Before we get into the intended subject matter, lets go over some basic principals of exercising and how our body functions.
What prompted this diversion was an e-mail from Tuğçe, one of my dear readers, asking me about “Isometric Exercises”. Specifically, she wanted to know if this mode of exercising was for gaining strength or losing weight. She also asked if I had any other suggestions regarding weight/fat loss, than HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
I never suggest exercising as a way to lose weight. I always say the only healthy way to lose weight/fat is to control what you put in your mouth.
HIIT, the way I do it, is warming up for two minutes, then sprinting for 30 seconds, walking back the same distance in 90 seconds, and repeating this 8 times. You can do HIIT in many other ways. So what’s so great about HIIT?
- It increases the body’s production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
- You feel euphoric after this very short but intense workout (it does not happen with aerobic exercising unless you do it for at least an hour)
- You must not eat anything that causes the body to secrete insulin for 2 hours
- If you don’t follow the above rule and insulin enters your blood stream, the production of HGH stops immediately
- And you loose the benefit of a 24 hour high calorie burning advantage that HIIT provides
So, HIIT leads to a higher and longer calorie-burning period.
Of course, what makes me keep suggesting that my readers do HIIT is that it is an anaerobic mode of training, so no oxidative damage is caused as is in aerobic training.
By the way Tuğçe, Isometric Exercises are also an anaerobic exercise mode, and if done properly, will mimic having worked out with weights.
Now let’s look at what is being pushed everyday by famous professors of medicine, as the way to lose weight.
They suggest that you walk 10,000 steps every day. I’m all for a good 1-hour walk, but it is not a sport, it is an activity you undertake to go from point A, to point B.
If you do nothing else, for example resistance training, I strongly oppose just walking. Why?
- You only recruit slow twitch muscle fibers
- Fast twitch fibers are not used so the body being the efficient machine it is, starts to eliminate them (use it or lose it)
- This is an obvious imbalance that one should not encourage
All muscle fibers must be exhausted for one to be able to say “THAT WAS A GOOD WORKOUT”.
Compare the bodies of marathon runners and sprinters and you’ll see what I mean.
What about the calorie burning aspect of a 10,000-step walk?
Depending on your age, weight, tempo, etc., you will burn 400-500 calories when you walk 10,000 steps.
I think it is a terrible way that the public is being misinformed when these prominent professors are professing that the effect is cumulative. That is to say, burn 500 calories a day, for 7 days (3500 calories) and that means you will burn one pound (453 gm.) of fat in one week.
What about the eating side professor?
All of this was covered in my post “Walking” dated April 2, 2015, but I’ll summarize what I wrote.
Food You Eat Calories
McDonalds Big Mac 550 calories
Cheddar Cheese, 128 gm. 500 calories
Bacon, 4 slices 500 calories
Bread, 7 slices 500 calories
See how easy it is to neutralize the calories burnt in your 10,000-step walk?
NOW THE GOOD NEWS
As I’ve explained in previous posts walking, and exercising in general, will make you happy.
Now, I ask you to think hard about what motivates you to exercise;
- Might help you lose weight in a few weeks (?)
- Make you look better
- Prevent a heart attack a few years down the line
- Prevent disease
- Live longer
Immediate rewards are more motivating than distant ones. Do you see immediate rewards in the above list?
Well, there certainly are immediate rewards.
- Anandamide is a neurotransmitter, and endocannabionoid produced in your brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. Levels of anandamide, which is also found in chocolate, increase during and following exercise.
- Exercise also boosts serotonin, norepinephrine and your body’s stress response. Exercise puts you in a good mood and reduces your anxiety.
- Exercise is scientifically proven to benefit symptoms of depression. It can increase the number of cells in your brain’s hippocampus region, which seems to be fewer in number in depressed people.
- Exercise activates feelings that are pleasant-activated, which include excitement and enthusiasm. Would you say this is the opposite of depression?
LET HAPPINESS BE YOUR MOTIVATION TO EXERCIS
Immediate rewards are more motivating than distant ones. Feeling happy and less stressed is more motivating than not getting heart disease or cancer, maybe, someday in the future.
Sustaining physical activity is a motivational and emotional issue, not a medical one.
See you all next week.