grams and 110 grams.

 

Carbohydrates: Your muscles have certain requirements for carbohydrates; therefore, you should consider your carbohydrate intake as much as your protein intake. Although the amount varies depending on studies, the general recommendation for daily consumption is 5 to 10 grams per body weight. Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy and allowing muscle recovery after physical activity.

 

Especially for the fact that you exercise for two hours daily, you need to give your body appropriate fuel: carbohydrates. When you exercise, your body’s first choice for energy is glucose from carbohydrates. When that it is not available, its second choice is glucose, which is stored as glycogen in fatty tissue. Now when the supply of that is short, your body burns protein tissue in the muscles. It is for this reason that consuming carbohydrates helps to prevent you from losing precious muscle tissue.

 

You are one of the lucky ones who can afford to exercise for two hours daily, but why not get the best out of your time and include some weightlifting and stretching in your daily routine? This way, you would be maintaining your cardiovascular level (since you like to jog so much), developing your muscles by weightlifting, and improving your flexibility level by stretching at the end of your workout 

An ideal two hour program for you would be: 

 

 

Activity

Details

Time

Activity

Details

Time

Activity

Time

Mon

Jogging

0 incline

50 min

Weights

biceps/triceps/forearms/abs

40 min

Stretching

30 min

Tue

Walking

15 incline

50 min

Weights

shoulders/abs

40 min

Stretching

30 min

Wed

Walking

0 incline

50 min

Weights

quadriceps/inner thighs

40 min

Stretching

30 min

Thu

Jogging

0 incline

50 min

Weights

chest/abs

40 min

Stretching

30 min

Fri

Walking

15 incline

50 min

Weights

upper back/lower back/abs

40 min

Stretching

30 min

Sat

Walking

0 incline

40 min

Weights

buttocks/hamstrings/calves

50 min

Stretching

30 min

 

Good luck!

Abdo G. Mansour

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