About a week ago, I ran across a pretty interesting article on Vox.com titled: Why You Shouldn’t Exercise to Lose Weight.
Note: I’m not a big fan of the title. I believe that a combo of exercise and diet contribute to weight loss. I did like the article, however.
Here’s a quote from the article that sums up the main message: “Physical activity and diet should never be given equal weight in the obesity debate.”
It explains that while lack of physical activity seems to be the scapegoat of why so many people are overweight…
Eating less is what we should be focusing on.
…but the food industry doesn’t want us to eat less.
The message we keep hearing is to move more.
[Some believe that the food industry’s lobbing efforts are behind Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign.]
I actually like the “Let’s Move” message.
I would just add in an “Eat Less” component.
Best part of this article?
A new theory called The Constrained Model of Energy Expenditure.
The Linear Model illustrates the idea that the more a person exercises, the more calories they burn per day.
The Constrained Model suggests that calories burned per day hits a plateau at some point.
The body lowers its BMR as a protective mechanism.
There were times throughout human evolution when food sources weren’t reliable…so the body adjusted by setting an upper limit to calories burned each day.
The slowing of the basal metabolic rate could be a survival mechanism. It does this to hang on to stored fat for future energy needs.
The Constrained Model is still just a hypothesis.
I doubt that calorie burn hits a complete plateau, but do agree it probably follows the Law of Diminishing Returns.
At some point exercising past a certain point each day will just result in a tiny bit more calorie burn.
Time to break up this “sciency” talk with a good tune.
What can you do with this info?
I’d recommend focusing on moderate-to-short daily workouts…instead of long workouts with off days.
Although this is still a hypothesis, success leaves clues.
I remember reading an interview with Matthew McConaughey where the interviewer asks him what he does to stay lean year round…
His answer was that he tries to do some type of activity every day where he works up a sweat.
“That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” – Wooderson (Dazed and Confused)
I sometimes think we get too wrapped up in the details.
Do some sort of calorie burning activity every day…but don’t kill yourself. Leave something in the tank for the following day.
If you lift 3-5 times per week, leave the gym before you get totally smoked. Consider adding in additional cardio on other days, walk, do yard work, etc.
Move daily and eat less.
How many additional calories per day does exercise burn?
I’m sure it varies quite a bit depending upon the individual.
If you are stuck at a certain weight or body fat percentage, you are most likely going to have to eat less to get the scale moving again.
Reduce the calories a bit and add in daily exercise.
If your workouts are brutal?
Consider reducing the intensity or duration and save some of it for another day. It’s probably a more effective way to get lean.
Anyways…just my thoughts on this new hypothesis.