Too much exercise can actually make you put on weight

Say what!?

(Image credit: Getty Images)

 Ok, we know what you’re thinking. You go to the gym, you work out, you eat healthy and quite frankly this is all lies. HOW could you possibly put weight on by exercising?

And before you try and catch us out, no we are not about to say anything about how muscles weigh heavier than fat, etc... Over-exercising can actually have detrimental effects on your body and weirdly, weight gain happens to be one of them. 

Says who? Says science. So there. Now that we have your attention, we’re going to explain how this makes sense.

Lyn-Genet Recitas is a nutritionist and the woman behind The Metabolism Plan, and in a post on MindBodyGreen, she decided to clear up some myths about how you should effectively be boosting your metabolism.

Long-term weight loss is only achieved and sustained by increasing your metabolism. So, it makes sense that anything that slows your metabolism down results in weight gain. Most people equate exercise to a boost in metabolism, but overexercising can actually have the opposite effect.

When your body is put through excessive physical stress your hormones are affected. This has a knock on effect on the function of your thyroid, like oestrogen, testosterone and cortisol. "These skewed hormones affect your thyroid, the master gland of your metabolism," says Recitas.

"Over-exercising also affects your endocrine system, which creates even higher levels of cortisol," she explains. But how do you know if you’re overdoing it?

According to LiveStrong, over-exercising occurs when you repeatedly put your body under stress from intense or too frequent workouts without giving yourself enough time to rest and recover. The side effects of this include intense fatigue, hunger, food cravings (especially for sweets and caffeine), depression, anxiety and stress, as well as reduced sleep and other hormonal imbalances to name a few. 

So, there you have it. Naturally, this is music to our ears – any opportunity to pass up more weights, for more time in bed, gets our stamp of approval.

Brb, we’re just off to cancel our class tomorrow so we can get some extra zzzz’s. 

Sagal Mohammed

Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty.  She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few.