Category: Fitness Science
discovering-body-fats-hidden-secrets-dr-sylvia-tara-podcast

Discovering body fats hidden secrets – Episode 51 with Dr Sylvia Tara

Summary

Even though every human on the planet has stored body fat of differing amounts, it is surprising how little most people actually know about its functions in life. This may be because the science of body fat is relatively new only gaining real interest since the mid-’90s. Listen and learn body fats hidden secrets. Fat is so much more than a wobbly store of excess calories, it interacts, communicates, and even supports healthy body processes. Dr Sylvia Tara, the author of The Secret Life of Fat, kickstarts season 3 with a great interview.

Guest biography

Sylvia Tara holds a PhD in biochemistry from The University of California, San Diego and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She was a healthcare management consultant with McKinsey & Company and has worked for the world’s largest biotechnology companies.

After an extended battle with her own body fat, Dr Tara became fascinated with its resiliency and embarked on a mission to better understand it. Her book, The Secret Life of Fat, is the culmination of years of research and interviews with physicians, patients and leading scientists.

You can learn more about Dr Tara by visiting her personal website.

Episode content: Body fats hidden secrets

This episode is essential listening for anyone who has struggled with their own body fat levels, or for anyone who coaches others to manage their body fat more effectively. Listen and learn body fat’s hidden secrets with Dr Tara, there are great insights and helpful coaching tips. 

  • 1:56 Why listen to this episode
  • 4:33 The major roles of body fat in human physiology and health
  • 7:07 The recommended level of body fat in males and females to maintain health
  • 10:52 The obesity paradox
  • 16:30 Different coloured body fat and its purposes
  • 19:24 Hormonal factors produced by body fat
  • 22:50 A story of how genetic leptin defects interfere with health and hunger
  • 27:26 Weight loss and the role of willpower and calories
  • 30:44 The impact of obesity on coronavirus pandemic
  • 33:04 Suggested strategies for effectively managing body fat levels

Connect with Dr Tara over social media

Facebook: @sylviataraphd

Twitter: @sylviataraphd

Buy Dr Tara’s book

Available to purchase on Amazon Kindle

Rate the show:

If you enjoyed this episode, then please rate the show, give a short review, and share it with your friends so they can benefit from this free expert information. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or the video series on YouTube so you will receive each update immediately upon release. It also helps the show rank higher and reach more people.

For other great episodes and expert guests on the Fit to Succeed show, visit our full podcast library archive.

glute-training-the-scientific-bottom-line-bret-contreras-podcast

Glute training: The scientific bottom line – Episode 46 with Bret Contreras PhD

Summary:

Glutes! Backside! Bottom! Derrière! Tush! Buttocks! Booty! Whatever you choose to call it, training the 3 major muscles that make up the gluteals has been a huge fitness trend in recent years. Glute training or developing shapely, athletic and functional hip musculature is certainly an important aspect of strength and conditioning and physical performance as you will find out in this episode with the ‘Glute Guy’, Bret Contreras! However, for some, it is simply a matter of striving towards the goal of a fit, curvy, Kardashian or Beyonce type figure.

Guest biography:

Bret Contreras is considered by many to be the world’s foremost expert on training the gluteals (buttocks) and goes by the name of the ‘Glute Guy’. However, he is also very well versed in a wide range of high-level sports science as a result of years of study and a PhD in this field. Bret is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and the author of the highly recommended book, Glute Lab, named after the fitness facility he operates in San Diego, California. He is also acknowledged as the creator of the barbell hip thruster exercise.

Bret contreras-glute training
Bret Contreras PhD

Fit to Succeed episode: Glute training

Well, to be honest, we found Bret to be a really down-to-earth guy and easy to speak with, but with a mountain of knowledge under his relaxed demeanour. This episode covered some fun and enjoyable content, but then we really dived deep into some of the science underpinning strength training for the glutes and other important fitness and success factors. The following are the key elements of our conversation: 

  • 1:43 How do Bret’s training methods help deliver optimal results
  • 4:37 A little about the Glute Lab best-selling book on Amazon
  • 5:55 The origin of the nickname the ‘Glute Guy’
  • 10:00 The popularity of shaping and strengthening glutes
  • 12:50 Are males as interested in training glutes as females?
  • 17:16 Is female muscle fibre type dominance responsible for the ability to train higher volume?
  • 18:30 The rule of thirds for glute training
  • 22:30 The top 3 exercises for optimal glute activation
  • 23:44 Are the top glute activation exercises also the most popular?
  • 26:59 A summary of Bret’s PhD research
  • 30:58 Recent changes in practice due to ongoing scientific research
  • 37:19 The importance of patience and hard work in seeking success

During the show, Bret refers to 2 research papers. The links can be found below:

Glutes to the Max
Are all hip extension exercises created equal?

Rate the show:

If you enjoyed this episode, then please rate the show, give a short review, and share it with your friends so they can benefit from this free expert information. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or the video series on YouTube so you will receive each update immediately upon release.

For other great episodes and expert guests on the Fit to Succeed show, visit our full podcast library.

sleep-problems-impact-exercise-performance-dr-ian-dunican-fit-to-succeed-podcast

Sleep problems impact exercise performance – Episode 42 with Dr Ian Dunican

Summary:

Exercise and fitness is often a priority, but it often has to be squeezed into the busy lives we all lead, which may mean that physical activity, training, recreational or elite sport is more and more often happens in the evening and into the night. In this episode, we discuss with our excellent guest whether sleep problems can result from late exercise habits and whether sleep problems can have a negative impact on our fitness and performance.

Guest Biography:

Dr Ian is the Director of Melius Consulting and Sleep4Performance and previously completed a PhD with the University of Western Australia (UWA), where he worked with elite sporting organisations/athletes to optimise performance. Ian is highly sought after with professional athletes, working with Olympic and elite athletes with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and professional teams in Super Rugby, Basketball, Australian Rules Football (AFL) and martial arts. He has also been featured on the health report on ABC radio, ABC radio national and numerous podcasts. Ian has appeared on ABC television, Channel 7, 9 and 10 in Australia. He was a TEDx Perth speaker in 2017.

Image result for ian dunican perth tedx
Dr Ian Dunican speaking TEDx Perth 2017

Fit to Succeed episode: Sleep problems

There really is some great topical discussion worth listening to that may influence your actions and behaviour around sleep and how it affects your day. The key content is:

  • 1:38: Importance of sleep for fitness and performance
  • 2:50 Why Dr Dunican chose to study the link between sleep and physical performance
  • 11:40 Understanding the physiology and staging of sleep during the night
  • 17:43 How a lack of deep sleep or REM sleep might impact exercise and performance
  • 24:15 Connection between stress physiology and sleep physiology
  • 32:23 Brief discussion on sleep and its influence on exercise recovery
  • 39:10 Impact of a lack of sleep on mental function, including depression
  • 44:20 Lack of sleep and mental toughness in relation to intense exercise

Connect with Ian on social media:

 @sleep4perform

 @sleep4perform

Rate the show:

If you enjoyed this episode, then please rate the show, give a short review, and share it with your friends so they can benefit from this free expert information. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or the video series on YouTube so you will receive each update immediately upon release.

For other great episodes and expert guests on the Fit to Succeed show, visit our full podcast library. 

foam-rolling-for-optimal-performance-rodney-corn-podcast

Foam rolling for optimal movement – Episode 39 with Rodney Corn

Summary

The use of foam rolling, or other self-massage tools, has shifted in recent years from a very niche, rarely seen piece of equipment, to becoming a regular item seen in most gyms that are now used by gym members and fitness trainers alike. The big question is whether foam rollers are being used correctly and can we exploit the potential benefits more effectively?

Guest biography

Rodney Corn has nearly 30 years of experience in the Health and Fitness industry as a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, international educator and presenter, author and researcher. He is the former Director of Education for the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and was a Co-Founder and former COO of Personal Training Academy (PTA) Global. He co-founded SOMA (Self Osteo-Myofascial Applications) with long-time friend and colleague, Ian O’Dwyer (See episode 24 with Ian). Rodney is also the Director of Eleiko Education, promoting performance, learning, and kindness through world-class education and products.

Rodney Corn Eleiko SOMA

Websites: feelsoma.com        Eleiko Education

Fit to Succeed episode: Foam rolling 

Rodney helps us explore the effects and benefits of foam rolling and how this simple self-massage tool can be utilised to help improve human movement and joint function. There is a vast amount of information and helpful content in this episode, so enjoy!

  • 1.07: Rodney’s recent appointment as director of education at Eleiko
  • 3.22: Rodney shares how he blends the world’s of corrective exercise together with strength and conditioning work
  • 5.08: Brief explanation of SOMA
  • 6.27: 5 quick techniques for managing ongoing stress
  • 9.10: General explanation of the foam roller and how it helps optimise human movement
  • 15.48: Clarification between self-myofascial release and self-osteofascial engagement
  • 21.21: The use of foam rolling as a testing tool to determine muscle and soft tissue function
  • 24.08: Comparing muscle range of motion testing results to foam roller testing results
  • 28.00: The disconnect between passive joint range of motion and active functional joint motion
  • 30.40: Daily stress and other emotional factors impacting on soft tissue health and functional movement
  • 32.55: Rodney shares an example of how to apply soft tissue corrective techniques using the foam roller
  • 35.10: How to apply the foam roller to rigid joint structures, such as the knee

Connect with Rodney via social media:

 @rodney.corn

 @rodney_corn

 @RodneyCorn

Rate the show

If you enjoy this episode, then please rate the show, give a short review, and share it with your friends so they can benefit from this free expert information. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or the video series on YouTube so you will receive each update immediately upon release.

For other great episodes and expert guests on the Fit to Succeed show, visit our full podcast library.

world-class-strength-training-secrets-karsten-jensen-podcast

World-class strength training secrets – Episode 35 with Karsten Jensen

Summary:

Really? Wordl-class strength training secrets? Well, yes! These methods have been tested on elite athletes who have perfromed on a global stage. Long-term training in sport and fitness has been built on the linear periodisation training model. But is this model too rigid? Is it focused on too much on the progression of training numbers? Should we be considering a more flexible approach that takes into account all the unique variables of each individual client? Learn about the flexible periodisation method and how to build strength with new ideas that will expand your training philosophy.

Guest biography:

Karsten Jensen MSc has trained world-class and Olympic athletes from 27 different sports for 25 years with their successes coming at European, World, and Olympic level. Karsten is the first strength coach to create a complete system of periodization, known as the Flexible Periodization Method – the first complete method of periodization dedicated to holistic, individualized and periodized (H.I.P) training programmes.

Website: www.yestostrength.com

Karsten Jensen - Fit to Succeed interview - build strength
Episode content: Strength training secrets

In this episode, we some strength training secrets and dig deeper into the concepts and principles behind the standard linear, and the flexible periodisation approach.

  • 1.26 – Karsten shares an early training experience where he applied an alternative, uncommon method that succeeded in creating the gains needed by the athlete.
  • 4.50 – description of how the Flexible Periodisation Method (FPM) differs from mainstream linear periodisation
  • 9.50 – unfold how the FPM helps to support individual progression from early stabilisation phases through to more advanced methods
  • 15.51 – how to individualise and even periodise the warmup to adapt to meet the changing needs of the main training session to follow
  • 22.49 – the accuracy of rate of perceived exertion, and how many individuals unknowingly respond with rate of perceived fatigue instead
  • 25.20 – how to use the FPM as a tool for applying High-intensity Training and reduce the risk of overload and injury
  • 30.30 – the unique application of the FPM to flexibility training by discussing an example of tight hamstrings muscles altering posture and performance

Book links from the show:

Supertraining Mel Siff
Science and practice of strength training

Connect with Karsten via social media:

 Facebook @YesToStrength

 Instagram @yestostrength

 LinkedIn @yestostrength

Rate Fit to Succeed:

If you enjoy this episode, then please rate the show, give a short review, and share it with your friends so they can benefit from this free expert information. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or the video series on YouTube so you will receive each update immediately upon release.

For other great episodes and expert guests on the Fit to Succeed show, visit our full podcast library.

Muscle fascia and functional movement – Episode 24 with Ian O’Dwyer

Summary

The turn of the millennium brought the world of functional movement training to the fitness industry, then in 2007-08 many elite PT’s shifted focus to the role that fascia plays in movement control and function. Ian O’Dwyer was one of the leaders at the forefront of both of these changes within the fitness industry as he worked in conjunction with PT on the Net and PTA Global.

Biography

Ian O’Dwyer is an outstanding personal trainer specialising in the fitness-related field of functional movement. He is known for his unique observations and appreciation of the human body in motion. Many years of extensive conditioning and rehabilitation through sport, combined with spending time with global leaders in the fitness industry, has inspired Ian to evolve a highly effective movement philosophy.

Ian has developed applications that empower clients and fitness coaches with solutions to everyday issues, enabling them to regain responsibility for their own wellbeing. A sought-after presenter, Ian has also delivered over 500 fitness workshops around the world during his career. His ability to facilitate cutting-edge science and research into practical solutions has empowered wellness professionals to lead their client’s to more efficient and effective results.

Ian has operated his personal training studio in Queensland for over 2 decades, providing an important real-world centre where he has developed and refined his training approach over the years.

functional-movement-coach-ian-odwyer-fit-to-succeed
Functional movement coach, Ian O’Dwyer

Websites: www.odonmovement.comwww.feelsoma.com

Episode content: Muscle, fascia and functional movement

  • This episode includes the following:
  • What motivated Ian to get involved in the functional fitness movement?
  • An effective definition of functional training
  • The foundational principles that underpin functional training?
  • What is fascia? Why is this tissue so important to human movement?
  • What is vector variation?
  • Why are rhythm and timing such important training parameters?

If you enjoy this episode, then please rate the show and share it with your friends so they can benefit from this free expert information. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please subscribe to our blog or the audio podcast on iTunes, and the video series on YouTube so you will receive each update immediately upon release. To enjoy more engaging expert interviews, please visit our full podcast library.

Connect with Ian on social media:

Facebook @odomnpc

Instagram @odonmovement

Links discussed in video:

During this episode, Ian spoke a few times regarding an expert in fascial anatomy called Tom Myers. You can find out more about his work by visiting Anatomy Trains.

Bonus video:

We recorded a short taster video that condenses some of the points discussed into a quick 5-minute interview. Enjoy this extra bonus.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=PGzMJFusp5
calories-hormones-and-metabolism-for-weight-loss-dr-jade-teta-fit-to-succeed-podcast

Calories hormones and metabolism work together in weight loss – Episode 22 with Dr Jade Teta

Summary

What is the best solution for weight loss? Calorie reduction? Speeding up metabolism? Or controlling hormones? Dr Jade Teta addresses all of these issues in this fascinating interview. He asserts that calories hormones and metabolism are physiological factors that actually work together in successful control of excess weight and body fat reduction. This interview will no doubt become an instant classic in the Fit to Succeed series!

Biography

Dr Jade Teta is a highly experienced personal trainer of over 25 years. He has produced numerous video-based workouts that are used by hundreds of thousands all over the world. Jade has a degree in biochemistry and is a qualified physician. Despite his speciality in natural medicine, he has been called everything from a “quack” to a “witch doctor.” Regardless, the choice to go into the field of alternative medicine is described by Jade as being a ‘conscious and deliberate one’.

Dr Teta specialises is in a subset of medicine called naturopathic medicine. If you compare him to your family doctor, but instead of using drugs and surgery first (many know little about diet and exercise), Dr Teta chooses to use drugs as a second choice over other natural remedies and behaviours. He is also an expert in nutrition, exercise and supplementation. Jade describes his speciality as ‘integrative endocrinology.’ This is the study of hormones & metabolism. The integrative part just means that he combines and balances both conventional and alternative methods. Most of Jade’s career has been focused on helping the most difficult metabolic cases to successfully achieve effective weight loss.

Episode content: Calories hormones and metabolism:

Episode 22 with Dr Jade covers a range of intriguing topics that help to cut through the science and offers clear actionable information, including:

  • The general role of calories hormones and metabolism in weight management
  • What impact do hormones play in the body weight control?
  • Is calorie reduction more important than insulin control in weight loss?
  • The role of insulin (blood glucose) and cortisol (stress response) in the weight management battle
  • The dual nature of oestrogen in fat burning and in fat-storing
  • How the female menstrual cycle alters female metabolism

If you enjoy this episode, then please rate the show and share it with your friends so they can benefit from this free expert information. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please subscribe to our blog, to the podcast on iTunes, or the video series on YouTube so you will receive each update immediately upon release. To enjoy more engaging expert interviews please visit the podcast library.

Connect via social media / internet

Website: www.jadeteta.com

Podcast: The Jade Teta Podcast – Mind, Muscle, Metabolism

Facebook @jadeteta

Instagram @jadeteta

Twitter @jadeteta

Bonus video

If you are short on time and still want to get a sense of what was discussed in this interview, then this short, 4-minute quick-fire interview still offers some great insights and tips into managing calories hormones and metabolism.

fasted-training-importance-context-dr-laurent-bannock-podcast

Fasted training and the importance of context – Episode 18 with Dr Laurent Bannock

Summary

Fasted training or exercising without prior food consumption is claimed to boost metabolism and drive up body fat burning, but is this really true? Get the answers to this in context within episode 18 alongside leading exercise scientist, Dr Laurent Bannock.

Biography

Laurent is the founder and director of Guru Performance. He has over 25 years of practitioner experience in the fields of nutrition, fitness, and performance. He currently acts as a consultant to a variety of professional teams (Egyptian FA, Bath & London Irish rugby) & elite level athletes, including the British Fencing World Class Program – supporting the Team GB Fencing Squad. Laurent is a Registered Sports and Exercise Nutritionist (UK SENr), a Certified Sports Nutritionist (ISSN). He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA), and is a Certified Anthropometrist (ISAK).

Laurent is also the host of his own highly acclaimed ‘We Do Science’ Podcast. He is currently serving panel member of the UK Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENr), is a Fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), sits on the advisory board of the ISSN, and is also an Associate Editor of the Journal of the International Society for Sports Nutrition. Laurent also serves as an expert reviewer for the European Journal of Sports Sciences, and the International Journal of Sports Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. Laurent is a highly experienced educator & lecturer and is the program director (and founder) for the ISSN Diploma postgraduate programme. He also works as a senior lecturer and program leader for the MSc Sport & Exercise Nutrition program at Middlesex University, London.

Episode details: Fasted training in context

This episode answers important questions and addresses the following issues surrounding fasted training:

  • Why context is vital when interpreting scientific data
  • How to take a broad view of science to apply it effectively in an exercise/nutrition environment
  • What metabolic or body composition benefits can be obtained through fasted training?
  • Are the effects of fasting before training gender specific?
  • What impact to exercise history and training status have on fasted training?

Website: www.guruperformance.com

Episode links

During the episode we refer to a position statement created and released by the Guru Performance Institute and Dr Bannock specifically reviewing the application of the science in relation to fasted training. Please click the link below to review this insightful article:

Guru Performance Position Stand Statement

Connect with Laurent via social media

Facebook @guruperformance

Twitter @GuruPerformance

Please subscribe to this blog, our video podcast on YouTube channel, or the audio podcast on iTunes. We welcome your comments and feedback and would invite you to rate the show. Ratings help to increase the profile of the podcast and help us reach more people with this important, free expert information. To enjoy more engaging expert interviews, please visit our full podcast library.

Stress, the root cause – Episode 9 with Pete Williams

Summary

Does life sometimes get too much? Stress has a significant impact on our day to day lives and developing resilience is a necessary factor in our modern world. Functional medicine practitioner and stress expert, Pete Williams, unfolds some intriguing insights in this episode.

Guest biography

Pete Williams is a graduate from the University of Liverpool, with a BA in exercise physiology, 1992. He went on to obtain a Master of Medical Science from The University of Sheffield in 1995. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (1997) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, NSCA 1999. Pete was the youngest recipient of the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award from the UK Register for Exercise Professionals, 2003. He graduated from the Institute for Functional Medicine (2004) and was one of the first to be awarded the Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner status (2013). He is considered a clinical innovator by the Institute for Functional Medicine.

Working in central London, Pete has considerable experience in supporting clients as they seek to recover from the damage that stress can have on the body.

Episode content: Stress, the root cause

In this fascinating episode of Fit to Succeed, with Pete Williams, we discuss the following:

  • the primary physiology behind the stress response
  • common intrinsic and extrinsic stressors in our modern environment
  • identifying the total burden upon a client
  • is there a tipping point where the burden exceeds the ability to recover?
  • how to identify the root cause of stress-related dysfunction
  • top strategies for supporting the management of stress and its effects

If you enjoy this expert interview episode, then please rate the show and share it with your friends so they can benefit from this free information. Your comments and feedback are always welcome. Please subscribe to the Fit to Succeed podcast on iTunesStitcherPlayer FM or the full version on YouTube so you will receive each update immediately upon release.

Website: http://petewilliams.org/

Connect with Pete on Social media:

Facebook petefmed

Instagram petefmed

Twitter petefmed

Exercise for weight loss – is this the best strategy?

Scientific observations across many years, thousands of individuals engaging in regular exercise, and a European fitness industry worth more than €26 billion serve as a clear indicator of the great benefits that being active can do for the human body. However, we must be honest about the fact that exercise for weight loss is not the cure-all panacea that it is often portrayed to be.

The elephant in the fitness room

Perhaps the biggest ‘elephant in the room’ in relation to exercise and fitness is its impact upon weight loss! Exercise for weight loss is promoted as the answer in almost every magazine, blog and exercise video. It is even a major component of many government strategies for overcoming obesity and the world’s ballooning waistlines. It seems that no matter what, exercise attracts all the attention when it comes to answers for weight loss. There is plenty of ongoing debate over dietary factors in terms of how they impact weight loss, but exercise appears to rarely get questioned?

One of the aspects of weight loss that muddies the waters is that most people do not apply a single change when they try to lose weight and lower their body fat. Weight loss usually results from a series of combined changes to an individual’s daily practices. There are many different strategies in the scientific literature that could be applied alongside exercise to help achieve weight loss such as:

  • A low calorie, low fat, or low carbohydrate diet
  • Increasing protein in the diet
  • A high fibre diet
  • Reducing sugar intake
  • Removing processed food
  • Improving sleep
  • Reducing stress and increasing relaxation
  • Detoxification protocols
  • Increasing activities of daily living
  • Using weight-loss supplementation
  • Lifestyle behaviour changes
  • Increasing public/group accountability
  • Alcohol reduction etc. etc. etc.
weight-loss

It is rare that exercise for weight loss with no other associated change in behaviour is the strategy of choice. Perhaps that is a good thing too! The scientific evidence is in support of this statement too.

Exercise for weight loss evidence

If you put aside all other ways and focus upon exercise alone as the sole strategy for reducing body weight, it is lacking in punch. Don’t get me wrong it does have a positive effect, but the effect is fairly small! Certainly, nothing like what is proposed across the internet or modern social media channels. In 2006 an independent group of scientists representing the renowned Cochrane Collaboration published a meta-analysis (Shaw 2006) that looked at this very issue…by asking the question, ‘how effective is exercise for managing overweight and obesity?’ The research reviewed studies that only utilised the gold scientific standard of randomised controlled trials (RCT). These RCT’s looked at weight loss periods between 3 to 12 months in duration comparing different weight loss methodology. Here are the facts which summarise their scientific findings on the matter up to 2005:

  • General exercise as a lone strategy provided weight loss between 0.5 – 4.0 kg
  • Low-intensity exercise as a lone strategy provided weight loss between 0.0 – 6.3 kg
  • High-intensity exercise as a lone strategy provided weight loss between 1.3 – 8.9 kg
  • Applying diet as a lone strategy provided weight loss between 2.8 – 13.6 kg
  • When diet was combined with exercise it provided weight loss between 3.4 – 17.4 kg
  • Diet combined with high-intensity exercise provided weight loss between 6.4 – 19.6 kg

Out of the 6 different strategy options looked at above, it is clear that a general exercise programme is the least effective of all the methods applied. High-intensity exercise as a lone strategy does improve things and appears to be about twice as effective as general exercise. However, all three lone exercise strategies fall well short of lone dietary or combined exercise and dietary strategies. The authors of this study provided some very good summary statements which help to bring in a few other considerations than just the factual weight loss ranges shown above:

  • These findings are consistent with previous reviews (Miller 1997;McTigue 2003Douketis 2005) that demonstrate only modest (less than five kg) weight loss with exercise alone as a weight loss intervention, and improved weight loss with diet and exercise compared with exercise alone.
  • The results of this study support the hypothesis that vigorous activity is more effective than moderate or light intensity exercise in stimulating weight loss…However, high-intensity exercise was only significantly better than low-intensity exercise at inducing weight loss when undertaken without dietary change. When diet was also modified, exercise intensity did not significantly increase the degree of weight loss.
  • Both low calorie and low-fat diets were used as comparison dietary interventions across clinical trials. Both were more effective at facilitating weight loss than exercise alone. This is consistent with the findings of other studies that also demonstrate dietary modification is superior to exercise in obtaining weight loss in overweight and obese adults (Curioni 2005Hansen 2005).

Exercise is beneficial

You may be thinking that exercise for weight loss is not very helpful and that a diet alone would be best to lose weight? Well, there are other benefits that should not be overlooked in relation to applying exercise as part of a weight-loss strategy. These ‘additional’ benefits certainly warrant the inclusion of exercise in the battle of the bulge. The study authors state:

  • Positive effects on CVD risk factors were demonstrated with exercise interventions in overweight and obese adults in this study. Those who participated in exercise interventions alone reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and fasting serum glucose. They also increased HDL levels. The changes that were statistically significant compared with no treatment were changes in diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, HDL and glucose… These changes were independent of significant weight loss. Weight loss does not appear to uniformly improve cardiovascular risk factors, particularly if 5% or less bodyweight reduction (Douketis 2005).
Exercise for weight loss

Conclusion

In short, exercise imparts considerable benefits to the cardiovascular system that help reduce heart disease and diabetes risk, even in the face of minimal weight loss. There are also many other benefits from exercise that would literally take a textbook to fully explain. We are not discounting exercise at all. But we need to be honest about its fat burning capacity as a sole strategy – it just is not that powerful! So the real take-home messages of this weight loss science blog are simply:

  1. Weight loss is best achieved through carefully planned dietary modification combined with the appropriate application of higher intensity exercise methods
  2. Exercise is very effective at reducing heart disease and metabolic health risk factors regardless of weight loss and as such is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle
exercise benefits
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