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Women's Exercise Programs

Posted May 06 2008 7:02pm
Women's exercise programs are usually designed incorrectly and according to a paradigm based on myth and anecdotal opinion. Here is part four of my mini-series about the myths surrounding women's exercise programs:

Myth: Exercise is the cornerstone of any any woman's plan to lose weight and body fat. Exercise should be considered the primary method and "weapon" used to lose a great deal of body weight and body fat.

Fact: While exercise should certainly be part of any woman's weight loss efforts, in reality, it plays a much smaller role than most think. Yes, exercise burns calories. In fact, if one is using the correct types of exercise-strength training, metabolic resistance training, and interval training-it can burn a significant amount of calories over a 24 hour period. HOWEVER, it cannot match the efficiency of simply not consuming excess calories in the first place.

A calorically appropriate diet consisting of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and some slow digesting whole grain sources of carbohydrate is much more effective and efficient than exercise if the primary goal is weight loss and fat loss. Consider how long it takes the average person to eat a 400 calorie slice of pizza...maybe 10 minutes on average. Now, consider how much exercise it would take to burn that same 400 calories...40 minutes on average (assuming an exercise intensity of 10 calories burned per minute, which is moderately intense exercise for a 150 lb. woman).

I hope you see my point: given the busy lives most people lead, and the practical amount of time most can devote towards exercise programs, one would be much better off-and would reach their goals faster-if they made the commitment to eating an appropriate amount of nutritious calories. For most individuals, eating 10-15 calories per pound of their current body weight will induce weight loss. Unlike exercise, eating an appropriate number of calories does not take any time. It takes some planning and discipline, but not an exorbitant amount of time.

The idea of "exercising off" body weight, which is prevalent when discussing women's exercise programs, is a recipe for frustration if the goal if weight loss and fat loss. Most people just do not have the time to burn up enough energy through exercise alone to lose a significant amount of body weight quickly. However, if we view exercise as a SUPPLEMENTAL ADJUNCT METHOD, and just part of a weight loss prescription...as opposed to the entire prescription...one will stand a better chance of succeeding.

So, if a calorically appropriate diet is the primary method of choice for weight loss and fat loss, what do I recommend? Well, there are a lot of sound life style oriented (not diets) nutrition programs out there, but I've found Mike Rousell's Your Naked Naked Nutrition Guide, in particular, to be of tremendous value. One of my private clients, John Wallace, recently lost 13.5 lbs. in 4 weeks using this program.

Remember, I'm certainly not saying women's exercise programs are not valuable...THEY CAN BE EXTREMELY VALUABLE (I'm a personal trainer after all :). Just keep in mind, when discussing weight loss and fat loss in particular, they just are not very efficient when used alone. You have to have your nutrition "on point", and supplement this with the exercise...not vice versa.
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