Father Andrew's Hot Body Gym

November 4, 2009

Want Physical Change? Exercise Doesn’t Cut It.

Filed under: body image, diet — Tags: , , , , , , , — Micah Vandegrift @ 3:24 pm

Today the New York Times posted this article discussing the importance of combining diet changes with exercise. As it seems to be an ever-present topic here at FAHBG, here are some of the highlights and my summary:

Gretchen Reynolds (the author) points out that while exercise does burn calories, without a significant alteration in your eating habits (caloric intake) the results will be stunted and slow. Based on some uber-scientific studies, research has found that the bottom line is “energy balance” or calories in, calories out. Basically, you can workout and burn 200-300 calories, but if you go ahead and follow that with a 32 oz. Gatorade there is no net change in the amount of calories in your body. The research (Conventional Wisdom… scoff) goes on to suggest that low-intensity workouts in a stereotypical “fat burning heart rate zone” can trim pounds off which is not something the we specifically condone here at FAHBG (especially low-intensity, who would want that?!?).

The article redeems itself and closes on a note that dovetails nicely with our methods. Reynolds writes, “Perhaps just as important, bear in mind that exercise has benefits beyond weight reduction. In the study of obese people who took up exercise, most became notably healthier, increasing their aerobic capacity, decreasing their blood pressure and resting heart rates, and, the authors write, achieving ‘an acute exercise-induced increase in positive mood,’ leading the authors to conclude that, ‘significant and meaningful health benefits can be achieved even in the presence of lower than expected exercise-induced weight loss.’”

This last point is the real take away from an article like this. The fact is that exercise is great for our bodies, as we were created to be moving and active. Many Americans get caught up in the weight-loss trap and never change their habits, or frame of mind. As Crossfitters our main goal is to be healthy, balanced between a good diet and constant, consistent, varied exercises. Healthy will look different for each of us, as each of our bodies was created differently. Its nice to see the NYT running an article like this, but we take it one step further at FAHBG. While losing weight is a great goal, it becomes tertiary to “creation-care” (as Father Andrew so aptly put it), and how much weight you can throw over your head or dead lift off the ground. As we begin to focus on strengthening our bodies, maximizing flexibility and eating well, the weight we lose will matter less. Want to change your physical body? I say change your frame of mind, think positive and power through every workout like it matters. The pounds you’ll begin to care about will be measured in squats, presses, lifts and time, not on a cold scale in a bathroom.


Afterthought: If you are working out with FAHBG (or following online) and haven’t yet significantly altered your eating habits… DO IT! We’re all here to help as we are all going through the same process. Its worth it.



1 Comment »

  1. Testify, brother, testify.

    Comment by Graham — November 4, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

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