Is your exercise routine in a cardio trap?

11/12/2010, 6 a.m.

Exercise is important, but the wrong kind may not help. If you're cranking up the cardio to lose weight, "compensation" may be slowing you down, says our fitness contributing editor Jorge Cruise. His advice:

Fight cravings. In exercise, compensation means your body enters a post-workout survival mode and seeks to replace the calories you burned by increasing cravings for sugar and carbs. Giving in will reduce the body's fat-unlocking hormone, glucagon.

Compensation is one reason Cruise recommends strength training for weight loss, as opposed to what Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint, calls "chronic cardio."

Going hard daily "can shift much of your energy away from fat-burning," Sisson says.

Grab hand weights. Don't be afraid of bulking up. Your body will find its naturally lean shape with a few strength workouts a week. Women lack the hormones to gain muscle quickly, so they'll never accidentally look like a body builder, Cruise says.