Calories Alone is Not Enough
Posted by: Dr. Mercola | April 27 2010
research demonstrates that simply reducing caloric intake
is not enough to cause significant weight loss. This could
be the result of a natural compensatory mechanism that reduces
physical activity following a reduction in calories.
and exercise must be combined to achieve weight loss goals,
according to the study.
research was conducted on 18 female rhesus macaque monkeys.
They were fed high-calorie diet for several years, then given
a 30 percent reduction in calories.
only did they lose no weight, but physical activity levels
for the monkeys began to drop shortly after the reduced-calorie
diet was introduced.
comparison group of three monkeys was trained to exercise
for one hour daily on a treadmill. This group did lose weight.
Journal of Physiology Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative
Physiology, April 2010)
interesting new findings suggest that when you start to consume
fewer calories, your body automatically responds by reducing
your activity levels. In generations past, when finding your
next meal was not as easy as opening your fridge, this mechanism
could help your body to hold on to valuable energy stores and
survive longer in times of famine.
the modern day, however, this innate process may backfire,
causing you to hold on to excess weight if you do not consciously
make an effort to increase or at least maintain your activity
although low-calorie diets have been highlighted as a strategy
for lengthening your lifespan, if you simply cut way back
on calories without meeting your bodys nutritional requirements,
it can send you into starvation mode. This will actually slow
down your metabolism and make it more difficult to lose weight.
alone may also not help you lose weight, especially if youre
rewarding yourself for working out by eating an
order of French fries accompanied by a chocolate shake.
key to healthy weight loss is to use a combined approach of
both diet and exercise together. This is the strategy that
will lead to gradual weight loss and a healthier lifestyle
that you can actually sustain and live with.
Lack of Activity is Detrimental to Your Health
Whether youre trying to lose weight or not, regular
physical activity simply must be a part of your life if you
want to stay healthy. This is true even if youre eating
a stellar diet, and whether youre overweight or not.
fact, one study published in the Journal of the American Medical
Association found that women who were at least somewhat active
were less likely to develop heart disease than those who were
not, and this was regardless of their weight.
revealing study also found that both diet and fitness levels
are crucial for lifelong health. After analyzing more than
115,000 nurses, results showed that being overweight or being
sedentary increased your risk of death independently:
who were obese and inactive had a 2.5 times higher mortality
rate than women who were lean and active
Those women who were active (despite being obese) were
twice as likely to die a premature death than those who were
lean and active
Lean women who exercised under 3.5 hours a week increased
their risk of premature death by 55 percent, compared to those
women who worked out more often
Obese women who worked out for at least 3.5 hours a
week experienced a death rate that was 91 percent higher than
lean women who exercised similarly
The premature death rate was 142 times greater for obese,
So while being overweight or obese certainly increases many
health risks, those who were lean and inactive also had their
share of risks. And as you might suspect, the most significant
risks apply to those who are both overweight/obese and also
moral of the story, of course, is that you want to carefully
tailor both your dietary and your exercise habits in ways
that will support your health and well-being.
Many Forms of Exercise Don't Work Very Well
As many of you know, I have been an exercise fanatic for the
last 42 years. Life is a journey and I certainly made a load
of well intentioned mistakes over those years. It is my goal
to help you understand some of those mistakes so you don't
have to make the same ones I did.
major mistake was that I focused nearly exclusively on cardio.
I focused on running and actually did fairly well competing
as I ran a 2:50 marathon and a sub 5:00 minutes mile. However,
even though I was aerobically fit I virtually ignored anaerobic
training after I stopped competing 25 years ago.
out that is what most people do. They stop doing speed work
when they get older. Most exercise works just fine for most
people so long as they are under 30 years old. At that time
ones growth hormone dramatically starts to drop.
better name for growth hormone would be "fitness"
hormone. It is the strongest influence on increasing your
muscle mass and reducing your body fat. That is why many people
inject it illegally. Fortunately with the right type of exercise,
your body can produce it naturally.
Fast Muscle Fibers
turns out that nearly ALL exercises that are typically done
in this country by those over 30 do not generate growth hormone.
This is because they are not exercising the super fast muscle
fibers. Cardio, aerobics and even most all strength training
do NOT increase growth hormone. The only way to do that is
by using anaerobic exercises or speed work. You have to push
REALLY hard and work intensely for brief periods of from 10
to 30 seconds.
are typically sprint type of workouts but they dont
have to be done by running. You can do them on many pieces
of aerobic equipment such as a treadmill or bike. One of the
best is a recumbent bike.
principle is simple. You warm up for two minutes then increase
your intensity level to as high as you can and pedal as hard
as you can for 30 seconds. If you can pedal for 45 seconds
you are not working out hard enough. You simply have to push
it very hard.
your 30-second workout you pedal at a comfortable intensity
and relaxed pace for 90 seconds to recover, then you repeat
this 7 times for a total of 8 cycles. If you are doing it
correctly you will be sweating profusely, and it will likely
be one of the best workouts of your life. Remember you have
to work out intensely as you possibly can. If you aren't sweating
very profusely and really gasping for air at the end of the
workout you aren't cycling fast or hard enough.
beauty of this approach is that it only requires FOUR MINUTES
of exercise and only a total of 20 minutes of your time. If
you do it properly I can assure you that it will improve your
health far more than HOURS of regular cardio.
the two hours following your exercise you will radically increase
your level of growth hormone too, as long as you avoid sugar.
This will tremendously help you to lose fat and gain muscle.
really is some radical new information that can change your
life. Once I started doing this I was able to easily drop
extra weight I had picked up and could not lose despite doing
my standard cardio. You can even apply this to strength training
and rather than exclusively exercise your slow muscle fibers,
like all cardio does, you can use explosive lifts and exercise
your fast muscle fibers.
is a bit challenging to describe in text so I hope to shoot
a video on it soon so I can actually demonstrate it for you..
master educator who taught me this was Phil Campbell and his
term for it is Sprint 8. I recently met him at a fitness camp
in Mexico. He has a book where you can get more information
on this phenomenal form of exercise; it's called Ready Set
plan on introducing more detailed articles on this in the
Tried-and-True Weight Loss Tips
Everyones metabolism is different, but you can speed
it up or slow it down within a reasonably short amount of
time by making the following commonsense changes to both your
diet and lifestyle:
according to your nutritional type to ensure your body is
getting the right fuel it needs
Avoid sugar, especially fructose and grains as they
are the leading cause of insulin- and leptin-resistance, which
affects your hunger levels, your weight, and your risk of
any number of diseases
Listen to your hunger, and eat a healthy meal or snack
when hunger calls
Implement a well-rounded exercise regimen that includes
strength training to build muscle, as well as interval training,
which has been demonstrated to significantly increase fat