HIGH INTENSITY STRENGTH TRAINING: MORE AEROBIC THAN “AEROBICS”

Today one of my clients quit training.  Her reason: her doctor told her she had to stop resistance training and focus more “cardio” to lose weight.

What is this, 1983?  That’s such outdated “advice” that it borders on irresponsible. There’s no such thing as “cardio,” and doctor should understand that by now.

So today I’ve posted several articles by actual exercise physiologists and other experts in the field of fitness.  These are the folks from whom doctors SHOULD get weight loss advice.  Your doctor can tell you whether or not you need to lose weight and how it is affecting your health, but rarely does he/she has any background whatsoever to give advice as to how to best achieve that goal.  That’s not covered in med school.  That’s the equivalent of me giving you my opinion on how to best treat cancer.  You would not take me seriously, would you?

The articles posted today include one on diet versus exercise, a more recent article on the cardiovascular benefits of weight resistance training to failure, a video re same, and a review article on recommended evidence-based resistance exercise protocol.

I’m adding to that this article.  It’s an oldie but goodie.  Some of the details are outdated, but the general principles are solid.  Only an excerpt is below with a link to the full article.  Enjoy.

High Intensity Strength Training: More Aerobic Than Aerobics

By Greg Anderson

“Aerobic” activity is not the most effective form of exercise for fat-loss. Steady state activities such as running, cycling, dancing, etc. do not burn a significant number of calories! One pound of fat can fuel the body for up to 10 hours of continuous activity. “Aerobic” activity is simply inefficient for this purpose!

The most important contribution that exercise makes to a fat-loss program is the maintenance of muscle tissue while fat is lost. Strength training is the only reliable method of maintaining muscle tissue. Aerobics can actually cause you to lose muscle tissue!

Some supposed “experts” have suggested that the important effect of aerobics is that of increasing metabolic rate. Our question is this: If “aerobic” activities burn few calories while you are doing them, then how many calories will they burn (calories burned = metabolic rate) when you are not doing them? The answer to that question is: very few…

On the subject of metabolic rate: Every pound of muscle added to the body of an adult female will require an additional 75-100 calories per day just to keep it alive. The average person, through a program of proper strength training can add enough muscle to burn an additional 3500 calories per week (1 lb. of fat = 3500 calories). The amount of strength training required to effect such a change is less than one hour per week.

“Aerobic” activities are dangerous*! Running is an extremely high-force activity that is damaging to knees, hips, and back. Aerobic dance is probably worse. And so-called “low impact” classes or activities like stationary cycling are not necessarily low-force. Don’t be fooled by the genetic exceptions who protest that they have never been injured– overuse injuries are cumulative and we are often not aware that we have them until it is too late. In time, the enthusiastic aerobic-dance participant or jogger will probably pay the price for all that “healthy” activity. If that price is a decrease or loss of mobility in one’s later years, then “aerobics” have effectively shortened the individual’s life-span. Loss of mobility is often the first step toward loss of all biological competence.”

(*My emphasis. This is especially true when people are overweight to begin with.)

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