“Cardio Compensation” – Certain Cardio Workouts Cause Intense Food Cravings

June 7, 2009

I used to be shocked at the number of people I saw in the gym who put so much time into cardio workouts without seeing any results.

Many of these people are putting forth much more effort than me, but don’t have the results to show for it. I feel bad, because I know their challenge comes down to diet.

Did you know that the type of cardio you do, can play a big role in your craving for food? It is possible that many people are sabotaging their ability to lose body fat, by choosing a type of cardio that makes them desperately crave food.

cardio workouts

[Have you ever been so hungry that you ate everything in sight? I have had problems with hunger in the past, but adjusting my cardio has helped a ton in this regards. The wrong type of cardio can make dieting a tough deal!]

Cardio Compensation – Eating More Calories Than You Burned

Some people have a tendency to crave more food after a cardio workout and “compensate” for their calories burned. They may burn 300 calories each and every cardio workout, but increase their daily calorie intake to make up for those calories burned.

This is why a large percentage of people doing cardio workouts, get stuck at the same weight for long periods of time.

Note: Studies have shown that longer, steady state cardio workouts are the type of workouts shown to increase craving for food (in some people).

Willpower Plays a Role, By Why Torture Yourself?

It takes a certain amount of willpower and discipline to lose weight, but why make this harder than necessary. What if there was a way to burn a lot of calories in your workout without having stronger-than-normal food cravings? There is!

Interval Training Has Been Shown to Reduce the Appetite

I’m a big fan of interval training for fat loss. Things like HIIT and body weight circuits are an extremely efficient way to jack up your metabolism and drop body fat quickly…they can also reduce your appetite!

Australian Professor Steve Boucher has shown in research that interval training increases hormones called catecholamines. These hormones actually reduce your appetite. So instead of compensating with calories, you eat less than normal.

Reminder…You Can Lose Fat Without Cardio

To be honest, if you were on a strict diet you could get as lean as you wanted without cardio or any type of interval work. Believe it or not, it doesn’t require typical “fat burning exercise” to lose body fat.

I recommend intervals as a way to stay healthy while getting lean and to experience quicker results, but it really isn’t mandatory. If you were crunched for time, you could 2-3 resistance training workouts each week and diet hard and get pretty darn lean.

The resistance training would insure that you maintain muscle while on a low calorie diet.

Intervals and Cardio Should Just Speed Along the Process

I like to look at intervals and cardio workouts as a way to accelerate fat loss results that are already happening.

My outlook is that my diet is already getting the job done, but the intervals and cardio are going to help me reach my goals much quicker than diet alone…plus I like being “in shape”. I think this is different than how a lot of people view exercise when it comes to fat loss.

Your Workouts Should Not Cause You to Crave More Food

If your workouts are causing you to crave much more food than normal, you may want to consider changing things up. Another thing that happens is that many people use exercise as an excuse to eat more calories.

If you do this, then you will always have a tough time getting lean. My suggestion is to eat “as if” you weren’t going to do intervals and cardio…but add in intervals and cardio to turbo-charge your fat loss results.

A Way to Do Steady State Cardio Without The Food Cravings

People who have read my blog for a while know that I recommend 15 minutes of Interval Training followed by 15-20 minutes of steady state cardio.

I’ve outlined this approach in a few pages in this online mini-course. Besides the add fat burning this combo provides, the intervals insure the release of catecholamines…which should reduce your appetite.

Note: Some people have the ability to do long cardio workouts without craving extra food. This post is just geared towards people who have an increased appetite from exercising. Also, I’m a big fan of intervals, HIIT, and cardio…done strategically with the proper diet is the best way to quickly and easily get lean.

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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam Steer - Better's Better June 7, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Interesting post Rusty. It reminds me of those videos Craig Ballantyne did where he put cardio head to head with junk food. They are meant to be humorous, but they illustrate just how silly it is to think you can reward yourself with a big meal after a cardio workout because you “burned off the calories” already – not even close!

And the other advantage of the intervals over the steady state is that you are going to KEEP BURNING calories even after you stop exercising (that handy EPOC effect), whereas when you step off the treadmill after your steady state workout the fat burning valve shuts right off.

Thanks Rusty!


dae June 7, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Thanks for this post, this is exactly what used to happened to me when I did cardio, so I stopped doing any. Now I can include it in my wrork outs, it just has to be HIIT!!!!

M0L June 7, 2009 at 9:09 pm

oh..kk..lolz, this has happened to me..now I know why, and that I’m not crazy πŸ˜›

Greg at Live Fit June 7, 2009 at 9:13 pm

When I first started my fitness journey, it was all about running. It took me a long time to figure out that I was losing weight because I wasn’t going out to eat at lunch buffets anymore! So I reduced my calorie intake, but it was lifestyle induced.

jerdog June 7, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Great post. I agree HIIT has always reduced my appetite for several hours after completing the work out.

On another note, since your site is geared toward muscle definition could you possibly do a post on electronic muscle stimulation (EMS). I know these types of devices would not help lose fat and probably don’t help build muscle, but in theory shouldn’t these devices be able to give you greater definition assuming you are at a low enough body fat percentage? I’d be interested in your point of view. I once saw a movie about Bruce Lee called “Dragon”, which was about Bruce’s life. Great movie by the way if you are a Bruce Lee fan. I believe his son Scott Lee played Bruce. Anyway, in one scene they show Bruce wearing an EMS device on his abs while working at a computer. I wonder if this was one approach he used to maintain his definition? Since you are sending an electrical impulse to the brain while resistance training, isn’t this device similar by teaching your muscle to maintain contraction? My intention would not be to use EMS as a substitutiton for resistance training/HIIT, but would it be a benefit to increase definition?

vito June 7, 2009 at 10:46 pm

Hey just an idea you should post more blogs about diets. In almost every blog you post you though out the word “DIET”. Theres thousands of diets on the internet that we could go look at but i think a blog with a few well structured diets would be awesome.

I’ve been following your site for like 1 year its very fun and entertaining, but at the same time very knowledgeable. Keep it up.

RockStar June 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Interesting Post! I would also like to add, while I don’t know if this is true for everyone…I’ve noticed that SPECIFICALLY after weight training, I tend to get VERY hungry…moreso than after cardio…any thoughts, Rusty?

Yash June 8, 2009 at 12:03 am

Hey Rusty,
There’s definitely a lot of truth to this. Sitting at home these past few weeks with my injury, I’ve been eating based on actual hunger cravings rather than meal times, and I’ve been eating less than I did when I was on the Gym Junkies Challenge. The funny thing is, when I was on the challenge, I’d feel some hunger pangs and have some fruit to hold me off between meals. I was afraid of putting all the weight back on after the challenge, especially after getting injured, but the lack of activity really shut of my hunger. In the future, I’m definitely going to use this new knowledge and stick to some weight training and a good diet to get lean, and throw in the HIIT when it’s really crunch time like you said.

And you’re so right about people compensating with eating when they work out. Just the other day a couple friends of mine were laughing at how they went to Taco Bell IMMEDIATELY after getting out of the gym, which happens to be in the mall. I bet that’s what the gyms like to hear, since it keeps their customers coming back.

Studio Element Personal Training June 8, 2009 at 12:09 am

Interesting post. Just shows you how many different avenues it can take to get to where you would like to be.

Jason G June 8, 2009 at 3:08 am

Here’s an after cardio eating trick. As soon as you get home from the gym put a large(size of two hands) piece of broccoli in a steamer. Wait ten minutes and then put some low calorie topping on it(red pepper flakes, a little olive oil, dijon mustard). Bottom line is that the high amount of fiber will fill you up at least temporarily and the next meal will not be as large. Drink a lot of water to. And yes other high fiber vegetables work just as well.

Jason G June 8, 2009 at 3:12 am

12 calories in one serving of broccoli

Jules June 8, 2009 at 4:07 am

Usually any exercise supresses hunger for me, except swimming. I’m ravenous after swimming!

Yavor June 8, 2009 at 4:30 am


I guess intervals, circuits and so on are so effective at draining all the energy of the body that our organism shuts down appetite in order to save some capacity (which would be otherwise used for food digestion) for the immediate recovery (transferring stuff from the liver to the muscles, etc).


Pablo June 8, 2009 at 5:04 am

Hi Rusty, I’ve read all your articles, really amazing and interesting stuff, Im doing HIIT and I fast twice per week but in my non fasting days I don’t know how much I should eat, maybe Im overeating or undereating, I don’t know, and I want to get very lean, my weight is around 170, 20 years old, can you give me an example of a daily meal in my non fasting days??? Thank you

Acai Berry Guy June 8, 2009 at 7:00 am

It’s interesting to see that interval training curbs appetite – perhaps one day we’ll know why! Anyway, I find it interesting that the more I exercise, the more healthy food I crave, and this is probably because you crave water rich food when you’re regularly working out) but once in a while I do crave a burger especially when the weather turns cold. The tip here is to find a place that does wholemeal Turkish bread buns (low GI – note that wholemeal bread is not low GI but Turkish is) and quality meat and all ingredients homemade and no artificial chemicals.

Kane June 8, 2009 at 7:28 am

Hey Rusty! I dont think my post showed up in the last one… But I was just saying congratulations, and that my friend and I are thinking of starting a site, and as we get most of our info from you and MDA, we’d though we’d ask your permittion, giving you full credit of course!

Anyway, on this topic… I went to my first MMA class last week, and had two hours of Intense training. Punching, kicking, grappling, wrestling you name it. When I got home I had the biggest carb cravings ever! I was eating bread! I dont even eat bread usually as I went primal and have really gone off it. I actually couldnt control myself. Now, this hasnt happened to me since, and luckily that day of lose eating didnt aafect my look, but now I’m afraid to go back there!


Helder June 8, 2009 at 8:29 am

I’ve felt that sensation many times, but i’ve always resisted eating more to compensate, i’ve always felt hunger as a sign of fat is being burned.

However like you said, since i’ve stoped all long cardio exercising, i’ve never felt that hunger feeling again, i didn’t know it was due to the release of those hormones, but that’s good to know, it’s one more reason to stick with intervals

About cardio not being needed, well it’s true, i never liked cardio much, i do intervals, because i like sprinting, it’s fun and it works my legs well, specially the hams, but i’ve had long periods when all i did was resistance training, and i was lean, because i was on a low carb diet.

Done Emmerson June 8, 2009 at 10:44 am

Hey Rusty !!

Great post – Ah thank the Lord i dont really need long cardio sessions.

I love HIIT.. only thing is – does HIIT give you bigger thighs?
Cos you know the way sprinters have bigger thighs then someone running a marathon ?

For now i just want to concerntrate on getting my body fat % as low as i can… so toning – isnt really that much of a deal for me just yet. I tone really quick actually – and wont have a problem doing this after ive reached my bodyfat % goal…
In your opinion, which is better for fatloss (to speed up the process) – resistance training or body weight circuits?

Thanks so much for your info and all your hard work!!

Your Brilliant! πŸ™‚


Michael June 8, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Rusty, great point about people using exercise/cardio as an excuse for eating stupidly.

When dining out with friends it never fails that I hear someone say “I worked out today so I can eat this entree”. No wonder so many programs “do not work”. Healthy eating + Healthy exercise is the equation we should all strive for.

The Spaniard June 8, 2009 at 12:36 pm

JERDOG. Jason Scott Lee played Bruce Lee, but he is not his son…they are not even related. Bruces son was Brandon Lee (The Crow and Rapid Fire – in this second movie he looks and moves like his father). Brandon wanted to do the movie about his father he was told he didn’t look very asian. Tagically he was killed during the filming of ‘The Crow”. The two main problems with the movie “Dragon” were: a) Scott Lee knew nothing of martial arts and you can tell when he is fighting. b) It didn’t really follow Bruce Lee’s life. For example, the fight they show when they brake his back never happened.

The Fat Runner June 8, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Interesting post – I’ve been trying interval training for a month or so now, and find that my appetite is pretty similar whether I do steady-state cardio or intervals. Also interesting that you recommend a mix of intervals and steady-state, whereas a lot of people (e.g., Craig B) seem to suggest intervals and no steady-state (unless I’m reading things wrongly).

Anyway, thanks for the post – food for thought (ha ha…)

The Spaniard June 8, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Rusty, and what happens when you are hungry all the time…and I will explain myself. Like I told you once, when I was playing Rugby, I would come home at 1 am (we had to practice from 11p to 12.30a) and I would devour whatever I could find in the fridge (trainning involved a lot of running). Then in the morning I would go to the gym (just weights) and I was starving (I cannot explain the type of breakfast I used to have at my restaurant because I would make you hungry. I would have a big lunch at 1, right before lunch time for our customers) and then another big one at 5 (meat, fish, pasta and a huge salad). If I have stress or I am really nervous about something I find myself eating all the time. Nowadays, with golf as my only sport, when I go to the gym I am hungry, and it doesn’t matter if I do cardio, weights or both. If I try to do something similar to Fasting (I have dinner and then I try not to eat anything until 12p next day) my head starts hurting a lot. My wife, for example, the more she works out, the less she eats (she loses her appetite). Also, she has always been the type of person who can have a cup of coffee in the morning and then forgets about food until really late in the afternoon…or when she sees I have passed out (she only does this to me on weekends). So in my case, I cannot tell if exercise or doing nothing makes me hungry.

michael June 8, 2009 at 3:17 pm

informative post as usual,I noticed that exercise of any kind causes me to gain weight,a while ago i stopped working out for exams and I lost about 10kg in a couple of weeks because my appetite had diminished,this left large stretch marks that took over a year to go. I have a question about how toned you should get,this photo of Christian Bale in American psycho is my fitness goal and I am aiming to look exactly like the photo. I asked my sister about whether she thought it was a good look and she said ‘he looked disgusting’,I want to know if in your opinion you can be too toned and if I should try to aim for a less defined look. http://www.bennadel…christian_bale_in_american_psycho.jpg

Liam | gyms stevenage June 8, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Bodyweight circuits are the way forward for toning and fat loss. You can incorporate cardio exercises into the workout too so you get the best of both. At the end of the day I think fat loss is 80% nutrition 20% exercise.

Renee June 8, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Long workouts did that for me too…but since ive been doing hiits I havent had hunger at all for the most part……also I’d been including lunges in my HIITs and I was wondering if this will work my legs out too much….I do burpees but I do lunges too and my legs are on fire by the end of the work out……….so is this going to ruin my natural womanly physic in my hips thigh leg area? Im trying to be sexy not a female body builder. I have been doing the 3 weeks hard diet of 970 cals and will be doing my lose week in a short while……so there it is….PLEASE HELP!!!!

admin June 8, 2009 at 9:28 pm


I love those videos that Craig did with John and Brad. The one with Brad eating pizza made me hungry.


That is cool. Whatever works for you. I can do steady state, but I typically can go a long time without craving food when I want to (I just have to make sure I have a lot of things scheduled to take my mind off of food).


You still might be crazy, but now at least you know how you can lose weight without as strong of hunger cravings.


Those lunch buffets can get you! I used to love anything “all you can eat”…the problem is that I have the capacity to eat a ton of food. It is best that I avoid that type of eating. 9 times out of 10, the sit down food is better quality (even if it is the same food served at the same restaurant).


I’ll take a look into the EMS machine to see if others have done research in this regards. In theory at least, it seems like it could works. To be honest, those machines kind of freak me out a bit!


I can do more posts on diet, but I think I have a decent amount. I will take your idea into consideration. I guess I don’t talk too much about specific food choices, because a lot of that depends upon what people enjoy eating. I believe in creating a calorie deficit in a way that allows you to eat foods you enjoy. Any way that gets that done in a healthy way is the best way to eat in my opinion.


I don’t get too hungry after weight training, but my weight training is brief. If you did a longer session that really fatigue the muscles, I could see how this could happen.


Restricting food (within reason) is by far the best way to create a calorie deficit. If you can lose body fat without cardio or HIIT, then you are on the right track. Once you find the ideal eatng plan…eat exactly the same way, but now add in enough cardio or interval work to burn more calories without increasing the apetite. This is the way to get ultra lean. Finding that “sweet spot” of just enough cardio is the tough thing, since it varies considerably from individual to individual.

Jason G,

That is a great tip. I need to find a way to eat more green vegetables and it sound like this might do the trick. What I do before going out to eat sometimes is eat a Fuji apple with a glass of water. The pectin in the apple expands with the water and fills me up a bit before hitting the restaurant.


Swimming has been shown to be a sub-par way of getting really lean due to this reason. I’ve read several studies where people consumed much larger amounts of calories than normal after swimming. I am not saying that swimming is bad, it is great exercise…you just need a bit more self-restraint when it comes to dieting if you swim on a regular basis.


Intelligent way of looking at this principle!


On non-fasting days, just eat 3-4 regular sized meals. Breakfast could be an omlette, lunch could be chicken teriyaki, dinner could be Fajitas or Chicken Soup, etc. Honestly, just eat meals that aren’t too crazy in proportions and stick to around 1,700-2,000 calories on those days. Keep it simple and you will be good.

Acai Berry Guy,

I crave healthy food as long as eat healthy food. What makes me crave the junky stuff is tasting a bit of junk food. I always feel better quickly after 3-4 healthy meals in a row. It pays to treat your body well (even though I do like a one per week “happy hour” tour with my girlfriend).


Bummer that your comment didn’t go through (blogs do strange things at times). You should start a site. It is very rewarding. I was having a blast with this, even when I only had 10-15 visitors per day. As far as your MMA session went. It is possible that you needed a bit more calories than normal…just try not to go too nutty…I have a hard time stopping if I begin to eat simple carbs.


I have had periods where I’ve had to back off on training substantially. Like you said, all it took was to go on a stricter diet.


Sprinting won’t necessarily give you bigger thighs. If you are worried…then do bodyweight circuits in place of HIIT (maybe 2-3 times per week). I think the best physique is created with a mix of resistance training, HIIT, and bodyweight circuits.


You are right…eating more than normal due to exercising just minimizes the impact of the workout. I don’t know why people push themselves so hard, just to get back to square one with bad eating habits.

The Spaniard,

We are all different when it comes to eating. It sounds like you will have to focus on low calorie foods that are filling. You may want to focus on soup or something along those lines when you feel the need to eat a lot. What I typically find is that it takes people a while to get used to eating less…once they get used to it and make the transition it becomes easier. I don’t get that hungry anymore until I start eating…it is strange how different we are in this regard.

The Fat Runner,

I believe that intervals are the way to go, just as Craig recommends…adding in the steady state cardio after intervals is just a way to squeeze a bit more fat loss out of the session. You can just do the intervals and get solid results.


Christian Bale was in great shape for that movie. He just has a lean build like a beach volleyball player…nothing too crazy or out-of-the-ordinary. I think this is a great look to shoot for…it doesn’t look overdone or too toned at all.


I agree with you on body weight circuits. I became a believer this past winter. Due to time constraints it was the only thing I did for close to 3 months and I got great results.


I love bodyweight exercises for the legs. I just recommend that most women avoid squats, deadlifts, and weighted lunges if they want their legs to remain slim. As long as you are using your own bodyweight you should be fine. I do all sorts of body weight leg exercises when it is incorporated into a body weight circuit. This typically builds the ideal sized legs for your frame.

Good comments!


M0L June 8, 2009 at 10:33 pm

..oh well..thanks for the compliment..*sarcasm*
I was joking about it, besides didn’t u know all the geniouses are crazy ;p

Guy June 8, 2009 at 11:11 pm


You hit the nail right on the head, I have been doing Kenneth Jay’s “Viking Warrior Conditioning” routine for the last 8 weeks, & I see the results. It involves snatching a kettlebell for multiple sets of a predetermined # of reps. Last Wednesday, I nailed 80 x 7 w/ a 35lb KB, and my heart was going like a trip hammer! My next goal is 80 x8, I have had to buy new pants, I consider that a plus, and like you ascribe in the article, this workout does not stoke my appetite like steady state did in my youth. The varying Interval workouts available today definitely have steady state cardio beat.

sangita June 9, 2009 at 3:04 am

As usual great stuff. I wanted to ask – I have these lovely woods where I go for walks (and to beat the blues!). To get to the trail however there is a climb, pretty steep which takes about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. I go up and down about 4-6 times and I am pretty winded. I then walk briskly for another 20 mins (the walk has some uphill as well). Do these also qualify as intervals?
Secondly should women never do squats,lunges and dead lifts? I started squats and lunges with 5-8kg dumbells. The legs really feel worked out. I was thinking 2-3 times a week. BTW I have to lose 30 pounds a gift from a fractured ankle that kept me in bed for 4 months. Thanks a lot for all the info. Am looking to get in great shape at the grand old age of 40 (ouch!! lol)

Tyler June 9, 2009 at 10:52 am

rusty good deal i can never eat for two hours after a hiit workout! One question I was wondering if you new what are good measurements for your body. I was wondering because i am at a good weight of 6 ft 170 even though all bodybuilding forums so im to small. My measurements are chest 39 arms 14 waist 31….. I was wondering what yours were and whats your take

love the blog

Norbi June 9, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Hi Rusty,

interesting article. Now that I think about it, when I went running around a lake and ran for a rather long time, I had this ultimate craving for ice cream (and I don’t ever usually crave sweets btw). After HIIT it’s never difficult not to eat for the following 1 – 2 hours, even if it’s extending my 24 hour fast to 25 – 26 hours.

Just one comment, as for promoting HIIT, although I personally 100% agree with it and enjoy doing it, I could imagine that this kind of working out might be rather dangerous for certain people, such as after a certain age, or being very overweight. I know that when I’m finished with my intervals I’m all beat up, my heart is pounding like crazy and I have sweat dripping into my eyes. This a kind of proves to me how effective it is, but a more controlled steady state cardio might be a better choice for certain people with a condition, even if it’s somewhat less effective. What do you think?

admin June 9, 2009 at 6:01 pm


I was playing around with you. If anyone is slightly “off their rocker” it is me!


I really like doing interval work in a bunch of different ways. That high-rep kettlebell stuff is brutal, but works extremely well for fat loss…especially if it is with brief rest periods.


Yeah…I turn 40 in December of this year…but feel great. You can do squats and deadlifts, even though my “blanket” recommendation is against them…I do realize that some people can do them without putting on excess muscle. What you have to be careful of is putting on bulk in your lower body. Once you build up your lower body mass with these exercises, it is very tough to lose (which is why I recommend people train their legs with body weight circuits, intervals, running hills, running stairs, etc.) I think you will just feel better if you work your legs in this manner…the cool thing is that you will lose body fat at a rapid pace by focusing on these activities as well.

Your outdoor walk is definitely a form of intervals, especially if you are winded. At some point it will probably become easier, so just increase the speed a bit. This is an ideal approach to getting interval work outside. Good job!


Yeah…I can’t even think about food after a body weight circuit. As far as measurements go…you sound like you are spot on. A lot of it depends upon your body fat percentage and frame structure. My measurements? 6’3″ 188 pounds 41″ chest and 33″ waist. I’m around 7-8% body fat…and have a small frame. I would compare my physique to a slightly slimmer version of Will Smith in “I Am Legend”.

Your measurements are just about the exact measurements of a typical male model. I’m sure the bodybuilding forums think you are too skinny. They would tell you to get up to 220+ pounds and a 48″ chest. Ignore all of that and you will be better off. Would you rather look more like James Bond or a Professional Wrestler? Easy choice!


Great point on recommending that people use caution when starting an HIIT routine. If someone is out of shape, they should alternate walking slow with walking slightly faster. That will been enough until it becomes easier. People should always be cautious. Great, great, point…Thanks!


Done June 10, 2009 at 5:03 am

Thanks Dude!!!



curvy. June 12, 2009 at 4:24 am

I just discovered your blog today. I’m an exercise science major at a major university and I think your advice is in harmony with what a lot of cohort studies that follow groups of people over the span of many years demonstrate about true fitness and health, and much of it fits in with what the leading nutrition and exercise science professors and textbooks say. Its a great resource.

I have a question for you, and I’ve been having trouble finding information on the subject. My measurements are 39” hips, 28” waist, and 37” bust, so I’m pretty close to an hourglass body type. I find that when I work my abs too much I feel like I’m bulking up my waist, rather than accentuating it. It is true that spot reduction is a myth, and its actually going in reverse for me and bulking me up. I would just quit working the abs altogether, but I still want to be toned, and I do have too much love handles. I also want to shrink my waist, NOT my butt or bust.
I’m trying to follow your advice on dieting and eat less meals per day. I interval train on the elliptical and stairmaster, and I alternate between weight training and yoga. I just started a couple weeks ago, but I feel bulkier, and I gained 2 pounds πŸ™ I’m praying it’s just muscle or water weight. (but I dont want much muscle)
What workout plan and diet would you suggest I follow to lose 10lbs of fat and accentuate an hourglass figure?

April June 24, 2009 at 5:07 pm

A few years ago I ran a marathon. Prior to that I had slowly lost the baby weight but had the last 10 lbs to lose. It proved a difficult task. I decided to run a marathon. My thinking was–“how could training to run 26.2 miles not cause weight loss?”

The good news- I didn’t gain any weight during my training.

The bad news – I didn’t lose any either.

I know what I did – after training, especially my long runs I was ravenous. I am sure I ate much more than I burned off.

Although I was a runner before pregnancy I had never attempted the marathon distance. I did like the challenge but was disappointed with the result. Next up came a half marathon. Surprisingly I lost the rest of the weight and then some. I found the distance challenging but at the same time…I didn’t have the hunger cravings like I did with marathon training.

Of course I now I am attempting another marathon( yes I am doing it for the challenge! Not for weight loss this time!)…but have had great success with my hunger cravings. I am doing the galloway method where for the entire marathon I run and walk a certain ratio. Run 3 min/walk 1. Sure…I get rude comments from other “real runners” that I shouldn’t be walking. But at the same time I am in the BEST shape of my life.

I read your article about marathon cardio! I have to say….I like having a goal. A challenge. I want to beat my prior time. So hoping I will set a personal best. I do agree that running a marathon shouldn’t be used for weight loss. Alot of people will be very disappointed.

Annalisa July 7, 2009 at 10:49 pm

This is a really interesting article Rusty. Sometimes after I go running I get intensely hungry and I never understood why. So I actually started doing some HIIT training again and I can’t believe the difference.

After running an hour straight I would be starving but after only a half hour of HIIT training I wouldn’t be hungry at all! And i’m getting the same, if not better results, in a shorter amount of time. Thanks so much! I really appreciate your blog.

Steve August 4, 2009 at 12:33 am

Very important information to know that if whatever form of exercise you are completing is making you more hungry than before you started exercising it can give the false illusion that your body actually requires more food. However when exercise is combined with the diet it often comes across to people as if they are starving themselves and that they are convinced they need more food. The combination is the key, getting the right amount of sustenance to keep your body going but without feeling that hunger stage to a degree it makes you give in!

Nancy D September 8, 2009 at 1:18 am

I guess it all comes down to what you can do and what you can fit into your routine. The info you give is really useful, makes everything sound very easy which I am sure gives many of us initiative. HIT training I am guessing is still not right for everyone?

mickieb January 17, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Oh here’s the article you wrote on cardio and hunger! I just posted a comment on “Why exercise wont make you thin” and here is my justification! So it does seem that some people get hungry after cardio and they subsequently dont lose weight. I’m trying to change my exercise routine along with trying out the Low Glycemic way of eating. Any thoughts on this?

Tracey March 5, 2010 at 3:11 am

Rusty – I have found this blog most informative but I have some questions and they are the similar to Curvy’s post. I also have a hour glass figure. I am 5’4, 160 lbs. I have been lifting heavy, doing TRX classes, and some cardio. I realize now after reading through your site that I need to get “obsessed” about my calorie intake to lose the last 20 lbs. I do big heavy ropes for arms and kettle bells along with a ton of lower body exercies like squats and lunges – but I can’t lose any weight (been doing this for nearly 8 months 5 times per week for 2 hours per day with a personal trainer – ugh) and I think I am actually getting bigger. My clothes are tight in the legs and butt and my jackets are snug around my shoulders. I feel great, I look ok, but I am not getting any smaller – just tigheter, fitter, and bigger. Any suggestions??

Robert C - The Wholesale Products Guy July 27, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Hey Rusty..

I do about 180 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine a week. I crave food like crazy. I am always hungry even on the days I do not exercise. It’s strange because in the past – that kind of exercise would put a damper on hunger.

I lift weights as well, but I can’t believe how hungry I am. Loosing a lot of weight has become almost impossible. My blood pressure is getting high and I really need to loose weight.

I will try to adjust my workout via the suggestions in this post and I might just have to do some HIIT training instead of these long hard slogs of cardio fitness.

Here’s to hoping it works..

Robert C – The Wholesale Products Guy

Seane September 24, 2010 at 3:23 am

Exercise will often increase the appetite and so it should, but what it also achieves is muscle. Muscle is also heavier than fat. I have not weighed myself in over four years. I use my senses to determine if my body is in peak shape and if I am hungry, I eat, if I am not I don’t. Simple really.

Shoes November 12, 2010 at 11:26 am

Healthy lifestyle save the World πŸ™‚

hats November 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I realize now after reading through your site that I need to get “obsessed” about my calorie intake to lose the last 20 lbs. I do big heavy ropes for arms and kettle bells along with a ton of lower body exercies like squats and lunges – but I can’t lose any weight (been doing this for nearly 8 months 5 times per week for 2 hours per day with a personal trainer – ugh) and I think I am actually getting bigger.

Watches February 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I agree with you completely. But still, there is a category of people who need a high-calorie foods. For example people of the North

Handbags February 8, 2011 at 9:10 am

Great post! As the saying goes, a healthy body, healthy spirit. Eat a healthy diet and you’ll feel fine.

Danny March 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm

This is startling and important news to me! Time to increase my intervals and decrease my cardio workout.

steve bashara March 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm

when you go to the buffet try salad bar with vinegar and olive oil baked chicken sweet potatoes veggies etc

Pollen bee May 6, 2011 at 8:01 am

I am also used to putting a lot of time into cardio workouts with literally no results, so I can understand these people. However, now I don’t even have time to go to the gym, but it was nice reading this info.

Simon Wheeler May 31, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Interesting to hear that cardio is not a requirement for weight loss as frankly, it’s my least favorite form of exercise I love interval training and sprinting sports, and have never had trouble keeping fit with just those..

Martin July 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Hi Rusty.
How many times per week should your combination of HIIT and steady state cardio be done?
Great site by the way, really informative and helpful. Put a few of my friends onto it and they love it

"How To Reduce Thigh Fat" August 24, 2011 at 11:00 am

the right exercise program will get you the body you want provided you make a few changes, put a little time aside &

Tara June 5, 2012 at 8:47 am

I have been doing hiit cardio And my appetite has been completely out of control I been doing 20min of interval training and 20 to 30 minutes of steady state on 5mph and 10 min of walking but I cannot stop eating should I change up my cardio routine and also can I compensate after over eating by doing that work out or will that cause weight gain? Sorry for all the questions but thank you

April June 21, 2012 at 6:23 am

love the post. I’ve totally given up Cardio. Not even doing interval training anymore. Just strength training 3-4 times a week. Keeping my diet in check. (doing leangains style intermittent fasting) I now sit at my computer typing this in a cute half top with my abs showing.

I used to run marathons and easily would gain weight during. I also found runnign daily packed on the pounds. I would eat anything and everything I could find and make excuses that I earned and deserved it. No more. Now that I don’t do hardly any cardio except for a quick sprint around the track (nver more than 20 min) or some kettlebell swings..my appetite has gone down. And I’m fasting on top of that!

I’m a believer now that it’s mostly diet for weight loss and strength training for body recomposition. As a female changing to that train of thought was HUGE! I think I shall save Cardio in the bank for if I have to go on a vacation. I find now that I’m a bit inefficent with the cardio, I burn more when I surprise my body by throwing it in and can drop weight a bit quicker now.

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