Monday, June 06, 2005

Researcher Sending Wrong Message About Fitness

This WebMD story is yet another example of how medical researchers are sending the wrong message about fitness and health to the millions of Americans who are seeking to overcome their problem with obesity.

According to Canadian researchers in the June issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology, all you need to do is six minutes of "intense exercise" to equal the same physical results as someone who spent three hours jogging.

This six-minute "intense exercise" is defined as four 30-second give-it-your-all exertions with appropriate rests between sprints. Dr. Martin J. Gibala, associate professor of kinesiology at Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based McMaster University, describes this process as "sprint interval training."

"Interval-type training is effective for improving health and fitness in a relatively short period of time," Gibala told WebMD. "Whether you are already active or just getting into it, you can benefit. People can choose whether they want to exercise faster or exercise longer."

All I can do is shake my head at this supposed breakthrough in fitness research because it is sending the wrong message about fitness. While people moan and groan that time is the problem with fitting exercise into their lives, the reality is that is nothing more than a pitiful excuse to hide the real culprit behind why people do not exercise.

The main reason people don't get the exercise they need is because they are lazy. That's it. I said it. People are lazy. I used to be that way myself until I realized that exercise would help me lose weight (and I was able to shed 180 pounds in 2004) and feel great. It's a lot easier to just give up on doing any exercise thinking it's just not worth the trouble than to invest just a little bit of time each day to do something your body needs to stay in optimum shape.

Telling people that they only have to do six minutes of "intense exercise" is not the message we need to be sending people. While six minutes of ANY exercise is better than none at all, we really should be recommending that people start off at a pace they can live with and get into the habit of exercising first.

When I was 410 pounds starting my exercise routine last year, it took everything I could muster up within me just to go 20-30 minutes a day at a relatively slow pace. If I had tried to do too much, too fast by implementing Dr. Gibala's program, then I would have likely quit that first week. It was only after learning to exercise often and as long as I could that I realized the enormous health benefits I was getting from my workouts. This is the lesson people need to learn about exercise.

While Gibala recommends people consult with their doctors before trying this plan, he believes it can work for anyone.

I disagree. Now that I am more physically fit than I was when I first started exercising, I'm sure I could handle it if I chose to follow this program. But I believe it is more beneficial for people who are not used to exercising to understand the important message that they need to start exercising on a regular basis to improve their health. Limiting the amount of exercise to just six minutes a week is not going to get it done! In fact, six minutes a DAY is not enough either.

If people are going to view exercise as a serious way to help them lose weight and improve their health, then a MINIMUM of 30-45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day is essential. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. It has to be done. I have seen firsthand how it has changed my own life and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to lose weight, get into shape and prevent health problems from happening to you. Combined with a healthy eating lifestyle, exercise can be a tremendous tool.

Of course, I chose and highly recommend the low-carb lifestyle to be combined with that exercise to get your body into the best shape possible. While I can appreciate the sincerity of the research conducted by Dr. Gibala, I think he is sending the wrong message about fitness to the public at large.

Tell Dr. Gibala that you are concerned his research on fitness is sending the wrong message to people dealing with obesity.

06/06/05 UPDATE: Well, it appears lightning has struck twice in two days. I just noticed this blog entry popped up on Google News today and has generated a lot of traffic where it was reprinted at Some of those visitors have found their way here as well.

If you are one of them, then welcome to "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb." Stay a while and browse around at everything we have to offer you here. I think you'll like what you see. By all means, tell your friends and family about us and please come back and visit us again real soon. THANKS again for dropping by my blog.

Your comments are always welcomed.


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