This may seem like a mystery saga…….but it’s not! For all the millions of calories people burn over their lifetime doing exercise, combined with dieting or in isolation, there seems to be no linear relationship between calories expended, and weight loss! No one ever seems to ask the question why? Or maybe they do, but don’t verbalize it.
My grandmother never did a day’s worth of focused exercise in her life, unless you consider weeding the garden as exercise. Before she got ill at the end of her life, which was 91 years old, she weighed around 58-61kg(normal weight for her height). Take the average male advanced marathoner, he may have been running regularly for 30 years of his life. The estimated calorie expenditure for a 7.5-minute mile is around 1000 calories an hour. If he runs an hour a day, then that’s 7000 calories a week, times 52 weeks in a year, which equates to 364000 calories. Now if you’d been to school and had a rudimentary understanding of mathematics, you’d be able to figure out that a 1000 calorie a day deficit, would equate to a loss of just under 1kg of fat a week or 2kg of muscle, somewhere in between if it’s a combination of the two. Now I challenge anyone to try this and see if you have sustained weight loss. I guarantee you that minus a few kilos, in the beginning, this loss would attenuate rapidly. The question one needs to ask, is did the exercise become less costly to the body? Of course not: this person’s body could have only diminished its running cost either by reducing thyroid function, losing muscle, or a combination of the two.
Let’s figure out the calorie value of an average human male. Let’s say 179 cm at 78kg at 16 percent body fat. So 78kg x 16% equals 12.48kg of fat, which equates to 99840 calories (as fat is approximately 8000 calories/kg). Now you’re left with 78kg minus 12.48kg equals 65.52 kg, subtract another 14kg for the skeleton, and this equates to 51.52kg of lean mass. Multiply this by 4000 (as lean tissue is around 4000 calories/kg) and you have 206080 calories, add this to the 99840 and you get 305920 calories. This is the approximate total calorie value of a healthy adult male. If any person starts an exercise program from scratch and changes nothing else in their protocol, and achieves a 1000 calorie a day deficit (which they mysteriously sustain), then they’d evaporate in 305 days. Not only do we not see this happening, we don’t see it come close to happening!
IN AN ATTEMPT TO LOSE BODY FAT IS AN IDIOT!
Any person doing any kind of cardio exercise in an attempt to lose body fat is an idiot! They’re doing more harm than good, especially if they’re bodybuilder/physique athletes and maximum muscle with minimum body fat is necessary. Fat loss is predicated on one thing, a significantly larger carbon loss than carbon replenishment, so two things are critical in this process: a huge resting metabolic rate, and a reduced carbon intake. The easiest way to add to your resting metabolic rate, is to increase muscle mass. This is akin to putting a larger engine in a car: it’ll burn more fuel, even idling around town at 50km/h. If you train one hour a day (which is only 7 hours a week), what would increase resting calorie expenditure during the other 161 hours when you’re at rest? The answer is by increasing your lean mass(or exposure to cold….but that’s a topic for another day). So you don’t want to do high volume cardiovascular activity. This activity interferes with recovery, the ability to generate greater muscle mass promotes muscle loss, and hampers your ability to have an intense workout with weights because you’re overtrained and not recovered.
GREATER CARBON LOSS THAN CARBON REPLENISHMENT
We have a Professor in South Africa, Tim Noakes, who in his infinite wisdom is promoting high volume cardiovascular exercise, and eating one meal a day, his claim is that our ancestors ate this way, to promote weight control! Tim Noakes has run over 70 marathons and ultra-marathons, been training for I guess 50 plus years since you were born in 1949, and following the Banting Low Carb diet. This equates to a deficit in the millions of calories, which is much greater than my grandmother for example. My question to him is; why do you have a completely normal sized frame, with a visually higher than average percentage body fat? Your physiology doesn’t reflect the theoretical numbers. I could have achieved better results doing exactly nothing! Cardiovascular exercise is the most redundant, inefficient form of exercise possible, which reflects radically diminishing returns, the more you engage in it! Now, this logic is completely flawed. In science, theories must be testable and falsifiable.
We have a massive body of anecdotal evidence, just by looking at the physiques of explosive athletes, for example, 100m Sprinters, Speed Skaters, Indoor Track Cyclists, Gymnasts, and Pole Vaulters. All of these athletes have lean, muscular physiques, Endurance athletes have shocking skinny fat physiques,
similar to anorexics, which are often considered clinically obese because their body fat percentage is sometimes greater than their lean mass. Starting a diet and training protocol (which initially induces a caloric deficit), and after some time, this deficit is diminished or probably voided. Doesn’t one ask the question, how did this happen? I always get the same response, “well you know, your body adapts”. That’s not an answer; I want to know the underlying mechanics. The way it does this is to slow thyroid function, and reduce muscle mass, so how would adding more cardio, and/or eating fewer calories fix this problem? Well, obviously it wouldn’t. The only long-term fix for this is to increase the running cost of the human body, and the only way you can do this is by adding lean muscle mass. The only way to do that is to do exercises that promote this, which is heavy resistance training, and eating in a way that will partition nutrient towards muscle and away from fat.
PEOPLE ARE MASOCHISTS
I will state that if you’re a fat person, and you’re attempting to achieve normal status without exercise, then the Banting (Atkins type – ketogenic diets) are a reasonable way to go, especially considering your health in general. But if you’re trying to achieve a lean physique, with supraphysiological muscle and body fat levels, then this won’t work. Most people are masochists; they almost require punishment before reward, a catholic guilt thing so to speak! I’d rather use my brains and science!