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Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

More Random Thoughts: Obesity, Weight loss, Exercise & Moving like a Thin Person

I get the feeling from the comments on my last Random Thoughts post and the NEAT post that folks think I'm pretty down on HIT resistance training or HIIT "cardio".  Not true.  But it would be fair to say I am pretty down on the "culture" surrounding these minimalist-time protocols.  I know, I know, telling people that they'll have to walk for an hour a day every day to stave off weight gain is so old school conventional wisdom and downright unsexy.  OTOH, it's highly appealing to us to get all the benefits of any thing doing it slightly differently in less time!  So it's not the merits of the methods themselves that I have an issue with, it's the whole "be super fit and buff in 10 minutes a week!" ... implied:  and you can sit on your butt the rest of the time.  There's a distinct tone of discouraging good old fashioned "cardio" that frequently skirts close to putting down those who engage in it as stupid drones and needlessly stressing folks concerning overtraining.  So complete with calorie denial for how what you're eating impacts weight, you're also required to deny that a sedentary lifestyle has anything to do with it, complete with promises that you really only need like 6 seconds a day of exercise to accomplish the body of Mark Sisson.  It's the ONLY that is something the obese want to hear but will likely fail them in the end.  As I've said before, it's possible to reduce one's obesity and maintain it with a sedentary lifestyle, but the deck is stacked massively against you.

One can't help but write a post like this without mentioning the physiques of many of those putting forth the theories.  Is there a single post-obese person out there with a blog or website or FB page or whatever who just maintains a lean mean fighting machine physique through diet and less than 15 minutes deliberate exercise per week?  With all the talk of slow lifting to failure, I couldn't help being reminded of Fred Hahn, and with being reminded of Hahn comes flashbacks from the abomination that was The 6 Week Cure for the Middle Aged Middle by the Drs. Eades.  I mean think about this folks.  These two co-authored a book with Fred Hahn in 2003 called The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution.  On page 76 of my Sony e-book version of 6WC the Eades' write:
To achieve this end quickly, without spending hours and hours in the gym, we recommend the slow-speed, strength-training method.  As mentioned previously, we co-authored a book on the subject with New York fitness guru Fred Hahn.   If you're interested in gaining muscle mass and strengthening your middle-aged bones, and doing it in as little as 30 minutes a week, find a slow-speed strength trainer in your area or follow the guidelines in The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution.
By learning to eat right and exercise differently, you can make giant strides toward whittling down your middle in a short space of time, strides that years of ELEM [Eating Less Exercising More] could never achieve.  And best of all, you'll have mastered the tools that will let you keep your middle trim from now on.
The above excerpt immediately followed that famous shirtless shot of Mark Sisson and a discussion on how you don't need to do "ab work" for that six-pack, just do Laplace isometrics -- basically holding in your tummy -- because Mark got his abs from doing just that.  Yeah, Mark got his physique with no head start from decades as an endurance athlete producing very low body fat.  Right ...  And I'm tired of this notion that these exercises are any less ab work than doing crunches or somesuch.  You're working your abs!  But I'm sure the irony of all of this does not escape my regular readers.   Just exactly how lazy are the Eades' if they know the "secret" that requires less than a half hour out of a week, and helped "write the book", but can't be bothered to do even that much??  I get their pitch for resistance training in the book, I don't get their utter hypocrisy in either not practicing what they preach or encouraging such a minimalist approach and providing "tools" that don't work for them!  After all, they were the guinea pigs for their diet, and again in 2012, we have them resolving to diet ...   But ... oh ... it's because of their damaged metabolisms that they can't pig out on vacation and not suffer the consequences.

Let me be very clear here.  I'm absolutely not knocking those who employ these training techniques so long as they're working for you.  And I feel the appeal of spending less time deliberately exercising especially if your schedule is very busy.   But to me, fostering this notion that someone will be transformed from a couch potato bod to anything resembling a Mark Sisson or even a Fred Hahn by doing "just" that much exercise is not helpful to the vast majority of the obese.  

I totally get how sedentary behavior sets in even with obesity, even for formerly active folks who become significantly overweight later.  As I've shared previously, my own sedentary behavior came about from a combination of being less social = less time outside the home doing just normal activities and not wanting to engage in too much activity based on knowing it would lead to physical awkwardness, discomfort and/or outright pain.  Still, I was somewhat surprised by the differences in activity between the lean and mildly obese in the NEAT study.      Granted the sample sizes were small, but the differences were considerable for the sitting vs. standing/walking.  Almost 3 hours a day ... and this compared self-described couch potato lean and mildly obese, I can only imagine the difference between the recreationally active lean and more morbidly obese.   The lean were not as couch potatoey after all, though sedentary, yes.

So there are two things here.  First, the obese are already at a NEAT deficit compared to lean with self-described sedentary behavior.  While it is possible their NEAT will go up spontaneously as they lose weight -- my own no doubt did -- it's not a given that it will increase enough to compensate for reduction in RMR.  Old habits die hard, and many people can manage consciously eating less for a long time, but if you're used to eating 3000 cal/day, eating 1500 cal/day from here on out may well not be sustainable for you.  Leaving chillin' out of this, the only other option is to increase increase AT be it NEAT or EAT.  In this regard, the short exercise bouts lack something essential:  time.  Walking slowly for an hour vs. 15 minutes of fast walking involves standing for 45 more minutes.  You may get other benefits -- including calorie burn -- walking very fast for those 15 minutes -- but the "NEAT" part of your exercise is less, if the next thing you're doing is plopping back down in a chair feeling all proud of yourself for having exercised that day.   While being stronger can help with everyday activities, resistance training doesn't acclimate your joints and muscles for extended periods of movement or just being on your feet.  Don't tell the paleo peeps, but I like to wear heels to work.   I mostly go barefoot or wear flat shoes in the summer when I generally don't teach.  Every September it takes me several weeks to adapt again to walking on heels.  I'm more likely to be found standing other times in the day when my feet aren't killing me!  Makes sense I hope?  

Further more, a bit of my ranting is aimed at not only the promotion of "the least amount of time (read: effort) possible", but also the discouraging of moving more in general.  In many cases I presume this is not the intention, but it seems to be interpreted that way more often than not by consumers of the advice -- many of whom have been indoctrinated into some new low carb dogma that exercise is useless.   There's no excuse for the Eades and Taubes in this regard, but many others are far more innocent.  Take Chris Kresser for example.  Chris is a fairly young, tall, lean guy who doesn't look like he's spent a day in his life fighting weight gain let alone obesity.   I don't think Chris realizes how some interpret articles such as Why you may need to exercise less, having never been in the situation many reading such are coming from.   Many in the audience are indeed waging a battle with excess weight and running up against dead ends short of goal.  Such posts providing a litany of reasons for why too much "moving" is the cause of their problems ring defeatist in a way -- it's the best you can do, cut back and let things work themselves magically out now, and if that doesn't do it ...    This seems especially true of the LC'ers who have hit that plateau or are regaining despite "doing everything right", and when they stop the exercise and gain weight?  Well, that's the best you can hope for with your damaged metabolism.   

There can be no doubt cortisol can influence fuel partitioning, it particularly seems to influence fat distribution to visceral depots, but it is no more a magical-matter-maker than insulin.  Thus levels may well impact activity levels, metabolic rate, water retention, etc., and it may cause an increasing waistline as weight remains relatively constant, but cortisol cannot out-maneuver a caloric deficit for very long.  So,  those on a long stall will read this type of post and think, I'm working out too much.  Or if they're not working out already, it's more like "what's the point?" and they never explore their options.  Look, I have no doubt that some do overtrain, but the point I have been trying to get across is that for the obese, many have got a few hours per day to make up to increase activity levels to that of lean sedentary people.   In other words, walking for an hour is not "exercise" but just upping the activity level to "move like a thin person".   Lest this depress too many reading this, I doubt it's quite that bleak as most will increase NEAT spontaneously once significant weight is shed from their bodies.

Still not hearing me?  Here's Chris again, this time in a post on interval training entitled How to lose weight and prevent diabetes in 6 minutes a week.  I'll get to some of that content in a minute, but considering the title, one might assume that 6 minutes a week of exercise is all that Chris does.  He writes:
Aside from the Body By Science (BBS) weight workout which I perform once a week, I stay active on a daily basis. I ride my bike or walk to work or to do errands, and rarely drive my car. I go on walks in the woods or on the beach. I surf when time permits. But I don’t do anything else for “exercise”. This routine not only feels great, it fits very well with my lifestyle and it is completely sustainable. It doesn’t feel like an effort at all.
Anything else???  I don't know how far work is from his home and/or those locations he runs errands to, but in many worlds this is the stuff called "exercise".  There are myriad reasons why someone might drive to work (time, safety, long commute) or not go on walks in the woods or on the beach, but rather hop on a treadmill in their basement.  The latter is considered exercise but, as Chris channeled Stephan, for him, it's just "life" or being active.
This [HIT resistance training] is, in fact, the method of training I’ve been doing since April [~8 months] of this year. I admit I was somewhat skeptical about it all before I read Body By Science. But the research and the physiology was convincing, so I decided to give it a try.
The results have been incredible. My workout varies in length between 5 and 9 minutes a week. That’s right, I said minutes. With only a few exceptions, I’ve increased the amount of weight I can lift, the time I can lift it, or both, with each successive workout. My strength has increased and my physique is, if anything, better than it was when I was lifting 3x/week for much longer periods.
It goes without saying that it takes far less time/effort to maintain one's lean body mass, physique and fitness level than it does to build it. I've not seen any before/after pics of all this muscle building going on with the Jimster, nor Dana's husband for that matter (Dana seems to have jumped the Total Gym Transformation ship). Even Chris -- beginning from a resistance trained lean and active state -- while calling it "incredible"  doesn't claim to have transformed his body much if any.  I would expect some improvements after 8 months ... better or worse than continuing 8 months doing the former routine?  Nobody can tell ... and that's OK.  So, can it work? Sure.  (But so can cardio which is why Chris' subtitle to the contrary doesn't sit with me).   And depending on your goals, it might well be the way to go.  Something is almost always better than nothing! The points that have been made in comments about the time cost v. benefit ratio are well taken -- unless I'm competing or pursuing optimal physique out of vanity (nothing wrong with that unless you can't pass a mirror without stopping to puff up and admire yourself), double the time for little additional practical results seems silly.  Or again ... does it?  What if there are benefits past a few lab measurements.

I'm not overly convinced by the journal articles Chris cites, especially the 6 minute one that showed some trunk fat losses in inactive normal young women after 15 weeks of HIIT compared with cardio and no exercise.  (I have the full text and may look at this more closely at some point ... dropouts could render the results moot depending on whether this was analyzed for completers or with "intent-to-treat").  Most of the studies supporting HIT or HIIT start with either "recreationally active" people or "trained".  So, I've struggled to reconcile how this applied to the obese and what I'm trying to say here.  Then it hit me, one of those "J" sorts of curves popped into my head.  Excuse my crude rendering here of an inverted shallow J-curve.

Now, the "couch potatoes" in my NEAT study think they're somewhere between A & B.  It turns out the mildly obese ones were closer to A while the lean ones may well be closer to B.  You'll note I tried to flatten out the top of my inverted "J" as a wide range of activity levels does not seem to repeatedly produce much in the way of improvements past some point.  On this curve, just adding 6 minutes a day of intervals is perhaps going to have some impact on health/fitness as the slope of this part is steep.  Take someone at A and add several hours slow-to-moderate cardio and they're getting to B or even C and seeing improvements.  Take someone already at C (like, perhaps Chris) and adding in the same amount of cardio on top of what he already does in "life" and he becomes "trained" seeing modest improvements.  Take someone who trains regularly at point D and have them train more?  Then you're talking going into overtraining territory where it may well offer no benefit or even harm.  These are the folks I believe Chris' maybe-exercise-less article is directed towards.  The post on just 6 minutes a day will benefit those who are already normally active which is what Chris describes.  Many might consider that highly active, but it's not really, it's normal, and may be more optimal for those more active who want to improve performance, etc.   While I'm sure it helps someone in the A-B range -- likely on some different curve -- it will not help the sedentary obese person "train" to move like a thin person.

So, I'd like to see more encouraging of movement in general for those seeking to reverse obesity and maintain their leaner selves.  Exercise for weight loss and maintenance from a +20 or even +30 lb from ideal state is far different than exercise for weight loss and maintenance from the 100+ lb overweight let alone someone who starts out 200 or even 300 lbs overweight.  In this regard, the so-called "old" or supposedly "flawed" paradigm works just fine.  The trick, or secret, if there even is one, is to find a way to make it doable and sustainable.    Because even the most amazingly effective 6 minutes of exercise a week is crap if you don't do it.   I loved how Chris signed off on his blog post:
Final note to slackers: the popular excuse of “I don’t have time to exercise” is no longer valid. You’ve got 6 minutes a week to do this. I know you do.
Paging Doctor Mike!

Now can I  hear a *Move More* when appropriate?




43 comments:

Lerner said...

Random comments:

Here's a study on single sets:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14971985
"This quantitative review indicates that single-set programs for an initial short training period in untrained individuals result in similar strength gains as multiple-set programs. However, as progression occurs and higher gains are desired, multiple-set programs are more effective."


I've heard Tim Ferris mentioned here, but never read anything by him. However, Spurlock's "Day in Life" series has Ferris, newly on Hulu this week. It was fairly dull - which is good for sleep time :)


Online somewhere, I saw mention of a sign posted in a doc's office: "Are you willing to cut back on your time spent sitting and lying down to just 23 1/2 hours per day?"

Nance said...

At my peak weight, I would give my toy dogs the shortest possible walk and grab 1) a glass and 2-liter of Coke and 2) a couple large bags of chips/crackers/etc. Ten hours later, when it was time to walk the dogs again I would either not have left the chair at all or only to pee. Now, with about 60% of my extra fat gone, the morning walks are 30-45 minutes of wandering after which I never sit for more than 30 minutes without getting restless and getting up to do SOMETHING. I'm not all the way there yet but the difference in my daily life is amazing. You are absolutely spot-on with your post.

ProudDaddy said...

Let's assume I'm only going to do X number of hours of regimented exercise a week. It doesn't matter whether it's because I'm a lazy slob or working two jobs to barely feed my family -- X is the number of hours. Now, how do I structure this time? Would some interval training be better than steady state? If I got off the treadmill to lift some weights, even if only one-set, would it better increase my REE?

Gosh, golly, Evelyn, just because you don't think a small amount of something does any good doesn't mean that more of it isn't better than the same amount of something else!

Beth@WeightMaven said...

I am completely with you that HIIT or BBS on their own are not optimal wrt exercise and weight loss. And to the extent that prescriptions from Chris Kresser or Mark Sisson sound like that, that's definitely unfortunate. It's clear that for both of these folks, what they count as "exercise" is just a small subset of what they count as "activity."

I happen to think that HIIT or BBS are useful adjuncts to weight loss for the changes they support (e.g., insulin sensitivity, glucose regulation etc).

But my concern re discussions about exercise and weight loss are those that might be interpreted as meaning that Bob and Jillian-like Biggest Loser kinds of workouts are required or even helpful. And per Yoni Freedhoff today, we see that's not the case.

But there's quite a big gap between what I call "exercise bulemia" (see The Biggest Loser) and 6 minutes a week of HIIT (especially if the latter means double-digit hours of desk- or couch-surfing). The trick, as you say, is to find out what's doable, sustainable, *and* healthful.

Unknown said...

just because you don't think a small amount of something does any good doesn't mean that more of it isn't better than the same amount of something else!

===

I had to read that seven times

you think
small amount
does no good
but that doesn't mean
more of the no good stuff
isn't better than
the same amount of
a different thing

which would mean that

more of no good stuff > equal amount of different thing

I would have to agree that it is possible that this is true, though I suppose it depends on the nature of the different thing

Dracil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dracil said...

I just want to say at least in the case of Mark Sisson, there seems to be some misrepresentation going on, either from his fans, or as represented in these posts. I went back to one of his books to see what exactly he was saying about exercise and "chronic cardio".

First, the sample exercise plan he gave out actually involved about 5 hours of exercise in one week. Quite a far cry from these minutes a week exercise claims by various people. And if his fans are thinking that's all they need, I think that's definitely wishful thinking on their part.

The second thing involves the definition of "chronic cardio". First of all, it doesn't just mean any and all cardio when he talks about it. It's specifically cardio that elevates one's heart rate to over 75% max heart rate. This ties in with his idea of sustained high-intensity cardio requiring more carbs and "carbs are bad" hypothesis which most of us here agree isn't really all that true. However, that's not the only reason. He seems to also be against it because he feels intense training (probably because he used to do it) tends to lead to injuries/stress/cortisol/immune system disruption/non-functional movement training. I think these are valid things one should definitely consider, especially the injuries, as I'm always reading about X person on some fitness thread having to stop training because they sustained some new injury from their exercise program.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Good on you Nance! Sounds like you're making awesome progress too :)

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I dunno here ... maybe you're misunderstanding what I'm saying? The X hours doesn't have to be regimented for one thing, but so what if it is. See Chris doesn't consider walking/biking to work exercise, it's his commute. But if you've got that little darling to bring to day care or school or just feed before you go to work perhaps you have to drive. In that case, if driving to a sedentary job, that same activity done before or after work on a treadmill in one's basement becomes "exercise". I dread treadmills, but ya do what you gotta do. Hope that makes sense. I'm also all for cutting corners and not wasting time needlessly exercising. But if sedentary, cutting corners won't do much to compensate. Hope that makes sense. I can't make sense of the last sentence and hope I'm not offending here.

Swede said...

Speaking of Tim Ferris, I have a sneaky suspicion that he treats work the same way Chris treats exercise.

He claims to work only 4 hours per week, but I'm pretty sure that a lot of what he does during the other 164 hours would be considered work by most folks!

Swede said...

This post reminded me of the ROM machine that I always used to see advertised in Newsweek magazine:

Only 4 minutes of exercise needed per week on a machine that costs over $14,000!!!! Sign me up!

www.fastexercise.com

Lerner said...

And you would be correct, Swede, at least from the documentary. His recreation involves doing something to learn, which sounds reasonable - but he will write about it. His meals are with startup CEOs, who pay him for 'consulting' (but I thought it was more to use his famous name). Then he apparently writes for hours at night.

Exercise, btw, was pulling off a rack for a few minutes.

It all smacked a bit much of "look at my cool life, I'm great", but then he disarmed that somewhat at the very end, saying that his 15 minutes are probably near to being over and he would just ride it out.

Lerner said...

That is interesting, and the study has more validity from being done by the BL people. But still, it cries out for some plausible mechanism, else it seems as if there is some flaw in the study... or else there is some real dynamite in bariatric surgery.

Also, the study doesn't seem to say that the BL regimen isn't helpful, because things might have been worse via sheer weight loss through CR without exercise.

Beth@WeightMaven said...

Re the 23 1/2 hour sign, it might be related to this YouTube video which makes the case for 30 minutes of exercise a day (at least to start).

Beth@WeightMaven said...

Isn't the bariatric surgery study Yoni linked to a proxy for CR without BL-style exercise?

Lerner said...

well, from the little I know of bariatric surgery, it has some dynamite results that surprised everybody (such as almost immediate reversal of diabetes); and the mechanism isn't understood. Being not understood means that anything else is possible.

After all, the BL people almost certainly have more muscle mass, so their requiring fewer calories than the people with higher fat % is a mystery.

Also, the fact that the exercisers' reduced energy requirements are still in place 6 months out is another surprise. That makes me wonder if their exercise is being verified.

ProudDaddy said...

Upon rereading the last sentence, I had trouble understanding it, too. My point is that all activity is not equal in benefits per hour, and further, that just because a short quantity of an activity isn't enough to do much good doesn't mean that a longer quantity isn't better than the same longer quantity of something else. E.g., are you really saying that 20 minutes of interval training doesn't benefit you any more than a 20 minute brisk walk? If so, then it's time for me to dig out several studies to the contrary (cherry-picked, of course -- you can cherry-pick your counterpoints also).

Even if I thought that fidgeting would cause me to lose more weight than truly strenuous exercise, I wouldn't choose it. I have sarcopenia, insulin resistance, atherosclerosis, cancer, and other ailments too numerous to count to worry about, and exercise with some intensity has a better chance of keeping me on the right side of the grass than "fat-burning" treadmilling. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't VO2max a better predictor of remaining life expectancy than BMI? Doesn't frailty put you closer to the Grim Reaper than a few extra pounds?

So, you say, why have you argued with the multiple-sets-is-best crowd. Actually, for the same reason -- goals. Since my life does not depend on winning a bodybuilding contest next month, all I really need to do to forestall sarcopenia is that amount of strength training that's over a threshhold amount. After that, what difference does it make if it takes me 1 year or 20 to add 5 pounds of muscle?

ProudDaddy said...

Beth, I think if you look at all the immediate changes produced by bypass surgery, it is quite different than caloric restriction. Even banding yields major changes in things like PYY, causing significant hunger reduction -- something a 600-kcal diet can't hope to attain.

ProudDaddy said...

Okay, I'm laughing at the old guy, too -- just maybe not as hard as you all are. Here's something that might better illustrate my point. Just because running 3 steps won't do you much good doesn't mean that running for 30 minutes isn't better for you than walking for 30 minutes. I felt that Evelyn was discouraging people from incorporating beneficial exercise methodologies in their lives just because she felt SOME proponents overstated their benefits.

Beth@WeightMaven said...

Lerner, you may want to look into the criticisms of bariatric surgery, especially with regards to the supposed reversal of diabetes (Jenny of Diabetes 101 has some good stuff on that).

PD, I don't know that it is "quite" different from caloric restriction. I'm just not seeing how it is likely that bariatric surgery produces decreases in metabolism proportionate to weight loss in a way that's protective compared to weight loss solely from caloric restriction.

Sonnenschein said...

I think one of the roots of misconceptions is the idea that the same training routine that applies to people who want to lose 5 pounds or even just stay the way they are applies to obese people who have a significant amount of weight to lose. Obese people who aim at a healthy weight will have a significant amount of work ahead and if they want to see resulty anytime soon 15 minutes a week or even a day won' t help. I remember a German study (unfortunately I cannot provide a link) where they tested basal/resting metabolic rates in overweight individuals. The lowest number was a mere 800 kcal/day, the highest 3000 kcla/day. Those who only need 800 kcal/day will have to make lifestyle changes that are more drastic than those lucky ones with a basal metabolic rate of 3000 kcal. The latter will have immediate results at a 2500 kcal diet with minimal exercise and the former will have to work their a...off. It really depends on the person!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Hi Dracil ... I didn't mean to lump Mark in with the Fred Hahn wing regarding exercise. I'm trying to convey (and apparently not fully succeeding) that when Sisson talks about chronic cardio, he's really speaking from having been at "D" for most of his professional career. I agree with everything you said in the second paragraph. I imagine "long and slow" means a whole lot different things to Mark than to myself in practice. I didn't read PB, but I've read a lot of Mark's blog posts over the years and he comes off somewhat anti-exercise. Interestingly, when I went looking for something on P90X, I came across this blog post: http://micah.sparacio.org/01/05/2011/adapting-p90x-to-mark-sissons-primal-blueprint-fitness-principles/ Mark Sisson responds so it would be fair to say Micah didn't misrepresent Mark's position. I can't tell you how many (fat) low carbers will channel Taubes & Mark to convince themselves that cardio is useless for weight loss. Or who don't exercise at all because the exercise available to almost everyone (absent disability/injury) is walking. But if it's just the "wrong kind" why bother, right?

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

It is apparently quite simple to measure RMR. I wish this were more accessible to people so they know what they're working with.

Also to your point, the variation in the subjects in various studies combined with the parameters tested (e.g. insulin levels may be reduced from normal to low, how is this relevant to the severe hyperinsulinemic?) makes it very difficult to extrapolate results to practical application.

This whole thing was touched off by this notion that we don't want obese people thinking in terms of ELMM for weight loss. No, apparently if we EDMD (eat differently, move differently) our hormones will realign with the stars and magically our bodyweight will return to normal. Maybe someone who's not far from optimum can do that, but it doesn't just happen like one has been sprinkled with paleo fairy dust.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Sorry, I don't get how you felt I was discouraging folks from exercising by any means they desire. If 30 minutes is what you've got, then maximizing the results from that is a good idea. I think many gravitate to these minimalist time programs not because they don't have more time, but because they want to invest the least effort and get bonzo results. Depending how one structures their day, I think most people can devote an hour a day to exercise -- doesn't have to be a continual hour or "exercise" per se -- see Chris. Also, I think load bearing standing is essential for bone health. The most mobile older people I know are active. Use it or lose it. So I think SOME proponents have not only overstated the benefits of infrequent short bouts, but also seem to discourage activity. If I never hear the term "chronic cardio" -- that applies to like 1% of the population not residing at TBL ranch -- again, it will be too soon. :D

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I like Jenny, but her responses to both the amazing results of crash diets and GBP are a bit off-putting to me. I get that surgery is dangerous, and I hope GBP doesn't become some early-line intervention for diabetes, but that it happens so rapidly turns the whole "pancreatic burnout" theory on its head. I think this goes counter to what many including Jenny have come to believe.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

@Beth, I'm struggling to make the connection between what I've been writing in these last posts, one-to-two hours a day moderate-to-low intensity in that exercise for weight loss study, extrapolates to TBL style "boot camp" of 4-6 hours per day. Perhaps we need a new motto -- It's not exercise, it's life! to describe just being more active.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Just landed in my inbox courtesy of Yoni, the full text of the study. Wowzers, at week 30 the 11 completers had an average RMR of 1763 cal/day. That's more than my TDEE back in 2009, and about it now (I haven't diligently counted cals to "measure" it). I'm more interested in their totally tanked leptin levels. Will be adding this to the RMR post.

bentleyj74 said...

It makes sense to me. The concern about over training are really directed toward people like one of my best friends who just recently shifted her running into lower gear [only 7 or so miles at a time and slower :)] in the last few weeks of her 7th pregnancy. She's at the "D" position in a general sense. A person at the "A" position who doesn't walk 1 mile on a regular basis doesn't need to be concerned about over training...they need to be focused on bringing their activity levels up from the baseline of semi-invalid. Sending the over train message to people at the "A" position piles fear and anxiety needlessly and counter productively onto people whose greatest risk factors involve inaction. The biggest loser tries to plop people into the "D" position suddenly and aggressively because it makes for entertaining television not because it improves their quality of life or overall health. THAT probably does put people at risk for over training. Not something I'd volunteer for ;P

James Krieger said...

Just a note...there's quite a bit of research that shows NEAT decreases with weight loss in obese...it does not increase. It is believed to be another compensatory mechanism, just like the reduction in RMR, that occurs with weight loss.

bentleyj74 said...

concerns *

Someday I'm going to proof read before I post [not any time soon but still :)]

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I remember reading that James ... To me this means all the more reason to EAT to compensate. In my case, I did naturally become more active -- it's just easier to resume normal activity when you're not lugging around 50+ extra pounds 24/7. But I do have to consciously remind myself to move more often.

MM said...

Do you mean it's simple to measure RMR in a metabolic ward? Or is there an at home method I can use (other than monitoring my calories and the scale)? Thanks.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

There are apparently portable units that utilize hoods or masks to do a 10 minute breath test and pretty accurately monitor RMR. It would be nice if this was more readily available so folks could know what they're working with.

Beth@WeightMaven said...

Evelyn, I suspect we're on the same page wrt exercise for the obese ("It's not exercise, it's life" works for me ;) ... perhaps we're doing what the folks at my former employer called "violently agreeing."

Your concern is that Sisson and Kresser make it appear as if very little exercise is necessary (thus supporting the Taubesian view that exercise only hurts weight loss efforts). Mine is that your criticism of "chronic" cardio makes it sound like it's actually okay. That's what causes me angst, because when Sisson talks about "chronic" cardio, he means "long stretches at a sustained heart rate in the 80+% range."

For me, this is closer to the Biggest Loser than to what you and I are both recommending. So if *that's* what "chronic" cardio is, then I am all about telling folks -- normal weight or obese -- to stay clear!

But this does not mean that I think a half-hour BBS session or a 6-minute HIIT session will cut it. I like Sisson's framework, but it's a 3-legged stool of sprinting, resistance training, *AND* lots of low and slow (which for Sisson is 55-75% of max heart rate).

My other concern is the research that's been coming out suggesting that exercising a half hour or hour a day doesn't help if the other 23 are spent sedentary. If sitting for hours is going to affect postprandrial glucose and insulin and/or other metabolic processes, then being active during the day is just as important as getting in "formal" exercise.

Anyways, here's to an weight loss via an active life ;).

Sanjeev said...

> would it better increase my REE?

this discussion linked below is pretty old stuff but more recent studies don't change the numbers much[0]

http://forums.lylemcdonald.com/showthread.php?t=142

> exercise at 75% generates a larger
> EPOC. However, the total calorie burn is
> still relatively small overall, averaging
> perhaps 7% of the total energy burned. So
> if you burn 600 calories with high
> intensity continuous exercise, you might
> burn an additional 45 afterwards

one is NOT going to burn 600 cal with 12 minutes of weight lifing on machines that isolate muscles.

> would it better increase my REE?
how about this instead: would dropping movement that I hate, or dropping painful exercise and moving pleasurably (dance, trampoline, cycling, gymnastics, tree climbing, rapelling down buildings, rock climbing, X-country skiing, kayaking, swimming, tennis, ping pong ...) get me to move more?

[0] as opposed to popular discussions which have changed the numbers ... similar phenomenon to "magic metabolisms?" If one gains weight on 800 carb calories per day and loses on 5000 fat calories per day, I suppose one could also lose 3000 calories worth of body fat because of after-workout effects of 5 minutes of HIT.

Sanjeev said...

> [0] as opposed to popular discussions which have changed the numbers

glad it hasn't happened here yet

Lee said...

Everyone is different so different types of diet plans work for each person. I eat five to six small meals per day to keep my metabolism going and I get about 45 minutes of cardio exercises in about three to four times a week. Foods that help me build muscle and burn fat are whole grains, fish or other foods high in protein. Fresh fruits and vegetables curb my sweet cravings and they improve my overall immune system. Many celebs eat 30 percent of carbs, 30 percent of proteins and 40 percent of fats in which seems to help me also.

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Malibu said...

ive had to take them in the past(they use them in ED places...) and they are so far from accurate i would never recommend somoene take the word of the breathing machine RMR test. i actually lost weight after having them done weekly to avoid 'refeeding syndrome' however what the thing said and what held true were obviously 2 different numbers. i really thing RMR changes so incredibly much on a day to day basis that tracking your calories is always, always going to fail

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Hi Malibu, I don't have a study, but while RMR will vary it's by a couple percent from day to day. It's not a perfect measure to assess TDEE which can vary widely day to day, and is dependent on activity. As the NEAT post showed, even between sedentary people, NEAT varied quite a bit. That said, it can be a starting point. For example Jane Doe can't lose weight on a 1200 cal/day diet -- perhaps she has an abnormally slow metabolism -- but if her RMR is 1200 cal/day, this gives she and her doctor a point to work from. Hope that makes sense!

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