Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Biggest Loser permanently damages contestants

This is the exact wrong way to train anyone.
Yesterday's workout got a bimodal response. I guess that's good, Taleb always says they should love you or hate you, never be indifferent. That workout was a trial of what I'm planning for the endurance program, and it turns out it's the exact opposite of the dangerous stuff they do on The Biggest Loser.

Today's article talks about the irreparable metabolic damage that the extreme food restriction coupled with extreme exercising can do. If you don't have a secret obsession with The Biggest Loser (like me), you might not know what they put these folks through. They take severely obese people (who already have a damaged metabolism), do some fat shaming and then put them on an extreme calorie restricted diet of nutrient void food followed by up to nine hours of exercise.

Obese people aren't obese for lack of trying, or for a character flaw, or for lack of will power - they have something messed up that shunts the food they eat towards storage, not towards giving them energy. There are lots of theories on why this is - I'm not going to go into that right now - but the fact is that obese and overweight people actually have very slow metabolisms compared to the amount of fuel they're consuming.

So now you isolate them on a ranch, make them eat egg white omelets and Jenny-o (sponsored) turkey bacon, and limit them to only a few hundred calories a day. Then you put them on an exercise routine that burns thousands of calories. What do you think happens? Their bodies adjust their metabolic rate down to conserve energy. They're in starvation mode. Their bodies are freaking out trying save calories wherever they can. And it's a life-long effect, permanently damaging their biochemistry.

Have you ever seen a Biggest Loser Reunion show? The show has been on for 15 years! You can bet that if it were such a success, they'd be showing all the happy lives of everyone after the fact. But it turns out that shortly after, almost everyone gains back most, if not all or more of the weight.

This is why we don't recommend any kind of calorie restriction or extreme exercise to lose weight. We want you to adjust the quality of your food and pair that with smart strength training for weight loss. And as it turns out, the reading that I did this weekend that prompted yesterday's workout was perfectly timed with this article. I believe with proper low-level training we can stimulate the grown of new mitochondria and actually increase your metabolism naturally - more on that tomorrow.

I'm still calling for endurance athletes - or anyone looking for an experiment to boost your metabolism: I'm starting to get really intrigued about using smart low-level conditioning and basic barbell movements to train endurance athletes. The gym has always been built around this idea, but I'm really going into the rabbit hole of research and want to try some new stuff. If you're serious and want to be a guinea pig for me, or you know someone who might be interested, let me know. I want to do a 12-ish week program geared towards endurance sports. Novices to barbells are welcome (even encouraged!) - we're not going to be attempting any powerlifting records, this is for anyone!

strength - add weight from last time (more info) 

front squat 3x5 


5 rounds for sense of urgency:
5 cleans
sprint to stop sign and back
10 heavy swings

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