Episode 27: Best Exercise to Promote Weight Loss
Episode 27: Best Exercise to Promote Weight Loss
Welcome, health hunters, to another episode. Do you hear me, Dr. Pompa?
I hear you good.
This is awesome. It’s the new year. You just saw on the Today show they’re talking about calorie restriction, exercise for weight loss and health. We’d thought we’d jump in with the topic of exercise. It’s not what you think when it comes to that.
We’ve talked about the best exercise for weight loss. We’ll hit that topic again today. What is the best exercise for overall health, weight loss? One of the things that I believe is one of the most important forms of exercise as the cherry on top, as you say, Dr. Pompa, for exercise is just for functionality, just movement and living.
If you’re my age and you have young children, how can you interact with them and be functional on a daily basis? What type of exercise for that? Most women don’t want to get all buffed up and have bulky arms and look like a bodybuilder, but they want to be functional, not hurt their back with their children. What are some exercises they could do there? Let’s move into this topic, Dr. Pompa, which both of us love when it comes to exercise, functional exercise, and exercise that promotes weight loss. Are you there?
Can you hear me? I can hear you.
I’m turning it over to you.
I can hear you fine. I think we have to blow the myths out right away. I think that most people this time of year start jumping into exercise, but they jump into exercise with a myth that really doesn’t serve them well. The myth is this; I can eat whatever I want because now I’m exercising or I’m going to eat this burger, the fries because I’m just going to burn it off when I exercise. The myth boils down to I exercise, I burn more calories; therefore, I can lose more weight.
The shows that we did in the past on exercise, we blew that out of the water. If you remember, we took an article from Scientific American. If you want to look it up, it’s February of 2017. The article basically discussed this whole topic. It’s “Workouts and Weight Loss. Learn the Surprising Evolutionary Reason Why Exercise Alone Won’t Shed Pounds.”
It was really stunning. It says, “Our data indicated that contrary to wisdom, humans tend to burn the same number of calories regardless of how physically active they are.” It doesn’t matter. You burn the same amount of calories.
This may seem shocking, but the couch potato, the kid sitting on the couch playing video games is burning the same amount of calories of the guy that went to the gym twice today or took the hour run or was on the treadmill for an hour. He burned the same amount of calories. It’s kind of shocking. What they’re saying is that you can’t exercise your calories down to lose weight. I’ll just briefly talk about what they did here.
The Hadza people are one of the last hunting/gathering tribes. They’re from Northern Tanzania. These people go out all day on expeditions. They hunt down their prey. You can imagine they’re walking briskly and running the majority of the time.
Surely these people burn way more calories than we do, and that’s why they’re so thin and they look so amazing. By the way, they used the most accurate way to measure caloric intake. This is the deadly labeled water method. This is the gold standard in public health to measure how many calories you burn. Just you know, they did the best.
They did this with the tribe and to their unbelief, they found that they burn 2600 calories a day, the exact same as the person who does nothing. That was the males. The females burned on average 1900 calories a day, the same as adults in the US or in Europe. It didn’t matter. The average caloric intake was the same whether these people ran all day after their prey and came back.
Amazing, but it wasn’t the reason why they stayed so lean. Does that mean we don’t exercise? I say absolutely not. Exercise is the cherry on the top, meaning it gives us a hormonal advantage. It really gets our cells more sensitive to our hormones.
The reason why you may struggle to lose weight or keep it off or even stick to a diet has nothing to do with food or exercises. It has everything to do with hormones. We’ve talked about this on past shows. Hormones are, in fact, the key. Exercise does give you a hormonal advantage.
Warren, let’s talk about what exercise because not all exercise gives you the same hormonal advantage. There’s definitely some exercise that’s better than others. I definitely believe combining some of these is the key. Let’s discuss that.
Before we move on, one of the questions – can you hear me?
I can hear you.
You’ve got to be careful today because you don’t know. For some reason, I don’t trust you can hear me today. I don’t know what’s going on. One of my questions just to bring some clarity is everybody has the same caloric burn, no matter who you are. There isn’t this metabolic he has a faster metabolism than me. Nobody really has a higher metabolism.
I guess metabolism has more to do with calorie burning, but that’s what I typically think the thought is out there in the public is that because I’m thin, I just burn whatever I eat. I’m burning up calories more than anyone else. No matter who I am, whether I’m a seven-foot-two guy, is my calorie expenditure per day the same as some dude that’s five-foot-two?
They’re looking at maximum burn. There’s people who literally do caloric restriction diets. Their metabolism goes down. The point being is that they’ll store more fat. They’ll actually put away more of their fat and not necessarily burn it as energy.
When we look at someone on a caloric restriction diet, why doesn’t it work? They’re going to store more fat and burn less. However, when we’re looking at trying to actually exercise your way into burning more calories, it simply doesn’t work.
It’s the max burn. Today am I going to burn – I can’t increase my calorie burn is what you’re saying. That’s what everybody is asking.
Someone who is burning far less calories for whatever reason, that’s a hormone issue. You’re not going to exercise above that average. You’re not going to exercise above it, so don’t try. We’re saying exercise for the right reason. Exercise not because you’re burning 500 more calories. Exercise because hormonally it can actually raise your metabolism, as you’re pointing out.
I’m looking forward to discussing that right after this announcement. Thanks, health hunters. Welcome back, health hunters.
Are you all right? Usually you bring us in. You’re all worried about your phone not working.
There’s a delay or something going on. That’s what’s going on today. The internet connection is a little jacked. I will bring us in.
There is a delay. What I was going to say is we clarified that you can’t exercise your way to a calorie burn or to weight loss. What we can do is optimize through exercise for a better metabolism, meaning that you’re more hormone sensitive, more hormone optimized to use stored fat for energy, to become more efficient mitochondrially, that your mitochondria engines of your cells are more effective and efficient, those sorts of reasons.
There’s lots of great exercises to promote that, and that’s where we were headed before I jumped into that. It’s such a hard question to wrap your mind around. Even me who studies this stuff with you, Dr. Pompa, what do you mean you can’t exercise more? It’s so counter what we’ve been taught.
It’s just really hard to wrap my mind around it. I think it’s because I was raised in the 80s and early 90s. With everything that was going on, it was all calories. It was all Phil Simms or what’s his name, the guy that did the aerobics? It was all about the calorie burn.
No doubt about it. When they looked at this, they said that they couldn’t figure it out themselves. What happens? They said that people with higher activity levels change behaviors, and their body’s innate intelligence starts to save energy multiple ways like sleeping more soundly. They named a lot of different things in the article.
The innate intelligence was like we’re going to save energy because we don’t genetically want to go above a certain amount. It literally just would stop burning energy at a certain point. We know we can lower our metabolism. We can actually do things to hinder it. It is all hormone based.
When we look at these exercises that we know help us more hormonally, become more sensitive to certain hormones like insulin is a fat storing hormone, we know the burst type of training like these people did, they would walk, they’d run, is definitely more effective for weight loss. That doesn’t mean that walking, endurance type of training isn’t good for you. It is, but it just has a lot of other benefits. People get on the treadmill and walk and walk to burn calories. We’re saying walk for another reason.
Humans are meant to walk structurally. It’s extremely important, and humans don’t walk enough. I can make a whole argument for walking. I can make an argument for cardiovascular exercise.
When we’re talking about weight loss, the higher intensity burst training, which we should probably explain, is better. Then also resistive training where you’re actually using muscles for strength. That too has a more hormonal advantage for weight loss. Warren, we can talk about different ways to do that because that’s what our listeners want to hear.
You just triggered a thought, and I don’t want to lose this thought. I think it’s a beautiful thought. It might be wrong. You let me know. Like you said, the body wants to conserve – if you push it too hard, it’s going to find other ways to save energy. It probably wants to survive. It’s a fight or flight, it’s a survival mechanism.
If you’re overtraining, it’s the same thing. The reason why if you over train you don’t gain muscle, you’re not hormonally optimized, and you may not lose the right kind of weight because you’re over training. The body has to compensate for that over training. It’s not going to be to your benefit. It doesn’t make the point if you push yourself and push yourself, the body’s going to have to make up for it somewhere because it has a survival mechanism.
Over training is not good for you. It’s not meant to do an ultra marathon necessarily, but you can push your body to do that. There’s major consequences that your body has to make up for. You could destroy your telomeres. There’s other mechanisms within your body.
I just wanted to bring that out because of the whole fight or flight and genetic survival. You can’t push past a certain calorie amount of burn because there’s a survival mechanism going on. Let’s look at some of the types of exercise that are healthy. This is not something you want to do every day, which is what we’re going to be talking about with the types of burst training or high intensity hit training, which has become popular, which wasn’t when we first started doing it over 12, 15 years ago. That was still on the backend of the tune of body building, training every day belief system.
This is before the high intensity and CrossFit, which has it’s over training problems that happen as well. Let’s talk about some different types. I’ll bring up one, Dr. Pompa. The one that I love, we talked about on the last episode, is I like using my Concept2 Rower or my elliptical bike, my Airdyne bike that I have. I like doing burst training with those.
Here’s a great exercise. Just the other day I did 5 sets of 30-second bursts on and 1 minute off, so 30 seconds on and then I did a full 1-minute recovery. Then I built up a little bit each time. I was doing 85% of my max heart rate.
By the end of that, I was absolutely cooked. I had to lay down and put my legs in the air on the side. That’s one way you can recover if you’re really fatigued. I stick my legs up on the side of the wall and just lay there and pant. How is that? Some people can go a little higher, but that’s about what I can hit before I start losing my stuff, if you will. That’s one way that I do it.
You can do that on an elliptical bike. You could do it running up stairs in a hotel as we travel a lot, and we used to do that.
That was fun.
The key is getting your heart rate up to 85% of your max, as you said. What does that mean? I don’t have a heart rate monitor. That means you’re breathing darn heavy and you can’t talk to a friend. You’re breathing like that. Then you’ve hit the max.
You don’t need a heart rate monitor if you get it to that point for at least 30 seconds to a minute and do 3 or 4 of those. Studies show that’s where you get your maximum benefit, so 30 to 60 seconds on. You could even rest longer if you’re more out of shape. Rest three or four minutes and then do another one, and do that three or four times for the maximum benefit.
The question always comes up can I do it more? Yes. If you’re in better shape, do more. For maximum results, you really don’t have to do more. Every other day is sufficient to hit maximum results.
This is what’s occurring; when you’re doing the exercise, you’re actually burning no fat at all. When you’re walking or doing something, you’re in a fat burning mode. As you’re walking or briskly walking, you’re burning fat. This way you’re burning sugar.
We have a break coming up. When we come back, I’m going to explain that little more why hormonally you burn fat as an energy source. You’ll get the facts when you come back.
Welcome back. During this burst training that we’re describing here, we’re burning sugar, which is our stored glycogen in our muscles. Then something happens after that, and that’s where we left off.
When you’re doing the walk, the less intense, you’re burning fat as the majority of your energy. You’d be like come on. Isn’t that better? That’s what we want to burn. If I asked the question do you want to burn fat for an hour or do you want to burn fat for 36 hours, I think everyone listening would say 36 hours. Then do the burst training.
What happens is as you burn only stored sugar called glycogen, you burn it out of your muscles and your liver. Then what happens, survival takes over and your body says we have to replace that stored sugar because if I have to run from a lion, I need it. That’s the burst that it needs, the immediate sugar. It starts burning fat over the next 36 hours to actually replace the stored sugar. Therefore, you’re actually burning fat longer, and you actually burn more.
It does that by raising up anabolic hormones like testosterone and all these fat burning hormones that you actually get the advantage of. It’s hormone optimization for this type of training. I think on the alternate days if you throw in some walking you’re benefiting even more or some cardiovascular. I think there’s a win-win there by mixing it up. Then mix it up further by adding some of the resistive training.
You could even do that on the burst day. That’s typically what we do. Warren, functional training has a lot of benefits. You do far more of that than I do. I’m an outdoors training guy.
I can talk about some of those things. Talk about some of the things that you do functionally. These are things people can do in every home at very low cost. You can go to Walmart and get some of these things. Talk about that.
This is something that I absolutely love doing. You brought up one other way to burst train. I wanted to just throw this out there; outdoor activities with the bursting. If you want to spend time with your kids and get burst training, I just grab them in a sled and ran them up and down the hill. I got my burst training in for that day.
There’s lots of ways to do that burst training, to burn that glycogen that was stored in my muscles to make me burst up that hill with my child. I got that fat burning on the back side. My schedule is like this; I do burst training three days a week, and I do functional training, which incorporates resistive and functional movement on those three days. On my off days what I do is something like yoga or I might go for a walk or I might wind up going skiing. Some of these things may throw off the perfect situation for fat burning, but I’ll ski whenever I get the chance when it’s winter. We haven’t gotten snow.
On the off days I do something like yoga, which preps my body for some of the functional movements that you do. The nice thing about yoga is it’s stuff that you would do as a kid, as a baby. It really gives you body awareness. Structurally it sets you get. You get a lot of stretching, spinal pumping, which is good, moving your spine back and forth, pumping that cerebral spinal fluid to your brain. It’s so important. That’s why movement is so important.
Let’s talk about what a typical functional training day will look like. The things that I typically will do is low-bearing-type exercises like squats. You can do a lot of these things without even having weights. You can add dumbbells by holding them, just a basic movement. If you want to do a leg day and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on stuff, getting set of dumbbells is really great.
What I recommend getting is the dumbbells that you can switch up. Dr. Pompa, I forget what they’re called, but it’s one set of dumbbells up to 55 pounds, but you can change them all. I can put the ones that I got in the show notes, but there’s lots of different ones out there. You can look at the reviews on Amazon. I’ll put in the show notes the ones that I got.
I love having those dumbbells because I can add weights to any of my functional exercises. I’ll just do a basic squat where you’ve got to stick your butt out. A lot of people want to just watch how they bend their back. I really can’t show you unless I shoot a video. Maybe I’ll add a video to this later.
I just like to squats. I like to do chin-ups, things that you would do on a daily basis. I like to grab and squeeze onto a medicine ball and [23:13] carrying a kid. I’ll grab things like a medicine ball or even a dumbbell and just rotate back and forth as functional movement. I’ll walk across the room and as I walk across the room, I will do lunges across the room.
I will do bounding and making sure you land softly on your knee. I can’t show you that. Do bounding exercises. I’ll do bounding back and forth, left and right, just jumping from one side and landing on a foot, jumping on one side, landing on the other, functional movements like that. If I want to add some weight for some more resistive, I have my dumbbells where I can lay down even on the ground without a bench and just press those things up like that.
The other thing that I think is very important is to purchase a lot of those rubber bands. Those band exercises are great because you can use those for doing triceps extensions. You can take a rubber band and just do pull aparts. You can look that up online.
How do they say rubber is a gum band? I don’t know because I’m from the East. I’m from Pittsburg. Using rubber band pull aparts or exercise band pull aparts are really awesome. Elite Fitness has a really good rubber band that you can purchase.
I use a lot of those for warm-ups and exercises, even some resistive-type training. You get the heavier bands and you stick your foot on them and just do curls that way. Obviously, that is excellent. There’s a lot of different functional movements that you can do that really promote functionality that you would have on a daily basis.
I like to do those sorts of movements, then I add in the heavier stuff. On that day is when I do my burst training. Of course, I have the ropes and all the fancy equipment here, but you can grab 25-pound dumbbells even as a male and just squat down, grab the dumbbells, stand up, curl them up, and then press them over your head. We used to do these all the time.
If you do those for 15 seconds straight, 20 seconds straight, you’re panting and getting a resistive workout at the same time. Those are some of the things that I do. You could even do burpees.
We have a video of me doing the dumbbells with my daughter, Olivia, on YouTube. We have another video of me doing it with my wife burst training on a treadmill. There’s treadmill, there’s dumbbells. There’s two videos out there.
Just type in YouTube Pompa burst training, and all those videos will come up. I think there’s three or four different ones. That’s a good source.
Another thing you can do for your burst training, you could even do burpees. You could do a series of squats, pushups, and running in place. Do those one minute total. You can do 20 seconds of burpees, 20 seconds of running in place, and what did I say for the other one? Pushups.
They don’t know what burpees are. Burpees are like pushups, then you jump up.
Pushup, jump up, stand up. You can look some of these things up online, but there’s lots of ways to get the burst in. There’s lots of training on functional movement and functional training. I think that’s the best training. On your off days, definitely you’re going to want to do some sort of yoga or stretching.
I like the roll out on a foam roller. You can look that up. What that does is pushes a lot of the lactic acid that builds up when you do some of these burst-type exercises. Let’s get into some more of the solutions after this with Dr. Pompa. We’ll be right back.
Welcome back, health hunters. I’m looking on this, and you really need to watch those videos. It’s really hard to verbally explain a functional movement. I guess that’s not the point here, but it’s really difficult. The one thing I wanted to say too is you know how you always teach this, Dr. Pompa, rest is best.
Even in my exercise routines, when I do a functional movement with burst training, I’ll do that for three weeks, and then on the fourth week I’ll do what’s a de-load week. On my de-load week I’m doing 50% of what I normally can do. I’m just resting my joints. I’m not pushing my body as hard. I’m not doing burst training during that week.
I just kind of back off and do 50%. I may do some bike or my Concept2 Rower. I do it a little bit longer and just not as intense. I don’t get the heart rate up really high. I just get the movement, keep the joints moving, but it gives me that recovery so my body’s able to get some time to heal so I’m not tearing it down again for another week.
Your point is well taken because the big mistake people make is they do the same intensity all the time. When you train with the great athletes that know what they’re doing with trainers, they vary their training. They do weeks that are hard, and then they take weeks that they go much easier. People think I’m not going as hard and that’s not going to benefit me. Quite the opposite.
It fools your body. Then when you come back at higher intensity, you actually have much greater results. In the low intensity, it does help the recovery, which is everything. Recovery is everything when it comes to exercise. It’s just pushed to the side.
People don’t vary their diets. They eat the same diet all the time. I’ve done past shows on this. I believe that’s a fatal mistake. It’s the same thing. When you change exercise, your body has to force adaptation; therefore, it gets stronger through the adaptation.
It’s the same with diet. When you change your diet, it forces adaptation. The body gets better and stronger. These are principles that people know, but they forget.
I like being outside a lot. I can do my resistive training at a gym. I’ve done that for years, and I love doing that. Getting on a treadmill or doing the rower or these types of things or even the functional movements, I don’t like it as much. If you put me on a mountain bike, I’m all in. You put me on skis, I’m all in. Put me in the woods doing hikes up – the mountains here are pretty steep, so it’s a work out.
Anything outside, I definitely prefer. It just goes faster. If I’m on my mountain bike, two hours can go by and I say what happened? If I’m on a rower in the gym, an hour is like really? A half hour I’m barely able to do it. That’s me, but all of these things apply differently to all of us.
I have to exercise. I have to move just for my mental capacity. Mix it up. Vary it up. Get the hormonal optimization from the higher intensity.
Don’t forget about simple walking or some of that functional movements that Warren does are really good. Functional movements is what we do every day. We bend down to pick something up leaning to the side. Functional movements like getting a medicine ball and twisting, you’re literally strengthening those muscles that you need for that type of support. I think there’s a lot of benefits to the functional movements.
By the way, when you do these functional training, and I’ve done it myself, it’s burst and resistive all at once. When you’re lifting a medicine ball over your head and moving up and down, you’re bursting and resistive. You can combine these things and studies show that there’s actually a benefit to that too where you combine different types of movements. It’s all about the hormones, folks.
People exercising or just moderate activity are burning the same amount of calories as people who are chasing down prey, meaning that if you’re sitting on the couch most of your day, on average it takes about 2600 calories just to keep your heart beating, your brain working. The moment you start playing a video game, your calories are going up. The body finds that neutral. The metabolism is your body’s ability to burn fat. That’s all hormonal.
What are you burning is the question? When you start to use your brain and you start to need calories, many people are burning their muscle. That’s not good because now you’re skinny-fat. You’re not touching your fat supply as an energy source. This is hormonal.
The cells can use two things for energy, sugar, or fat. This is a hormonal ability to go back and forth and to be an efficient fat burner. Most Americans are stuck as sugar burners only. When they’re not eating, their bodies will break down muscle into sugar.
Warren, when we’re not eating, our bodies will burn fat. Again, a whole other show, I’m sure, on how to optimize that hormonal optimization to become a more efficient fat burner. We’re talking about it partly today because we’re talking these forms of exercise do help you utilize fat when you’re burning energy much more efficiently.
It really is a miracle when you start adding some of the diet stuff we talked about as a health hunter, fasting, intermittent fasting in with some of this high intensity exercise training, functional movement, not over training, not eating the same things and varying your diet as we’re going back to these ancient healing and weight loss strategies, if you will, because there wasn’t such thing as a weight gain issue back then. Ancient weight loss is kind of an oxymoron. Most people in many cultures in the past were all lean, fit, muscular, because they did all the things that we’re teaching you naturally as part of their everyday lives in a hunter/gatherer society. It is really important.
It’s really fun to get back to your roots and see how your body can perform at a much higher level. I also believe these other countries in Europe, they didn’t get away from some of this stuff. They’re more into gardening. They’re more into ancient lifestyles because they weren’t Americanized, if you will. They didn’t get pushed into the Industrial Revolution and the medical mindset that we in America who are the “healthiest” but really statistically one of the sickest groups of people in the world.
We’re changing this. That’s why Health Hunters is here. One thing I wanted to add to the exercise thing, Dr. Pompa, this is something I skip out on. Make sure you add one day a week a lot of the core training in because that really protects your spine and your back.
Switch up those core movements for your low back and your core, which is your abdominal muscles. It’s so important. I can’t say it enough. When you engage those things, always try to engage your core any time you’re doing any type of exercise to create that stability. If you’re doing a squat or if you’re doing a lunge, you want to engage your core. If you’re doing a band pull apart, try to engage that core because it really is your lifeline as far as the stability for any movement that you’re going to do.
No doubt. I think another topic when we discussed this in the past, you have to understand that a lot of reason why people can’t burn fat as an energy source as part of that 2600 calories is because they’re toxic. Toxins blunt the hormone receptors. Toxins drive all types of dysfunction in the cell and in the mitochondria. Now the mitochondria can’t burn fat. The mitochondria makes energy, and it can use fat or sugar. Most people are damaged there.
Years ago at the turn of the century, Dr. Otto Warburg, his whole theory on cancer was that cancer cells can only use glucose and not fat for energy. He theorized that the mitochondria is being damaged by certain toxins, certain insults, stressors, and then it creates a dysfunction in the mitochondria. That’s what a cancer cell is. Today we know that’s exactly what’s happening. Toxins affect the mitochondria.
The first sign before cancer ever gets there is the inability to use fat as energy. By the way, that is most people. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much you exercise. It really matters about getting rid of these neurotoxins that are damaging the mitochondria and optimizing your hormones that way. We have to think about that, and that’s where the cellular detox that we preach and teach comes into play. It’s virtually impossible for people to lose weight today without the proper cellular detox.
To add to that, I couldn’t even exercise because I was so toxic. My mitochondria didn’t work. I didn’t have the energy. Thanks again, health hunters. Happy New Year. Whatever resolution you decide, go out there and do, but do it right. Have a great week.