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Friday, June 27, 2008

HealthQuest 2008 - June: Anaerobic v. Aeorbic

Last month, I talked about how diet is like an accent in language, in that diet is a way of living and not a set of formulas about eating and exercising; just like a proper accent is a way of holding your mouth and not a set of rules about pronunciation.

I still think that's a pretty good analogy, and this month I've just been trying to figure out my diet accent by living an active and fulfilling life. I've biked a lot, walked a lot, and eaten... a lot. Probably. Mostly I think I've just drunk a lot. (Hey, SOMEONE has to celebrate the fact that the LSAT is over, and that someone might as well be me!)

So on the whole, once again, no major results in my figure this month, though I do have results in my strength and stamina from all the hill climbing on my bike. (Why the hell did I choose to live in an apartment on top of a freaking mountain?)

But this month, I've started reading a book that I think will have me making adjustments in my routine next month. It's called The Abs Diet for Women, and the main gist of it is that building muscle mass is the key to burning fat.

Apparently, for each pound of muscle mass on your frame, your body burns some 150-300 calories just to maintain the muscle! (I don't have the book in front of me, so the numbers are coming from memory... hence the large and gaping range.) So the argument goes that if you build up your muscle mass, this will raise your metabolism and basically turn your body into its own fat burning factory.

Here's something else in the book that I've found interesting: aerobic exercise can actually end up lowering your metabolism. Here's how: your body starts eating up protein before it eats up fat when you burn calories aerobically. Protein helps build your muscle mass. So if you eat up your protein, you might end up losing muscle mass, and this will lower your metabolism.

That means that when your body is at rest, it won't burn calories at as high of a rate as it would if you had more muscle mass.

I want to pause to say that this is all second-hand stuff coming from me, so if you want the skinny (heh, heh), go grab the book from your local library and see for yourself.

So the book proposes a diet rich in protein, and an exercise regiment that builds muscle mass, particularly in the abdominal region, cause when your core is strong, your whole body is strong.

So the plan for next month is to implement the Abs Diet. I'll let y'all know how that fares.

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natabird said...

I think it's good to mix the aerobic with the anerobic. Not only is it all good for you, you feel like you're getting a break from whichever one you do most.

It was really good to see you the other day. Thanks again for those drawing pads.

Sra said...

You're welcome. I hope you draw some nice large pictures all over them.

I meant to add something in about how aerobic exercise isn't bad, it just isn't necessarily conducive to raising your metabolism and therefore increasing your level of calorie burn at rest. But, yeah, it's not like I'm going to give up biking or anything.

Sov said...

Bwaha! See, this is my chance to get you back into the gym and work out some free weight and machine exercises. We'll put ten or so pounds of muscle on you, and that will help you burn fat faster. Get you a pair of guns. Maybe a six-pack. Rawwr!

Sra said...

Ok, personally I think a defined six-pack on a girl is entirely gross. Girls are supposed to be soft. That doesn't mean they can't look lean, but they shouldn't look all Arnold.

So I want to develop my abs and other muscles, but I draw the line at being able to count to six on my belly.

Still, I would love to go to the gym with you and get a little direction.

Claire said...

So does this mean I shouldn't be eating the abs of other dieters? Because I feel as though I've taken a misstep. No wonder everyone's so upset.

@Sov: Terrifyingly, I can envision you making a weird, Eartha-Kitt-like pawing motion while saying "Rrawwr." So much for peaceful sleep for a few weeks.

Sra said...

Uh... you've been eating other dieters abs? Never mind, I don't want to know.

Now that you mention it, I can picture Sov doing the scratch with his rrawwr too. Scary.

The Over-Thinker said...

I think that Sov secretly wants to work out while wearing the Batman Suit. I'm guessing it wouldn't breathe well, so he should probably stick to some light yoga.

Sovknight said...

I would so rock the Batman suit.

Sra said...

I'm guessing yoga wouldn't work either, cause the Batman suit doesn't look very flexible. How does Batman move around in that thing? Let alone kick insane bad guy butt!

Miranda said...

Ok I am behind on my blog reading, so sorry for the comment on an old post, but this topic is interesting to me.

I am just finishing a book called Younger Next Year for women. The gist is that the body will decay at a cellular level without exercise, but with exercise the process of decay is followed by a process of regeneration. Tearing out all the old stuff and rebuilding it better and stronger. This is all apparently linked to the evolution of humans - our bodies have not yet adjusted to the fact that we are no longer hunter gatherers. This book recommends you 'gather' at least an hour a day (aerobic excercise) and 'hunt' (anaerobic) at least a couple times a week to exercise the heart muscle and reverse the decay. Oh, and you're supposed to do strength training 3 times a week too, not just for your muscles but for your joints. I think that's the hard part for us girls because we associate lifting with bulk and who wants that? But you're actually more likely to tone up, not bulk up unless you're taking it to crazy bodybuilding levels. Anyway, intriguing stuff.

Sra said...

That's ok, I always appreciate comments, even on old posts.

That's an interesting take on the matter, and I think it has merit. For instance, I doubt our evolutionary ancestors had many issues with their aching joints because they got plenty of exercise to support their joints. The Abs Diet book describes how people who have followed the diet and exercise regime have reported significant decreases in back pain and knee/ankle joint pain.

It's VERY difficult for women to build substantial muscle bulk without hormone treatment. Besides, the key to building strength and toning up is doing more reps with smaller weight. Very heavy weights and fewer reps is the recipe for bulk, but just because your muscles are big, doesn't mean they are strong.

I'd just like to be healthy and I think building muscle is an important part of that.

natabird said...

I think it's good to mix the aerobic with the anerobic. Not only is it all good for you, you feel like you're getting a break from whichever one you do most.

It was really good to see you the other day. Thanks again for those drawing pads.

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