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Burning 2500cal a day w/ cardio... Is it a lost cause trying to convince someone to try the paleo diet lifestyle?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 26, 2013 at 7:35 PM

I have a friend who has recently lost alot of weight (220lbs down to about 140lbs). I'm really happy for her and she looks great. But she seems to be obsessed with the gym. She works full time in an active job (on her feet for 8+ hour shifts, 5 days a week) and then she goes to the gym and often tells me "whew, just burnt 2500+ cals doing cardio the gym". She obviously eats enough at the moment to fuel her exercise as I haven't seen any rapid weight loss recently, but I know she eats a conventional diet because she always has high-sugar flavoured milk drinks post-workout and eats cereals, bread and snacks on chocolates, sweets. Basically I'm a bit worried that weight loss like this is not really maintainable long-term, because, well, everyone's gonna burn out at some stage with this regime!

Is it actually safe to keep up a regime like this? Is this normal for people who have lost a lot of weight? How can I introduce her to paleo without making her run for the hills at the mention of the words "eat more fat" and "cut back on the cardio"? Is it a lost cause trying to convince someone and do I just have to wait till she realizes on her own? Experiences anyone?

You see I have given marksdailyapple website to a few people, but no-one really seems that interested. I don't want to be pushy with it, but I just feel like it could make life so much easier for them if they just learnt about the paleo/primal diet & lifestyle.

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on March 26, 2013
at 11:24 PM

I don't know. I suppose it depends on the fitness of the person? I think all you can do is do your thing, and be a friend. Eventually, life will happen, and she won't be able to maintain that pace. When she hits that point, you can say, hey, there's an easier way if you're interested!

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:18 PM

Not overdoing it is the key. Also, you should make her see that even all the exercise of the world cannot overcome bad nutrition habits. You'd better not to exercise a lot and eat clean and hypo-caloric than working out everyday but stuffing into junk food. And the worst genetically blessed you are the more important this gets. So in the end, balancing moderate activity with proper nutrition in order to maximize the return of the inversion would be the safest and most intelligent way to get to her goal.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:15 PM

You could try to give her some evidence that HIIT is superior for fat burning than slow-endurance cardio. I'm not sure if it is really the case (very debatable topic) but you'll find lots of writings (I guess even videos on youtube) advocating to this, just need to convince her by showing :) I'm an endurance runner and I run between 40 to 60 miles per week on average and while I can tell that is pretty demanding and can drain you a lot, not everyone needs to push this far. Some cardio sessions every now and then should be ok with proper recovery and rest.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:08 PM

Might have to try a higher carb version then!!!

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:06 PM

Lol yes, i've heard those machines aren't accurate. She is using a heart rate monitor to tell how many calories she has burnt, I don't know if this method is more accurate or not?

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:05 PM

Thanks I would up vote your comment 2 times if I could. I guess she is going well, so she won't want to change what she is doing, until she has to.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:02 PM

Thanks Albert, I might suggest more of a clean diet. I think it's the chronic cardio im more worried about at the moment. But I guess i just have to let her figure out it's not really that good for you on her own :( I think the 2500 cals is correct then because she does about 4 hours of cardio, with maybe a little strength training thrown in, but no I think the efforts are all to keep weight off/lose more fat not for endurance running etc.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 26, 2013
at 09:58 PM

I think she does 2 60min gym classes, followed by a personal training session 60mins and then goes and plays netball for an hour ... I suppose that might not add up to 2500, but I still don't think that I'd want to be doing that!!! Thanks for your suggestion, that sounds like a good idea! :)

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on March 26, 2013
at 09:15 PM

The odds aren't good. Even after the crash and inevitable return of the weight. Unless you can sell a higher carb version of paleo as a performance enhancer... Medjool dates as replacement for all those snacks?

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10 Answers

4
A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on March 26, 2013
at 09:09 PM

2500 calories?! Unless she is battling bears every day for hours, I highly doubt that.

As far as convincing her, my experience has been that people are more open to listening to what I have to say if they have a problem. If she is feeling amazing and looking great, she isn't going to be as open to completely changing what she's doing.

Just plant a seed. That's all you can do. Honestly, way to go for her. That's a really impressive weight loss and, while her diet may suck, at least she isn't doing the coffee and cigarettes diet. And her being obsessed with the gym could be really enjoying increased mobility and energy from the weight loss.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:05 PM

Thanks I would up vote your comment 2 times if I could. I guess she is going well, so she won't want to change what she is doing, until she has to.

3
Ca71bbbf420ac8abfad4c5185ecddf31

on March 26, 2013
at 08:10 PM

http://caloriesburnedhq.com/calories-burned-running/

There's probably a large gap between how much she thinks she burns and how much she acually does. 2500 in a session is a shit ton.

To the rest, we've all been there, of course the chronic cardio and shitty foods she eats will catch up with her. It's only a matter of when. I tend to buy people Nora's or Marks book and let them decide for themselves. It doesn't always work, but we can't control others no matter how much we want to.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 26, 2013
at 09:58 PM

I think she does 2 60min gym classes, followed by a personal training session 60mins and then goes and plays netball for an hour ... I suppose that might not add up to 2500, but I still don't think that I'd want to be doing that!!! Thanks for your suggestion, that sounds like a good idea! :)

1
37cc142fbb183f2758ef723a192e7a9d

(1353)

on March 27, 2013
at 04:48 PM

Be happy for your friend. If she needs a different approach one day, you'll be able to offer her an option.

1
C5d5cfab77a26fa17a56f2c62b99b879

on March 27, 2013
at 04:20 PM

Hi Sarah--I know you care about your friend, but at this moment there's probably not much you can do such as suggesting things she might read, alternative programs she might try or even letting your own success speak for itself. The main reason: her way of doing things so far has worked extremely well.

Dropping 80 pounds is HUGE for anyone. It's hard to make a persuasive case that her plan doesn't "work." Her scale, her mirror and her old fat jeans visibly and consistently tell her otherwise. Plus, she is probably getting a ton of validation from the gang at the gym, folks at work, family and friends and total strangers who now relate to her as a more attractive person.

So far, the "yets" haven't caught up with her. She hasn't gotten injured or ill yet, the weight hasn't crept back yet and her motivation to spend 3 hours a day in a gym doing the same exact thing hasn't flagged yet. I don't wish her any bad luck but it's hard to beat the "yets" as you describe her situation. If I were a gambling man, I'd put my money on injury. Motivational collapse is a real contender here too. Pro athletes can't hack 3 hours daily in a gym without paying the piper eventually. Mere mortals like us shouldn't even think about it.

But, trying to tell her all that won't do much good IMO. She needs to get there on her own. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Good luck.

1
04a4f204bc2e589fa30fd31b92944549

(975)

on March 27, 2013
at 03:39 AM

I think its great how much she goes to the gym but with all that junk I'm sure she has a health problem lurking around somewhere. Poor sleep, seasonal allergies, headaches, and frequent flu or cold are all things the average american think of as normal, which could be easily cured with more attention to our diet!

1
323e0dff8d360ed6df0c02a169f4836d

on March 27, 2013
at 12:42 AM

I like the answer linking to the Rob Wolf video. He's right when he says just don't argue with these types of people. It is always better to let people know what you are for rather than what you are against. If your friend lost a bunch of weight on a different diet plan, be pro your friend transforming her body and cerebrate her success. We all know that there is a difference between being 'fit' and being 'healthy' and you can point this out to your friend, but if she doesn't take you up on your advice, that's okay too.

Mark

www.trek2fitness.com

1
048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

on March 26, 2013
at 08:29 PM

I agree with @Paleo11111 that its very difficult to burn 2500 kcal in a session, I can tell you I didn't even get near this by running the marathon. It depends a lot on the person but she can expect to be burning near 650 to 850 kcal per hour of moderate to intense exercise.

Even then, still the whole calories in vs out isn't really the real deal on weight managing and health. Instead, physical exertion triggers recovery demands that can be fulfilled or not and depending on this you develop your fitness or became washed out. So in the end is an stress/recovery relationship.

That being said, if you're really worried by trying to make her into Paleo, then fear not. If you don't want to mess with her macro-nutrient ratios, remember that Paleo does not necessarily mean low carb, she can stick with the same ratios and by putting aside all crap and switching to the combination of protein/carbs/fat that suits her the most with real and nutrient-dense food, she should really thrive in her new diet as long as she does not encounter any intolerance in the new foods. The expected scenario is that the current nutrients she is running now with are the real bad ones so this should be a win-win scenario.

As for chronic cardio... that's a though topic... but to err on the side of safety I guess she could be safer if sticks to intense but shorter training and avoids more than 30' of endurance based cardio, that's if health is prefered, if she is competitive about running or similar (I got the feeling this is not the case, just seeking for weight loss) maybe she may want to accept the price, I guess that with proper nutrition and doing no more than 3-4 cardio sessions per week should do fine and if ever gets to feel bad (she will know and so will you most likely) then take it easier and rest some days. All athletes take a week or two of recovery every now and then.

Hope this helps.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:15 PM

You could try to give her some evidence that HIIT is superior for fat burning than slow-endurance cardio. I'm not sure if it is really the case (very debatable topic) but you'll find lots of writings (I guess even videos on youtube) advocating to this, just need to convince her by showing :) I'm an endurance runner and I run between 40 to 60 miles per week on average and while I can tell that is pretty demanding and can drain you a lot, not everyone needs to push this far. Some cardio sessions every now and then should be ok with proper recovery and rest.

048dd52752c45129c1212bfffb37ca72

(3150)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:18 PM

Not overdoing it is the key. Also, you should make her see that even all the exercise of the world cannot overcome bad nutrition habits. You'd better not to exercise a lot and eat clean and hypo-caloric than working out everyday but stuffing into junk food. And the worst genetically blessed you are the more important this gets. So in the end, balancing moderate activity with proper nutrition in order to maximize the return of the inversion would be the safest and most intelligent way to get to her goal.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:02 PM

Thanks Albert, I might suggest more of a clean diet. I think it's the chronic cardio im more worried about at the moment. But I guess i just have to let her figure out it's not really that good for you on her own :( I think the 2500 cals is correct then because she does about 4 hours of cardio, with maybe a little strength training thrown in, but no I think the efforts are all to keep weight off/lose more fat not for endurance running etc.

0
32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on March 26, 2013
at 09:49 PM

This post reminds me of the first time we did a "row for calories" at crossfit. It was something like, "row for 10 calories" and we were "awesome!" Until we did it. At which point I realized what a sham all those elliptical machine calorie counters were!

32652cb696b75182cb121009ee4edea3

(5802)

on March 26, 2013
at 11:24 PM

I don't know. I suppose it depends on the fitness of the person? I think all you can do is do your thing, and be a friend. Eventually, life will happen, and she won't be able to maintain that pace. When she hits that point, you can say, hey, there's an easier way if you're interested!

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:06 PM

Lol yes, i've heard those machines aren't accurate. She is using a heart rate monitor to tell how many calories she has burnt, I don't know if this method is more accurate or not?

0
7d46edca72c2f8347f65d7b734d1f1eb

on March 26, 2013
at 09:18 PM

Great recent vid from RW just posted on his page. I love his message and kind of fitting here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=F6K3dSDC3nc

-1
152ef366c1530b4467567b88e89c38a1

(-2)

on March 27, 2013
at 06:25 PM

Mark Sisson is full of shit

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