Saturday, October 16, 2010

On Excercise - Less is My More

I don't know exactly how many times now I have been told to keep up the "hard work" and other similar comments implying that I am struggling Biggest Loser style hours a night to lose all of the weight. However I do know that I have heard it enough to come to the conclusion that general public is convinced staying physically fit requires herculean effort and huge amounts of time...

I generally just nod and smile and take the encouragement. Every once in a while though I will decide to have some fun and say something along the line of "thanks, but I don't really work out all that much - maybe an hour a week total". Generally the person looks a little confused and nods politely - I haven't figured out if they just don't believe me or are straight up confused how I could lose almost 180 pounds now and not spend 24 hours a day in the gym. 

For a while I was also convinced of the necessity of logging as much gym time as possible - I went through at least a 3 month period of working out at least an hour a night for six days a week with free-weights in my basement. Then I re-evaluated my approach and gradually phased down to my current ~ 1 hour a week spread over 2-3 days. That hour is typically one short sprint session of ~5 minutes and two body weight workouts running 20-30 minutes each. My rate of weight loss has actually increased since going to short periodic body weight episodes and my strength still improves every week (I can actually do a pull-up now for the first time in 33 years).

Amazingly while that hour is enough to keep me gaining strength while and I am still losing weight - the guidelines would say I am woefully sedentary. Does it help me lose weight faster? Logically a little - not so much as the calories being burned, but helping to retain muscle mass, regularly boosting my metabolism, and increasing insulin sensitivity. All that is needed for these basic benefits is a few brief sessions every week - all adding volume does is burn a few more calories and increase wear and tear in my experience. I can shave the few hundred calories that the recommended cardio sessions would burn out of my diet easily over a week without noticing and without soaking up hours of time.

I am the complete opposite of the current guidelines that keep telling the increasingly obese population to exercise more every year....If we could get away from the all or nothing approach and get people to focus on diet first (90% of the results in my opinion) and then periodic moderate exercise we would be so much better off.

I do a lot of things different from the guidelines, less exercise (but the right exercise), an upside down food pyramid, intermittent fasting, and alternate day fasting mixed in - all of it may not be for everyone - but everyone should think about the conventional recommendations and think critically. It could not only save hours toiling in the gym or starving on processed health food, but it could save their life!


1 comment:

  1. Nicely said! I've had one person in my office ask if I am exercising along w/eating low carb and when I answered no, I received a major look of disapproval.

    I decided I would let the results be my answer to her judgements against me.