Working out wrong: Is your exercise regime making you fat?

Your diet and workout plan could be making you pile on the pounds, Julia Buckley knows what to do about it

There's nothing worse than spending your entire week at the gym, day after day on the treadmill, only to find the scales go up at the end of it all.

The disappointing truth is this: if you hadn't have gone to the gym at all, you might have actually lost weight.

Julia Buckley, author of The Fat Burn Revolution, claims that repetitive movements and monotonous gym regimes cause us to gain weight.

She says: "Chances are, you're either eating too many fattening foods or your training is not optimal for fat burning."

Here, she breaks down what you're doing wrong - and what to do to fix it...

Does the following scenario sound familiar?

"You decide to start a new fitness regime and find a workout/class/DVD you like the look of, or maybe you decide to take up running, or cycling, or whatever.

At first it’s great - the fat starts coming off, you feel fitter and healthier and it seems like you’ve found “The Answer”.

After a few weeks you start getting used to it. Now it all feels a lot easier, it even begins to feel comfortable. This is great, you’re getting fitter, right? …But here’s the kicker: Just as that starts to happen, the fat stops shifting.

So, you decide to push yourself more by exercising for longer sessions. If you’ve taken up running maybe you enter a race, after all it’s good to have training goals, everyone knows that.

Joy of joys, with the increase in training a bit more fat comes off.…But then fat loss stalls again, quite quickly this time.

Your body, being the wonderful machine that it is, just keeps adapting to cope with the longer training sessions - but if you keep on pushing yourself, you'll end up ill or injured."

Long, endurance exercises will make you store fat

"I've been there before - and probably much further into the spiral than you (unless you’ve ran events longer than 50 miles).

I’ve never been obese but I certainly had some stubborn extra pounds I just couldn’t seem to shift, despite my obsession with running. And for a fitness writer, that is not a good a look.

Eventually through my own experiences and more reading than it really should’ve required, I figured out something that now seems so blindingly obvious to me that if the above wasn’t so typical among so many people I’d be hugely embarrassed about my previous inability to perceive it:

Any type of long, slow endurance exercise, when done regularly will cause the body to become more endurance-focused. It will then want to store energy as fat to ensure it has plenty of reserves to get through all the miles it is used to needing to fuel.

When I switched from long steady exercise to short, high-intensity sessions and added more variety and strength training into my training mix, my body changed. A lot. The fat came off, my energy levels soared and I became healthier, stronger and fitter."

Speed up your metabolism with shorter workouts

"In my book, The Fat Burn Revolution, I describe a 12-week programme of varied 20-40 minute workouts, which change and increase in intensity before the body has chance to get comfortable with them and keep the system fired up for maximum fat burning even after the sessions are over.

One reason this is super-effective is because of the 'afterburn' effect.

Your metabolic rate goes through the roof and stays elevated even after you finish training while your body adapts and recovers."

"This will cause you to burn more fat for 24-48 hours after exercising, depending on how intense the training was. Of course, you also get the health and fitness improvements that come as a result of working your heart, lungs and muscles harder.

Also, when you train using high-intensity cardio and challenging resistance sessions, the body prefers to store fuel as glycogen in the muscles, which can be quickly released to enable fast-paced, power-driven activities.

There are lots of people run or do other types of endurance training for reasons other than fat loss, that’s great for them, they’re not who this is aimed at.

But if you are caught up in the cycle of frustration described above, please know there is hope and there is a way of training that can help you finally shed the flab and re-sculpt your body."

Read more from Julia Buckley on her blog, Julia's Fitness Blog.