Happy April Fools’ Day Jokesters!
Many of you know that 44 years ago this Fool was born. That’s right! And if you didn’t, I am sure you are not surprised that today, of all days, is your Fitness Guru’s birthday. But what some of you don’t know, or at least seemingly don’t wanna accept, is that neither my, nor your, body is as foolish as you might think.
For years now, I have been proclaiming that weight training is more important than cardiovascular training if you wanna lose fat. As a quick and brief review, lifting weights, unlike just doing cardio, not only burns calories while exercising, but because, if done correctly and in conjunction with an appropriate diet, the resulting muscle gain allows the body to burn up to an extra 50 calories per day per added pound of lean body mass (muscle). That’s an extra 3500 calories a week; which is the equivalent to a pound of fat.
Now, let’s be honest, even with the best of intentions and ideal conditions, not everyone whose goals is to lose weight does so on a regular basis. However, what we in this forum have really yet to address is what happens to one’s body when resistance training is taken out of the equation and an exercise program only consisting of cardiovascular training and dieting remains.
Well, as one of my clients found out, the result might shock you. I recently received a call from a client who took about eight months off from weight training because her weight had stabilized, but consistently kept up doing 30 – 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise four to five days a week. The mode of exercise was varied between the treadmill, elliptical trainer and the stair climber. This client also went two full months without eating any sweets and was super careful about other carbohydrates and portion control in general. Add to that a stressful career and a lack of quality sleep and what was the result? A 15 pound FAT gain.
I know you are asking yourself, “how’s that possible if there is still a caloric reduction and a consistent regimen of cardiovascular training?” The answer is that muscle is metabolic. That means in order for a body to maintain its lean body mass, the muscle needs to be fed or it “dies”. It takes 50-100 calories a day to keep an extra pound of muscle alive. When you reduce your caloric intake and increase your caloric expenditure (by exercising), you are starving your muscle and slowing down your metabolism. This will eventually shut down your metabolism completely and switch your body into survival mode where it stores everything as fat. And, as a result, as my client realized, you’ll actually gain FAT!
Doctors agree, especially as we get older, as I have today, and our hormone levels (male or female) change, building and maintaining muscle mass is more important now than ever. It’s what keeps us young and able to maintain a healthy and fun lifestyle.
So remember, you are better off training and maintaining than refraining and gaining!
Well, gotta go! It’s time to celebrate!! Mom’s in town!!! First, I gotta get my workout on!!!!