Monday, September 15, 2008

Exercise Alone WON'T Work

Still not convinced?

Need further proof?

Dr. John Berardi of provides it.

Read what he has to say below.

"Exercise Alone Doesn't Work"
by Dr. John Berardi

The Texas Study
In a study I recently worked on at the University of Texas, nearly 100 initially sedentary participants either stayed sedentary (about half of them) OR began exercising (the other half).

They exercisers were given a program to follow that added up to about 5 1/2 to 6 hours of activity per week and that lasted for a total of 12 weeks. The non-exercisers did nothing for the 12 weeks except show up for measurement sessions.

These individuals, as stated above, did no exercise before the study began. As a result of this sedentary lifestyle, they averaged between 35% and 40% body fat (according to DEXA scans).

Once the study began, the training group gathered together for 3 weight training sessions per week and 2 group exercise / interval sessions per week. All the training was designed by myself and overseen by a weightlifting coach and group exercise coach. So there was a pretty high level of quality control there.

Now, it's important to note that we didn't alter the participant's eating at all. And we did this on purpose. We wanted to test the effects of exercise alone - without diet. In other words, the question became:
"Without a dietary intervention, can exercise alone reshape a person's body?"
At the end of the 12 week study, we got our answer:
"Not so much..."
That's right, when analyzing the data, I was shocked to find that even with 3+ hours of training per week with a weightlifting coach and 2+ hours of training per week with a body-weight circuit instructor didn't really work. The formerly sedentary participants didn't do much better than their couch-sitting counterparts.

That's right, without dietary control, 12 weeks of high intensity training produced a fairly disappointing 1% loss of body fat. In terms of raw data, the participants lost only 1 pound of fat and gained 2 pounds of lean vs. the placebo group.

Frankly, that sucks.

What does other research say. With a new sense of purpose, I started digging around in the research. And I quickly found another recent study suggesting the exact same thing.

This study, published in the April 2008 issue of Nutrition and Metabolism, demonstrated that after 10 weeks of training (3 endurance sessions and 2 strength sessions per week - the flip flop of our study), 38 previously overweight, sedentary subjects also saw minimal changes in body composition with training.

Body Weight -

In this study, neither the control (no exercise) group or the exercise group significantly changed their body weight. Both groups saw about a 0.6lb loss in body weight on average. But again, neither change was significant.

Fat Mass -
When it came to fat mass, the exercise group lost 2.4lbs while the control group lost 0.9lbs. This means that the 50 exercise sessions lead to a mere 1.5lb fat loss vs doing nothing. Better than a kick in the teeth, I guess. But not all that stellar.

Lean Mass -
The exercise group grained 1.7lbs of lean mass while the control group gained 0.2lbs of lean mass. This means that the 50 exercise sessions led to a 1.5lb gain in lean mass vs doing nothing at all. Again, not bad. But not great either.

In this study, there was actually a 3rd group. And this group, in addition to exercising, supplemented each day with 2 nutrient-dense meal replacement supplements. Each supplement contained 300 calories, 5g fat, 25g carbs, and 40g protein and a host of vitamins and minerals. And while the exercise-only group saw small fat losses and muscle gains, the exercise plus supplement group, was a different story.
Body Weight -
The exercise+supplement group lost 4lbs of total body weight. This compared to the 0.6lbs lost in the exercise alone group.

Fat Mass -
The exercise+supplement group also lost 6lbs of total body fat. This compared to the 2.4lbs lost in the exercise alone group.

Lean Mass -
The exercise+supplement group gained about 1.8lbs of total lean body mass. This compared to the 1.7lb gained in the exercise alone group.
So, as you can see, even something as simple as adding a high quality protein drink can improve fat loss vs. exercise alone.

But, again, nothing is as effective as following a solid nutrition program while exercising properly.

For you folks who are looking to look better, feel better, and perform at the top of your game, the lesson should be obvious.

You can train as hard as you want. However, without some attention to your nutritional intake, you simply can't expect inspiring, noticeable results.


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