Is Exercise Really the Answer?
(A philosophical look at our obsession with using exercise for fat loss. . . Have we ever explored any other options, or do we only look to exercise because it transforms us fastest, as opposed to being the healthiest – or even the most fundamentally effective – way to lose fat?)
These days, in a world that’s continually losing control of the fat loss battle, the most common answer to the question, Why do you exercise? is probably, “To lose fat.”
We know exercise works to help the process. The principles that work’ have been used to assemble some of the best selling, most effective fat loss products on the market: Alwyn Cosgrove’s Afterburn, Craig Ballentyne’s Turbulence Training and Dax Moy’s Look Great Naked Challenge, to name a few. So let me be clear in saying that I’m not writing this to imply that ‘exercise for fat loss is ridiculous’ . . . because it’s not.
I, along with many other great coaches in the profession, have repeatedly used sound exercise principles to help clients shed thousands of pounds of body fat. Smart training works – no question – and works well.
But I still wonder, in terms of health, in terms of fat loss, just because exercise ‘works’ (and can provide quick results in a ‘gimme now’ society) is it really necessary? Or would we get the same results (perhaps less quickly) if we emphasized health as much (or more) than exercise?
Look beyond the fact that “exercise works” and consider this:
The body has an innate intelligence that we’ll never fully understand . . .
. . .an innate intelligence that will do everything in it’s power to survive at all costs . . .
. . . an innate intelligence that, provided the right foundation of quality food, quality sleep, a balance of anabolic and catabolic stress – will likely just “be” or become the body that we’re looking for – from the inside, out.
Isn’t it possible that “exercise” is to “fat loss” AS
anti-inflammatories are to inflammation AS
decongestants are to clogged sinuses AS
pain killers are to pain?
In other words, isn’t it possible that “exercise for fat loss” is the ‘drug’ that assists in melting body fat, but does so without healing the root cause of the problem? If so, wouldn’t it benefit us as a society if we focused on ‘remedies’ that promoted health, healing and transformation from the ground – up, in conjunction with the body’s innate abilities – as opposed to focusing more on programs requiring us to kill ourselves just to remove body fat?
In my own personal experience, successful life-changing, long lasting, fat loss transformations are the result of programs that emphasize nutrition and healthy lifestyle and exericse — with nutrition and lifestyle being the priority. If exercise was the most critical factor, wouldn’t it be the priority instead? If it was the most important component of fat loss, wouldn’t we see more successful fat loss cases even if nutrition and lifestyle habits were suboptimal? If exercise is the most critical factor in fat loss, wouldn’t there be fewer success stories of individuals maintaining their ‘leanness’ via quality nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, despite reducing the amount of time dedicated to formal exercise?
Formally scheduled exercise gives us the opportunity to move in a culture where being sedentary is the norm. Exercise improves physical attributes such as strength, endurance, power, flexibility, speed and mobility. . . and it’s a required component in these changes. Exercise also contributes to successful fat loss, but I often wonder if we place too much emphasis on it as the end all-be all contributing factor — when learning and applying the facets of holistic health and nutrition might be just as, if not more, effective.
Your thoughts? Please share in the comments!
Thanks for reading.