So many people wrote in about my post on how grains will mess up your physique and your health (check it out here: Grains Suck!), that I decided it’s time to shed some light on aerobic training…
The fallacy of using aerobics as a fat loss tool is probably the biggest single lie ever foisted on America by the health and fitness industry.
So… if you’re already on a diet, will adding in aerobic training increase fat loss?
To be blunt: No, it won’t.
But you might not believe me. That’s fine. After all, it goes against what everyone will tell you about fat loss.
Just do me one favor – check out these studies before you decide I’m crazy:
Van Dale D, Saris WH, Schoffelen PF, Ten Hoor F.
Does exercise give an additional effect in weight reduction regimens?
Int J Obes. 1987;11(4):367-75
This group compared two groups over 8 weeks: A diet-only group, and a diet plus 4 hours of aerobic exercise per week group.
Unfortunately, the aerobics didn’t help the second group lose any more weight than the first.
8 weeks x 4 hours = 32 hours. In 32 hours you could have read ten books, learned how to dance, or spent more time with your kids.
But 8 weeks isn’t that long. Here’s a 12 week study:
Utter AC, Nieman DC, Shannonhouse EM, Butterworth DE, Nieman CN
Influence of diet and/or exercise on body composition and cardio respiratory fitness in obese women.
Int J Sport Nut. 1998 Sep; 8(3):213-22
Turns out that 45 minutes of aerobics at 78% max heart rate 5 days a week for 12 weeks had ZERO EFFECT over just dieting.
Ouch. 45 hours at 78% max heart rate for no fat loss. That sucks. What could you do with that 45 hours? Build a room addition? Even better – you could fly to Paris from Reno, have lunch and dinner, then fly back in 45 hours. Or you could spend that same time on a treadmill. Up to you.
How about a study longer than 12 weeks. Will aerobics start working for you then?
Redman et al
Effect of calorie restriction with or without exercise on body composition and fat distribution
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan 2
This crew looked at 6 months of aerobics and dieting. The aerobics group did 50 minutes of aerobics 5 days a week for the whole six months.
Sadly, the aerobics group didn’t lose any more weight or body fat than the diet-only group.
Let’s see… That’s just over 108 hours of aerobics for no more weight loss. MAJOR bummer. What would you do with 108 hours? You could build a real, working plane. Maybe write a short novel. Or drive from Carson City to New York and back, with time there to catch a Broadway play.
Of course, this study was only for 6 months. How about over the course of a YEAR?
This time there was actually an effect from aerobic training! Woo-hoo!
The aerobics group did 6 hours of aerobics every week for a year.
Average weight loss was .3 pounds (4.8 ounces) per month.
312 hours of hard aerobic exercise just to lose three and a half pounds.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be pissed. 3.5 pounds in a year? There’s a heck of a lot of things I’d like to do with those 312 hours – maybe learn how to speak Italian.
Now, this is just the studies going over weight loss. Since most people who go into an aerobics program are overweight, they get injured very quickly. Or they just get bored at the repetitiveness.
The KEY to fast and dramatic weight loss lies in RAISING YOUR METABOLISM.
Why does everyone think of aerobics first when their pants don’t fit? Simple, it makes sense. Burn more calories, lose more fat.
Too bad that doesn’t translate over into the real world. (And the real world is where your skinny jeans are hiding)
(Look at these pictures below, no one pictured used regular aerobics as part of their program…)
Lost 10 Pounds, 4 inches from waist, 3inches from hips
Lost 15 pounds, 3% bodyfat, 2 inches off waist, and 3 inches off hips
Lost 19 pounds, 5 percent bodyfat, and 5 inches off waist
Lost 20 pounds, 2 pants sizes, and more than 4% bodyfat
Lost 20 pounds and 6% bodyfat
Lost 25 pounds and 5% body fat
Lost 4% bodyfat and 4 1/2 inches off her waist
Lost 4% bodyfat and 9.5 total inches!
Lost 4 Dress Sizes!
Lost 5% Body Fat!