NEW YORK, April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Aerobic or cardio exercise has often been cited as a necessary ingredient in any weight or fat loss program. Today, many people simply accept the idea as gospel (whether they comply or not) and any countering view is perceived as heresy. There is no doubt that intense aerobic exercise has many benefits, but is it really necessary or even helpful when one is on a reduced calorie fat-loss regimen?
For those who have watched the popular reality television show, The World's Biggest Loser, you've witnessed grueling exercise routines, sometimes for as many as 4-5 hours per day. The popularity of this show might reinforce the belief that intense cardio or aerobic exercise is an essential factor that cannot be skipped if thinness is the desired goal. After all, contestants make amazing transformations and lose huge amounts of weight don't they? However, an interesting and often overlooked counter-phenomenon is that there have been "slacker" contestants dropped from the show who continued their fat-loss efforts on their own with much less exercise in the mix. These folks were invited back at the end of the show and in many cases, they had much better results than exhausted finishers. How can this be?
For starters, a significant amount of exercise is required to create a meaningful caloric deficit. Studies have shown that most people over-estimate the number of calories burned during their exercise sessions. Even achieving a rate of 10 calories per minute would be a stretch for the average person. The real number could be as low as 5 cal./minute. All else being equal, when you consider that to lose a pound, an average of 3,500 calories must be burned, this translates into a range of 6 hours minimum weekly at an intense level of exercise so one is burning 10 calories a minute or the more likely for the average non-professional athlete a whopping 12 hours of exercise per week to lose 1 pound! That is quite a time commitment for such a low rate of return! Break it down and that means two hours of constant exercise daily with Sundays off to rest. (Whew! You'd need it!)
Co-authors Dian Griesel, Ph.D. and Tom Griesel, of the new book, TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (BSH, 2011), believe that intense daily exercise during any calorie restricting routine is actually counter-productive. More so, the Griesels call it, "a recipe for serious grumpiness, erratic moods and certainly the perfect combination for serious binging."
In their book, they explain: "Strenuous exercise while calories are restricted will set off primal survival mechanisms. The body will usually fight back with feelings of overwhelming hunger and anxiety. This is because strenuous activity, particularly on a reduced calorie diet, forces the body to source protein for any fuel deficit causing a loss of lean body mass. Since muscle and lean body mass are essential to our survival, our brains recognize this stressful activity and revolt."
Tom continued, "The detrimental effects of a reduced calorie diet coupled with aerobic exercise are certainly significant. Yet, making matters worse, they compound exponentially for anyone whose diet is built on a foundation of grain based carbohydrates."
Dian Griesel, Ph.D., a nutritionist by training elaborates. "This USDA diet foundation coupled with aerobic exercise is the torpedo that sinks most diet attempts. It needs to be understood that it is the directive of the teachers, not the willpower of the students that has resulted in our national obesity epidemic."
The fact that fat is so hard to burn when calories are restricted is based on our physiology that was developed over millions and millions of years. Fat on the body represents survival. So, as far as your brain is concerned, you are going to have to work very hard to "burn it off." "OR," say the Griesels, "your other option is to learn how to work with those evolutionary forces and not against them. Do this and excess fat loss will be efficiently accomplished quite fast."
The problem they say gets back to the many diets that are low fat. "Restrict the very thing that we need for survival, which is fat, and every body mechanism that might allow any excess to burn off gets very stingy," according to Tom.
Dian adds, "With high aerobic exercise, the body becomes very efficient at converting almost everything you eat into stored fat. The problem? Stop the intense daily exercise routine and that efficiency doesn't stop. Pounds start increasing."
So is it bad to exercise? Absolutely not, say these experts. Just get lean first. Then, take a hike! Once you are lean, assuming you reached your goal by simply staying active while eating healthful whole foods like meats, fish, chicken, cheese and plenty of fruits and vegetables, your body will be running efficiently. A daily walk at your best pace along with doing your own laundry, chasing your kids or washing your car is plenty of activity during any restricted calorie, fat loss program.
To purchase a copy of TurboCharged, please visit: www.amazon.com/dp/1936705001.
For more information about the book and authors Dian and Tom Griesel, please visit: www.turbocharged.us.com.
SOURCE Business School of Happiness