THE EXERCISE MYTH: MORE REASONS WHY PUTTING EXERCISE BEFORE PROPER FOOD INTAKE IS A HUGE MISTAKE!
There are many reasons that I insist that people focus on food first to attain optimal wellness.
Once people are introduced to the exercise myth, a plethora of questions may arise
that may completely change one's thinking about the importance of losing weight by prioritizing exercise.
And honestly, they should!
Conventional wisdom tells us that prioritizing exercise to attain optimal wellness is a necessity. Once again... that information might be conventional, but it is by no means WISE!
Let me explain.
Recently, in a Time Magazine article (August 17, 2009), there was a very pertinent article written by John Cloud entitled "The Myth About Exercise". This article didn't really stun me (as this is exactly what I teach, if not preach), but it should have opened the eyes of the millions who have been told by the "supposed" experts and the fitness gurus of this nation that aggressive exercise programs is imperative to "reach weight loss goals".
For me, this article was a breath of fresh air, for numerous reasons. Please allow me to point out the highlights of what I believe is imperative that you know about the exercise myth!
1. Nearly 50 million Americans now belong to a health club
2. Nearly $20 billion is spent a year on health club memberships
3. Nearly 60% of the U.S. regularly exercises
A. The incidence of Obesity is dramatically on the rise
B. The incidence of Lifestyle Diseases have become epidemic
C. The incidence of Chronic Diseases have taken our country by storm
I have bad news for all exercise fanatics!
What is the bad news?
The truth is this: exercise is NOT essential for shedding pounds.
ANYONE interested in losing body-fat in a healthy manner MUST prioritize their nutritional regimen!
Not some people, not almost everybody, EVERYONE!
Sure, moderate daily movement is going to be of a benefit that will reduce some lifestyle and chronic diseases, but even more so if complementing a top notch nutritional regimen.
But for those whose major focus is fat-loss, prioritizing food is a MUST.
Think about it:
1. The gyms are packed
2. The trainers are busy
3. The streets and parks are loaded with exercise groups and classes
4. "The Biggest Loser" is a smash hit
People are doing whatever it takes to burn as many excess calories as possible because any trainer who has earned their Personal Training certification over the weekend will tell you: "to lose weight you MUST burn more calories than you consume, it is all about the Law of Thermodynamics". The challenge with this comment is that it IS loaded. Actually, it IS a "load of crap".
This statement from you fitness professional actually tells you NOTHING!
Why? The human body is quite complex and proper weight loss can be made EASY but it is never quite that SIMPLE. Make sure your personal trainer or health and fitness guru knows that!
Though exercise DOES burn burn a few calories, IT ALSO STIMULATES HUNGER!
A recent study has actually shown that those people who exercise excessively do NOT lose more weight than those who don't (Public Library of Science, Dr. Timothy Church).
What? How can that be?
Welcome to COMPENSATORY EATING!
Yes, you've got it, people after hard bouts of exercise eat... and eat a lot. Why? Well, it can be for numerous reasons, including physiological and psychological.
1. Physiological: "Hey, I'm famished, everything sounds good now!"
2. Psychological: "Wow, that was tough, I deserve a treat!"
Unfortunately, no matter how hard you trained and how much you have sweated: Bye-Bye Results!
Wow... talk about a study that completely stands in the face of government and medical organizations' prescription of more exercise for those people who want to lose weight. These organizations are now recommending 60-90 minutes most days of the week.
Personally, I NEVER work out 60 minutes a day. You do not need to over-exercise to be lean, fit, healthy and optimally well. You just don't have to. The focus should be on food, not exercise for proper weight loss.
Think about it, how often do you see people in workout gear getting together to celebrate or reward themselves for completing their vigorous workout with a high-sugared coffee drink and/or pastry? It happens, and it happens a lot.
For those of you who are not sold, lets break it down another way. I am sure there are more than a few of you that believe that there is no way you fall into the trap of compensation or compensatory eating.
Lets be fair, do you really know how many calories you are burning and how just a small amount of food can completely wipe out any chance of achieving the results you desire?
Lets take a look at the example that is given in the Life magazine article.
COMPENSATORY EATING AND THE EXERCISE MYTH
Treat eaten: Blueberry Muffin-360 calories
What it would take for a 154lb., 30-year-old woman to work it off!
1. Folding Laundry-230 minutes (over 2 hours!)
2. Lifting Weights-115 minutes (over 1.5 hours!)
3. Vacuuming-92 minutes (over 1.5 hours!)
4. Easy Cycling-77 minutes (over 1 hour!)
5. Gardening-66 minutes (over 1 hour!)
6. Lawn-mowing-66 minutes (over 1 hour!)
7. Jogging (5 m.p.h.)-33 minutes (over 1/2 an hour!)
8. Skating (fast)-21 minutes
That is a lot of work to just neutralize the caloric impact of a tiny little muffin.
For those of you who are thinking, "but I am putting on lots of muscle, so I am a calorie burning machine, so this doesn't apply to me." Well, sorry, actually it does.
Here is why.
A publication of the journal Obesity Research showed that a study by a Columbia University team came up with these calculations:
1. A POUND of MUSCLE burns approximately 6 calories at rest
2. A POUND of FAT burns approximately 2 calories at rest
Okay, that IS three times as many calories, but practically speaking, what exactly does that mean? For calorie burning, the results are a tad bit UNDERWHELMING!
If you ADD 10 pounds of muscle (which is very good by the way), you are now able to eat 40 calories MORE per DAY than before. Even with this extra lean mass added, if your caloric intake increases by more than "just" 40 calories you WILL begin to gain weight. Ever seen a teaspoon of butter? There is your 40 calories. LIVE IT UP!
Don't get me wrong. Most people would greatly benefit from adding ten pounds of muscle to their frame (the benefits are numerous, but eating whatever you want is NOT one of them). And I am a huge proponent of such an endeavor. I have put on around 50 pounds of muscle since graduating high school, and though I WISH I could eat whatever I wanted to, that is only an additional 200 burnt calories a day. Barely more than half that muffin!
So, why isn't exercise the primary answer when it comes to weight loss?
WE ARE NOT GREAT FAT BURNERS
We have not evolved to the point that we burn the calories that are in excess of what we need to live! We are NOT necessarily efficient fat burners, but we can improve on this efficiency.
WE ARE GREAT AT FAT STORAGE
Humans are set up with a hormonal system that is efficient in storing fat.
All of this should help explain why the obsessive-compulsive movement towards excessive exercise hasn't achieved even mixed results.
THE RESULTS HAVE BEEN POOR!
And the reason is obvious!
We have not gotten past compensatory eating. It is just too easy to follow an exercise bout with something that will completely wipe out the gains of the caloric expenditure just achieved!
And sadly, the most difficult one hour work out can easily be erased in less than a minute. All it takes is a few gulps of your favorite sugary sports drink to completely destroy your chances at weight loss for the day.
This site is all about attaining optimal wellness by prioritizing food first. The Exercise Myth is just another reason why this site is needed. There is nothing you can do better for yourself than improving the quality of your foods in your everyday life!
GO TO "THE EXERCISE MYTH: PART II"