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How Exercise Can Actually Slow Metabolism & Weight Loss

Did you know too much exercise can actually slow down weight loss? Read more to find out why.

How Exercise Can Actually Slow Metabolism & Weight Loss

It's a new year, and a lot of us have a new fitness goal on the top of our list. One thing most of us will have in common:  the realization that our goal is the same as last year... shave off a bit of extra weight. To my frequent exercisers: are you feeling like your results aren’t matching up with your efforts? 

The thing is, there is an exception to this general rule: over-exercising is very much a thing… and it can actually combat your weight loss. 


How are over-exercise and poor metabolism correlated?

 The benefits of exercise are well known. Besides strengthening our bones and muscles, physical activity also helps us slim down, improves our heart health and release happy hormones! In light of all these factors, as well as a desire to reach weight loss goals faster, you may be tempted to do more. The reality might surprise you—exercising too much, (or anything too much, really), may have the opposite effect.

In addition to slowing down your weight loss ambitions, overexerting through exercise can cause inflammation in the body and slow down your metabolism. If you're guilty of being a “do you even lift?” bro who hits the gym hard in hopes of getting absolutely shredded, here’s everything you need to know.

What is Metabolism?  

Metabolism is a process in your body that’s “always on.” Even when you’re asleep and doing nothing—your metabolism is storing energy from food and burning it for your metabolic functions

Metabolism is also the rate at which your body burns calories—basically how fast you "burn" food and convert it into energy. The rate of your metabolism determines how many calories you burn every day and how many calories you need to maintain your weight, which in turn determines whether or not you gain weight.

Your metabolism depends on several things:

  • Your body's fat-to-muscle ratio (in normal circumstances, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be)
  • Your hormone levels (amount of physical activity, stress, and quality sleep can affect this)
  • Your age (as you get older, your metabolism slows down)

Here's a hypothetical. 
A friend of yours, Trina, 40 years old, has a sedentary at-home job, and is constantly stressed out. Given these factors, Trina may only require 1700 calories to maintain her weight

Trina’s metabolism varies dramatically from 32-year-old Mike, who is a mailman, walks 8+ miles a day, and consumes lots of Vitamin D through the sun (he's likely not suffering a hormone imbalance). Mike’s calorie intake may very well reach 3,200.

In essence, a high or fast metabolism means you will burn more calories at rest. It is important to maintain a healthy metabolism since it not only controls how many calories we should consume, but also how much energy we have throughout the day, and how efficiently hormone balance is maintained.


How Does Exercise Affect Metabolism?

Let's start with what you’re getting right, first. Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your metabolism. When you exercise, you create more mitochondria (the cellular powerhouses that produce energy) in muscle cells. Think: more muscle = more mitochondria = more energy. This is a key part of how exercise affects metabolism—by increasing your muscle mass, or at least by increasing your capacity to build new muscle mass.

Exercise also increases blood flow to your muscles, which helps them recover faster after training sessions and grow stronger over time. Blood sugar levels can also be regulated by exercise, so if you are insulin-resistant or diabetic, being active may help keep those conditions under control.

Is it really possible for something so good for us to wreak havoc if it's overdone? Believe it or not: There is such a thing as working out too much. 

When your body is working hard to keep up with your exercise, it may start to use other sources of energy instead of glucose—such as stored fat and amino acids. This can lead to a disruption in metabolism, and it can also make your body less able to maintain energy levels during periods of rest, causing that post-lunch crash to last all day long. 

In addition to this, over-exercising can affect the amount of lean muscle mass you have. When you work out too hard and for too long, your body will begin breaking down muscle tissue for energy. This can lead to an imbalance between the amounts of lean muscle mass and fat in your body, which can cause further problems with how your body uses insulin and handles glucose.


Signs You Might Be Over-Exercising:

It might not be easy to tell if you’re pushing yourself too far, but here are a few symptoms to look out for: 

Chronic fatigue 

Exercise plays an important role in helping your body recover from the stress of over exertion. When you exercise long enough, the body releases cortisol and adrenaline—hormones that help us deal with stress and give us energy. After long periods of intense exercise, however, these hormones can stay in our system for too long. This can lead to a condition called adrenal or chronic fatigue, which causes extreme tiredness after even small amounts of physical activity.

Constant Soreness

Muscle “soreness” is a normal thing after a challenging workout, but it shouldn’t be something you experience after every workout, let alone every day. The main point of training and physical activity is to protect your muscles and joints, so engaging in activities that take you backward is counterintuitive. Rest days are important, too—listen to your body and recognize when you need one. 

Hitting Performance Plateaus 

Maybe you’ve been trying to increase your mile time for weeks on end without any success—Instead of getting faster, you might even be slowing down. This might be a time to reassess, discuss with your personal trainer, and possibly take a much-needed break. A complete training plan should be goal-oriented and comprehensive, and if you’re irritable from not hitting any of these goals, then you might be pushing your body too far.

Small Steps Often Lead To Big Movements

When it comes to exercise, you don't have to be a powerlifter or marathon runner to get what you want out of it. You can start small and build your way up. With the help of a certified personal trainer, they can tailor a workout plan for you based on your lifestyle and fitness goals.

And even when you're taking small steps, it can still take a while to get where you want to go. 

That's where supplements come in—to help speed up the process when you need a little boost, or to help keep you on track if you're having trouble keeping up with your workout schedule. 

Whether you're looking to lose weight, gain muscle mass, or just feel more energetic and healthy, the key to success isn't always about how much time you spend working out—it's about the quality of the work you put in.

MOTO helps you manage that workload by helping boost your metabolism and thus burn more calories. When you can’t seem to beat the plateau, get unstuck with MOTO Metabolism Support. 

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