Case Study #07 The Com­pen­sator

Men's Health (UK) - - 7 New Ways To Lose 5kg -

More isn’t al­ways bet­ter. Church and Martin are pub­lish­ing a new study that ar­rives at a sur­pris­ing con­clu­sion: those who ex­er­cise an av­er­age of half an hour per day on a tread­mill don’t lose any more weight than those who spend 15 min­utes on the same task. The team mea­sured par­tic­i­pants’ en­ergy in­take and ex­pen­di­ture and con­cluded that, though the more com­mit­ted run­ners were burn­ing more calo­ries, they were eat­ing more food as a “re­ward” for their good work. If your weight barely changes, even when you in­crease your train­ing, you likely fall into this cat­e­gory. The Pre­scrip­tion Wear­able ac­tiv­ity track­ers of­fer a good start­ing point. Your body burns about 1kcal per kilo­gram of body­weight per hour at rest, equat­ing to roughly 2,160kcal per day for a 90kg man. If you run for half an hour, you might burn an ex­tra 300kcal – a fig­ure that sounds im­pres­sive un­til you re­alise that it’s equiv­a­lent to a slice of toast with peanut but­ter. Fac­tor your post-work­out re­fuel into the rest of your meal plan. It’s not a “treat”.

Church and Martin noted that this sort of be­hav­iour is par­tic­u­larly preva­lent among those with high blood su­gar and an im­paired in­sulin re­sponse, who were three times more likely to overeat af­ter a work­out. They be­lieve that the drop in blood su­gar af­ter train­ing in­creases ap­petite. One so­lu­tion is sim­ply to ride it out: over time, a steady train­ing pro­gramme im­proves in­sulin sen­si­tiv­ity, while en­cour­ag­ing your body to burn more fat for en­ergy.

There’s a sec­ond pos­si­ble cul­prit: if your train­ing leaves you so burned out that you barely move over the next two days, you’ll be lucky if your weekly calo­rie bal­ance breaks even. Build low-im­pact ac­tiv­i­ties such as walk­ing or cy­cling into your rest days. A lit­tle ex­tra sweat, we know – but it could be a game changer for your body.

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