While at my Glitter Gym, the gym paused the soccer mom workout music for an important announcement. It was a professionally made audio clip encouraging members to sign up for some nonsensical aerobic class, because it burned lots of calories. The implication is that burning calories will equate to permanent fat loss. Take the class and get leaner.

Too bad fat loss doesn’t work that way. Yes, you can knock off a few pounds in the short term by running around like an idiot, but will that result in long term fat loss? Rarely. Gyms around the world are full of people diligently burning calories to get lean and yet very few met their goals. This isn’t a problem of willpower, it is human physiology.

The role of the body is to survive, not to look good by swimsuit season. Simply burning calories tells the body to send a stronger hunger signal and/or slow down. Back when I was a runner, I never got leaner. I just got more hungry and when I wasn’t running I was more tired. My body was sending hormonal signals to save the host. It couldn’t care less if my marathon time was under 4 hours. And when I used willpower to override those signals, my body had two more tricks it used: injury and sickness. Chronic cardio can play¬†hell on your immune system. Runners are always sick or injured. It is their body telling them to stop.


Me in 1995. I exercised way more back then. My waist size is smaller now.