TIME magazine published an article in the August issue that discredited exercise as a means to attain weight loss. In Part 1, we set the record straight on why doing the correct exercises are important for weight loss. Correct exercises are resistance exercises rather than cardio based exercises.
The TIME article also discredited building muscles by playing down the benefits attained from doing so. In this article, I want to quickly set the record straight on this.
1 pound of muscle consumes 6 calories while 1 pound of fat consumes 2 calories. The writer claims that building 10 pounds of muscle would only result in a net calorie deficit of 40 which equals to a teaspoon of butter.
While the above statement is accurate, the writer has left out some important points. First of all, it takes tremendous amounts of energy to build muscles in the first place. Anyone who built 10 pounds of muscles would have lost tremendous amounts of fat in the process. Building muscles is very energy intensive.
Sustaining muscles is also extremely energy intensive. The body is continuously trying to reduce your muscle mass by breaking it down. It does not want to store any more that is required to do your daily activities. As such, while 1 lb of muscle only consumed 6 calories, building and sustaining your muscle mass consumes much more than that. Resistance training helps to build and sustain muscle mass while cardio training does not.
The article did get it right about the energy gap required to attain weight loss. This is essentially the difference between the calories you consume and the calories you use. A negative balance puts your body in an energy deficit which results in your body using its fat stores. A positive balance results in your body storing the additional calories as fat.
While the above was accurate, a key point was missed out. The body could hold on to its fat stores and break down muscle instead when there is an energy gap. This will reduce the body’s energy requirements and close the gap. At the same time, this will make your metabolic rate more sluggish. This is really the opposite of what you want to achieve. This can be avoided by weight resistance training that helps your body hold on to its muscle stores while maintaining or boosting your metabolism.
While it is agreed that people do tend to eat more when they exercise, this should not be a problem if they restrict themselves to clean and natural food. Natural food has low calorie density. Calorie density is the amount of calories contained in per volume of food. Let me simplify this with an example. Imagine a natural green apple and another apple made out of chocolate. These are both of the same size. Which do you think would contain more calories? Natural food would fill you up very quickly with lesser amount of calories. Being more calorie dense, processed food can add quite a bit to your fat stores before you feel full.
Weight loss is a science that is still not fully understood. There is so much of conflicting information out there. Just remember that the wrong exercises do not help with weight loss. Correct weight loss requires correct weight resistance exercises. And yes….. don’t forget a sensible and clean diet.