Treadmill running – a sad story

I noticed the other day how sad the story is for those stuck in the conventional wisdom of fitness training.  And its most obvious and sad to watch someone on a treadmill.

First there’s the obvious – running to go nowhere.  Probably while you stare at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how much further you need to run so that you can look better.

Second, we’re using energy (that could be put to better use elsewhere) to keep you in one spot.  Coal gets burned down in the Latrobe Valley so we can spin a belt to let the runner run in the most contrived fashion possible – not running from anything, not running to anywhere and no forward motion.

Third, all that treadmill running, contrary to what you’re thinking, is making you fatter, weaker and sick.

Here’s an excerpt from the book ‘Lights Out: Sleep Sugar and Survival’:

All the medicine ever suggests you do is live on sugar and run like hell to burn it off.  Of course, burning off all of the carbohydrates you’ve taken as a result of sleep loss by hysterical exercising does seem to reverse the process physiologically.  As your weight goes down, so does insulin production, because you produce insulin in a relationship of grams to body weight.

When insulin goes down, your insulin receptors go back up; then blood sugar also falls because your muscles soak it up as you exercise through the now functioning insulin receptors.  This is the way exercise lowers blood sugar.  When your insulin is lower, you can’t make as much cholesterol and that number goes down, too.  Then the doctor declares you cured.  But you’re not cured.

Now you just have a new disease – because it never occurred to them that you don’t have to work off what you don’t take in the first place.  In reality, running, jumping, or StairMastering is, to your body – a “fear response” that throws your cortisol into the stratosphere while you see God (read: runner’s high).  High cortisol is a blood sugar mobiliser, so it throws your blood sugar up again; when your blood sugar goes up, insulin follows.  That means the continuous rebounding of excessive exercise alone can make you insulin resistant over time.

  • Running, jumping, climbing, etc. = being chased
  • Chase = stress response
  • Stress = Cortisol release = blood-sugar mobilisation
  • Blood sugar up = insulin up = insulin resistance = fat storage and hypertension

The sadness in running on the treadmill (and other such vain fitness pursuits) is that you’re pretty much achieving the very OPPOSITE of all the goals you’re striving for.

Running and not going anywhere.

Running from the food and drink that can’t be outrun.

Running yourself into an early grave.

Get educated and for the sake of your health… stop running long.  Even CrossFit may be too much for your adrenal system to cope with on a regular basis. seo competition discovery .

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17 Responses to Treadmill running – a sad story

  1. This was an excellent, excellent post. I didn’t know that you could become insulin resistant this way, but it makes sense.

  2. Mike says:

    Thanks Frances. Running is obviously an enjoyable activity for many people so I’m not advocating stopping altogether. But running long distances, often, is not the best choice.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  3. Roy says:

    So what do you recommend? Eat less so you have to exercise less??

  4. Mike says:

    Hi Roy,

    My case here is really against ‘chronic cardio’, not advocating eating less and exercising less. Generally speaking, if you’re eating the right food and adhering to a stochastic exercise program, you will be fit, lean and healthy.

    Eat lots of veggies, meats and fat. Lift weights, sprint occasionally and walk a often. For a better discussion on this, search for Mark Sisson, Arthur De Vany and Robb Wolf.

  5. Ty says:

    What about using elipticals, where it appears your using more muscles then say just a tread mill?

  6. Ty says:

    One other question, using elipticals and treadmills seems to be easier on the knees as far as impact, say running in the street. I’m sure proper shoes can help with this, but is there a way to implement a treadmill in a way it is still beneficial? I was recently seen by a Ortho Doctor who told me i have very little cartilage left under my knee cap, and need to take preventive measures. He suggested the eliptical as a solid choice for running, and quad exercises.

    Thank you very much for any help that you give, I’m very greatful!

    Semper Fi!

  7. Mike says:

    Hi Ty, the message isn’t so much give up running, but be wary of long, slow distance exercise that drags on for hours. If you choose to use an elliptical machine, try and use it for short, sharp sprints rather than some arbitrarily long allotment of time.

    Irrespective of your knee degeneration, you should google CrossFit and the name of your suburb. Find a local affiliate and they will be able to help you.

    All the best.

  8. Jim says:

    Mike, you keep advocating sprinting vs. distance. Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m on board with this but wouldn’t sprinting trigger the fear response even more? I mean, if I’m running from a bear or lion…I’m not running a 10 min pace. Walking makes more sense but not sure I have the time or patience for this. Also, the nature of cross-fit workouts also seems like it would trigger said fear response and drive up cortisol levels. Finally, it seems to me like if your blood sugar is spiking for any reason…your pancreas produces the insulin to take the sugar to the receptors on the muscles/bones/etc. It sounds like the body is functioning properly in this case. Not really sure I follow your reasoning for the receptors becoming resistant to insulin. Seems to me, if you’re becoming hypoglycemic you can eat/drink a good post-workout meal/drink and that will help that problem. While I think all of us would rather not get diabetes…it is not a death sentence. There are many Type 1’s and Type 2’s that live far healthier lifestyles than the general public. A proper diet, monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly, and taking the requisite insulin/medication will provide you a happy, healthy, long life. Course…I’d still rather sprint. Semper Fidelis.

  9. Scott says:

    Love the post! One thing to consider is using HIT training. AKA speedplay or Fartlek. Keeps the treadmill (eliptical, jacobs ladder, stair machine) time under 25 mins.
    Example: warm up for 2 mins at HR of 50% max then increase to 75 – 85% max for 1 min. Return to 1 min at ~ 55 – 60%max HR. 1 min later you are back at it for 1 minute at 75 – 85%. Repeat. You can play with the time interval. If you want to increase your lactic threshold then take the upper interval to 85 – 95% max HR. If you are not spent within 20 mins then you are not doing it right!!! It is a great way to boost the BMR for the rest of the day. You will burn way more calories, get faster foot speed ability and generally achieve more fitness goals. I agree… No long slogs on a treadmill. We train to live not live to train correct??

  10. mike says:

    Back this claim up with evidence. Not loosely connected theory that doesn’t even begin to take in to account the complexity of the human body. Theory after theory gets shot down when studied rigorously and actual clinical outcomes are observed.

  11. Heather says:

    This left me confused and anxious. Ok, so the writer wanted me to know that running was bad for me. Crossfit is too much for my body to handle as is running? All this will cause me to die at an early age or get some disorder? Point taken. So for people that would like to stay fit and healthy what are your suggestions? So far, so good for me. I do crossfit, pilates and yoga. I am in the best shape and health of my life, or so I think I am. I love to learn more about health and fitness to make myself and those I love better. But this blog did not educate me on anything because too many facts were left out leaving me with nothing but questions. It was said that running jolts the fear response which then causes our hormone levels to be thrown off. But what types of things can we do to stay fit and healthy without throwing off our levels? What do you suggest and why? Educate me, I would love to know.

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  14. Butch says:

    Mike… I am in the military and have a p.t. test that I must pass in order to stay in. This test involves a 2-mile run or alternate event which is a timed walk or 6.2 mile bike. Due to extensive knee damage and repair I am forced to do the bike ride. What would be the avenue for me to obtain a low impact workout that will cover my p.t. test? I am in my early forties and have just started the crossfit training program with my family and am looking forward to the results and life change. Thank you for all your info and support

  15. Steven Turner says:

    Pseduoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status. Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.

  16. Jacques says:

    Steve you hit the nail on the head, what absolute bad advice Mike! Xfit is not the do all and end all of exercise, sprinting is not the only way to exercise and the treadmill is a wonderfull thing. (so is the stairmaster etc) The only one useing loosely connected theory and not understanding the complexities of the human body is you. There is no medical advice anywhere in the world that advocates living on sugar and then running it off!!! Not everyone is diabetic! Eat healthy, exercise lots (even if its on a treadmill) and be carefull of ‘crap’ advice everyone.

  17. Tamala Tatis says:

    I’m so sorry to get off topic, but I’m starting my first blog and was curious what platform this one is.

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