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Old 08-10-2009, 04:07 PM   #1
John Wood
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Time Article - Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

Warning, this is long!

This article was recently published in Time Magazine (wfs) http://www.time.com/time/health/arti...4857-1,00.html

The basic premise is very closely related to the major points of Good Calories, Bad Calories. The major point is that following the common recommendation of 60-90 minutes of cardio-based exercise on most days of the week will more commonly lead to increased appetite that prevents the expected weight loss. I think that I can safely say the the average CrossFitter also believes this to be true.

The ACSM has responded by mass emailing its trainers with a letter vehemently attacking the article and even including a message paper to give to their clients to explain why this article is so wrong. The message paper is here. (wfs) http://www.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT0...ODk/index.html

I think that ACSM's response to the ideas that this article presents represent most of the current problems that we're facing in the fitness industry. Following outdated recommendations and blindly disregarding new ideas and, in all reality, admitting that we may have been wrong.

Also, if you're interested, here is what the ACSM mass email said.

Quote:
Dear ACSM members and certified professionals,

Last Friday, an article appeared in Time magazine making statements that we believe run counter to fact and the public interest. The article claimed that exercise, contrary to the research with which we’re all familiar, is not an effective health tool, particularly as it pertains to weight loss.

While an ACSM member and expert was consulted for the story, he agrees that his research and opinions were selectively reported. Among its numerous claims, the story would have us believe that:

*Losing weight matters more than being aerobically fit in preventing heart disease
*One can’t lose weight from exercise because exercise makes you hungrier – and willpower can’t conquer the hunger enough to make good food choices
*Exercising 60 to 90 minutes most days of the week in order to lose weight (a recommendation from an ACSM Position Stand) is unrealistic
*Leisure-time physical activity – just moving around more during the day – is more effective for weight loss than dedicated exercise
*Vigorous exercise depletes energy resources so much that it leads to overeating – i.e., weight gain

Your assistance is needed in getting the right health message out to the public. These suggested talking points will help you dispel myths and confirm the value of exercise to your patients, clients and colleagues.

Also, we encourage you to adapt this letter to the editor and submit it to your local news outlets, helping readers and viewers get the best evidence-based facts and information.

Thank you for your involvement as we continue to increase awareness of the true benefits and advantages of a regular physical activity program.
Here's the response that I sent to the VP of ACSM
Quote:
To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this email in response to the mass email that was recently sent regarding the Time Magazine article on the inability of exercise to facilitate weight loss.

I found the article insightful, highly informative, and especially lacking in the weight-loss misinformation that is blindly regurgitated by trainers across the country despite its continual failure to elicit actual results.

As a trainer who works full-time in a gym that fully supports the philosophy of ACSM in regards to exercise recommendation for weight loss, I watch a multitude of clientele sweat away daily on a variety of cardio machines while failing to achieve actual results. So, why the failure to reach their goals? The exact reasons stated by this article.

Without exception, I have found those members of our gym who come to me after they have failed with other trainers have nutritional habits that prevent their exercise from being effective.

It is undeniable that in today's society of calorically dense foods, it is very easy to erase the benefits of a workout session by the traditional post-workout treat meal. If you think this doesn't happen, you haven't been paying attention. There is a McDonald's across the street from my gym and I've spent my fair share of time sitting in the parking lot watching cars leave the gym and pull in to McDonald's.

As trainers, it is our responsibility to follow the lifestyles of our clients and find the obstacles to their success. Holding on to outdated recommendations such as the ones listed in your message points paper (by the way, you accuse Time of not providing sources for its research, but your talking paper doesn't either) rather than having a true understanding of the physiology of weight-loss and looking at the client's lifestyle will never result in clients achieving their goals.

ACSM's continued recommendation of principles such as caloric restriction and the low-fat diet supported by poorly conceived studies such as Seven Nations and Framingham only contribute to the continued failure of those seeking weight loss.

Any trainer who tracks the empirical evidence of their program's success (which, unfortunately, is not very many) will find that following the recommendations of caloric restriction in the diet while using cardio-based exercise programs to increase caloric expenditure will find that these programs simply do not work.

It is a truly arrogant move by ACSM to simply waive off what this article is suggesting simply because it is in direct opposition to your historical stance. The basis of scientific progress is to aggressively attempt to prove that your hypothesis is incorrect and only accept it as a theory if you continue to fail to prove that your hypothesis is wrong. Dependence on previously established theories while refusing to investigate new ideas fosters ignorance and hinders progress. Are you really recommending that your trainers blindly follow certain principles simply because it's what you've always recommended?

There is a revolution occurring in fitness. Professional sports teams are throwing out their machines and replacing them with free weights. They are taking their athletes off of low-fat diets and refocusing on macronutrient balance. Leading trainers such as Luke Richesson of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Steve Watterson of the Tennessee Titans are applying these principles with fantastic results. Will ACSM be left behind because of an unwillingness to accept that their previous recommendations may have been incorrect?
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:09 PM   #2
Tom Taylor
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Re: Time Article - Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

Very well said John.
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:21 PM   #3
Jonathan Silverman
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Re: Time Article - Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

"*Losing weight matters more than being aerobically fit in preventing heart disease"

I think aerobic fitness and preventing heart disease is flawed reasoning.

everyone knows your appetite incr. and you are supposed to eat. you need the raw materials.

good point about watching ppl go fromt eh gym right to mcdonalds. empirical evidence rocks.

thanks for posting.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:19 AM   #4
Jason Ashman
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Re: Time Article - Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

Well spoken on the letter to the ACSM, sir.

My beef with the TIME article lies in the fact that it seems to draw the conclusion that you can get healthy and fit without exercising, which is ridiculously false. I agree completely with attempting to reveal the falsehood of being on a treadmill for an hour in hopes of losing weight because a bunch of people sponsored by treadmill companies say its a good thing, but I think the article's shallow depth (combined with its breadth of circulation) sends the wrong message; That exercise doesn't make you healthy.

Because, let's face it: The average American associates being thin with being healthy. So, if you don't need exercise to get thin, then by (flawed) definition you don't need exercise to be healthy.

Bad Juju.

The body is a system, and to take full advantage of that system, you need to work all of its components. While I agree with the basic premise of the article, it needed to go significantly deeper, and in not doing so, it is significantly flawed. The difference between aerobic-only exercise and a generalized fitness regime that works all of the energy systems should have been stated, along with its health benefits.

Of course, considering the guy- a staff reporter- who wrote it is famous for writing controversial stuff (and has zero fitness knowledge), I really should be blaming TIME for letting this go out without due diligence to research.
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:31 PM   #5
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: Time Article - Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

Quote:
The exercise that was prescribed for the exercise groups was a moderate intensity programme using an exercise bike or treadmill three or four times a week for six months for a mean total duration of 72, 136 and 198 minutes per week respectively.
This follows the usual media disinformation that Exercise = Cardio.
None of the media outlets reported that moderate intensity cardio exercise failed to acheive weightloss. The media simply reported that "Exercise Won't Make You Thin." The media makes no distinction between LSD cardio and any other form of exercise.
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:40 PM   #6
Steven Low
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Re: Time Article - Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

I'm not sure why most of the certification organizations are behind in their thinking showing that heavy lighting and high intensity work such as intervals/tabata/metabolic conditioning/etc. are superior than "cardio" for both weight loss and improving body composition.

That said... most of of the health organizations... aren't too good on their nutritional recommendations either...

Pretty sad
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:54 PM   #7
Michael Henry
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Re: Time Article - Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
I'm not sure why most of the certification organizations are behind in their thinking showing that heavy lighting and high intensity work such as intervals/tabata/metabolic conditioning/etc. are superior than "cardio" for both weight loss and improving body composition.

Pretty sad
Probably because they are more difficult and people (in general) would be less likely to want to do something like that, thus turning them off of going to see a globo type trainer. I'm not into the conspiracy theory that globos are in collusion with the governing bodies of public exercise and monolpolizing the fitness information in an effort to keep making money, but everyone is looking for what's easy, and 30 minutes on a elliptical, 3 times a week is easy, although ineffective.

In the fitness industry's defense, when I buy a fitness magazine at the airport they seem to start talking more of functional fitness and interval type work, more so than a few years ago. So hopefully with more articles like this, as long as folks are like, "Okay, that doesn't work, what does," the general populace will start to gravitate to those better methods of exercising.
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Old 08-13-2009, 04:41 AM   #8
Melissa Glasscock
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Re: Time Article - Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

As soon as I finished reading this Time article, I came straight over to the computer and started searching the boards for a thread about this. John Cloud's article really annoyed me because some of it seemed so obvious - oh, I shouldn't be drinking Gatorade and eating muffins after a workout?! Amazing!

While I'm happy to see nutrition being discussed in the media as being essential to fitness, I was very irritated by the spin this journalist took on the issue (and the lack of attention to what a truly good diet would entail). While Cloud did note exercise's benefits to cognitive and mental health, as well as its ability to prevent disease, he essentially damned exercise as useless because "most of us won't be very successful" controlling and disciplining our dietary habits afterwards. (Not that he provides any worthwhile information on how one would go about doing so.)

Cloud basically says that since you can't keep yourself away from Starbucks or McDonald's afterwards, you shouldn't even go to the gym; just try to take the stairs more often. This is particularly infuriating to me because every time Cloud mentions exercise in the article it's connected to a globo gym machine - the elliptical, the StairMaster, the VersaClimber. He seems wary of strenuous, high intensity exercise, which made the ending of the article even more grating to me: he concludes by saying that perhaps he'll skip the next day's workout on the VersaClimber and the "blueberry bar that is my usual postexercise reward." That sealed it for me: this guy is not someone whose fitness advice (or journalism) I'd care to follow.
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Old 08-13-2009, 03:57 PM   #9
Steven Low
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Re: Time Article - Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

Quote:
Cloud basically says that since you can't keep yourself away from Starbucks or McDonald's afterwards, you shouldn't even go to the gym; just try to take the stairs more often. This is particularly infuriating to me because every time Cloud mentions exercise in the article it's connected to a globo gym machine - the elliptical, the StairMaster, the VersaClimber. He seems wary of strenuous, high intensity exercise, which made the ending of the article even more grating to me: he concludes by saying that perhaps he'll skip the next day's workout on the VersaClimber and the "blueberry bar that is my usual postexercise reward." That sealed it for me: this guy is not someone whose fitness advice (or journalism) I'd care to follow.
Time isn't exactly a fitness magazine or anything.

Not that you should be following advice from those anyway.
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