Subject No. 50, along with about 75 other men and women, had endured 70 days of five-times-per-week cardio and resistance training--a physical and lifestyle assault to the previously sedentary and overweight. Instead of lying in bed, subject No. 50 began his training days at 5 a.m. (as I did mine) in the University of Oklahoma athletics cafeteria turned exercise physiology lab. Ironically, walk-in coolers that once housed food for active bodies now housed bodies to nourish active biomedical minds, and tests to assess the limits of human physiology are conducted within feet of body bags filled with donated cadavers. In fact, it became an overplayed joke among several participants, especially when training legs, that the goal of this placebo-controlled study wasn't to test the safety and efficacy of a commercially available weight-loss drink but rather to fill the body bag coffers.
On the day of body composition post-testing, however, a bag to hide in is exactly what subject No. 50 wanted after the quantitative feedback proved his hopes futile. As predicted, his strength, cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle mass had improved while the amount of fat mass and bodyweight he carried had not. To him, the 10 weeks were a total waste of time.
And so it goes with the majority of people who fail to modify their diets: Physical success is marginal with exercise alone. It's even worse for the previously sedentary, overweight and obese: Naturally occurring exercise-induced catecholamines (stimulatory hormones such as norepinephrine) that increase fat-burning in lean men are actually inhibited in overweight and obese individuals. Compounding the problem, exercise in overweight men has been shown to stimulate receptors that work to block fat-burning; those same receptors shut down when lean men exercise. Even the rise in appetite and change in metabolism that occur as a result of exercise-induced calorie-burning is grossly askew in those most in need of shedding bodyfat.
In other words, the more inactive or fatter you are, the harder it is to burn fat during exercise, and the more active and lean you are, the more responsive your body is to burning fat during exercise. The take-home: Don't get fat! Being overweight or inactive creates a host of physiological hurdles to realizing significant fat loss. The solution? Don't just depend on exercise to attain your goals. Make a positive change--some kind of change--to your diet.
No wonder so many people stop going to the gym or give up on exercise altogether after just a few months of working out: There's an overwhelming feeling of failure when all that hard work doesn't show in the mirror. That may largely explain why weight-loss supplements are so incredibly popular ... and so misunderstood. Active ingredients in some diet products help control appetite or may make exercise work more in one's fat-burning favor, making those first weeks and months of a new exercise program a more visible affirmation that what you're doing is working.
That was clearly the case in my study. Those consuming the drink significantly (and safely, I might add) improved their physiological response to exercise. I saw similar results in another of my studies when subjects consumed 1-2 high-protein meal-replacement shakes per day. That isn't to say you need a dietary supplement to burn significant fat. Rather, some products can help you safely supplement what you lack in diet or discipline. Just don't harbor unrealistic expectations, and never forget that our brand of fitness is intended to be a lifelong journey, not a quick fix.
Lockwood, CM., et al. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research [peer-review accepted; pending publication]; Lockwood, CM., et al. Nutrition & Metabolism 5:11, 2008
The more inactive you are, the harder it is to burn fat during exercise, and the more active you are, the more responsive your body is. So don't get fat!
BY CHRIS LOCKWOOD, MS, CSCS (PhD Candidate)
My fat-burning advice isn't sexy, but it works: Make one change at a time. Change your breakfast first. Ditch the insulin-spiking carbs (cereal, toast, bagels, muffins, orange juice, pancakes, etc.) promoted ignorantly and irresponsibly by nutrition hacks calling themselves experts. Instead, consume no more than 1.46 grams of carbs per 1 gram of protein, and eat about 30 grams of protein per meal. When results plateau, change or add another meal.
Source Citation:Lockwood, Chris. "IT ain't easy.(EDITORIAL)(cardio and resistance training--a physical and lifestyle assault to the previously sedentary and overweight)." Joe Weider's Muscle & Fitness 70.9 (Sept 2009): 28(1). Academic OneFile. Gale. BROWARD COUNTY LIBRARY. 3 Aug. 2009
Gale Document Number:A204556289
Disclaimer:This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.
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