It’s click bait; there’s NO such thing as fat gain workouts. As a fitness expert I’m peeved at misleading headlines saying that workouts can make you fat. Bunk!

I just skimmed an online article titled “Why Your Workout Could Be Making You Fat.”

One reason given is that the adrenalin rush from being “addicted” to an exercise class can slow metabolism. The other reason is that long duration cardio raises cortisol levels, which when raised, promote fat storage.

But this isn’t the same as saying, “Your workout can be making you fat.”

It would be more accurate to state, “Your workout is preventing fat loss.”

I’ve never heard of a sedentary person gain 10 pounds of fat as a result of taking step aerobics classes twice a week or taking up jogging five days a week.

Maybe they’ve put on fat due to eating more, feeling entitled to eat more due to the higher level of physical activity, as in, “I’ve earned a cheeseburger and large fries after that two walk.”

But the exercise in and of itself, when all other things (like food intake) remain the same, will NOT cause increased fat storage!

I mean, think of the skinny people who want to GAIN fat. Do you see them spending more time jogging on a treadmill to gain fat?

Or doing a lot of stationary biking to gain fat?

If gaining fat from aerobics were that easy, then there wouldn’t be all these skinny people complaining that they can’t gain weight.

The truth is that certain kinds of workouts will prevent fat loss. But even THIS needs to be qualified. A sedentary person who takes up walking, jogging, pedaling or stepping, and whose eating habits do not change, will lose weight.

They are now burning more calories per day than when they were sedentary, assuming their caloric intake has not increased.

However, the fat loss from doing ONLY aerobics, especially in people who have a lot of excess weight to lose, is limited; a plateau will be reached, sometimes soon.

Fat loss is then stalled at a point that’s often nowhere near the person’s goal weight. But again, this is not the same as saying, “Your workout is making you fat.”

Weight loss from only aerobics results in a smaller version of the same body: still soft, arms still flabby, stomach pudgy – but all just in a smaller size.

To change body composition and slash off fat like a hot knife through butter, you must strength train – and intensely.

Additional Ways to Make Workouts Blitz Away Fat and Transform Your Physique

• High intensity interval training
Burst training

Now back to the strength training. The focus should be on:
• Big compound movements like the deadlift, squat (many variations), leg press, bench press, overhead press, kettlebell swing, lat pull-down, row (many variations).

• Using weights heavy enough to cause wind depletion at the end of the set and a feeling of being worked over.

• Progressive resistance: Increasing the weight load over time rather than using the same amount month after month after month.

There’s no such thing as a particular exercise or workout that MAKES you fat.

But doing only long duration or steady state aerobics will have a limited effect on fat loss.

Some people won’t lose ANY weight if their idea of exercise is holding onto a treadmill (aka make-believe walking).

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.