True Lies- Fat Loss & The Treadmill

Myth: To stay fit & healthy, one has to exercise everyday for hours in addition to performing cardio. Cardio being the ultimate activity towards fat burning apart from strengthening one’s cardiovascular system. And what better equipment than the beloved treadmill to do it.

What I’ve observed in almost every gym is, by default these treadmills are always placed in front of television sets to keep the clients distracted from whatever activity they are doing. Point to be noted, which most gym owners already have taken note of is, “CARDIO” is boring and if clients realized this, they would rather take a walk in the park than walk on those treadmills. Question yourself the next time, whether you really need to put in your ration of daily cardio on the treadmill. If you want to walk, simply go out to the park or the beach with your loved one and walk while you enjoy what nature as to offer. You do not need a machine to make you walk or run faster; only you can do that.

So what else does the treadmill provide if it is not required to make you walk. It provides you with an “accurate” display of how much calories you burnt, so that you can burn off that nice dessert that you had with so much guilt. WRONG. The next time (if you still want to) step on the treadmill, note that it asks you for you age and weight. This is basically to give you an idea as to how many calories you burn, which is true, but the main reason this data is gathered is for the treadmill to calculate your basal metabolic rate. This apart, performing steady state activities do not engage the fast twitch muscle fibers (the ones which have the greatest potential for growth), and anything that the body does not use becomes useless and the body tries to get rid of this; case here- the fast twitch muscle fibers which are the most beneficial type of muscle tissue. A kilogram of muscle tissue requires anywhere between 100-200 calories a day to keep it alive. So if one were to lose this precious muscle tissue by walking on the treadmill, it would result in the loss of more calories than what the treadmill displays. These calories would have otherwise been required just to keep that muscle tissue alive. Another reason to stay away from the treadmill. A great explanation of this can be found in Body by Science by Dr. Doug McGuff.

The repetitive stress that steady state activities impose, do not show up until middle or later ages as joint problems in the knees and hips.  Reason enough to stay away from these low intensity-high risk activities.

Fact: NO ACTIVITY INCLUDING EXERCISE DOES NOT BURN ENOUGH CALORIES TO HELP LOSE FAT. To lose fat one must change the way he eats and strive to preserve and then add lean muscle tissue. This would then enhance in helping burn more calories. Including intermittent fasting(another important topic) is an effective and proven method to bring about the necessary changes towards losing fat. Progressive resistance training is the only effective method to add lean mass that not only helps you become stronger, but also moves you in the right direction towards fat loss. But combining it with a sensible eating plan, that should become more a lifestyle change than a quick fix “diet” will only then bring the desired results as far as fat loss goals are concerned.

We will look at the potentially life threatening effects of steady state activities like walking on treadmills for endless hours in future posts.

To sum it up, strength train once or twice a week intensely, eat sensibly including fasts into your lifestyle, stay active and enjoy life.




About Karthik
I am an IART certified High Intensity Trainer. After countless searches and futile attempts at finding the truth about proper training methods, I finally have learnt, practiced and am now willing to share the knowledge to enable everyone that visits my blog to benefit. Thanks to all my friends and guides who have brought me to this level and have given me the confidence to do this.

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