We've all heard it before. “Just take the stairs instead of the elevator.” “Park your car a couple hundred meters away from the office”. “Walk more”. “Spend more time standing rather than sitting”…
This is the kind of advice your doctor will give you if you ask him/her for help with losing weight.
But does it really work?
The premise behind this method is if you walk more, you burn more calories throughout the day. And you do it without having to dedicate a lot of extra time to intense exercise sessions at the gym.
Here's the experience “I” have had with this method:
I remember when I first made that switch from a desk-job to a physically demanding one where I ran around all day. I lost weight rapidly, and noticed changes as early as one week into the job, with my trousers and shirts feeling looser.
I loosened my belt by two holes by the end of two weeks!
But then it all started to go the other way.
As the weeks went by, my clothes got tighter, and my face got chubbier. And this despite me busting my chops ALL DAY, often working 10-13 hour shifts, with my joints and muscles aching so bad all night, I couldn't sleep.
Despite burning more calories on my new, more physically demanding job, I was still getting fat.
Looking back, I now realize that the times when I was fattest, was when I was working a physically demanding job, and when I was in school.
Why in school?
Because at school we had a 7-story building, and only teachers were allowed to use the elevator. My maths lessons were on the 7th floor, English and science on the 6th floor, and art, geography and history on the 5th floor.
Physical activity in school made me FAT!
Physical activity at work made me FAT!
So what's the story? Isn't exercise supposed to help you LOSE, not GAIN weight?
Here's what's going on…
Exercise increases your appetite.
This is especially true for low-level exercise like walking, standing around as opposed to sitting, and taking the stairs.
Back when I was in school, and during my days as a manual laborer, I would fill my belly with carbs whenever I got hungry.
I'd eat a chocolate bar on the way to my maths lesson on the 7th floor in school. I'd eat fries, cheese, beans and toast for lunch, and wash it down with a can of Coca Cola. I'd eat a bigger portion if I was made hungry by climbing more stairs on a particular day.
At work, I was so physically drained, that I couldn't go on unless I treated myself to a huge pasta bake and chocolate cake and custard at the canteen for lunch.
The more physical activity I did throughout the day, the more carbohydrate I would eat.
As I have always told you, no amount of exercise can undo a bad diet.
No matter how many extra calories you burn by walking more or taking the stairs, you will still get fat if you treat yourself by eating more carbs.
Nowadays I spend my entire day sitting around, writing, reading and doing research. I still see the occasional personal training client, but I make sure I DON'T walk, but DRIVE to the gym where I train them. I spend most of my time sitting in my office and talking to my clients. In the gym I sit down on a bench and watch them train. Some standing is necessary for new clients, where I have to instruct them on using good form, but I avoid this as much as I can.
I almost never take the stairs, and I take my car EVERYWHERE!
I am the laziest guy I know. And yet I am more ripped and toned than I have ever been!
I lift weights (Chest Sculpting Blueprint-style) three days a week, for about 40 minutes. I do Paleolithic HIIT 1-2 days a week for 10-15 minutes at a time. That's all the exercise I do. It's all the exercise I need.
I lift weights and do Paleolithic HIIT to further enhance my body – to grow muscles, get a wide chest, back and shoulders and thick powerful legs. Exercise also enhances my health, by making my heart and lungs beat and expand more fully.
So the bottom line in today's message is this:
If you are not already on a low carb diet, then all that extra walking, standing, and carrying the shopping home will only make you fat. It will increase your appetite, and you will eat more carbohydrates. Those carbs will then negate every one of those extra calories you burn.
The only time extra daily physical activities will help, is when you are already on a low carb diet. But then you won't NEED physical activity to get you lean. The low carb diet will do everything for you, even if you spend your entire day in bed!
Where physical activity CAN help, is when you want your body to be magnificent – more than just lean and flat-chested, but powerful and strong. You can only do this through short bursts of INTENSE exercise – by lifting heavy weights and sprinting. You can't do this by walking more and taking the stairs.
Sort out your diet first, and worry about exercise later.