Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin… Without A Proper Diet!

TIME Magazine recently published a very controversial article on the effects of exercise on weight loss.

The article was called “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin” (to read the article in full:,8599,1914857-1,00.html)

A colleague of mine, BJ Gaddour, fat loss expert and co-creator of Workout Muse, the world renowned interval audio trainer, recently wrote an article in response to some very important issues the article above presents.

Read his interesting article below and please leave a comment below.

Not exactly a sweeping promotion for fitness!

Though there were a lot of things within the article that I found misleading or flat out incorrect, the article does bring to light some very important concepts that are critical for the general population to understand:

1.) Exercise WILL make you hungrier

There is no question here. Exercise, especially intensive exercise, ramps up metabolism and our body’s natural response to energy expenditure (calories burnt from activity) is to increase energy consumption (food intake).

However, being hungrier from exercise is not the culprit- choosing the wrong type of food following exercise is!

In other words, if our diets focus on lots of lean protein, healthy fats, and high-fiber fruits and veggies every 2-4 hours, then we will be able to squash our exercise-induced hunger and build muscle and burn fat from exercise like we intend to. These foods are proven to promote optimal health, performance, and body composition.

However, if you are a carb addict (think lots of refined grains and sugars), exercise will only make you crave more carbs leading to intense feelings of insatiability throughout the day due to unstable blood sugar levels. Make no mistake about it- in this case, exercise will not only cause you to NOT lose weight, but most likely will cause weight gain.

Here’s the line I tell most people who come to me to lose weight for them to understand the key to the success they crave:

“If you want to bulk up, add size, and gain weight, be sure to eat plenty of starches and sugars. But if you want to be lean and muscular, swap the starches and sugars for high fiber fruits and vegetables, with a special emphasis on green veggies.”

It’s really that simple, which brings me to point #2…

2.) Exercise without proper nutrition WILL NOT cause significant weight loss

Nutrition is without a doubt 80-90+% of the equation when it comes to weight management. Hormones govern fat loss and both exercise and nutrition impact your body’s hormone levels- positively or negatively depending on what type of exercise and diet plan you follow.

However, you can never wipe out poor nutritional habits with exercise- NEVER! In terms of diet, the hormone we must be most concerned about is insulin, a storage hormone that’s released in large amounts when consuming refined starches and sugars.

No matter how hard you workout, if you are releasing insulin through the day with a high carb diet, you will be helpless to its fat-storing effects.

On the other hand, lean proteins, healthy fats, and high-fiber fruits and veggies do not significantly impact your insulin levels thus allowing you to preferentially burn fat and build muscle in conjunction with the right exercise plan, which brings me to point #3…

3.) Not all exercise is created equal

The aforementioned article failed to distinguish between different forms of exercise. It misleadingly uses the word “exercise” to refer to aerobic activity or any form of exercise of low to moderate intensity.

Well, we already know that aerobic training has zero effect on fat loss over dieting alone- many studies support this.

So this article should not be using aerobics as the marker for “exercise” and it’s impact on weight loss… it’s like taking a dull knife to a gun fight!

Furthermore, we know that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) burns 9x more fat than ordinary exercise (aerobic training) and actually builds lean muscle and elevates metabolism for up to 24-48 post-workout (please reference my (Tyron's) most recent blog posts for a ton of interval workouts that fit the bill here)

In conclusion, study after study proves that when it comes to exercise for fat loss:


So this TIME magazine article missed the ball on the big picture here: When it comes to being lean, muscular, and healthy, the key is an integrated and research based diet AND exercise regimen- exercise alone simply doesn’t cut it!

Crank it!


PS- What are your thoughts about this article? Does this hurt or help the weight loss cause? Please share your mind by making a comment to this blog post below, thanks!

BJ's internationally renowned Get Sexy Boot Camps are Milwaukee's premier fitness boot camps for men and women. He is also the co-creator of Workout Muse: The World's FIRST and #1 Source for Fitness Music and Media Production.

PS- If you live in Vancouver, BC and want to experience some of the best rapid weight loss personal training, please click the link below:

North Vancouver Personal Training

PPS- If you live in Vancouver, BC and want to experience some of the best rapid weight loss fitness boot camp, please click the link below:

North Vancouver Boot Camp
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