By Paul Chek, HHP, NMT
Founder, C.H.E.K Institute
Looking and feeling the way you"ve always wanted to is not nearly as tough as you may
think it is. I regularly remind my patients and students that it doesn"t take any more effort to live a life of health and vitality, than it does
to earn a life of disease, dysfunction, depression and fatigue. In this three-part series, I will tackle conventional wisdom with regard to how
best to lose fat.
So that you can anticipate the following two parts of the article and schedule the necessary time to invest in this
important education, I have provided an outline of the learning objectives that will be discussed in the series:
- Review the two common hurdles that must be jumped to get fat off for the long run.
Critically review the misleading concept of counting calories. As Einstein once stated, "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not
everything that can be counted counts."
- To realize that many of you are actually dieting, without even realizing it and that instead
of asking your doctor, what you should take, you should be asking, what should you take away?
- Understand how exercise, even in regular high doses, can make you fat.
- Recognize what displacement foods
are and how they can antagonize the effects of an otherwise good exercise program.
- Recognize the limitations of aerobic exercise for reducing body fat and elevating metabolism.
- Appreciate the metabolic
benefits of functional free weight training.
- Learn how to develop a fat burner resistance training circuit.
The Art of Balancing Calorie Consumption and Calorie Expenditure
There are many fads and fallacies regarding fat loss. The bottom line is this: You will not lose fat if you dramatically cut
calories. The only way you will lose body fat (and keep it off) is by burning calories through a combination of these two actions:
- Eating high-quality, whole foods in the correct proportions to your nutritional type
- Regular exercise
the exception of those on serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs (most antidepressants) and others that disrupt metabolism, it really is that simple.
The part that everyone finds so challenging (including the experts) is
determining the balance of calorie consumption and calorie expenditure. For example, people don"t know how many calories they should eat after a 2
-mile walk, after rowing for 20 minutes, or after using a step machine for 30 minutes. To do this, you will have two hurdles to jump:
- Deprogram your mind of all the garbage information and hype from the media. This means being much more selective about believing what you hear
from so-called health and nutrition experts on TV commercials, radio, magazine ads, books and even peer review journal articles.
Most of what
you are being told by common media streams, industry scientists and many university professors consists of twisted or partial truths presented as
scientific research, which is funded by food manufacturers, drug companies, product manufacturers and other big industry interests. If you take a
closer look, you"ll notice most of the "experts" are overweight, obese, out of shape, pre-diabetic or diabetic and rarely ever
practice what they preach.
- Doing the work: Yes, you will have to look in the mirror and make a commitment to change. That may
entail either doing more exercise than you"ve been doing, performing different exercises than you"ve been doing, or possibly even doing less if
you"ve been over-doing it.
The bottom line is that I"ll coach you as to how to get the fat off. And no, this coach isn"t overweight. He has
8 percent body fat and is fit. (See Figure 1)
Counting Calories is a Dangerous Game
Today, you can see people running the streets, pounding away at their stepper or rowing away with little calorie-counting devices
stuck to their arms and ankles, or nicely tucked away inside their exercise machines. Some make progress and then plateau, while others don"t
make any progress at all and stay frustratingly fat, in spite of displaying the discipline of a Marine core drill instructor.
people don"t realize that eating an apple and two boiled eggs for breakfast (because their little gadget says they deserve 250 calories for the
workout they just completed) is a sure-fire way to keep the diet industry booming. Refer to Figure 2, as we shed some much-needed light on this
issue of counting calories.
Resting Metabolic Rate
First of all, what is generally
overlooked by most people, yet highly important if you really want to change your body shape and be healthy in the process, is that just being
alive costs you as much as 70 percent of your daily caloric expenditure. That"s right, just living accounts for as much as 70 percent of the
calories you burn every day.
The Cost of Digestion and Elimination
The next commonly
overlooked caloric reality is that it costs between 5-15 percent of your daily caloric expenditure to simply digest and eliminate what you eat.
Many people naively assume that as soon as they eat or drink something, it just jumps inside their cells and starts cleaning, organizing,
energizing and eliminating similar to a well-trained handyman. This is simply not the case, as the process of digestion can use as many as 15
percent of your daily caloric expenditure.
Up to this point, we"ve already
accounted for 55-85 percent of our daily caloric expenditure (resting metabolic rate + cost of digestion and elimination), and we haven"t even
considered our caloric cost of our daily activities.
How then, can we expect those handy little calorie-counting gadgets to be even
On the whole, the calories used from daily activities are not likely to be even close to the largest caloric expenditure of
the day for most people. As you can see from the third tier down in (Figure 2), the range is from 100 calories used to perform what we would
call activities of daily living (ADL), to the 1,000 calories a high-level athlete would expend by adding a hard day"s training to the typical ADL.
The "X" Factor
At the very top, we have what performance nutrition expert John
Berrardi calls the "X Factor"(1). As you can see in Figure 2 , the X factor of calculating daily caloric expenditure is produced by your
individual metabolic efficiency, stress environment and your unique spontaneous activity. For example, someone who has a jumpy leg while they eat
is expending X factor calories.
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Many people are actually counting the calories they expend, and then develop their meal plan to contain slightly less
calories in hopes of slimming down. Other people are being pushed into calorie reduction by their medical doctors. I have had patients with back
pain referred to me by doctors after having put the patient on a medically supervised diet.
These medically supervised diets are often
mostly liquid and I"ve never seen one over 1,000 calories a day. I can say with confidence after years of clinical experience of treating back pain
patients, who had become overweight from inactivity secondary to pain, that diets don"t work. All of the patients or athletes I"ve worked
with in my career who have put themselves on diets or have been put on them by military nutritionists or medical doctors, gained back all the
weight they lost and more within about three months following termination of the diet.
Put all of this together, with the realization that the
United States Department of Agriculture standards, and you will find that 2,500 calories is the minimum amount of calories an adolescent or
adult woman needs to get the minimum amounts of life-sustaining nutrients. (vitamins, enzymes, minerals and trace minerals, secondary factors,
Men need at least 2,800 calories a day due to their higher testosterone levels, higher metabolism and greater muscle mass (2). If you
are sitting there saying, "Oh my God, if I ate all those calories I"d be fat for sure," you may be interested to know that the World
Health Organization (WHO) has established that starvation begins under 2,100 calories per day (2) -- a figure determined from experience dealing
with worldwide starvation.
Continued in Part 2
Paul Chek is an internationally respected speaker and consultant
in corrective and holistic exercise kinesiology and was the first person to introduce Swiss balls to a professional sports team in the United
States (the Chicago Bulls in 1991) and abroad (the Canberra Raiders Rugby League team in Australia in 1995), as well as a host of other professional
organizations. For information on Chek"s Swiss ball of choice -- the DuraBall Pro -- his courses, videos, books and seminars, or the C.H.E.K
Institute, call 800/552-8789 or 760/477-2620 (international) for your free catalog or visit the Web site.
- Berardi, John. "Massive Eating , Parts I and II" Online: www.johnberardi.com
- Julia Ross, M.A. The Diet Cure (p.17) Viking, 1999
- "How To Eat, Move and Be Healthy!", by
- "You Are
What You Eat" (Audio/workbook program)
- "Flatten Your Abs Forever!" (VHS Video 2.5 Hrs.), by Paul Chek
Training -- Paul Chek"s Perspective
Jane"s Jungle Workout
How to Choose and Use Swiss Balls Correctly
Should Athletes Train Like Bodybuilders?
The Power of Walking
Why Getting Pumped Makes You Feel Good!