Numerous studies have shown that exercise alone is not effective in battling long-term weight loss. Just look around and see that the fitness revolution of the last 40 years does not work for the general population. Yet, society continues to strive for the Hollywood emaciated celebrity appearance, the miracle transformation from hit TV shows like “The Biggest Loser,” or the glam look fueled by Madison Avenue advertisers.
Every health professional will advocate exercise as a part of a weight loss program. The best doctors, however, will tell you that the typical recommendation of long duration, low intensity activities such as walking jogging, bicycling and aerobics up to six days a week is absolutely the worst recommendation for losing weight.
Long-term, low-impact exercise and activities cause a decrease in blood sugar, making you feel hungry and irritable. While aerobics yields some cardiovascular benefits, it fails to build muscle mass. In fact, chronic prolonged aerobic drills often lead to muscle loss and diminished strength.
Weight lost is not just about calories in and calories out. To lose weight, you have to burn fat. The biggest obstacle to weight loss is getting to the fat stores. The key to weight loss is understanding how foods affect hormones. An article I co-authored with Dr. Ronald Grisanti, “Obesity: Why Exercise Doesn’t Work,” focuses on the effect of sugar in the body and how insulin serves to keep fat stored in the fat cell, blocking the success of mainstream exercise programs.
So how do you get at the fat stores? I recommend a prescribed program of resistance exercises designed to improve strength, endurance and flexibility. Additional benefits include muscle toning, stress relief and weight loss. An effective, simplified approach to weight loss should be a three-prong approach that includes:
1. Education on how foods affect your hormones
2. Demonstration of what effective exercise entails for those only concerned with weight loss and health, not athletic enhancement
3. A way to address the biochemical glitches of the body such as thyroid, estrogen, testosterone etc. that may be leading to weight gain
For the obese and de-conditioned population, there are additional considerations. Athletic performance and weight loss are distinct goals. Many fitness coaches treat overweight and out of shape clients the way they would an athlete: with an overemphasis on core, mobility exercises and endurance training. Experts agree that the best approach for this demographic is to concentrate on exercised that stimulate the metabolism by challenging the largest muscles of the body because as the body ages, maintaining muscle mass is imperative for long-term health and fitness.
Scientific research confirms that stimulating muscle growth can be accomplished in as few as two sessions per week by challenging the larger muscles of the body with sufficient resistance. (Of course, this is based on the client’s fitness