Bob's Links and Rants

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Goodbye, weight room!

There are always articles circulating about weight loss, but this one, about a recent study at LSU, rings true to me. The study found that exercise and dieting are equally effective (or ineffective) in losing pounds--burn more calories than you ingest and you lose weight. It also determined that adding muscle doesn't help with weight loss. I've had a few trainers at gyms tell me that the weights are a key to weight loss--to trim that gut and butt you have to build those biceps. Time and time again I've built those biceps, with no discernible impact on the gut or butt. The time would have been better and less painfully spent, apparently, on the bike or treadmill.

In my experience, I've never found anything that worked permanently. Lots of exercise (training for marathons or triathlons) worked well (better when I was younger), but usually got derailed by injury after a few months. Low-intensity, long-time-period exercise, such as refereeing kids' soccer games for five straight hours, was quite effective (although obviously quite time-consuming)--much more so than intensive exercise for an hour. I stuck to a low-fat diet for several months about nine years ago and was able to lose about 30 pounds, but I slowly reverted to old habits (and old scale readings).

One very enjoyable way to lose weight is to go to Mexico, or some other high-altitude location. Friends of mine and I have experienced fairly quick weight loss during trips to Mexico despite eating as much or more as we do at home. Apparently, this is a widely-known phenomenon. I'll have to read more about it--something I can do on the bike and the treadmill which I couldn't do on the bench press!