TIME Magazine recently published a very controversial article on the effects of exercise on weight loss.
Doesn’t really encourage people to exercise now does it?
However, there were a lot of stuff in the article that I found incorrect and very misleading, the article however does bring up some important concepts that are vital for the general population to understand:
1.) Exercise WILL increase your appetite
This is correct. Exercise, especially high intensity exercise, increases your metabolism and your body’s ability to burn calories during activity will make you want to increase your energy intake (calories consumed).
However, being hungrier from exercise is not the culprit- choosing the wrong type of food following exercise is!
So if your diets focus on lots of lean protein, healthy fats, and high-fiber fruits and veggies every 2-4 hours, then we will be able to eliminate our exercise-induced hunger and build muscle and burn fat from exercise like we intend to. These foods are proven to promote optimal health, performance, and body composition.
However, if you are are a carb addict (think lots of refined grains and sugars), exercise will only make you crave more carbs leading to intense feelings of insatiability throughout the day due to unstable blood sugar levels. Make no mistake about it- in this case, exercise will not only cause you to NOT lose weight, but most likely will cause weight gain.
I tell most people who come to me to lose weight for them to understand the key to the success they crave:
“If you want to bulk up, add size, and gain weight, be sure to eat plenty of sugars and high processed starches. But if you want to be lean and muscular, swap the starches and sugars for high fiber fruits and vegetables, with a special emphasis on green veggies.”
It’s really pretty simple.
Which brings us to point #2
2.) Exercise without proper nutrition WILL NOT cause significant weight loss
I always tell my clients there is a big difference between eating right and supportive eating. We need the RIGHT SUPPORTIVE NUTRITION to be successful in reaching our goals.
Nutrition is 80-90+% of the equation when it comes to weight management. Hormones govern fat loss and both exercise and nutrition impact your body’s hormone levels- positively or negatively depending on what type of exercise and diet plan you follow.
However, you can never beat out poor nutritional habits with exercise- NEVER! In terms of diet, the hormone we must be most concerned about is insulin, a storage hormone that’s released in large amounts when consuming refined starches and sugars.
Not matter how hard you workout, if you are releasing insulin through the day with a high carb/sugar diet, you will be controlled by insulins to its fat-storing effects.
On the other hand, lean proteins, healthy fats, and high-fiber fruits and veggies do not significantly impact your insulin levels thus allowing you to preferentially burn fat and build muscle in conjunction with the right exercise plan, which brings me to point#3…
3.) Not all exercise is created equal
I also tell my clients though almost all exercise is beneficial we need the right balance of exercise to be really successful at reaching our goals.
The above article failed to distinguish between different forms of exercise. It uses the word “exercise” to refer to aerobic activity or any form of exercise of low to moderate intensity and this is misleading.
We should already know that aerobic exercise alone has zero effect on fat loss over dieting – many studies support this.
So this article should NOT be using aerobics as the only form of “exercise” and it’s impact on weight loss!
No matter what your doing if it’s a kickboxing class, spin class, or a bootcamp if these classes do not challenge your muscles and protect your muscles you are missing a big piece of the puzzle for weight loss. To be successful at losing weight and keeping it off you need to add strength training to your exercise routine.
Furthermore, some do not know that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) burns 9x more fat than ordinary exercise (aerobic training) and actually builds lean muscle and elevates metabolism for up to 24-48 post-workout
In conclusion, study after study proves that when it comes to exercise for fat loss:
CARDIO STINKS AND INTERVALS WORK!
So this TIME magazine article missed the ball on the big picture here: When it comes to being lean, muscular, and healthy, the key is an integrated and research based diet AND exercise regimen- exercise alone simply doesn’t cut it!
Time to Get Serious!
Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,