Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Exercises to Burn Fat

Yesterday was Canada day, a national holiday in Canada celebrated by BBQs, backyard parties and fireworks.

I love Canada day. I even went as far as to turn my Blackberry OFF for the day (which is a HUGE accomplishment for me!)

Even though I was able to turn off my Blackberry, I wasn't able to let go of my most valuable notepad.

Yep, I keep a notepad on me at all times (Moleskin is my brand of choice).

Call me old fashioned, but when ideas spring into my head, nothing makes them more real, more concrete than actually writing them down (typing them out just doesn't do it).

(A perfect combination for a great summer's day)

I took an hour during the day when my little girl was playing in the pool with her grandparents to go through my notebook and read through many of the old notes I have written down this year.

One particular note that stuck out to me was from a lecture I attended for physicians that was headlined by Dr. Stuart Philips from McMaster University.

Amongst my notes I found the following quote scribbled down:

"It is remarkably hard to increase exercise and decrease body weight."

which when translated to normal non-PhD talk means:

"It is really hard to lose weight by simply increasing the amount of exercise that you do."

How true.

Believe it or not, most research trials examining the weight loss caused by very low calories diets, found that adding exercise did little to increase weight loss.

The diets seemed to do all the work.

Take for instance the research conducted by Donnelly et al. that was published in 1991.

69 obese women were put on an extreme 520 Calorie per diet.

These women were then divided into 4 groups

Group 1 did not exercise
Group 2 did endurance exercise for 60 minutes 4 days per week.
Group 3 did strength training 4 days per week
Group 4 did strength training AND endurance exercises 4 days per week

At the end of the 90 days research trial all 4 groups lost a mind blowing amount of bodyweight, averaging over 40 pounds of weight loss!

(Once again proving that anyone who says “It is impossible to lose weight by dramatically reducing your calories.” has absolutely NO IDEA what they are talking about!)

The interesting finding was that there were no differences between the four groups in terms of the amount of weight or body fat that was lost.

This is despite the massive amounts of exercising that group 4 was doing every single week!

This conclusion has been found over and over again in published research.

Donnelly et al. did a second trial that was published in 1993 showing that weight training could increase muscle size while women followed an 800 calorie per day diet, but it could not increase weight or fat loss.

Similar results were found by Kraemer in 1997, Bryner in 1999 and Janssen in 2002, just to name few examples.

The truth is that if you have your diet in order and are following a diet program that allows you to decrease your caloric intake it will cause you to lose weight.

Adding 'calorie burning exercises' does not seem to increase this weight loss, but adding strength training can preserve or even help increase the size of your muscles while you are dieting.

So if you are one of those people who spends countless hours in the gym, pushing themselves as hard as they can but are not seeing results, maybe its time to change your approach.

Eat for fat loss, workout to preserve (or even increase) the size of your muscles.

You can easily accomplish this by following the Eat Stop Eat lifestyle of Flexible Intermittent Fasting and strength training.

If you spend your energy in the right places, weight loss can be easy.


PS- While all of these research papers used extremely low calorie diets and showed impressive weight loss, you absolutely do not need to be this restrictive.

I would never recommend this type of low calorie diet, especially since simply fasting once or twice a week can cause great fat loss, while still allowing you to live a normal live and enjoying great tasting food.

After all, a great diet is all about quality of life while dieting ;)

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1 comment:

zulkef said...

Hey man,

I stumbled across your blog while doing some market research.

You said fast for once or twice a day can lower your weight? With all the scientific trial data to back it up?

That's pretty cool because I'm a muslim and in Islam, you are recommended to fast about twice a week. I don't know how you structure your diet on your ebook but it's a common practice of fasting twice a week for my parents and parents-in-laws.

I didn't do it much alhough I really wanna lose weight. I thought that was just for old people who might want extra 'pahala'( reward for doing good deed) from God.

Anyway thanks for the info.


ps: could you please point out where is the scientific reference you mentioned in the post?