David's Way to Health and Fitness

Some “Exercise” Equals Diddly Squat!


If you are the type who counts every step you take during the day as exercise, I truly hope the title of this article got your attention. If you count your housework as exercise, this article is for you too. If you believe simple basic housework and walking without exertion as exercise that justifies eating more, then you really need to continue reading.

While getting your duff up and off of the couch is certainly better than just sitting there all day, I do not care how many steps you take during the day, if you are not raising your heart rate, you are not exercising at a level that is burning fat. You will never lose your muffin top by pushing a vacuum cleaner, unless you are pushing it around your living room at full tilt boogie with your heart rate elevated into the fat burning aerobic zone for at least a half hour.

On some popular weight loss sights, people are rewarded extra food points or calories to consume based on their activity, which is a fantastic idea if it were only more realistic for those who are not already athletically inclined. Literally, people are rewarded these points/calories even for doing basic house work chores. Other people on these popular sights will wear fitness trackers and obsess over getting in a certain number of steps in a day. Literally, on the associated social medias, you can read about people getting in that last 100 steps for the day with the belief they are burning more body fat. Yet, a lot of these same people who obsess over their steps also have great difficulty in losing weight no matter how many steps per day they have logged. And there is good reasons for this. Again, if you do not elevate your heart rate into the aerobic fat burning zone, you are not burning fat, period. And, even if you are somewhat athletic, you cannot out exercise a bad diet, period. What happens to many of these people who eat more food, based on having earning extra points through steps taken during the day, they become prone to stressing over not losing weight, and therefore they eat even more. And the cycle of obesity continues…

Now I will get into the meat of this topic. It is common knowledge that to lose weight, you must have a healthy diet with a caloric intake that matches your basal metabolic rate needs and, you will benefit even more from fat burning exercises. But understand this, just because you are “exercising” and burning calories, it does not necessrily mean you are also burning fat. Again, burning calories does not mean you are burning off your body fat. When you exercise, your focus must be on burning body fat. Consider this, if you are counting all the steps you took during the day along with your housework as a justification to eat more calories simply because your weight loss app allows this, and none of this is significantly more than you did while becoming obese or overweight in the first place, then it is folly to believe that you can lose body fat because of it now. Just because your weight loss app says you can, it does not necessarily mean that you should.

Our bodies are constantly burning through calories as a part of our most basic functions such as our hearts beating, breathing, digesting food and just plain moving around. These calories we are burning through basic life functions are from carbohydrates in our systems. In order to burn body fat, not just calories, your body requires the presence of oxygen. If your exercise is not helping you to lose fat, you are not unique, you are simply not exercising vigorously enough to increase the oxygen within your body. No matter who you are, your body requires a certain amount of oxygen to begin burning body fat, and the only way to ensure this is by elevating your heart rate into the fat burning, aerobic, target heart rate zone. Understand this, if you only burn calories and not fat, the calories you burn are carbohydrates and all you will manage to do is lose water weight and also decrease your metabolism. Carbohydrates give us energy, but just burning through them is not enough in itself to lose body fat.

If you want your exercise to count towards being able to lose fat, it must be in the aerobic threshhold. It takes the average person up to twenty minutes of exercise at their target heart rate zone before they have burned off their glycogen stores and have began burning off their body fat. Some may only take ten minutes to begin burning body fat, but that is not the average. To burn through those glycogen stores, or carbohydrates, you must exercise vigorously enough that your body needs more oxygen. Or to put this simply, your target heart rate zone has been reached when you can still have a conversation but it is labored. If you can speak easily, you are not in this zone. Know also that if you go at your exercise too hard where the intensity does not allow you to speak, you are completely out of breath, you are then in the anaerobic zone where you are not providing your body with enough oxygen to continue burning body fat.

Here is a prime example from one popular sight about a person not really losing body fat despite tons of steps being walked on a regular basis. This individual films him or herself during long walks while talking to their audience. This charming individual walks a lot, is at their goal weight, yet still their body is “skinny fat”. Their weight is down, yet despite all the “exercise” they still carry too much body fat, and it is readily apparent in some of their selfies. According to their fitness tracker and weight loss app, this individual can “justify” eating junk food because their activity level being recorded allows them to do so. The obvious problem though is despite the number of steps, they are not at their aerobic threshold and you can tell this because they can still speak to their camera far too easily. Their conversation is in no way labored, therefore no body fat is being burned through these efforts. Even though this person is at their goal body weight, their body fat level is still above a healthy level. The effort may be genuine, I am sure it is, yet because it is not burning body fat, it equals pretty much diddly squat. At David’s Way we believe everyone should be aiming for a healthy level of body fat over trying to just lose weight to a specific number on the bathroom scale. Please note, I am not trying to put down the individual in my example. What they are doing is certainly better than nothing, yet the effort is not accomplishing all that they might believe it to be. And, this is actually but one of many from this particular social media sight.

There is actually a method to burn body fat while at rest and that is through strength training. Strength training is a anerobic and will actually cause you to burn through more carbohydrates than a lot of cardio. But then when your body is at rest, it is then burning off body fat for many hours after your strength traning session. The reason behind strength training burning more body fat during rest is that it increases your lean muscle mass which means that your metabolism is also going to be increased. The more lean muscle mass your body has, the more efficient of a fat burning machine you will become.

Make all that you do in regards to your health and physcal fitness count for something Do not get caught up in time consuming exercises that actually do nothing to strengthen your body or improves your looks. I have seen on several occasions on a weight loss app social media where people do what is called “Wall Sits” where they actually believe they are doing something positive. A “Wall Sit” consists of leaning against a wall in a sitting position for up to a half hour. If you have a half hour for this foolishness, then try using it to do push ups, dips, chin ups, sit ups, etc. Make sure that you invest this time doing something that is actually going to be a benefit to yourself. Make sure that your actions account for something by using your valuable time more efficiently. Do not end your day with “diddly squat”.

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