Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Exercise: an impractical way to lose weight?

Yes, exercise is actually an impractical way to lose weight.

So says nutrition professor, Dr. Heidi. Hear the reason why in this 4 minute audio segment on exercise, during a private ER Fat Burn session. See also the New York Times report, Does Exercise Really Keep Us Healthy? here.

According to Dr. Heidi:
#1 to lose fat and weight: Eat right. A real food plan (with no pills required) does way more for fat burn and weight loss, including losing inches in the waist and gut, than exercise. Especially in the beginning. See below...
Yes, exercise is necessary for a healthy body. But for weight and fat loss, it's secondary to a real food plan. Dr. Heidi of ER Fat Burn explains...
You have to exercise so much (90 minutes a day now, they say) that right after, a body gets hungry. And its owner eats. After a good workout, has anyone else here (righteously) stopped off for the Starbucks latte + sweet thing?
People in the 5-week ER Fat Burn program have lost weight and inches, without changing their exercise habits. Oh. They don't exercise much because they work too much, not cuz they're lazy.

If it's weight you're trying to lose, says Dr. Heidi, right food is first. Then, if you want, exercise.
The body NEEDS exercise, yes. But for weight loss, it's an inefficient strategy, especially in the beginning. Exercise researcher Dr. Blair reports that "it’s much easier to eat 1,000 calories than to burn off 1,000 calories with exercise." More here.
After four weeks...

Shane's gut hanging over hands before ER Fat Burn at 245 lbs

Shane's gut 4 weeks into ER Fat Burn at 225 lbs. See how much less is hanging over his hands...


Jeff Iversen said...

So, what you are saying is that people do not lose weight until they learn how to eat better. The ER fat burning program helps people with that knowledge, correct?

Could it be that people who are exercising 90 minutes a day don't know how to exercise for fat loss? Just like the people who fail and waste time on fad diets, could these people be failing for a lack of knowledge about HOW to exercise? Studies show that people who use the Tabata protocol or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), lose fat 3-9 times more efficiently than those doing the long, boring cardio workouts. They also do it in a fraction of the time that the cardio workout takes and it's a lot more fun! Studies show that they burn more calories in their sleep than the cardio group does.

Why don't you and Dr. Heidi do some more research on HIIT and make it a part of your ER Fat Burn Program instead of pitting it against your program. Instead of being stuck on looking at studies that show how exercise is impractical, why not have an open mind to seeing how to change that and make it a powerful addition to what you are doing? It could only be a win/win situation. People could accelerate their fat loss, increase blood flow to their brain, have a healthier heart, develop fat burning muscle and sleep better at night. What is impractical about that?

Studies I read, my own personal experience and experiences of those around me say that HIIT works great! I can get a better fat-burning workout in 15-20 minutes per session than anyone who spends 90 minutes doing long, boring cardio workouts on the treadmill or bike. Check out link below. Weight losses of 40-50 pounds are noted by people on some of the videos.

A mind is like a parachute. It only works when it is open.

Are You Intense About Losing Fat

Jeff Iversen said...

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is so much more practical and successful at burning fat than traditional boring cardio. The key is a thing called Myoglobin. Myoglobin is a large protein that binds to oxygen inside your muscle cells [3]. Think of it a little like a "reserve" oxygen supply.

Per Olof Astrand, whose Textbook of Work Physiology is required reading for many exercise science students, first proposed a role for myoglobin as an oxygen store during interval exercise way back in the 1960's [1].

According to Astrand, myoglobin is repeatedly used and reloaded during the work and recovery phases of interval exercise. However, as the duration of the work period's increase, myoglobin stores are reduced.

Your body needs more oxygen to use fat as a fuel (compared to carbohydrate or protein). When oxygen supplies become limited, carbohydrate supplies a greater proportion of energy.

Because lactic acid, a by-product of carbohydrate metabolism, "blocks" fat burning, intervals that continue beyond the point at which myoglobin loses its supply of oxygen rely to a greater extent on carbohydrate as a source of energy.

How long do myoglobin stores last?
Myoglobin holds enough oxygen to last for 5-15 seconds [1]. This explains why short, rather than long intervals appear to promote a greater rise in fat oxidation.

As such, if your goal is to lose fat, then limit your work intervals to a maximum of 15 seconds.

Studies also show that shorter intervals don't feel as physically demanding as long intervals -- so you can get better results without feeling like you're working harder.

How long should my rest intervals last?
This depends on the duration of the work intervals. The longer the work interval, the more myoglobin gets used up, and the longer it takes to "reload".

The study we looked at earlier used rest intervals that were 1.5 times greater than the work intervals (6 seconds work: 9 seconds rest).

Based on these findings, a 15-second work interval would require a minimum of 22 seconds rest.

If you've never tried interval training, a rest period lasting 45 seconds might be a good place to start. As your fitness level gradually improves, you'll be able to gradually reduce your rest time.

1. Astrand, I., & Astrand, P-O. (1960). Myohemoglobin as an oxygen-store in man. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 48, 454-460

2. Christmass, M.A., Dawson, B., & Arthur, P.G. (1999). Effect of work and recovery duration on skeletal muscle oxygenation and fuel use during sustained intermittent exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 80, 436-447

3. Conley, K.E., Ordway, G.A., & Richardson, R.S. (2000). Deciphering the mysteries of myoglobin in striated muscle. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 168, 623-634

4. King, J., Panton, L., Broeder, C., Browder, K., Quindry, J., & Rhea, L. (2001). A comparison of high intensity vs. low intensity exercise on body composition in overweight women. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 33, A2421

5. Treuth, M.S., Hunter, G.R., & Williams, M. (1996). Effects of exercise intensity on 24-h energy expenditure and substrate oxidation. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 28, 1138-1143

Dean said...

If you are too fat and sickly to workout then diet alone may be your only option. Calories consumed right after working out are used to replace energy stores in the muscles and are not likely to be stored as fat. Burn more calories than you consume and you will burn fat. Your belief that "you need too much exercise to lose weight" is wrong on so many levels. Exercise does not need to take 90 minutes. Even as little as 10-20 minutes can make a fantastic difference in body composition. Your specialty is food and nutrition not exercise or fitness so stop advising on exercise. The best way to get and stay healthy is to eat right and live an active life (if you are not naturally active then you need to include exercise).

Kim Klaver said...

Jeff -

You write:
"So, what you are saying is that people do not lose weight until they learn how to eat better."

That's not what I said here. Some people do lose weight by doing an exercise route first. And some people don't.

This ER program focuses first on eating right, using real foods and low carb principles. This approach has been shown to be effective with the participants in the program who range from sedentary folks to serious athletes.

Some participants incorporate exercise in their programs, and some don't. Interval training is one of the strategies Dr. Heidi recommends during the private sessions.

There are many paths to the same weight loss mountain top. Different people choose different paths.

My post is here to let people who don't connect to the exercise path know there's another way.

Maybe you can give a talk sometime to our folks about interval training, an approach to exercise that Dr. Heidi endorses enthusiastically.

Kim Klaver said...

Seems like nothing is a cure-all, including exercise. I wouldn't do without it, but that's me. For weight loss? Here's another research piece on its limitations for that.


Doesn't mean ex isn't good for overall health though, for sure.