Is the gym making you fat?

The gym is great for: Getting fit and helping you burn more energy

The gym is not great for: Making exercise a chore. Making you overdo it, increasing the likelihood of injury. Eating into valuable snooze time. Making you repeat boring movements.

Each of these elements is a common denominator of the gym, and each of them is a form of a physical or mental stress. And this is what is making us fat. Over a period of time, chronic stress (that is -prolonged over a period of time) stress makes us build up a tolerance to hormones and kicks our bodies out of balance. To understand this, I've listed what happens to our bodies during a "simple, short-term" stress response versus "prolonged" stress...


1. Encounter a stress - e.g. We've been on the treadmill for 22 minutes, we now feel exhausted but have 8 minutes hard incline to go.

2. The hypothalamus at the base of the brain sends signals to the adrenal glands next to the kidneys.

3. A surge of hormones are released - principally cortisol (the key stress hormone) and adrenaline: Adrenaline boosts energy supply across the body, whilst cortisol increases glucose in the bloodstream and hinders bodily functions that would not be useful in a "normal" stressful situation, e.g. many immune, digestive and reproductive responses.

4. The adrenaline and cortisol give us the energy to finish our workout with a bang.