Exercise brings with it a compensation factor. After a hard trip to the gym, a class or a long run we become hungry and need to eat. Various arguments exist about if the exercise makes you hungry, or because you want a reward (or both). I've seen plenty of women going for cake and coffee after aerobics, maybe its the reward factor or more likely its the need to replace the energy they've just used up. So, the body compensates for this energy expenditure by "making you" replace the energy to protect itself. I've spoke a lot the past few weeks (and as far back as 2002) about the effects of semi-starvation and this just backs up the fact that "we" need energy to survive. The more we try and burn away fat stores, the more the body will increase appetite to protect its reservoir of energy.Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State University and a prominent exercise researcher agrees stating, "In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless."Researchers from Columbia University in The journal Obesity Research (2001), found that a pound of muscle burns approximately six calories a day at rest compared to two calories for a pound of fat. So by converting (which is the mythical offer in most gyms), 10 lb. of fat into muscle, you would in theory only get an extra 40 calories allowance per day!!! Yeah, now your a real calorie burning muscle machine.Despite spending our hard earned cash on personal trainers, fat or boot camps, aerobics, zumba, marathons, blah blah blah, we aren't any thinner (remember I tried all this **** in 1999-2001. After an hours class we crave sugary calories like nothing on earth. Sure some use willpower or break down muscle tissue to help them cope, but for most a sports drink or a banana replaces all the energy burned in about 30 seconds. Now, I'm not saying thats a bad thing, remember the body is trying to stay healthy and you've just been personal drained so its fighting back to maintain its balance.
Willpower can help a few people avoid the post exercise calorie cravings but our physiology isn't designed to do that. We are after all designed to replenish our energy reserves after a bout of activity, so most people crumble (note the food based apple crumble link, even thinking about exercise is making my brain consider food). Steven Gortmaker, the head of Harvard's Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity, states that "The most powerful determinant of your dietary intake is your energy expenditure, If you're more physically active, you're going to get hungry and eat more." He suspiciously points the finger at McDonald's restaurants, asking "Why would they build those?", referring to the playgrounds they all seem to have nowadays. He points out that, "I know it sounds kind of like conspiracy theory, but you have to think, if a kid plays five minutes and burns 50 calories, he might then go inside and consume 500 calories or even 1,000."
The International Journal of Obesity published a paper by Gortmaker and Kendrin Sonneville which found that "there is a widespread assumption that increasing activity will result in a net reduction in any energy gap", (energy gap = the difference between the number of calories you use and the number you consume). Gortmaker and Sonneville found during 18-months observing 538 students that when kids start to exercise, they end up eating an average of 100 calories more than they had just burned.
To other way our bodies can compensate for this outburst of activity is by making us less active post exercise. As mentioned earlier, the body wants to stay in balance and preserve itself...health is of upmost priority. We hear all the time that our