Burning Calories Isn't Working! Is it?!

Burning Calories Isn’t Working! Is It?

Joel GerdisGoals, Strength

man sweating while cycling but burning calories isn't enough. Strength Training in MilwaukeeIs America struggling with the burden of carrying too much fat or too little muscle? 41.9% of adults in America are considered obese based on studies from 2017-2022*.

Typical solution:
Burn more calories than you take in. There, glad I could clear things up with that solution, now go do it. Measure your portions, track your macros and sign up for a 5K race. But, it’s not working…is it?

With obesity rates climbing, not only in adults but with children as well, we are facing a real epidemic. I also think our focus on a calorie is a calorie is a calorie and combining caloric restriction with any movement – walking, jogging, biking, weight training (we’ll get to that later), yoga, pilates, the list goes on….is distracting us from the real solution – we need more muscle!

We are an under muscled society that rarely needs to rely on strength, power and/or endurance to survive in our incredibly comfortable surroundings. The magnificent advances in technology have contributed to a remarkable softening of our culture.

Skeletal muscle is the metabolic engine that drives much of our health outcomes! Skeletal muscle is more and more being acknowledged as an important part of our endocrine system*.

“More muscle = harder to kill.”
“More muscle = more options.”

Life is simply better when you have more strength and power at your disposal.

Real solutions:
“If man made it, don’t eat it.” – Calories are not created equal.

We have gotten hooked on the convenience of prepackaged highly processed foods full of ingredients that our bodies are not designed to digest and utilize. These unrecognizable substances hit our gut and the end result is an inflammatory response. Eat whole foods in their most natural and unprocessed states. Make peace with the joy of cooking.

I don’t see a way around it unless you have the means to hire a chef to prepare your meals. Keep it simple, a pasture raised, spatchcocked chicken with some vegetables roasted in the same pan will literally take you 10 minutes of prep and 45 minutes in the oven.

“Strength and Power are the elixir of youth.” – Weight training trumps cardiovascular exercise for health span.

Walking, running, and biking are great things to do, but they aren’t going to take you to the promised land of aging well. Cardiovascular exercise is a component of your plan but, If you want to age in a robust way, you need to train for strength and power.

Strength training typically involves moving some sort of external load (dumbbells, barbells, machines, kettlebells) for a prescribed number of sets and reps. Lifting a light weight for 15+ reps is not strength training. Training to optimize strength and power production in order to age well, requires a thoughtful, organized plan that has you moving loads that are quite challenging for 3-6 reps while maintaining great technique.

You do not need to accept the aging paradigm we have been given. You can change your trajectory at any age, it is never too late to start.

Live in a RESTed state.

  • Relate Well – prioritize your most intimate relationships
  • Eat Well – whole, unprocessed foods, be sure to get enough protein
  • Sleep Well – live each day in a manner that you fall asleep, not simply go to sleep. 7-9 hours each night
  • Train Well – lift heavy things beautifully

*Source: State of Obesity 2022: Better Policies for a Healthier America. Trust for America’s Health. Accessed 12/20/2022.
*Source: https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/physrev.90100.2007