The How, What and Why of Fat Loss…

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times:

“Uncle Steve, I need to lose about 20 pounds. What kind of (or how much extra) cardio should I be doing?”

This, and other similar spoken scenarios, saddens me each and every time I hear them, so I’m going to do something about it, once and for all.

Again…

Setting the Record Straight

In this piece, I’m going to attempt to clarify three (3) things for you:

  1. Exercising to lose body fat, and especially “cardio”, is the wrong approach.
  2. What works for effective, lasting fat loss.
  3. Why it works.

Why am I doing this? For two reasons:

  1. God’s 8th Commandment in the Bible states, “Thou shall not steal.” The one commodity that is most valuable to us all is time. I value your time, because it equates to life. Once this bit of time is past, it can never be re-lived, returned or paid back. Therefore, and as a fitness professional, I want to bring and offer you information that will keep ME from wasting YOUR time, thereby preventing me from stealing from you what I can never pay back.
  2. I want you to succeed.

You’re going to have to read the entire piece to understand it completely, and I’ll do my best to be as brief and concise as possible, so therefore, let’s dive right into it.

Cardio and Exercise for Fat Loss Doesn’t Work!

When is the last time you heard a fitness professional, whose very livelihood is derived from putting people through exercise training sessions, tell you that?

My guess is never.

But it’s true. If you’re exercising for fat loss, tell me how successful you’ve been in the last 6 months to a year doing so?

Go ahead I’ll wait.

And wait.

Again, my guess is most people are pretty frustrated with the results they’ve gotten to date. And here’s some insight into why.

Get ready, because I’m possibly about to blow your mind…

Example #1 – The Texas Study

Several years ago, a research nutritionist and his team at the University of Texas wanted the simple answer to this often-asked question:

“Without dietary intervention, can exercise alone transform a person’s body?”

In order to find out, they took a gathering of almost 50 people and had them follow a 12-week exercise program. The regimen was made up of 3 strength training sessions and 2 interval cardio sessions per week, all supervised by a personal trainer. This routine which, when combined, totaled more than 3 hours of exercise per week.

Three hours a week.

**Please remember that no nutritional instruction or intervention was offered or given.

“Hey Uncle Steve, what happened?”

On average, a whopping 1.5 lbs of fat were dropped over the course of the 12-week period.

I didn’t hit the wrong keys, and you read that right.

These folks, in my opinion, wasted 36 hours of their lives exercising intensely for a measly 1.5 lbs. reduction in their level of body fat.

Folks…that stinks.

Next…

Case Review #2 – The Oklahoma Study

Here’s what took place: 10 weeks of exercise (and again, no nutritional information or instruction offered) to include 3 cardio endurance sessions and 2 strength sessions.

And the drum roll…

These poor folks received the same crappy 1.5 lb reduction in their body fat level.

“Gee whiz, Uncle Steve…surely exercise isn’t totally useless, right?”

Of course not. But we’ll get to that in a moment…

Example #3 – A 1991 Study

Way back in 1991 a research group (Donnely et al) placed 69 obese women on a 520 calorie per day diet.

520 calories.

Per day.

Yeah…

These gals were divvied up into 4 groups with the following classifications:

  • Group 1 performed no exercise. None…remember that.
  • Group 2 performed endurance (slow cardio) training for 60 minutes, 4 days per week.
  • Group 3 performed strength training exercises 4 days per week.
  • Group 4 performed strength training AS WELL AS endurance exercises 4 days per week.

At the end of 90 days’ time, guess which group had the most success? Hold your hand up if you think you know where I’m going with this…

Interestingly, every group achieved spectacular success on this program, averaging 40 pounds lost per person.

Pretty cool, eh?

Here’s where things get a little dicey. You see the attention-grabbing part is that, among the four groups, there were no outstanding differences with respect to the amount of overall weight or body fat dropped.

None!

And when you factor in that 3 of the 4 groups was doing some form of exercise every single week, you’d think there would be some outstanding physique change differences.

Nope…they all dropped about the same amount.

So Group #1, who did no exercise, dropped as much as Group #4, who worked their respective tails off.

Poor Group #4.

By the way, these similar findings were replicated in studies done in 1993, 1997, 1999 and 2002, just to name a few.

So…let’s take a quick look at cardio training for fat loss…

#1) Obesity 2007 June – 15:1496-1512.
Exercise Effect on Weight and Body Fat in Men and Women
McTiernan et al

This was a 12-month study…12 months.

One year long.

365 days.

Six hours of aerobic training (slow cardio, as in treadmill walking or bike riding) per week…for one year. That’s sixty minutes per day, six days per week.

Did I mention it was for a year?

The average weight loss was 3.5 lbs.

Not per month!

For the entire year.

That equals about 0.3 lbs PER MONTH!

Is that even perceptible to the naked eye? (The actual numbers were 3.08 lbs for women and 3.96 lbs for men)

Now, answer me this: If you had spent an entire year doing aerobic training, six days a week for an hour at a time and lost just over 3 pounds…wouldn’t you be just a teensy bit angry?

#2) Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism 
Effect of calorie restriction with or without exercise on body composition and fat distribution.
Redman et al

This was a six-month study.

Two groups:

Group #1 – Diet Only
Group #2 – Diet + Aerobic Activity (50 minutes, 5 days per week)

Ya wanna know what they found?

Both groups lost relatively the same amount of weight; however, there was no additional effect of aerobic exercise on body composition! In other words, no additional fat lost.

Bummer again, dude.

How about one more?

#3) International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 1998 Sept;8(3)213 22.
Influence of diet and/or exercise on body composition and cardio respiratory fitness in obese women.
Utter AC, Neiman DC, Shannonhouse EM, Butterworth DE, Neiman CN

This study lasted just three months. And the findings?

The addition of 45 minutes of aerobic training at 78% Max Heart Rate (AKA, the “Fat Burning Zone”) 5 days per week for 12 weeks had NO EFFECT over dieting alone.

“So, what are you saying Uncle Steve, that exercising for fat loss is a total waste of time and effort?”

Well…yes.

And no.

What Works for Effective, Lasting Fat Loss?

There is a TON of misinformation out there. I know, because I feel like I read most of it each week.

As an example: Maybe you’ve read a diet book…or two, or maybe consulted with a nutritionist or even hired a fitness professional, and have been instructed that, in order to lose body fat or gain muscle, you must eat more often.

You probably heard the industry standard response to “eat 5 to 6 small meals per day, so that you keep your metabolism active” or some other BS like that.

Editor’s note: I may, in the past, have been guilty of this myself. For that, I ask your forgiveness…

You may have also read or heard that “eating big meals” was not good for the body, eating past a certain time would kill your fat loss chances, eating too much protein was not good, or some other “rule” you had to follow to achieve your goal.

It’s all crap.

It’s been proven that increased meal frequency does not promote greater fat loss. As a matter of fact, as long as your total number of calories remains the same, you can eat ten meals per day or just one, and your metabolism will still react the same.

French researchers even proved that there is no evidence of improved weight loss by eating more frequently. Whether you “graze” through the day or engulf it all at night, as long as the caloric number is correct for YOUR level of fat loss, it’ll work.

Therefore, if you require 2000 calories per day to achieve fat loss, you can break it up into five separate four-hundred calorie meals, or two one-thousand calorie meals.

The results will still be the same, so relax.

It’s cliché, I know, but here it is:

Fat Loss Happens in The Kitchen.

I wish I had something more cool or sexier to tell you than that, but that’s the bottom line.

If you want to achieve successful fat loss, you’ve simply got to create an environment where caloric expenditure (how many calories you burn daily) exceeds your caloric intake (how many calories you ingest daily).

And this is, kind of, where exercise comes in.

Why it Works

I could have just as easily entitled this piece, “Why resistance, strength and weight training are better for fat loss than cardio” but that would have been a really long title, so I wrote it here instead.

Moving on…

Here’s the bottom line on fat loss that I want you to burn into your brain today, and forever more.

Ready?

Most all of the calories you will burn in a days’ time will occur because of the effectiveness and power of your resting metabolic rate or RMR.

“And Uncle Steve, from where, pray tell, does this RMR stem?”

Muscles.

Resistance training, strength training and weight training builds muscles.

Muscle is active tissue, meaning that it is like a growing teenager and constantly in demand of energy/calories.

Therefore, the more muscle you have on your body, the higher your RMR.

And to acquire said muscle, one must perform regular resistance, strength and weight training sessions.

Combining these training sessions with a sound, supportive nutritional regimen (one that is nutritionally dense rather than calorically dense and creates that caloric deficit) is a surefire way to ensure you not only drop the excess body fat you so desperately wish to rid yourself of and gain the health you seek, but also grow more fit, lean and strong in the process.

It’s just that simple.

If I can be of service to you, or help you in achieving your health, fat loss or fitness goals, please do let me know.

Call or Text me: 210-884-2072

Email me: Steve@morethanexercise.com

Steve

 

 

Fat Shaming, Fat Loss And Your Fitness and Health

So, I’m driving down the road today and a lady on her mobile phone cuts into my lane because she’s distracted by the “importance” of her text message or conversation rather than the responsibility of properly controlling a 3,000-pound potential killing machine hurtling down the highway at 65 miles per hour.

In other words, a typical Wednesday morning in San Antonio, Texas.

But I digress…

I’ve been involved in the business of health, fitness, strength & conditioning and sports performance in some fashion for 33 years now. It that time I’ve been blessed and fortunate to assist, work with or hopefully influence thousands of people to improve, regain or maintain their level health and/or fitness.

I take the responsibility of “coach” very seriously. I do so because I’ve seen firsthand what a lack of long-term vision with respect to personal responsibility, a lack of exercise, poor nutritional habits and poor health can, and ultimately will, do to a person.

Without a doubt, to number one culprit and destroyer of good health my clients, prospects and people with whom I interact will ever face is fat.

And it’s getting worse by the year.

According to data from 2010 at the National Institute of Health (NIH), “Since the early 1960s, the prevalence of obesity among adults more than doubled, increasing from 13.4 to 35.7 percent in U.S. adults age 20 and older.”

And the data on children is even worse.

According to a National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), “Since 1980, the childhood obesity rates (ages 2 to 19) have tripled — with the rates of obese 6- to 11-year-olds more than doubling (from 7 percent to 17.5 percent) and rates of obese teens (ages 12 to 19) quadrupling from 5 percent to 20.5 percent. [NHANES, 2011-2014 data]

Fat Shaming in America Today

Do you know what fat shaming actually is?

According to that Bastian of knowledge, otherwise known as Google, it is defined as the action or practice of humiliating someone judged to be fat or overweight by making mocking or critical comments about their size.”

When an individual is employed in the modeling business, they often get a starved or anorexic look to them. We all know it and have seen it. It isn’t in any way appealing, endorsed, preferable (unless you’re a model looking to work) or recognized as healthy. And yet, hundreds, if not thousands, of young people aspire to achieve this look.

What, then, does society do to counteract the trend? It does what the pendulum of trends in America always does: it swings wholly and completely to the other end of the spectrum.

Enter the “plus-sized” model, the “real woman” look in advertising and soon thereafter the label of “fat shaming” for anyone who is critical of it in any way, shape or…pardon the pun…fashion.

In plain English: How dare you, or society in general, criticize a fat or obese woman who chose to put herself in the public eye?

This sort of glorification, in my experience and opinion, is dangerous on several levels.

  1. It potentially predisposes children to a lifetime of detrimental health issues stemming from excess body fat.
  2. By glorifying fat, rather than seeing it for the insipid cause of so many health risks (heart attack, stroke, diabetes, amputations and premature death) it takes away the desire for better health, fitness and the knowledge of how to have it.
  3. It reduces the perceived risk of these potential health maladies to that of a comedy sketch (“Living in a van, down by the river!”) and thereby leaves one to envision that those are things that happen to others, not them.
  4. It leaves people feeling less than valuable, depressed, frustrated with life and sad.

But speaking up about such risks to health often lead to being shunned or shouted down as a “hater” or someone accused of fat shaming.

And it shouldn’t be this way.

We’ve grown soft in the country. People get their feelings hurt (or pretend to do so) at the slightest thing.

It’s mind boggling.

I don’t care, and I’m speaking my mind.

Your Excess Fat is Killing You!

It’s true.

You’re a beautiful person with a beautiful soul and a wonderful, caring and loving persona.

But your excess fat is killing you.

Period.

I see and hear it every day:

“Uncle Steve, my (feet, ankles, knees, hips, low back, shoulders…pick one) hurt so bad. What do you think it could be?”

It’s this simple: You’re fat.

The human body is not meant to carry an excess of weight on a day in, day out basis. It’s a well-known fact that men who were heavy while playing in the NFL were twice as likely to die before age 50.

The weight bearing load of excess body fat on your joints degrades and erodes the cartilage and connective tissues, leading to pain. An eroded ankle leads to a painful knee. A broken down hip leads to a painful low back, shoulders and neck.

The pain means you don’t move around as much as you should and therefore your level of inactivity doesn’t allow for the necessary muscle mass to assist in more freedom of movement. It also causes you to be tired all the time, even after having done nothing more than sit behind a desk all day.

Since the degradation and breakdown of your joints affects how you move, it either causes you to move less (resulting in pain from inactivity) or causes more pain and other joints to be affected in order to compensate for the loss of mobility. The eventual result is a movement with an assistive device, such as a cane, walker, wheel chair or scooter. In many cases, joint replacement is necessary, but unless the weight bearing load is reduced, this new joint will have to be replaced again within a few years.

Or maybe you have diabetes stemming from being fat.

The resultant poor circulation could mean a loss of feeling in the legs and feet which lead to foot sores or possible amputation. Then there’s the blood sugar issues, possibly leading to periodic or frequent phases of diabetic coma, blacking out or erratic behavior.

How about blocked arteries, high blood pressure, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation or a host of other arterial or vascular maladies that can occur.

The Bottom Line

All of these things are preventable and, if taken care of sooner than later, repairable.

And should be taken care of.

Visceral fat (fat that covers your internal organs) is much more dangerous than a fat backside. So, big bottomed girls with small-ish waists have that going for them…

If you’re serious about losing body fat and improving your level of health, here are 2 things you should NOT do:

  1. Procrastinate in taking responsibility and action in improving your health and/or fitness.
  2. Start a vigorous exercise regimen or start running. Please, I beg you, do NOT start running. Just walk.

If you’re serious about losing body fat and improving your level of health, here are 6 things you should do:

  1. Take responsibility for the situation and start implementing simple, actionable things that you can do consistently and daily. A bad plan performed consistently will beat an excellent plan performed occasionally.
  2. Establish some new, more beneficial habits. Download this worksheet (it’s FREE and you don’t have to sign up for anything) and follow the simple instructions.
  3. Go to this website and download the following infographics: How To Fix A Broken Diet, Create The Perfect Meal, The Best Calorie Control Guide. Be sure to look at the other info there to see if anything appeals or applies to you.
  4. Read “The Plan”. I wrote this for you a couple of years ago.
  5. Get more sleep. That’s it. Just do it.
  6. Drink more water and make sure it’s supplemented with minerals from MyO2MEDS. A mineral deficiency can be the cause a myriad of medical and health related issues. Many can also be reversed or corrected with them. I take them, and so should you.

Excess body fat is a serious issue, because it doesn’t kill you today.

It slowly, over a long period of time, chokes and steals the life from you.

Do something about that.

Steve

How To Ensure You Fail At Fat Loss And Maintaining A Healthy Weight For Life

So, here it is…the first day of Spring. All the cool kids are talking about summer weather, swimsuits, tan lines and looking hot. You claim you want to fit in and to be one of the “in” crowd, but visions of the work and hassle necessary in getting rid of those extra pounds send shivers down your spine.

Your doctor says the excess weight is putting a lot of strain on your heart, and your blood pressure is higher than it’s ever been. Your knees, hips, ankles and low back hurt constantly and the quality of your sleep at night just stinks. Not to mention all of the digestive issues you’ve been dealing with lately…

But come on, that’s just a part of growing older, right? And why should you have to sacrifice your nightly glass(es) of wine, those glorious desserts and your favorite snacks just to please people you don’t really like anyway?

What could you do to give the appearance of striving for fat loss, so that when you failed you can always blame the diet or the exercise program, and yet ensure that nothing changed and you could keep doing what you’re doing and not have to buy a whole new wardrobe?

Fear not, because Uncle Steve is here to help.

And whatever you do, DO NOT click the links highlighted in red for information on how to actually be successful in fat loss…

Rule #1 – Fail to utilize quality social support.

That’s right, Rule Numero Uno!

Don’t engage other people in your efforts. Who needs accountability, friends to lift you when you’re down or struggling or a support network in general?

Just because some silly study says it helps doesn’t mean it will work for you! You’re special, right? And no one is going to tell you what to do!

Social support networks and accountability groups are for those who lack the knowledge, fortitude and desire to embrace the struggle and come out the other side…the same as you entered.

Rule #2 – Fail to embrace new habits.

Just because some smart guy named John Dryden observed that “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us” doesn’t mean it applies to you.

And just because a couple of recent studies have shown that a habit based approach to fat loss (otherwise called a “performance based” approach) verses and outcome based approach increases the likelihood of success by 8-10% every six months doesn’t mean you should adopt this approach.

Nope, you recognize that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and old habits are hard to break, even when your health is on the line, so why bother?

Rule #3 – Failure to get adequate quality sleep each night.

Sleep is over-rated, and you’ll sleep when you’re dead, right?

Who cares that not long ago researchers found that when dieters cut back on their sleep over a 14-day period, the amount of weight they lost from fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories remained the same?

And who really cares that too little sleep sets you up for all kinds of bad choice options, from portion control to high carb cravings.

Nope, sleep is a luxury you can’t afford.

Rule #4 – Failure to control your portion sizes.

You weigh 150, want to get to 125, but you load your plate up like you’re an NFL linebacker and weigh 225.

Why?

Because this is the land of the free and the brave, you’ve done well enough to be able to afford tasty goodies to put on your plate and mostly because you can!

Who cares that managing your portions is as simple as looking at your hands to know how much to eat?

When you’re hungry, all that matters is you satisfy that urge…right?

Rule #5 – Relying on cardio rather than strength/resistance training.

Who wants to be bulky and huge like a bodybuilder or powerlifter?

Not you!

Despite the fact that it’s statistically improbable for you to get that way, why run the risk? Everyone knows that muscle burns fat, and that “bulky” look comes from excess body fat, don’t risk it.

And why the heck would you want a more energy efficient, effective fat burning metabolism? Again, not you.

So what to do instead?

Do a lot of spin classes. Just spin, and spin and spin because sweating equals fat loss…right?

Go running, or even better…jogging! Pound that pavement and break down those joints even more.

Jump on a treadmill or elliptical and spend 30 minutes to an hour trudging away, at a steady pace, because it’s been proven again, and again and again that it’s a pretty useless time waster.

But whatever you do, don’t pick up, push, pull or move with some heavy loads and build those muscles and greater bone density.

I mean, everyone knows that getting off the toilet or out of bed at 75, 80 0r 90 years 0f age is a matter of cardiovascular endurance and not strength…right?

The Bottom Line

If you’ve made it this far, you know that I’ve been having a little fun and nit-picking ways to fail at fat loss, both in the short and long term.

If you’re serious about losing fat, gaining both better health and fitness and looking like a million bucks, I’d be glad to help.

Just call or text me at 210-884-2072 or email me: Steve@morethanexercise.com

Steve

A Few Things To Remember For Successful Fat Loss

Achieving success in your fat loss goals is simple.

Really simple.

Like “so simple it’s hard” kinda simple.

There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that
likes to make easy things difficult.” – Warren Buffett

Because when people find out how simple it is, they automatically begin doing dumb things to try to complicate, “enhance” or speed up the process. Things I’m going to discuss in the next minute or so.

And it is a process.

Sometimes a slow process, and sometimes a little more accelerated one, but a process nonetheless.

With all of that said, if your goal is to drop some body fat and get leaner, more fit and healthy, there are a few things you should remember in order to maximize your efforts so that the process is as painless, smooth and, yes, as simple as possible.

Fat Loss Happens in The Kitchen

I know I’ve mentioned this about 1,000 times lately, but it bears repeating.

If you’re serious about reducing the amount and level of fat on your body, you must primarily eat and drink an adequate supply of single ingredient, whole foods nutrition in proper portions.

Quality food get’s used for quality fuel, not stored as POTENTIAL quality fuel.

People with too much fat on their bodies always think it’s the workout that does the job.

Wrong.

The only exercise that works for fat loss is “push away’s.”

Pushing your fat ass away from the table.

The Myth of Spot Reducing

Is spot reduction possible? Possibly, but the amount of effort and time needed to obtain even remotely recognizable results just simply aren’t worth it.

Stop doing endless sets of crunches with the belief that you’re somehow flattening your stomach. In reality, you’re likely just doing damage to your back.

Do you know where six-pack abs come from? See the point about the kitchen from the above paragraph.

When your body takes in excess fuel (food) and stores it as fuel (fat), do you get a say-so in where it get’s stored?

Of course not.

So what makes you think you have any authority about when and from where this potential fuel comes from and how it gets used?

Work your entire body and forget about trying to spot reduce. Your body uses fat when it needs it based upon demand and takes it from where it knows best, and there ain’t a dang thing you can do to change that.

Remember, it’s a process.

Your Body Is Like a Swimming Pool

Have you ever watched a swimming pool being filled?

The deep end always fills first, followed by the shallow end.

What happens when you drain a pool?

It drains in reverse order of being filled.

If you’re a woman reading this, when you begin to put on body fat and the first place it goes is onto your hips and thighs, where do you think will be the last place it comes off?

That’s because your hips and thighs are your “deep ends of the pool.”

It helps to remember this when you plateau and it seems that your fat loss efforts have come to a standstill. Keep going and eventually your “pool” will drain.

Your Body’s Fat Loss Efforts Are Like a Roll Of Paper Towels

When you take the cellophane wrap off a roll of 150 sheet paper towels, and remove that first sheet, can you tell a difference in the size and circumference of the roll?

Of course not.

But the more sheets you remove, and get closer to that cardboard paper tube in the center, the more and more you can tell the difference.

Imagine your body as a brand new roll of 150 count paper towels, and each sheet represents 1 pound of body fat. when you drop that first 1 to 20 or so pounds, you’re going to feel better, but you’re not going to appear that much differently. But as each succeeding sheet/pound is removed, changes in your physique become more and more evident, don’t they?

And as you get nearer and nearer to the “core”, other people will begin to notice, which makes the journey that much more enjoyable and doable.

Bulk Comes From Fat, Not Muscle

If you’re a woman reading this and are afraid to lift weights for fear of getting “bulky”, let me allay your fears right here and now.

Body fat makes you look bulky.

Muscle makes you look lean.

Unless you’re willing to take steroids, or have REALLY blessed genetics in terms of muscle growth potential and are willing to train for 2 to 4 hours per day, you will NEVER obtain the type of muscle mass you say you fear.

I’ve been a fitness professional for over 30 years and I’ve yet to witness a woman who lifts moderate to semi-heavy weights 30 to 40 minutes 3 to 4 days per week look anything other than fit, lean and sexy.

Muscles Burn Fuel…Lot’s Of It

Muscle is active tissue. Kind of like an engine on constant idle.

Idling engines need a constant supply of fuel.

Quality food gets used as fuel for an idling or operating engine. Not stored as fat.

More muscle means a higher energy demand.

Get the picture?

Strength is Life Saving

Being weak can get you killed, especially from a fall.

Being strong is a good thing.

Being strong also tends to equate to strong bones, which is a good thing.

Strength comes from lifting and lowering, pushing and pulling, squatting and deadlifting and moving around with heavy things.

Do more of these sorts of things with heavy things and get strong.

The Bottom Line

All of these things, when done appropriately, will lead to success in fat loss.

They’re simple, doable and repeatable.

And if I can help you with any of it, please do let me.

210-884-2072

Steve@morethanexercise.com

 

Yer Uncle Steve