Increasing muscle mass and its effect on metabolism and weight loss.
Posted: 09 February 2014 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I was just reading through some of Anoop’s older articles and came across an article that talks about exercise NOT providing the weight loss benefits most people expect.  The final outcome is that diet makes the difference and that exercise is at best a minor factor that is often overcome by human nature (overestimating calories burned, automatically eating extra calories to compensate for the exercise, etc.).  I have often seen people stating that diet makes the difference, not exercise.  Some research indicates that in the early 1900’s, exercise wasn’t even really considered as a factor in weight management.

I think that the minor points in this hypothesis are pretty much true, but it is a little short sighted.  The basis of my thinking on this is that increasing muscle mass will increase metabolism and change your body processes, which will have a dramatic effect over the long term.

Now, I know that people have all heard that a pound of muscle can increase your metabolism anywhere from 20-100 calories/day and I know that this is simply not true.  I know that it is probably around 6 calories/pound of muscle/day.  The comparison of “If I gain 10 pounds of muscle I will burn an extra 500 calories.” to the reality of “Oh, it’s more like 60 calories.” is somewhat disappointing and the natural tendency is to discount the entire idea.  The problem is the investment over time. 

We know that the typical person gains maybe 10 pounds/decade.  A lot of people may actually gain 5-10 pounds/year.  But few people are going to gain 100 pounds in a year.  If you add just 1 pound of muscle to your frame, that equates to 2,190 calories/year that you will burn.  If you add 15 pounds to your frame, you are suddenly burning 32,850 calories extra per year.  That is the equivalent of 9.38 pounds of fat lost in a year.  So, suddenly, if you are gaining 5 pounds per year, you can change NOTHING and lose 4.38 pounds. Most people can carry an extra 15 pounds of muscle pretty reliably.  These numbers do not account for the calories burned during exercise needed to stimulate this muscle growth either.  And of course, if one gained 30 pounds, that’s the equivalent of 18.5 pounds of fat lost every year.  Over time, the added muscle can have a significant impact with minimal changes to a person’s lifestyle/diet.

I also believe that in the extremely obese, intense exercise and added muscle will improve insulin and leptin sensitivity.  Two huge benefits of intense exercise that may make it near impossible for a dieter to lose weight.

I believe the impact of intense exercise and added muscle has been under-estimated.  What do you think?

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Posted: 10 February 2014 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Hi
Gaining 100 pounds of muscle per year seems to me unrealistic
even with drugs

except this yes, even if training not spend calories per-say or spend a little amount of calories
might be very helpful in weight management in a long term

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Posted: 10 February 2014 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I guess the hard part about talking about long term is we don’t have any studies showing this type of weight loss. It is just a hypothesis that trainers like to believe to be a fact. And a lot of obese people carry a lot of muscle. In fact, Sumo wrestlers have some incredible muscle mass. And all this muscle would come in handy for weight mainteanance and prevent further gain, but we lack these kind of studies.

And short term studies have looked at the effects of weight training vs aerobic training. Aerobics lowered fat & lost muscle, while weights increased muscle, but didn’t see much in terms of fat loss.

J Appl Physiol (1985). 2012 Dec 15;113(12):1831-7. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01370.2011. Epub 2012 Sep 27.
Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults.
Willis LH, Slentz CA, Bateman LA, Shields AT, Piner LW, Bales CW, Houmard JA, Kraus WE.
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Abstract
Recent guidelines on exercise for weight loss and weight maintenance include resistance training as part of the exercise prescription. Yet few studies have compared the effects of similar amounts of aerobic and resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight adults. STRRIDE AT/RT, a randomized trial, compared aerobic training, resistance training, and a combination of the two to determine the optimal mode of exercise for obesity reduction. Participants were 119 sedentary, overweight or obese adults who were randomized to one of three 8-mo exercise protocols: 1) RT: resistance training, 2) AT: aerobic training, and 3) AT/RT: aerobic and resistance training (combination of AT and RT). Primary outcomes included total body mass, fat mass, and lean body mass. The AT and AT/RT groups reduced total body mass and fat mass more than RT (P < 0.05), but they were not different from each other. RT and AT/RT increased lean body mass more than AT (P < 0.05). While requiring double the time commitment, a program of combined AT and RT did not result in significantly more fat mass or body mass reductions over AT alone. Balancing time commitments against health benefits, it appears that AT is the optimal mode of exercise for reducing fat mass and body mass, while a program including RT is needed for increasing lean mass in middle-aged, overweight/obese individuals.

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Posted: 10 February 2014 05:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Anatoly - 10 February 2014 07:44 AM

Hi
Gaining 100 pounds of muscle per year seems to me unrealistic
even with drugs

except this yes, even if training not spend calories per-say or spend a little amount of calories
might be very helpful in weight management in a long term

I don’t think hardly anyone can gain 100 pounds of muscle naturally. I hope I didn’t imply that.  My point was that, over time, even 90-180 calorie/day increases will make a huge difference.

Anoop- some interesting points indeed. I can see why short term studies on weight training wouldn’t show improved fat loss - it would be a slow change that has to take place over long periods of time, while people doing aerobics are geared toward burning more calories.

I also wonder if aerobics trains your body to burn fat more easily, even when not training. 

As far as the sumo wrestlers - this is a good point and highlights the point that there is no panacea and in the end it is all calories in and calories out to a large degree.  You can always out-eat your muscle mass, mainly because eating is so easy and FUN!

Actually, in one of the articles I read from the NY Times, they pointed out that the big reason doctors didn’t believe that exercise helped people lose weight in the early 1900’s was because they had studies that showed the more people worked out, the larger their appetites became over time, and they would eat to compensate for this. 

I think multiple changes can be employed to increase long-term success. Train your body to burn fat with AT, gain muscle mass to increase your metabolism even just a little, improve your hormone levels/response, and train your diet.  By train your diet, I mean - decide what you need to eat and train your body to use that over a long period of time.  Work against the natural tendency to increase calorie intake based on energy expenditure and human nature, and plan and track your actual intake so that it is in line with what you need and not what you may perceive.

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Posted: 11 February 2014 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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The national weight registry keeps track of people who have lost more than 30 lbs and maintained it for more than 1 year or longer. http://www.nwcr.ws/default.htm. But it is an observational study. They alos count people who did gastric bypass too.

We are still struggling with weight loss and maintenance. In fact “success” in weight loss treatments is a weight loss of >=5% of bodyweight maintained for 1 or more year. this wont get you anyway close to the normal BMI or anything. It is is set so conservatively because people just can’t do it.

I think it has to be both at the individual and at the community level. Everyone should come together to create a healthy environment, like workplace, school, community and not just in your home.

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Posted: 11 February 2014 05:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Anoop,
I see your point.  You should read a book called “Change Anything”.  I forget the author, but he talks a lot about people trying to change things and failing in life.  We often attribute things to “will power” but that turns out to have little to do with success.  We often underestimate the power of our environment in the outcome of our attempts to change things.  He uses a simple example at one point and says, how much TV do you watch?  How often do you use a treadmill?  Where are these items placed in your house?  Most people have the TV in the central location in their house where watching it is effortless and easy, and it is just natural.  In contrast, they often put the treadmill in their basement, or somewhere they don’t see it.  He then asks you to think about how much TV you’d watch if instead of having the TV in your bedroom or living room, it was in the basement?

I think this also gets back to your point in another thread about people having certain preferences for exercise - some people like to run marathons, some like to do HIT weight training, etc. I think we often try to think of weight loss as “cut calories and exercise more and it’ll happen”, but the methods we adopt to accomplish these goals may be more important than the goals themselves in the long term.

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Posted: 12 February 2014 03:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Thanks. I will look it up. And i don’t forever think that anyone has THE solution. We have been looking at behavioral change models since the 1970’s. It is really complex. And these theories work at the individual, interpersonal and community level and we are still struggling. There is now more and more evidence to show how genetic factors play big role than previously though and hence some of these are beyond pout volitional control. Look up behavioral change models when you get a chance.

I ‘think’ community level strategies are the only hope. But there is too much politics and financial challenges to overcome. I am in the public health department building - folks in it are supposed to fight and promote healthy behaviors. And guess what - there is vending machine with all the junk food you can imagine. i think it is time that we stop blaming the person and look at the environment around us too.

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Posted: 12 February 2014 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Anoop - read that book.  You will love it.  It is right up your alley with what you are saying.  That is funny about the vending machine.  But on the flip side, it looks like you’re pretty lean even though you walk past the vending machine everyday, so what is the difference?

The book talks A LOT about how we think will power is like a cosmic lottery - if you are successful it is because you had will power, if you are not then you didn’t.  He points out many studies which demonstrate the dramatic difference a small change in environment can create in a person’s actions.

I think a big problem has do with people’s decision making abilities and wanting something vs. wanting to want it.  I was an obese kid, until about 7th grade, and then I lost 50 pounds and stayed in shape up through college with a couple of bumps where I got fat and lost it again real quick.  After college, I came home, got a job, settled in and stopped working out.  Over the past decade I’ve gained 100+ pounds of fat and the entire time I kept saying to myself, “I know what to do, why am I not doing it?”  It is because I wanted to want to lose weight, but I didn’t really want to lose it yet.

I think people need to learn to make decisions - not better decisions - just decisions.  Most people can’t even decide on what they want for dinner.  We have so many options in life, we don’t want to eliminate any possibilities.  So we become non-decision making creatures that go where the wind takes us.  Mix in a negative environment and it is disastrous. 

But yes - it is all interconnected.  The individual does not live in a vacuum.

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Posted: 14 February 2014 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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I will check it out.

What is the difference? That is the billion dollar question that we have been asking for years. Maybe I will write a review.

There are a lot of theories that have been studied a lot. for example, The transtheoritical model looks at what stage people are in and thereby customize their strategies.  For example, someone who is already started to lose weight, there is no point in talking about the pros and cons of losing weight, they should focus more on goal setting, self monitoring, social barriers and such. Someone who as you said has not even thought about losing weight should be focusing more on the pros and cons of losing weight so that they move into the action stage. These are individual models, but there are ones which looks at the environment. One big compoenent of many models is self efficacy: how confident are you in doing the behaviour. I would suggest looking up these models when you get a chance.

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