Yes, We were Wrong about Obesity

The world is finally getting a grasp on the idea that all calories are not equal.  People are starting to realize that 300 calories of steak and broccoli does not have the same effect on their waistline as 300 calories of pastries.  Calories from carbs, fats, and proteins all have effects on our bodies differently, and there are even good and bad carbs, good and bad fats, and different qualities and varieties of proteins.  The point is that what was once thought of as the standard advice for those who want to lose weight (aka lose fat) has been eat less and exercise more has been proven to be complete garbage.  Doctors have been prescribing more exercise and fewer calories for 20 years and the average weight and fat mass of the world continues to climb at an alarming rate.

The reality is people need to eat the right nutritious foods and less crap foods.  The average person would not have to worry about calories if they only ate real nutritious foods.  No one has broken a zipper eating too much salmon and spinach.  But plenty of buttons have been snapped off from people rebounding from a low calorie diet.

All Exercise is NOT Created Equal

Anyone with a internet connection can do enough research on pubmed to see that the results of most weight loss studies have very poor results.  The obvious conclusion would be to say that exercise does not significantly help weight loss.  Some studies show that regular exercise helped people keep of an extra kg of fat over the course of 4 years.  Thats just over 2lbs.  I don’t know many people that are going to spend 3+ hours a week at the gym for 2lbs in a year.  The problem with these studies is that they are still trying to use exercise as a mean of balancing the calories in versus calories out equation.  If not all calories are the same, would it not be intuitive to investigate if all exercise has the same effect on our body as well.

Calories and exercise both have the same variable that decides whether or not they will help us lose fat or gain fat.  What we eat and how we exercise effects our hormones.  The best way to lose fat is to manage your hormones.  Your hormones literally are your control signals telling your cells what to do.  They decide whether that apple you ate is going to be stored as fat for later or burned up for fuel now, or stored as glycogen in the muscle for future exercise events.

If you exercise as a mean to try and burn more calories than what you take in you will always fail.  Your body stores fat like an energy savings account.  If you stop putting money into savings, it’s going to slow down your spending to compensate.  In other words if you try to eat less and exercise more, your body is just going to decrease the calories you burn when your not exercising.  This leaves you feeling like you now have no energy the other 23 hours of the day.

The most famous way of exercising to burn calories is aerobic training.  Stationary bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, dance aerobics, step classes and many other forms of life wasting sweat machines and classes all lead down the same road of plateaued fat loss and rebound fat gain.

How Can Exercise Increase Fat Loss?

Simple, the proper forms of exercise can help you manage your hormones.   For example, resistance training increases insulin sensitivity.   When you are more insulin sensitive, you need to make less, which means you create less of the fat storing hormone.  Proper intensity and duration of exercise can cause surges in growth hormone which promote extra fat to be burned as fuel and more protein to be used to grow new muscle and repair tissues.   Oh yeah and exercise also does burn calories in case you were wondering, but without the right hormone stimulation, this means nothing.

 How do I learn to Exercise Properly?

To learn how to train for fat loss you need to work with someone who specializes in exercising to manage hormones.  The best in the business are going to be BioSignature practitioners and PICP coaches.   These coaches specialize in manipulating nutrition, supplements and exercise for the optimal hormonal outcome.  Some people are fat because of too much insulin, some because of too much cortisol, some from too much estrogen.  It’s important that you eat and train properly to correct your issues for optimal fat loss.  If you have a cortisol issue and you decide to take up long distance running or cross fit, your body will be more worse for the wear.

If you think a cookie cutter program or some average Joe trainer will do the trick listen to this.  Having worked in a commercial gym for 6 years, I can tell you that I can still count on my hands how many people I have seen exercising properly for fat loss that are not my personal clients.  That includes the members of the gym that come almost every day and even the clients of other trainers at the gym.  These things are just not taught at the university level.  You have to treat fat loss like major medical issue and seek out a specialist.

On top of that, you have to be willing to make the nutritional changes needed to support your fat loss.  Exercise is small arms fire compared to the major destruction a bad diet can do to your fat loss program.

You only get one body, make sure you treat it right.

The idea that half the world is on its way to being obese is simply a lack of self control and excessive laziness isn’t completely right or wrong.  I am going into this in detail in my series Why Am I  Fat?  In short eating too much and not exercising enough are just 2 of many reasons that lead to obesity.  Ultimately it’s our hormones that determine whether we are fat or fit.  Eating less but still crap does not fix hormones, and exercising more but not exercising right does not correct hormones enough.  This is why you can’t out exercise a bad diet, but you can use the right exercise to make a healthy diet work better.  Fat loss is about changing your lifestyle.  That includes diet and exercise together, consistently!