It's fully possible to shed unwanted body fat without exercise.
Putting together an eating strategy that is calorie controlled to match you basal metabolism and activity level along with choosing natural carbohydrates over simple or refined carbohydrates and eating multiple, protein inclusive meals through out the day are core elements that encourage fat loss and discourage fat gain.
With that in mind, it's important to point out the limitations of exercise on chiseling a sculptured lean body. That is, exercise can be futile, a wasted effort without radically revamping the way you eat. After all, visit any gym in the country and you'll find millions of people who are no leaner than a year ago. Why? Diet, or lack there of. Combining the right diet with an exercise plan is crucial in achieving a very low level of body fat.
Combining exercise with the proper eating plan can certainly lead to faster and more permanent fat loss than diet alone or exercise alone. On the flip side, its fully possible to engage in heavy amounts of exercise on a daily basis yet miserably fail to firm up and lean down because the wrong diet, one that is excessive in calories. Sugar and its insulin spike coupled with dietary fat can over ride the caloric expenditure and hormonal changes brought on with hard physical exercise.
The two types of exercise include aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise. While both are effective methods to facilitate a lean body, one far outshines the other. Surprisingly, when it comes to exercise, anaerobic exercise - weight training-beats up on aerobic exercise every time!
Let's take a closer look at aerobic exercise; running, cycling, stair climbing, brisk walking. Aerobic exercise is a calorie burner. Specifically, aerobic exercise taps, for the majority, stored fatty acids locked away in body fat stores as fuel. Muscle glycogen, the body's reserve tank of glucose is also used as a fuel source during aerobic exercise, but not to the degree fat is used. Many people fall under the impression that aerobic exercise burns exclusively and only fat. That is, there's this prevailing idea a person could sit on a stationary bike for 4 hours a day, every day, and burn exclusively body fat. Without immediately delving into the details, this is akin to thinking one could eat 500 calories a day, every day, and evolve into a lean, fit looking physique. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. After 90 minutes of continuous cardio, the body melts away muscle with intense accuracy. In other words, at the 90 minute mark (of intense cardio) your burning muscle and killing your metabolism.
So, performing aerobic work is a way to expend calories; to "burn off" extra energy we commonly refer to as stored body fat. High intensity (high effort) aerobic work, working to get the heart rate up to a high level where, as a guideline, it would be extremely difficult to carry on a conversation, burns roughly 10 calories a minute. An untrained person, someone just getting started in an exercise program, who embarks on an aerobic plan and exercises 60 minutes a day at a high level of intensity (effort) can burn approximately 600 calories in an hour's time. (60 x 10 = 600).
Nutritionists and exercise physiologists agree; one pound of body fat is shed from the body when 3500 calories are expended. Thus, the individual exercising aerobically for one hour a day 6 days a week can expect to lose 1 pound of body fat (6 days x 600 calories = 3600 calories).
Now let us assume the individual riding that bike or walking that treadmill is pretty darn heavy, downright obese, yet fabulously motivated and sticks to the exercise plan for a full year, 52 weeks. Each day, he spends 60 minutes, challenging himself, keeping his level of effort up and dreaming of a radical change in body weight over the coming year. His expectations? To shed 52 pounds of body fat! The results. Nothing close. Perhaps closer to 32 pounds.
Here in lies the problem with aerobic exercise as a sole or premier method of body fat control.The body adapts to aerobic exercise by becoming energy efficient. By the time week 5 or 6 roles around, the body begins to "get use to" aerobic exercise and adapts by performing the same physical work - yet using less calories (fuel) to do that work. By the 52nd week, two things occur.
1) It takes drastically less fuel to perform the same work. That means, the individual uses less energy to do the physical exercise.
2) The body adapts and down shifts its "exercising metabolism." That means, with continuos aerobic work, the body downgrades its release of enzymes and hormones that support the liberation of fatty acids from fat cells.
Sound familiar? It's the same phenomena we see with diets. Over a prolonged period of time, diets become ineffective as the body adapts to the calorie reductions. Take the individual who is trying to control body fat and is currently eating 3000 calories each day and reduces this intake to 2500 calories a day. The calorie deficit; 500 calories a day. Recall the rule in nutrition and exercise science; one pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories. If you expend 3500 calories off the body via exercise or cut out 3500 extra calories from the foods you eat, you should lose one pound of fat. So, the individual creating a 500 calorie deficit should lose one pound of fat in 7 days.(500 calories x 7 = 3500 calories) And he does. Can he sustain that weight loss (one pound a week) over a 52 week period even if he's got plenty of body fat to tap into? Highly unlikely. Why? Metabolic adaptations. The body adapts to a reduction in calories by eventually slowing its overall metabolism making the "most" out of that 2500 calories, (see
Everything You Need to Know About Fat Loss... pages 42-43)
The real way to change the body, to lose fat and to keep it off and the sole way to radically increase your metabolism is to make weight training the primary mode of exercise - coupled with a nutrition plan that inhibits fat storage. Adding muscle mass bumps up the metabolic rate, something aerobic exercise can not do. Your lean body mass (the total amount of muscle you carry) is directly correlated with "how many" calories you use up each day and "how lean" you can ultimately become.
Weight training is totally unique and incomparable to aerobic exercise. While aerobics may initially be a good way to burn some extra calories, we've seen the "calorie burn" slows with time. With weight training, the adaptation is an increase in muscle mass which increases the metabolism.
✓ Aerobics only: the metabolism downgrades!
^ Weight training only: the metabolism upgrades!
Increasing muscle mass increases the basal metabolism, the total amount of fuel the body requires and burns at absolute and complete rest. The individual who carries 127 pounds of lean muscle mass will require roughly 1270 calories daily at complete rest. Increasing lean body mass to 137 pounds with a successful weight training program will increase the total amount of calories required in a 24 hour period from 1270 calories to 1370 calories - at complete rest. Thus, having an extra 10 pounds of muscle on the body increases the basal metabolism by 100 calories a day, about the total amount of calories burned off in 10 minutes of high intensity aerobic work or 40 minutes of walking. But, unlike aerobic exercise which eventually fails to continue to burn off what you hope it will due to the adaptation response to aerobics, that 10 pounds of muscle is here to stay and continually keeps the metabolism elevated! While dieting and aerobic exercise causes metabolic adaptations that can backfire, having more muscle is the complete opposite. It has a positive effect, boosting the metabolism and "how much" fuel you bum each day.
1270 calories required at complete rest
1370 calories burned at complete rest
One last point. With no change in eating habits, no increase and no decrease in caloric intake, the individual carrying 10 pounds of additional muscle will require another 100 calories each day. In a week's time, he will have burned off 700 calories (100 calories x 7 days). Since 3500 calories is equal to one pound of body fat, this individual can expect to shed 1 pound of fat in 35 days (100 calories x 35 days = 3500 calories). Literally, without trying. Pretty neat. And if you worry about a metabolic slowdown - the kind we saw with reducing calories or from performing exclusively aerobic work, it does not happen with muscle! Once you got it, you got it. In other words, the body will always require an additional 100 calories a day as long as that individual maintains those 10 pounds of muscle.
In addition to bumping up the metabolism by adding 10 pounds of new muscle, we missed three ways to get even leaner with weight training.
1) Expenditure. Obviously, building that muscle mass required some type of hard physical effort. That is, training with weights to stimulate the body to develop those fresh 10 pounds of muscle mass requires energy. Assuming the individual did not radically alter his caloric intake during the time it took to build the muscle, it is prudent to say many of the calories required to do the physical work came from two places; fat stores or food. Obviously, had some of these calories come from fat stores, body fat levels would have decreased. And, if some of the fuel came from the foods he ate, this leaves "less net calories" available to be stored as body fat. In
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