burning calories

Weight Watchers doesn’t work, but it is the perfect business model

From this article, Oprah’s Investment in Weight Watchers Was Smart Because the Program Doesn’t Work, this quote: 

“It’s the perfect business model. People give Weight Watchers the credit when they lose weight. Then they regain the weight and blame themselves. This sets them up to join Weight Watchers all over again, and they do.”

And this:

“According to Weight Watchers’ business plan from 2001, its members have “demonstrated a consistent pattern of repeat enrollment over a number of years,””

Fat is life-preserving energy for lean times. Whether those lean times are natural (famine) or self-induced (diet) our body’s gastric hormones are programmed to respond a certain way to restore those fat stores. Reporting on the follow-up of a diet study this NY Times article, The Fat Trap, stated:   

“A gastric hormone called ghrelin, often dubbed the “hunger hormone,” was about 20 percent higher than at the start of the study. Another hormone associated with suppressing hunger, peptide YY, was also abnormally low. Levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses hunger and increases metabolism, also remained lower than expected.”

“It was almost as if weight loss had put their bodies into a unique metabolic state, a sort of post-dieting syndrome that set them apart from people who hadn’t tried to lose weight in the first place.”

“Preliminary research at Columbia suggests that for as many as six years after weight loss, the body continues to defend the old, higher weight by burning off far fewer calories than would be expected.”

So the end result of the WW diet, or any diet for that matter, is a lower metabolism and increased hunger for a very long time, long enough to slowly gain back most or all that lost weight.

I have five years and four months to go; I am 35 pounds lighter for eight months now. My solution for the occasional hunger pangs is to keep telling myself that the dietary self-discipline is well worth being in a healthier state.

For a lower metabolism the solution is to increase your strength. A stronger body will burn more calories even at rest. The high intensity training (HIT) for strength offered at Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness Training effectively burns calories four ways. With modest changes in eating habits and increased strength you can lose fat, keep it off, and feel the best you have in decades.

How many more calories are burned standing instead of sitting? Not much

Researchers measured the caloric expenditure of four groups doing four different activities: typing while sitting, watching TV while sitting, standing, and walking. In 15 minutes it turns out that standing burns 2 more calories than sitting. From this article How Many Calories We Burn When We Sit, Stand or Walk, some quotes: “Someone who stood up while working instead of sitting would burn about 8 or 9 extra calories per hour. (Just for comparison, a single cup of coffee with cream and sugar contains around 50 calories.)” And: “When the volunteers walked for 15 minutes, even at a fairly easy pace, they burned about three times as many calories as when they sat or stood. If they walked for an hour, the researchers calculated, they would incinerate about 130 more calories than if they stayed in their chairs or stood up at their desks.” You’ve got options for creating a caloric deficit. You could stand at work for most of the day and earn cream and sugar in your coffee, or you could sit at work and drink your coffee black. An Oreo is 45 calories. You could walk an hour at work (good luck with that) and eat three Oreos or the equivalent, or pass on the sweets and sit. There is another option. Do a form of exercise that burns more calories while you are doing it, long after you finished doing it, and will raise your resting metabolism so that you are burning more calories even when you are sitting at work drinking your coffee with cream and sugar. While the best way to lose fat is eating less, exercise can help. High Intensity Training (HIT) burns calories four ways. One study examining the effect of high intensity strength training on metabolism showed a nine-fold improvement in fat burning. This is the type of training we do at Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Personal Training.

60 studies say exercising is not the key to weight loss

The opening lines from this article, Why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies: "'I'm going to make you work hard', a blonde and perfectly muscled fitness instructor screamed at me in a recent spinning class, 'so you can have that second drink at happy hour!'

At the end of the 45-minute workout, my body was dripping with sweat. I felt like I had worked really, really hard. And according to my bike, I had burned more than 700 calories. Surely I had earned an extra margarita."  

She exercised “really, really hard”. It would be nice if all those calories burned on exercise translated into fat loss. That equation does not take into account that exercise can stimulate the appetite, or that strenuous exercise lends itself to less activity (compensatory behaviors) and fewer calories burned for the remainder of the day. It does not account for the body’s response to exercise. The body adapts to a daily dose of running or other aerobic activity by becoming more efficient. It is inefficient to lug around a lot of muscle on long runs; muscle is metabolically expensive to maintain. The body will catabolize calorie-consuming lean muscle tissue to conserve the body’s energy stores (metabolic compensation). One researcher called it part of the survival mechanism. A quote from the article: "A review of exercise intervention studies, published in 2001: It found that after 20 weeks, weight loss was less than expected, and that 'the amount of exercise energy expenditure had no correlation with weight loss in these longer studies." Other meta-studies reach similar conclusions. A quote: "Adding physical activity has a very modest effect on weight loss — 'a lesser effect than you'd mathematically predict'". Other quotes: “You cannot outrun a bad diet”, and “There are all kinds of reasons to exercise that are good for your health”.  

Good health is the reason. Our focus at New Orleans Personal Training and at Austin Personal Training is on the long list of health benefits provided by strength training. Additional calories burned are just an added bonus, and strength training produces the largest added bonus. Strength training burns calories four ways and burns calories long after exercise has been completed. For more on the subject of strength training and calorie burning go here.

Three different diets, equal in calories, three vastly different results

This New York Times article, What Really Makes Us Fat, discusses the result of a study that produced surprising results.

The experiment: Three separate groups on three different diets stuck to a diet for a month. All subjects consumed the same amount of calories.

Diet 1: A high-carbohydrate low-fat diet - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein.

Diet 2: A low glycemic index diet - fewer carbohydrates in total - non-starchy vegetables, beans, and minimally processed sources.

Diet 3: The Atkins diet - high in fat and protein and very low in carbohydrates.

Results: The fewer carbohydrates consumed, the more energy was expended.

A quote from the article:

“On the very low-carbohydrate diet, subjects expended 300 more calories a day than they did on the low-fat diet and 150 calories more than on the low-glycemic-index diet.”

And another:

“The fewer carbohydrates consumed, the more energy these weight-reduced people expended. On the very low-carbohydrate Atkins diet, there was virtually no metabolic adaptation to the weight loss. These subjects expended, on average, only 100 fewer calories a day than they did at their full weights.“

When there a restriction of calories consumed the body makes a metabolic adaption by burning less calories, even more so when the diet is high in carbohydrates. Strength training can offset that metabolic adaptation. High intensity training (HIT) for strength will burn more calories than other forms of strength training. HIT effectively burns calories four ways. HIT produces higher sustained excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) than any other form of exercise. Muscle is metabolically expensive. HIT will make you stronger, and a stronger body will burn more calories even at rest. 

At Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness Training we offer high intensity training (HIT) that has been show effective for weight loss. All you have to do is stick with it and make modest changes in eating habits.  You will lose fat and more likely keep it off.

Sensible Weight Loss

There is confusion of about just how many calories are burned as a result of exercise and also about how much added muscle increases metabolism. The short answer is not much. Fat loss is primarily accomplished by eating less - not diet per se but by following a sensible eating plan you can stick tofor the long haul, in other words for the rest of your life. Diets, as a rule, seldom work in the long run.

The type for training we do, High Intensity Interval Training, produces the most Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), and as such you will burn more calories than other forms of exercises. Also high intensity interval training has been shown to lower one’s appetite.

One study examining the effect of high intensity strength training on metabolism showed a nine-fold improvement in fat burning. Why more than other forms of exercise? Because HIIT burns calories four ways .

The best way by far to lose weight is to follow an eating plan you can stick to and couple that with weight training. With caloric restriction (dieting) the body receives a message that it is not getting enough calories to sustain itself. The body responds by catabolizing lean body tissue which is metabolically expensive to maintain. The result is a lower resting metabolism. When you strength train the body receives the opposite message. The muscles will make a positive adaptation to the demands placed on the muscles. The muscles become bigger and stronger and will require more calories not less.

One of our clients lost 50 pounds slowly, very slowing. When you lose weight slowly the body has time to adapt to the new homo stasis, a new set point. When you lose weight quickly the body is desperately trying to get back to its original set point. That is why weight is re-gained so quickly.

At Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Fitness Training we offer high intensity training (HIT). It is a full body workout. It takes about 30 minutes, and you do it once or twice a week. This is a workout that you slowly build up to, but it is doable at 30 minutes once or twice a week. All you have to do is to keep improving, make modest changes in eating habits, and you will get to where you need to be. The other days of the week you are free to engage in activities you enjoy; there are not hours of drudgery in the gym. This is a workout plan most people can stick to for the long haul

High-intensity intermittent exercise effectively burns fat

From the Journal of Obesity from this study, High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss comes this quote:

“The effect of regular aerobic exercise on body fat is negligible; however, other forms of exercise may have a greater impact on body composition. For example, emerging research examining high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) indicates that it may be more effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than other types of exercise.”

And this quote:

“Regular HIIE produces significant increases in aerobic and anaerobic fitness and brings about significant skeletal muscle adaptations that are oxidative and glycolytic in nature. HIIE appears to have a dramatic acute and chronic effect on insulin sensitivity.”

The study goes on to say that the results are promising but more studies are needed. They study states that aerobic exercise has little effect on body fat, and that the potential for fat loss high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) is promising. There is a long list know benefits (see recent posts) plus potential benefits. That is good enough to start incorporating HIIE into a training training regimen.

High-intensity intermittent exercise is brief, intense exercise training with short rests in between the intense bouts of exercise. This can be accomplished on aerobic equipment or by doing a series of strength training exercises. We can show you how to both at New Orleans Fitness Trainersand at Austin Personal Training Both are safe, effective, and efficient. You won't need to spend hours in the gym.

Exercise and weight loss, how much?

From this article this quote: Exercise: The News You Don't Want to Hear

“A much better and more efficient way to exercise -- and one that research is clearly showing works a lot better -- is to do high-intensity circuit training. Put the beauty bells down and lift some iron. Shorten your rest periods. If you're doing "aerobics," do some interval training where you sprint for a while then jog to catch your breath.

And by the way, forget about "toning." It doesn't exist. You're either building muscle, maintaining the muscle you already have, or your muscles are slowly shrinking. The first two are accomplished with weight that's heavy to lift. The third is accomplished by doing nothing.

Please understand: No one believes in exercise more than I do. But trying to lose weight with exercise alone -- particularly the long, slow, arduous and generally not-fun method of running mindlessly on a treadmill -- is a doomed strategy if your goal is to lose body fat“

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the type of training we do at New Orleans Personal Trainers at Austin Fitness Trainers.

Sometimes it not as simple as eating less and exercising more

Sometimes you can’t win for losing. One study found that those who eat less often are more likely to be overweight. Researchers found that:

“on average, the normal weight subjects ate three meals and a little over two snacks each day, whereas the overweight group averaged three meals and just over one snack a day”.

Overweight people who have lost significant amounts of weight tend to gain it back and gain it back quickly. These people experience a slowing metabolism and hormonal changes that increase their appetites. Perhaps if you can just persist and keep the weight off over the longer term, say a year, you’d be more likely to keep it off.

According to another study that unfortunately that does not appear to be the case. The discouraging result after a year of maintaining weight loss:

A year later, the researchers found that the participants’ metabolism and hormone levels had not returned to the levels before the study started.

Another quote:

The results show, once again, Dr. Leibel said, that losing weight “is not a neutral event,” and that it is no accident that more than 90 percent of people who lose a lot of weight gain it back. “You are putting your body into a circumstance it will resist,” he said. “You are, in a sense, more metabolically normal when you are at a higher body weight."

Instead of enduring the restrictions of a diet only to gain it back, start an eating plan you know you can stick to. Add a little bit of HIT strength training that burtns calories at a very high rate and live an active healthy life style. This is something that is doable for most people.

HIT is the type of fitness training we do at Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness Training.

What is E.P.O.C?

The Wikipedia definition of EPOC : “Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) is a measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity.”

Anaerobic exercise increases EPOC more than aerobic exercise does. Resistance exercise (strength training) is primarily anaerobic. Circuit resistance training produces the largest EPOC response.

According to Murphy, E. and Swartzkopf, R. 1992 (Effects of standard set and circuit weight training on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Journal of Applied Sport Science Research, 6(2), 88-91), circuit resistance training produces a larger EPOC response compared to the standard resistance training. At Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Fitness Training circuit resistance training is one of protocols we use. 

Our aim is to safely increase exercise intensity over a period of weeks. We work muscles to a deep fatigue and then quickly moving to the next exercise. Each individual will go to an intensity level that will be appropriate for them, one the person feels she or he can reasonably handle. We will gradually increase the amount of weight lifted and at the same time, lessen the time between exercises. No time is wasted. 

You will be surprised how hard you will be breathing after such a workout. Such a personal training session will not take long, about 20 to 25 minutes. You will increase strength, flexibility, tone, muscle, cardiovascular ability, and produce a larger EPOC response – you will burn more calories during and after the workout. This is an efficient workout, as it affects so many factors of good health in such a short amount of time. If you don’t have time to exercise or if you hate exercise but know you have to do it this is the type of exercise that produces the most bang with minimal time in the gym.

Does added muscle burn significant calories

Does adding a pound of muscle burn the often-quoted number of 50 calories a day? The 50-calorie-a-day number can’t be true if one makes the assumption that the muscle tissue you all ready had before adding that pound of muscle will produce the same calorie burn - i.e. all lean muscle tissue consumes 50 calories a day. A 155 pound man with 62 pounds of skeletal muscle would have to consume 3100 calories each day just to support his muscles.

A more reasonable assumption is that strength training will results in an increase in resting metabolism for existing muscle plus and an additional increase in metabolism for new muscle. From the article examining two studies Why The Confusion on Muscle and Metabolism? Wayne Wescott concludes:

Strength training does have a significant elevating effect on resting metabolic rate, and is therefore a highly beneficial exercise for increasing daily calorie utilization and enhancing fat loss. It would appear that the metabolic increase occurs in all of the strength trained muscle tissue, and that the additional energy utilization may be about 1.5 calories per pound of muscle per day.

The stats from the studies examined:

A standard three-month strength training program may produce the following effects in previously sedentary adults and seniors:

1. Increase overall resting metabolism by
about 7 percent.
2. Increase lean (muscle) weight by about 3 pounds.
3. Increase daily resting metabolic rate in all of the trained muscle by about
1.5 calories per pound (from 5.7 calories per pound to 7.2 calories per pound).

Interestingly both studies were conducted using brief, intense 30 minute workouts of the type we use at our facilities- Austin Personal Trainers andNew Orleans Personal Training. With strength training you burn calories four ways:

1. Added muscle burns additional calories.

2. Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) - recovery and rebuilding muscle as a result of the workout

3. The workout itself.

4. Existing muscle regularly trained will experience an increase in tone and an increase in resting metabolism.

Strength training is something one might want to consider if one is embarking on a weight loss program. Not only will stronger people burn more calories at rest, people who are stronger can engage in more activities and do them for longer periods with less chance of injury creating a beneficial cycle of fat burning. For those will little free time you might want to consider high intensity strength training. For time spent nothing burns more calories than high intensity strength training - nothing. One study examining the effect of high intensity strength training on metabolism showed a nine-fold improvement in fat burning.

Lose weight by lifting weights

Strength training can have a positive role in fat loss. If one goes on a diet with significant caloric restriction the body's response of self preservation is accomplished by lowering it basal metabolic rate. The body does this by catabolizing lean body mass. The weight loss will be both fat and muscle. If one strength trains the body receives the message that lean body tissue is vital to survive the demands placed on it. Rather than losing lean body mass the body preserves it and adds to it.

From Men's Health magazine article 5 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight:

"In a study at the University of Connecticut, we put overweight men on a 1,500-calorie-a-day diet, and divided them into three groups — one that didn't exercise, another that performed aerobic exercise 3 days a week, and a third that did both aerobic exercise and weight training. Each group lost almost the same amount of weight — about 21 pounds. But the lifters shed 5 more pounds of fat than those who didn't pump iron".

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Fat burning at a rate nine times the rate of endurance exercise

From this article, Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism, this quote:

“The metabolic adaptations taking place in the skeletal muscle in response to the HIIT program appear to favor the process of lipid oxidation”.

And this:

“Despite its lower energy cost, the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) program induced a more pronounced reduction in subcutaneous adiposity compared with the ET program. When corrected for the energy cost of training, the decrease in the sum of six subcutaneous skinfolds induced by the HIIT program was ninefold greater than by the endurance training (ET) program

If you want to get the most for your minimal free time or if you hate to exercise HIIT will burn more calories for the time spent. Calories are burned four ways with this workout:

*After the workout your body burns calories in the process of rebuilding and recovery - especially after HIIT.

*As you become stronger you enhance muscle tone. This burns more calories.

*You burn calories while you exercise.

*As you become stronger your body will add muscle. Muscle is metabolically active. Your resting metabolic rate will rise with the additional muscle.

HIIT is the type of fitness training we do at Austin Personal Training andNew Orleans Fitness Training. The fitness training sessions are infrequent (once or twice a week) and short (20 to 30 minutes), but the sessions are demanding especially in regard to calorie burning. For those who wish to do more ,this strength training program will free up your time to do other types of calorie-burning activities.

Burn calories four ways with strength training

Strength training helps you burn calories four ways:

1. Calories burned after the exercise stops. Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) occurs after the workout. After running your body replenishes sugar stores. Strength training produces a larger post-exercise calorie demand as the body replaces sugar and rebuilds muscle as a result of the micro-trauma that has been imposed on the muscles.


2. Added muscle burns additional calories. Muscle is metabolically expensive to maintain and will require calories 24/7.

3. The workout itself. All forms of exercise burn calories, but not really as much as people think. Those who exercise with lesser intensity will burn less calories that those who exercise with more intensity.


4. Existing muscle. Existing muscle regularly strength trained will experience an increase in tone and an increase in resting metabolism. You burn more calories 24/7. Running does not produce a similar result. For more on existing muscle burning more calories see this post.

Not only will stronger people burn more calories at rest, people who are stronger can engage in more activities and do them for longer periods with less chance of injury creating a beneficial cycle of fat burning. Strength training is something to consider if one is looking to lose weight.

For those will little free time you might want to consider high intensity training (HIT) for strength. One study examining the effect of high intensity strength training on metabolism showed a nine-fold improvement in fat burning. High intensity training is the type of personal training we do atAustin Fitness Training and at New Orleans Personal Training. HIT is only performed once or twice a week for about 30 minutes. This will free you up to do other calories-burning recreational activities. It is a win, win, win ... proposition.

Burn calories long after your exercise session in over

We burn calories four ways. One of the ways is the burning of additional calories after the exercise session is over. Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) is a measurably increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity. All forms of exercise produce EPOC and burn additional calories post exercise. Strength training produces more EPOC; high intensity circuit strength training produces more than lower intensity strength training.

In one study, Effects of resistance exercise bouts of different intensities but equal work on EPOC, two groups underwent strength training, one at low intensity and the other at a high intensity. The conclusion:

“High-intensity exercise (85% 8-RM) will produce similar exercise oxygen consumption, with a greater EPOC magnitude and volume than low-intensity exercise (45% 8-RM)".

Subjects lifting more weight fewer times burned more energy and had a greater metabolic boost after exercise. The amount of additional calories burned after exercise can be significant. One study demonstrated a ninefold improvement in fat burning with high intensity interval training (HIIT).

HIIT is the type of personal training we do at Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Fitness Trainers. The personal training sessions are short (20 to 30 minutes) and infrequent (once or twice a week) but demanding especially in regard to calorie burning. For those who wish to do more exercise this personal training program will free up your time to do other types of calorie-burning activities.