Upon purchase of the Metabolic Renewal exercise program, you are eligible to be a part of our wonderful Metabolic Renewal Facebook group. Although the group continues to grow in leaps and bounds, there are some frequently asked questions that come up almost daily, particularly when individuals are wanting to gather information around why they haven’t been able to lose weight or build muscle.

One of the questions that comes up often is related to cardiovascular exercise and how to utilize it when following the Metabolic Renewal exercise program. Cardio, also known as cardiovascular exercise, can often be thought of as aerobic-type activities. Things like biking, hiking, swimming, aerobics classes like Zumba, the elliptical, and running or jogging fall into this category.

While cardiovascular exercise has many benefits, the majority of individuals who add in cardiovascular exercise, or have relied on cardio for a good portion of their lives as a way to manage their weight, seem to struggle as they age with cardio’s weight management benefits. Why? One big reason relates to the noticeable changes in one’s level of hunger throughout the day.

Think about it. On days when you’ve done a longer run or more intense bike ride, don’t you feel hungrier? Or do you even find yourself thinking, “I’ve done so much exercise today that I deserve more food!”? 

As you read on, keep in mind hunger isn’t a bad thing at all, but when you are looking to lose fat or change your shape, hunger management is important. At Metabolic Living, we understand that everyone is different, so maybe cardio works to blunt your appetite or hunger level. On the other hand, we also know that many of those who invest in the Metabolic Renewal program have years of “dieting” and exercise (in many forms) under their belts. 

Part of the reason cardio may not be working is based upon the inability to properly manage hunger, hence eating more to compensate. I asked Dr. Jade to help explain hunger as it relates to cardio, and I’m going to paraphrase his response in the next couple of paragraphs: 

If you are trying to burn fat, you need to stop thinking of exercise as your primary modality. For most people the thought process goes like this: “I just burned a bunch of calories in my shred class.”  But remember that the rule of metabolism is that anything that speeds up the metabolism also has a very real potential of speeding up your appetite.

According to various studies, up to 75% of people end up consuming more calories following things like running compared to not exercising at all or adding in some leisurely walking. This may not kick in immediately, but may appear through the accumulation of increased cardiovascular exercise over time. Repeat things like running over and over again, and you’ll have more intense hunger kick in, leading to an increase in calorie consumption.  

Eating more calories over time, calories that are not burned off but rather can be easily stored as fat, soon appears as weight gain. Can you see how the benefits of cardiovascular exercise may be dampened when trying to lose weight or body fat as hunger builds? 

Recognize that you may not have to give up on cardio entirely if you purchase the Metabolic Renewal program because you are wanting to lose body fat or change your shape. You may be one of the individuals who falls into the 25% who responds favorably to cardio and notices a blunting in appetite and hunger. If cardio helps to keep your hunger at bay, and you are seeing results as you incorporate the Metabolic Renewal program, that’s great!

That being said, you may have noticed by now that we’ve separated weight loss from fat loss throughout this article. Why? According to various studies, various cardio modalities have the ability to change your muscles, making them smaller but also more efficient. Yes, you may seem to lose some weight through adding in more cardio to your routine, but that doesn’t mean you are maintaining muscle mass. 

Why is being efficient such a bad thing when it comes to muscle mass? Over time, this efficiency leads to burning fewer calories both during and after your workout. In other words, when your overall muscle mass decreases, your metabolism slows down. This may not be an issue if you can decrease your food intake to meet your metabolic slowdown, but that isn’t always easy. To paraphrase Dr. Jade once again: 

When you’re doing lots of cardiovascular exercise, you have the potential to lose fat, yes. You may actually lose some muscle as well. And it is possible to lose a somewhat significant amount of muscle. If you lose muscle, when you lose weight, you’re losing some metabolic potential. In other words, your basal metabolic rate and resting energy expenditure goes down to a degree as a result of that, doesn’t it? 

What if you come into the Metabolic Renewal program not looking to lose body fat or change your shape, but rather as a way to manage your hormones or improve your mood? Limiting your cardiovascular exercise and instead focusing on walking along with this exercise program may still be your best bet

It is true that cardio can boost your dopamine levels, a chemical in the brain that can help to decrease stress and even depression. This chemical causes what some will refer to as the “runner’s-high” because it enhances “feel-good” transmitters. If you find that your mood is changing while decreasing your level of cardio, we have some excellent strategies to help you out as part of the Metabolic Renewal guidebook.

We hope you now have a better understanding of why we recommend utilizing the Metabolic Renewal program as a weight loss or shape change modality for at least 12 weeks as designed without feeling like you need to add in more cardio to see results. If you still have questions upon purchase of your program, please reach out within the Facebook group, and one of our excellent moderators will be right there to help you out!

Photo by sporlab on Unsplash