Please note, that I do not have a personal grudge against running, spinning or cross trainers. I used to run half marathons (to stay in shape) but I got fed up when my arms kept getting thinner and my waist remained at 36”!
There is no denying the fact that a spin class or a 10km run will use a lot of calories, but are those calories from fat and are they beneficial to body fat loss and a positive body composition? The problem with spinning and other extended cardio sessions like aerobics classes etc is that after about 30 minutes your body releases the hormone cortisol.
This itself isn’t a problem but there is an absence of growth hormone and testosterone in cardio sessions to combat the cortisol. These hormones are released when you weight train. Cortisol is our fight or flight hormone and will remain in your blood for a long period of time, extending its adverse effects on body composition and muscle growth.
What does this mean to you?
Well, it means greater fat storage in the very areas most of you that spin are trying to lose fat from: Legs, hips, bums and tums. Yes, that’s right, it will make you store fat in the areas you are trying to lose it from.
Secondly, in certain individuals it can lead to bulky thighs through repetitive strain and can also shorten your hip flexor which can in turn can cause back pain.
Thirdly, and if I remember correctly, the spin mentality is to go as fast and as hard as possible, really working hard and sweating buckets. Well extended cardio sessions like spin have been SCIENTIFICALLY proven to decrease muscle mass, strength and power, and will make your fast twitch muscle fibres perform like slow twitch fibres.
This means it will make your muscles slower and weaker and we have already established previously that it is the opposite of what every girl needs to maintain a healthy balance of muscle and to lose body fat.
So spin doesn’t look to good at the moment does it?
Of course, you will all know someone who went spinning three times a week for 3 months lost loads of weight, feels great and will then tell everyone that I bump into that “spinning is amazing and that everyone should do it”
We all know a really slim girl who only does cardio, eats whatever she wants and has never used any weights…but she is in a very, very small minority. Nearly everyone reading this email, including myself, falls into the vast majority I’m afraid.
If you absolutely have to do extended cardio (longer than 30 minutes) then do it no more than once a week, and better still, walk out after 30 minutes, before that dreaded cortisol kicks in and starts to store fat in your bum!
Like I have said before concentrate on HIIT style cardio, high intensity interval training (here is a previous article on HIIT http://www.fitterbodybootcamp.com/blog/high-intensity-interval-training-how-it-works/ . Combine that with a progressive resistance programme and a good, clean diet and watch body fat drop off you. It’s what I use (and since I have my waist has dropped down to 31”) and it’s what all the trainers in shape use.