Podcast > Episodes

episode #108

Could Your Workouts Be Doing More Harm Than Good?

December 17, 2021 in Podcast


Chronic cardio describes a pattern of overly stressful cardiovascular workouts that last for too long and are conducted too frequently, with insufficient rest periods in between. Chronic exercisers compromise their general health, weight loss goals, and longevity by doing too much too often and ignoring the importance of rest. For many dedicated fitness enthusiasts who tend toward chronic exercise patterns, conducting workouts that are easier, shorter, and less frequent can lead to fitness and health improvements. My workouts have gone from 1 hour to a focused 20-minute workout with the X3 Bar of one dedicated set to fatigue. The focus is more about time under tension and less about hammering out fast reps / sets. It has been easier on my joints and has helped me build muscle without being chronically sore.

To counteract the dangers of sedentary living, move more frequently, avoid prolonged periods of stillness during the workday, and add more movement, such as a 10 to 15-minute walk after meals to regulate the insulin response and help with digestion.

Conduct the majority of your exercise in the fat-burning aerobic heart rate zone of 180-age or below. Low-level aerobic conditioning maximizes fat burning during the workout and throughout the rest of the day. Aerobic exercise also strengthens bones, joints, and connective tissues and boosts the immune system with a cascade of anti-aging hormones.

Occasionally exercising above this aerobic heart rate zone and into the predominantly glucose-burning anaerobic heart rate zone (up to 90 percent of maximum heart rate, but no need to exceed that) can be beneficial. High-intensity exercise, such as that inspired by sprint workouts, promotes optimal gene expression and closely mimics the movements of our Primal ancestors.

If you love the Get Lean Eat Clean Podcast, we’d love for you to subscribe, rate, and give a review on iTunes. Until next time!

0 (1s): Hello, and welcome to the get lean and eat clean podcast. My name is Brian grin. I'm a certified health coach, trainer and author. And this podcast is for middle-aged men and women looking to optimize their health and get their bodies back to what it once was 10 to 15 years ago. I will give you simple, actionable items to get long-term sustainable results. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show. All right, welcome to the get lean eat clean podcast. My name is Brian grin, and I hope you had a great weekend and enjoyed my last interview with Dr. Ted Naiman.

0 (42s): We liked it so much. We're actually going to do an Instagram live tonight Tuesday night at 7:30 PM central. To answer any of your questions regarding the episode or anything else that comes to your mind regarding health and wellness. So look out for that. That'll be an Instagram live Q and a with myself and Dr. Ted Naiman and looking forward to doing that with him. But today I wanted to talk about, could your weekly workouts be doing more harm than good, because essentially I, we talk about, and you've heard me talk with my friend, Brad Kearns about chronic cardio and chronic cardio describes a pattern of overly stressful cardiovascular workouts that lasts for too long and are conducted too frequently with insufficient rest periods in between.

0 (1m 30s): So generally speaking, chronic cardio workouts can be conducted where your heart rate is too high for too long to be considered aerobic, but any, any exercise can become chronic. It can create excessive stress and does not allow for sufficient recovery. And so, you know, I know there's a lot of dedicated fitness enthusiasts out there, but if you're doing chronic exercise patterns, this can actually take a toll on not only your general health, but your weight loss goals, and even longevity by doing too much too often and ignoring sufficient rest periods. You you'll find that you can actually do something that's easier, shorter and less frequent and can lead to fitness and health improvements much better than doing long periods of stressful activity.

0 (2m 20s): And I'm actually fall into this boat because I used to do long hour, hour and a half workout sessions, but ever since the quarantine, I went to shorter, you know, these micro workouts where I'm just, you know, doing these, you know, if you, if you listen to my interview with Dr. John J Quish, for the most part, I use the X three bar and I'm doing it, you know, 15, 20 minutes. And I'm done one to one to two sets. That's it? Time under tension is most important, especially when you're doing resistance training. And I'll talk about what would be ideal for cardio, but you know, a lot of people think, and you're starting to hear more and more chronic is for sure it can be a waste of time because a lot of times you're going to hold on to excessive fat from that you're actually doing more harm than good.

0 (3m 8s): And you can also cause excessive cortisol production. And with too much exercise stress in general, it can promote some systemic inflammation. It can increase oxidative damage and also suppress immune function. So a pattern of chronic workouts can cause excessive cortisol production can also actually take a toll potentially in body composition because you're doing what's called a high volume glycolytic exercise that is exercise like chronic cardio that is fueled by glucose, and we want to get into fat storage. So what could happen is it could actually increase your appetite and cravings for quick burning carbs.

0 (3m 49s): There's some research Archer that suggests that, you know, calories burned through exercise are more than offset by increased calorie intake, a phenomenon notice color compensation. So I'm sure maybe you've seen this where you do an hour, hour and a half workout. And then you just use that as an excuse to either not take the stairs or have that dessert because you did a hard hour and a half workout class at the gym. So essentially you're sort of, you know, using your workout as an excuse. And we, you know, we respond both consciously and subconsciously to a workout being less active and eating more calories in the aftermath.

0 (4m 30s): So, you know, consciously, we want to reward ourselves for completing the effort by seeking more rest and relaxation options and indulging in foods. We might not normally normally eat. In the other hand, if you're doing these micro quick workout sessions from, you know, throughout the day, staying active and moving nothing crazy, you're going to have more energy. You're going to keep the body moving, not stay stagnant. And you're going to just have more sufficient rest to do other things throughout the day, as opposed to going hard for an hour and a half, and then just being wiped out the rest of the day. It can also take a toll on your, on some hormones. So chronic chronic elevation of cortisol can suppress testosterone growth hormone and other adaptive hormones.

0 (5m 17s): And this can, obviously this can compromise fat burning, muscle development, energy levels, immune function, and even sex drive. So sometimes too much does not work out. And I think we, you know, in society it's like, you know, go hard or go home mentality. And that doesn't always, you know, that's not always a benefit in the long run. Also, you talk about chronic cardio and, and running long distances. Talk about repetitive impact on your knees and your ankles and your joints, you know, reoccurring muscle fatigue. And this is going to lend to, you know, obviously could lend to injury overuse injuries. So we got to what B B watch out for that.

0 (5m 58s): So the bottom line is it's, it's obvious how it's obviously, excuse me, it's obvious how inactivity can ha can hasten, you know, aging obviously, right? We don't want to be set in Tori, but it can also be argued that chronic exercise or other forms of overly stressful exercise can have a destructive and accelerated aging effect similar to that of sedentary living. So you've got to find the fine line between, obviously you don't want to be sedentary and you don't want to be overdoing it too much. So for all fitness activities, there's an optimal pattern of volume, intensity and frequency of workouts, obviously, depending on the individual to enjoy exceptional health delay, the aging process and minimize disease risk factors.

0 (6m 46s): So the counteract dangers of sedentary living, this is what I would say would be a good rule of thumb is just move more frequently. Don't be sitting for more than like, let's say 20 minutes, avoid prolonged periods of stillness. This could just be going for a walk. You know, this could be a five to 15 minute walk after meals. I love doing walks after meals. This helps regulate insulin response. Now that it's dark and it's cold in Chicago, even after my meal at let's just say six o'clock I'll just go for a 20 minute walk. We have a treadmill down below, and that'll just help with my insulin response and digestion. But if you're asking yourself, what do you want to do? What if you want to do something that's a little bit more what's up a cardio workout.

0 (7m 27s): Should you do a good rule of thumb is a fat-burning aerobic heart rate zone of 180 minus your age. So you're going to need to get a heart rate monitor. And you know, for me, for example, 180 minus my age, I'm 41. So right around one 40 heart rate, and this low level of robot conditioning actually can maximize fat burning during the workout and throughout the rest of the day. It's sort of that, that sweet spot and aerobic exercise can also obviously strengthen your bones, your joints, connective tissue, and boost the immune system. So doing that from time to time would be great. If you want to step it up a little bit, 180 minus your age, and then occasionally exercising.

0 (8m 10s): If you want to do occasional stints of this high intensity exercise, where you go above 90% of your max heart rate, no need to exceed that. If you want to do some high-intensity exercise, which I've started to do on what's called an echo bike. I have that down below in my basement. Maybe I'll maybe I'll post a video of myself doing that because literally I'm doing four sets of 15 seconds all out sprints on the bike, and it's a heavy duty bike. Now, if you can do this through sprint workouts, I tend to do it on the bike. It's low impact, and I don't need a lot of room, but this can help promote gene expression and closely mimics our primal ancestors when they would just go for these quick sprints.

0 (8m 53s): So these high-intensity efforts, you don't need to do these five days a week. This could be once a week, maybe twice a week, and it can help build muscle and support and hats, organ function, accelerate metabolism, as long as they are brief, relatively infrequent and coupled with sufficient periods of rest the recovery. Okay, so you can do these high intensity exercises. You just do small stints of it, and you know, you make sure you give yourself enough days rest in between. So the bottom line is participating in chronic cardio prolonged exercise that it's too high intensity and conducted too often is going to elevate cortisol.

0 (9m 34s): So you're like you're, you're in this sort of fight or flight response, and it can max out your adrenal glands it to compare immune function, suppressed testosterone, encouraged system, systematic inflammation. So I think you're getting the point. It also teaches your body to prefer glucose, rather prefer burning glucose rather than fat and increased sugar cravings and traps you in fat storage mode. So you might want to think twice about doing an hour crazy class at your gym that you're doing, or like maybe like at an orange theory where you can overdo it and, you know, just increase your sugar cravings throughout the day. So I think a good rhythm of going for walks on a daily basis where, you know, it doesn't have to be that long and after meals would be ideal.

0 (10m 21s): And then occasionally, maybe once or twice a week doing a high intensity exercise that could be inspired by it. Like I mentioned, a sprint workout or on like an echo bike or something like this, where you're doing 10, 15 seconds sprint and maybe resting for a minute, minute 30 would be ideal. I actually did an interview with Dr. Craig marker. Do you want to listen to that? We, I actually have. I haven't posted that one yet. No, that's next. That'll be there's there. There's a good preview. Craig marker. And I talk about he's a, he used to be a big CrossFit guy, but we talk about, you know, these micro workouts and what you can, all the benefits that you can get from it that'll be coming up next week. So there's a good preview for that.

0 (11m 3s): But if you have any questions about this or my interview with Dr. Ted Naiman, that will be live Instagram tonight at 7:30 PM central. So that is all I wanted to talk about today. Just be, be aware of if you're having these chronic cardio sessions all throughout the week, this could be hampering your success as far as weight loss and health goals. And I just thought it would be beneficial for you to know this. So it's not all about going hard or going home. You got to find the sweet spot, and this is when you can really get in to burning fat instead of glucose. So hope you enjoy this one and hopefully, maybe I'll see you tonight on Instagram live and enjoy the rest of your day.

0 (11m 43s): Thanks so much for listening. Thanks for listening to the get lean, eat clean podcast. I understand there are millions of other podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine. And I appreciate that. Check out the show notes@briangrin.com for everything that was mentioned in this episode, feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member. That's looking to get their body back to what it once was. Thanks again, and have a great day.

wanna talk to brian?

Schedule a free 15 min consultation