boshalfoshal a month ago

I know this website generally likes to have discussions on things like this for intellectual stimulation, but is it really necessary to micro optimize exercise to this extent? I don't think there needs to be some sort of mathematical proof or nobel prize winning study to tell you to exercise and eat well if you want to lose fat or become fit (for average individuals looking to improve their health).

Go outside, work hard and sweat for an hour, eat a nutritious meal and get a good amount of sleep. It's not really rocket science. Don't pre-emptively optimize all your workouts based on some cutting edge science before even brute forcing it, building work ethic is far more important. As its commonly said in CS, premature optmiziation is the root of all evil. If doing the basics doesn't work, then sure consider delving deeper into more complex routines.

  • ramraj07 a month ago

    I’m gonna assume you find it fairly easy, and also very pleasurable, to get some exercise. Many people find anything physical as fun and rewarding. Perhaps they don’t need to worry about optimizing their workouts to the core.

    But then there are others, me included, who have a lifelong love hate (mostly hate) relationship with exercise. I’ve exercised moderately at least every alternate days for most of my adult years (for a few, I worked out quite religiously every day even), but not a single day did I find it rewarding.

    If science can help me find the most effective way I could utilize the few times (and the short periods) I do muster the motivation to work out, I’m happy for it.

    So in your analogy, it’s not premature optimization for many, especially the ones that need the most.

    • asdff a month ago

      Life is full of nonrewarding tasks. I hate washing the dishes but they need to be done everyday. Same with exercise. When you start becoming inactive is when your health spirals into decline. I see it a lot with my relatives. Lack of exercise leads to overweight issues by middle age, then bad knees and other joints, then bad organs, maybe even diabetes, then major surgeries and exorbitant costs to your loved ones, then even more limited mobility and dependence on others, followed by death. Most modern humans sit for like 90% of the day. If you are sitting down right now when you read this comment, go take a walk around your block.

      You don't need cutting edge research to fix your motivation issues, since plenty of proven exercises are out there that help so much for personal health. You probably just need a therapist. Once you get over that inertia of regularly working out, you will constantly want to work out. You will feel sore on the weeks you let your yoga regimine slide, and you will feel 10 years younger or more when you do consistantly do your yoga and other excercises. You won't get as injured in your age the more flexibile you are, and you won't get nearly as frail the more muscle mass you can keep on you through adulthood. Exercise sucks but this is the investment you make today to have a quality life decades down the road. Money alone cannot relieve issues that are brought on by a lifetime of inactivity.

      • Wowfunhappy a month ago

        > I hate washing the dishes but they need to be done everyday.

        I do too. That's why I insisted my apartment have a dishwasher—they're surprisingly uncommon in entry-level New York studios. I dump everything in there, it's great. No pre-rinsing, I just throw stuff inside and it comes out clean 90 minutes later.

        I don't like vacuuming either, so I got a Roomba. Also highly recommended. It goes out, cleans the whole floor, and then comes back to charge itself. I just have to empty the bin. Sometimes one or the other speakers gets unplugged, which is a tad annoying. Much less annoying than vacuuming.

        I firmly believe that some day, humanity will discover an exercise pill. Sign me up. There's nothing inherent about using muscles which makes them stronger. Using muscles tells the body that it needs to make its muscles stronger, but we could just skip to the second part.

        None of this really contradicts your point. As of today, we don't have an exercise pill, so you've got to exercise. But I also believe in constantly looking for ways to make life as engaging as possible.

        (And I also found the dishwashing example triggering. Too many of my acquaintances don't have dishwashers. They're like $300 y'all, you spent five times that on a marginally faster iPhone but scrubbing plates is as slow as ever...)

        • asdff a month ago

          Even with your dishwasher you still need to load plates and unload them constantly and even though its easier than washing by hand, I doubt you look forward to that particular activity out of all the others you do in your life. If its anything like the dishwashers landlords have provided me in the past you will probably have to wash the plates by hand anyhow. Dishwashing isn't the only mundane activity you need to do in life as a human. Its part of life that we do these things, and the sooner you get over yourself to doing them the easier it is to get things done.

          • JonChesterfield a month ago

            There's an optimisation available here - limit crockery/pans to the quantity that fits in the dishwasher, keep them all in there when not in use, run dishwasher frequently.

            Cuts out the moving to/from cupboards part. Also frees up said cupboard. Probably sufficient for people who don't cook much but YMMV, haven't tried it myself yet.

            • Wowfunhappy a month ago

              This would work for me if I had two dishwashers. At any given time, one would be for dirty dishes and one would be for clean dishes, depending on which I had run most recently. The idea of keeping dirty and clean dishes side-by-side in a single dishwasher is unappealing.

              But, it also takes me less than 60 seconds to empty the dishwasher, it doesn't really feel like work.

          • galdosdi a month ago

            > If its anything like the dishwashers landlords have provided me in the past you will probably have to wash the plates by hand anyhow

            Tangentially, I used to be a "whatever, I just wash dishes by hand" person and got converted to dishwashers because I actually, for the first time, ended up using one that actually worked well and got everything very clean reliably and repeatedly. I had only ever used the "landlord special" machines you are all too familiar with as well. It really is such a time saver and makes me eat at home and do more involved cooking more often.

            If cooking more is a goal of yours and you're like I used to be, dismissive of dishwashers, think again.

    • tcfhgj a month ago

      Integrate exercise into every day tasks. For instance, I am cycling now to get to work, shop groceries, etc.

      • layer8 a month ago

        For some, this just has the effect of associating the exercise hate with those other things.

        • asdff a month ago

          Well, the dishes have to be done, and I hate doing them but I do them. People need to start looking at exercise the same way. Saying "I hate it, its boring, I'm not going to do it" is like letting dishes pile up in your sink all your life. You will be so very thankful you started regularly exercising and building flexibility today when you are over the hill later in life, and all your friends have health problems and limited mobility while you are saddling up for your 50 mile cycling ride in your 70s.

          • layer8 a month ago

            Right, I'm just saying that integrating it into everyday tasks as the parent suggests doesn't necessarily make it easier, and on the contrary the aversion can rub off on those tasks, which would be a negative.

            Personally I'm riding my bike to work as well, but I go slow enough that I don't consider that exercising. Instead I do real exercise separately.

        • galdosdi a month ago

          Really? Even if you don't notice you're exercising?

          Because if just walking to the store is too much exercise that it makes you feel pain or really any kind of discomfort, this is not an individual quirk, this is a serious medical issue. Real talk, you gotta talk to a doctor, this is not normal or healthy.

          • layer8 a month ago

            If you don't notice you're exercising, you're not exercising. Walking is not exercising.

            • galdosdi a month ago

              WTF? Walking is not exercising? Source please, that's a ludicrous statement with regards to most definitions of exercise, especially the medical context we were discussing.

              Walking is the primary activity humans evolved to be able to do better than any other animal. Humans can outrun any other animal in races that last multiple days, by simply walking all day and resting at night and consistently covering more miles than any other animal, not even an elephant or horse or tiger can go as fast in the long run.

              It sounds like you've internalized the local cultural concept in parts of the USA that "exercise is supposed to be unpleasant, no pain no gain" which is just disconnected from the reality that humans are meant to move.

              Ask your doctor how you think going from doing nothing at all (typical american sedentaryism) to walking 3-4 miles (just one hour) a day every day will impact someone's health! Even just walking one mile a day (about 20min) will put you in much better health than doing nothing.

              I am not advocating walking as the obsessive only exercise, but it's a perfect starter exercise for people like yourself and OP who think it's not exercise unless you hate it!

    • saiya-jin a month ago

      You are completely missing OP's point - you are not the case of stepping into the realm of exercising for the first time and already trying some hyper-optimized-latest-fad routines. He even covers your case, if you cared to read till last sentence.

      By far the hardest part of working out regularly is to have good mental setup, which just doesn't spawn on itself but one has to work through some mental resistance. Getting into the state of enjoying the suck, for all the benefits, for the feeling afterwards, whatever makes you tick and come back. I can't agree more.

    • bko a month ago

      > I’ve exercised moderately at least every alternate days for most of my adult years (for a few, I worked out quite religiously every day even), but not a single day did I find it rewarding.

      Why do you keep doing it? Suppose you burn 500 calories in a workout session, I would think its easier to eat 500 calories less than it is to slog through something you hate.

      • sidpatil a month ago

        Exercise's benefits go beyond burning calories. Burning 500 calories is not the same as avoiding those 500 calories.

        • bko a month ago

          I agree, but the main benefits for me are feeling good. And if it doesn't make you feel good then it may not be worth it. There's probably negative effects of putting yourself through something to you hate every day.

          • asdff a month ago

            Doing the dishes makes me feel bad usually. That being said it would be foolish to just quit doing that. Exercise is the same way but the effects on your health are externalized often decades down the line, versus dirty dishes that start smelling before long. If people got frail and immobile a week after not working out versus after decades of neglect, more people would religiously be working out like they currently do their dishes.

    • neuroma a month ago

      Respectfully, to say you did something for at least half of your adult days, but that it wasn't rewarding, is perhaps a misuse of the term reward.

      I'd suggest that whilst you may have suffered in doing the exercise for whatever reason, there was also a parallel and strong reward process embedding and sustaining that behaviour in you.

      • klodolph a month ago

        I think that's an overbroad notion of "reward". You have a certain point, but it may be seen as kind of a behaviorist way of looking at things, and the behaviorist approach fails to provide the same insight into mind that other approaches have.

  • jasode a month ago

    >, but is it really necessary to micro optimize exercise to this extent? I don't think there needs to be some sort of mathematical proof or nobel prize winning study to tell you to exercise [...] Don't pre-emptively optimize all your workouts based on some cutting edge science before even brute forcing it,

    I know you're trying to help HN readers but your comments I extracted above give the wrong impression of the article's actual text.

    He's not micro-optimizing and he didn't pre-emptively optimize. Summary bullet points:

    - He wrote that he was already doing high-intensity bike riding in the mountains for the past 12 years.

    - Each of the previous seasons, he noticed he always lost the weight he gained during the winter. This was his baseline.

    - But COVID disrupted his normal bike training and when he restarted the high-intensity exercise, he noticed he wasn't losing the weight like before. To fix this, he made sure he got his max heart rate back up to 180. This seems to match some of the recent research out there.

    The above timeline over a decade is the opposite of premature optimization. It's taking 12 years of baseline data and noticing something about his body changed in the 13th year and then taking steps to isolate and fix it.

    Unfortunately, his wall of text about his personal anecdote makes it hard for readers to skim for his main ideas:

    (1) many science articles say exercise doesn't help you lose weight but his personal experience contradicts this. He believes the explanation is low-intensity exercise vs high-intensity.

    (2) even high-intensity exercise will not stop weight gain unless you actually hit max heart rate. Almost reaching max heart rate (e.g. 172 bpm) was not enough; he has to reach 180 bpm.

    • bitL a month ago

      My own experience tells me I was only able to lose weight under either of these two conditions:

      1) daily HIIT, preferably multiple times

      2) not eating for 7-35 days at all (just water/electrolytes/vitamins/potassium)

      Eating just a little while doing just a bit of sport just made me tired, and didn't lead to any weight loss.

      • JonChesterfield a month ago

        Energy is conserved. A couple of hours of cardio a day plus eating well under maintenance causes weight loss pretty much linear in the deficit. Gradient is about 8k calories per kg adipose tissue.

        • bitL a month ago

          Did you actually try it or is this just a theory "that should work"?

  • WA a month ago

    This. As an untrained person, you can go for a walk with a 90 bpm heart rate and lose a lot of weight and gain strength and endurance.

    The psychology is way more important for the average person than an optimal training: do something you enjoy doing several times a week.

    • maccard a month ago

      > you can go for a walk with a 90 bpm heart rate and lose a lot of weight

      A 1 hour brisk walk is roughly 400 calories, which is roughly the same as a 5k run, not eating a Starbucks muffin, or not eating half a small pizza.

      Exercise, even light walking is incredibly beneficial, but you won't lose any weight doing so. Weight is lost in the kitchen.

      • asdff a month ago

        Of course you lose weight exercising. You've said it yourself, an hours walk is half a small pizza worth of calories you've just exhaled. Those 400 calories don't come from nowhere. If you don't change your diet at all and start removing 400 calories from the equation a day, of course you will see your weight drop. If you start adding 400 calories your weight goes up. People think there are a lot of factors at play that have a significant effect on weight, but unless you have a parasite in your gut, those factors pale in comparison to basic thermodynamic principles of energy into the system equaling energy lost to the system via work and heat. You can't violate the laws of physics.

        • amanaplanacanal a month ago

          Yes but… homeostasis is a thing. If you expend more energy, your body is going to try to make it up somehow, either by making you hungrier, or by making you expand less energy elsewhere.

          • asdff a month ago

            So then the trick is when you take up a workout regimen to not overeat and regain all the calories you lost to work and heat

      • orwin a month ago

        But the muscle mass will rise your metabolic consumption.

        You can loose all your extra weight in the kitchen. Nevertheless, doing a sport help, a lot. I lost 15kg just by changing my eating habits (over 3 years). But the last mile is really hard to get to without exercises. I'm a sailor, but i only get to windsurf/kayak/so catamaran during summer, where i loose ~5kg i immediatly gain over the autumn-winter period. Doing a new, indoor sport did help a lot. This year, even though i only started in February, i already have my weight of October (when i usually stop enjoying myself on the water)

        • maccard a month ago

          > But the muscle mass will rise your metabolic consumption.

          Losing weight doesn't have to increase muscle, you might be trying to just actually lose weight. Also, the actual difference unless you replace an enormous amount of your mass with muscle (which unless you're doing an incredible amount of lifting you won't be doing), ends up being in the region of 1-200 calories per day, which is the difference between having a chocolate bar with your tea in the morning.

          > But the last mile is really hard to get to without exercises

          The last mile is the same as the previous mile. The difference is that many people realise that losing weight isn't the entire story, and the last mile is no longer about losing weight it's about gaining muscle, and _that_ requires exercise.

          As I said, exercise is incredibly important, you'll look better you'll feel better, you'll sleep better, but you won't lose weight unless you're running 10k every day _and_ not eating any more to compensate for it.

          • Someone a month ago

            > Also, the actual difference unless you replace an enormous amount of your mass with muscle […] ends up being in the region of 1-200 calories per day, which is the difference between having a chocolate bar with your tea in the morning.

            If you’re middle-aged (-ish) and healthy, overweight, but not obese, what made you overweight likely is a gain of, ballpark, 3 grams a day (that’s about a kg a year, or 10kg/decade, 30kg between the age of 20 and 50)

            There’s about 7,700 kilocalories in a kg of body fat, so preventing that slow but steady weight increase only takes eating about 25kCal less per day or burning 25kCal more.

            It doesn’t take much exercise to get there.

          • mtVessel a month ago

            > The last mile is the same as the previous mile.

            Is it, though? Maybe from a biological perspective, but definitely not in terms of lifestyle.

            The times I've needed to lose weight, the first few pounds came off easily, because I usually just need to clean up a few bad habits. But then I typically settle in to a set point that's still above a healthy weight. At that point, further reductions require more and more calorie micromanagement.

  • synu a month ago

    A lot of hobbies have gone away from doing it for the pleasure or intrinsic reward of it, but to do it to become the best in the world or professional at it. It can sometimes be fun to gamify self-improvement but there’s also something to be said just for having fun or to take care of yourself. Chess is an example where it seems like people are either actively training and studying to get a title or not playing at all, and it’s a shame.

    All that said it’s great that different options are out there for people who are motivated in different ways.

  • primordialsoup a month ago

    HIIT vs. regular cardio is not micro optimization (in your words). Trying to figure out the exact heart rates might count as one.

    An analogy to what you are saying would be this: Studying in MIT vs. any random university should be the same. "Go to college, study hard and you will be fine. It's not rocket really science."

    Your other points are valid.

    • bawolff a month ago

      > "Go to college, study hard and you will be fine. It's not rocket really science."

      Is that wrong?

      • dwaltrip a month ago

        If one gets a degree in some esoteric, non-practical area of study, then yeah it is wrong. Or at least very much incomplete advice.

        • bawolff a month ago

          Does there exist any advice where its impossible to do it wrong?

          E.g. On this account, "stay hydrated" is bad advice, since if you drink 60L of water in a day you will die

          • dwaltrip a month ago

            Sure, of course not. But some advice is more clear than others…

  • nvilcins a month ago

    FWIW, for me HIIT was the catalyst to exercising.

    As someone who wanted but struggled to motivate myself to take up regular physical activities, the short duration of HIIT was what sold it to me. Sure it's "intense", but I found it way easier to just push myself for ~10min (20min door-to-door) rather than finding time for a 1-2h regular exercise - which I personally don't enjoy much more anyway.

    Weight loss has never been my consideration. However, what I've found over the years (and is also supported by research afaik) is that a practice of regular short HIITs greatly contributes to endurance too. Anecdotally, by doing HIITs almost exclusively I am able to keep up pretty well with my triathlon friend during longer runs.

  • NoPicklez a month ago

    Couldn't agree more.

    There doesn't need to some mathematical proof or nobel prize winning study, because... well, the proof is in the pudding if you look at athletes.

    Most people are not doing the basics, but by doing some form of exercise often and consistently. Eat a nutritious meal, don't binge on junk food and sleep well. People love to complicate and over engineer the situation by diving into everything 100% when they have a 'I'm going to lose weight' mindset. Weight loss takes a while and you might need to be a little hungry at times to lose weight.

    Just don't expect exercise to be the one reason you will lose weight, the largest reason will be your diet. As the old saying goes, you can't outrun a poor diet.

    • salty_biscuits a month ago

      Athletes aren't a great example. A quick look at the literature and you will quickly find heaps of studies on eating disorders in athletes. There are obvious and not so obvious motivations (i.e. a boxer making a weight division vs body image concerns). The big confounding factor in athletes is that they usually have extremely high discipline/self control.

      • NoPicklez a month ago

        Athletes are a great example of what proper exercise and nutrition does for the body. They are living proof, otherwise if it didn't work they'd be all overweight. Now we don't necessarily expect ourselves to be at that level but clearly doing the basics will work wonders or move you in the right direction. I don't think we can nullify the impacts of lots of exercise and world class nutrition because of some eating disorders.

        I'd say obesity is the greater eating disorder, not athletes being at the top of the game working themselves into the ground.

        But a good thing you point out there, is that it is easy to say exercise consistently and eat a good diet. But the trouble is the discipline/self control to do so.

        Many of us lead stressful busy lives which don't always leave us the room to be the healthy people we want to be. You just need to make time for it in a way that you can and enjoy, if you truly do want to prioritise it.

        • arvinsim a month ago

          > Many of us lead stressful busy lives which don't always leave us the room to be the healthy people we want to be.

          It is so much easier to exercise consistently and eat a good diet if one is being paid for it.

          • elevaet a month ago

            The reward of feeling and looking good and living a long healthy life can be a pretty good motivator for the amateurs.

            • NoPicklez a month ago

              Amateurs can make massive changes to their body composition quite quickly, which is absolutely motivator.

  • chrismartin a month ago

    Optimization might not be worth the trouble at the individual level, even if that's half the fun for this crowd. But optimization is 100% worth the trouble to make the guidance as effective as possible at the population level. Even slightly better advice can make life slightly better for a zillion people -- think of that in cumulative QALYs or whatever.

    If it turns out that a certain kind of exercise makes it a little easier for people to reach their health/fitness goals, and it isn't commensurately more likely to injure them, then let us leave no gains on the table.

  • stefs a month ago

    this is an important point for structured training, i.e. for people who already have a work ethic. nobody is going to force high intensity interval training on recreational cyclists and runners, but it is important for people looking to improve their performance.

    if i spend hours on the bike to get better at biking, yes, thank you, this is actually valuable and important information! no, it's not going to change how i ride on relaxing group rides with my friends or my feel-good rides for getting my head aired out; i do those too, but they're a completely different thing.

    HEY LINUX KERNEL PROGRAMMERS! why do you always care about buffer overflows so much? just write some fun code! get a few features done! stop worrying about security holes all the time. accumulating LoC is far more important.

  • 1123581321 a month ago

    Deeper understanding of the physiology and psychology involved in exercise allows for better recommendations in cases where the general advice can’t or won’t be successfully followed.

  • Fricken a month ago

    Different types of exercise have different effects on our metabolism. It's an exaggeration to call it "micro-optimization", HIIT does not need to be complicated, just go do some sprints!

    Me personal experience checks out with the author's anectdata. Following a broken leg I gained about 20 pounds over 2 years, and burned it off quickly (5 weeks) once I started with HIIT.

    People are going to keep telling me that "calories in = calories out", or that "weight loss happens in the kitchen", and I'll keep not believing them. HIIT is the most effective level I have for raising my metabolism without a corresponding increase to my appetite.

    • DiabloD3 a month ago

      It's largely because people don't understand that the body will do everything possible to not lose fat due to insulin mismanagement.

      The only way to legitimately say "weight loss happens in the kitchen" if the discussion is over what, and how often... any discussion that is about CICO throws something like 20 years of science under the bus.

      HIIT helps override early metabolic syndrome symptoms, but so does eating a diet devoid of refined sugars, refined grains, and seed oils; combining this with a high fat diet (to purposefully keep insulin levels low) multiplies the effect of both HIIT and diets that follow the Paleo way of thinking; then, on top of those, One Meal A Day (OMAD) further multiplies the effect.

      If you eat your TDEE in calories every day (ergo, neither excess nor deficit of calories), you will lose weight with HIIT, but also lose weight with Paleo, more weight adding Keto to Paleo, and then even more weight with Ketoized Paleo OMAD, and all four together would still be a weight loss powerhouse even with eating TDEE.

    • fuzzfactor a month ago

      For yourself and the author of the article, check the amount of fingernail growth during a week containing sprints versus a week or two without.

      Warm up in a sustainable way then limited sprints at an unsustainable speed.

  • domepro a month ago

    Yeah and the guy literally says nothing about his diet.

    I've been going to the gym for 2 years now with a personal trainer - mostly a wholesome approach and even when doing HIIT intervals, I'm not getting even close to my max of 194 I've seen before starting going to the gym when I tried to climb the tiny hill close to my house on my bike.

    His experience seems anecdotal at best and an extreme case of cherry picking alongside that. I do feel some nausea after a decent workout usually and it does suppress my appetite for a few hours, but I know of people that are just ravenous after working out.

    • oriolid a month ago

      > I'm not getting even close to my max of 194 I've seen before starting going to the gym when I tried to climb the tiny hill close to my house on my bike.

      Are you sure that you are climbing fast enough? Gym training isn't necessarily the best way to prepare for cycling.

      • domepro a month ago

        Gym for sure is not the best way, but I'm not really lifting heavy weights, it's more of a work on calisthenics, some cardio (usually rowing) and some mobility exercises with the occasional compound lift here and there, cycling is just my preferred cardio for multiple reasons - I can actually travel moderate distances as opposed to running, it's lower impact and I find it much more relaxing than running for instance.

        Also, I'm not sure if you understood correctly - I've hit my 194 when I was out of shape and stepped on my bike and tried to climb the tiny hill (after doing about 20km or so). After about 200m of distance with about a 6% gradient, my HR was 194 and I had to step off the bike, my lungs felt like they were extending from my groin all the way to my upper arms on boths sides :D.

        After going to the gym for two years I've never seen more than 187 during the HIIT sessions that we had (usually it's something along the lines 20 calories max effort rowing with 15-30 seconds rest, anywhere from 6-10 series) so my experience directly contradicts what has happened to him.

        • oriolid a month ago

          Yes, sounds like the 194 could have some extra from stress or something interfering with the measurement and 187 would be the usual maximum.

  • toss1 a month ago

    The level of intensity of a workout IS one of the basics.

    Sure, while doing something is better than doing nothing, whether you push the muscles to exhaustion or not, or whether you push the cardio to max throughput or not makes a vastly outsized difference vs mere total time or effort expended.

    The details of how &how much you get to that intensity are admittedly details ,but to dismiss the whole concept as unnecessary is, well, unnecessary ignorance.

    Source: fmr international level amateur &pro competitor & trainer. Happy to provide more details of training if interested .

  • mtrycz2 a month ago

    I think author's point is that

    1. All workout types leads to being more in shape 2. HIITs lead to weight loss faster than other types of training.

    It is valuable information, if it is confirmed to be true.

    • irjustin a month ago

      > if it is confirmed to be true.

      Is the problem. So many studies lead no where because the body is insanely complex, so what works for this person should not be generalized.

    • NoPicklez a month ago

      Not to discredit one of the authors points, but I don't see why its at all surprising that HIIT increased their maximum heart rate.

      Your maximum heart rate isn't likely to increase unless you train and push the upper end of your HR. Sprint cyclists don't train to be fast by riding slowly, they do high intensity sprint efforts.

      Your body adapts to the stimulus you provide it, if you want to increase your maximum HR you need to train at your near it.

      • hackernewds a month ago

        agree it's unsurprising. hitting your max heart rate often, decreases your resting heart rate would be a more interesting finding (which research supports happens to be true)

  • raverbashing a month ago

    > work hard and sweat for an hour, eat a nutritious meal

    This means absolutely nothing

    This is the kind of empty advice that gets in the way more than helps, and I can't even start saying how "sweat for an hour" is just checkout-lane fitness magazine non-advice

    In fact I'd say that that most people fail at fitness because they try to go for meaningless advice like "sweating for an hour"

    HIIT is great and it is the way to optimize time and progression

  • belorn a month ago

    If we assume that people who need to loose weight are in otherwise perfect health then it is indeed no rocket science to do so. Be outside, exercise, eat a balanced meal, get in bed and when there sleep the number of hours that good health require.

    For the average individual who are looking to improve their health, it mostly likely false, because the average individual is not in perfect health, especially once they pass the age of 20. A good demonstration of this can be found in older medical science, much which was done on military recruits. More often then not they do not represent the average individual in modern society in term of health.

    If we look at the average person, we found things like metabolic disorder. It obviously effects how food metabolize, but it also effects how easy it is to exercise, and it effects sleep in terms of falling asleep, staying asleep, and how long people need to sleep. It is estimated that about 1/3 of the US population suffer from a metabolic disorder, and is only one category of many different diseases that might effects people in a negative way.

  • kaskakokos a month ago

    It's not about optimizing (although I understand that someone might think so, given the forum), it's more about pushing the right buttons that our nature has.

    I'll give you an example that has happened to me several times, I have friends who work out 3 times a week and don't understand why they don't lose their pear shape. The answer is: Do HIT and weights too!

    Each type of exercise develops one of the various perspectives our physical nature has in the same way that each type of mental exercise develops one of the various mental capacities we have. You can't be in good mental shape if, for example, you only do chess. Of course it is a great and beautiful exercise, but someone should remind you that your brain has other needs that must be satisfied.

  • dan-robertson a month ago

    What does ‘micro optimize exercise to this extent’ mean? In the first part they mention studies showing that mere (low intensity) exercise is not sufficient to get the desired result. So if you just mean ‘do high intensity exercise’ then the article’s claim would be that it may be necessary to do it to have the desired effect.

    And the second half is about the author training for cycling up mountains and it basically looks like a reasonably normal thing that someone serious at training for something might write. The point of tracking the numbers is to notice trends which someone who is serious about training would likely care about.

  • Bancakes a month ago

    >Go outside, work hard and sweat for an hour, eat a nutritious meal and get a good amount of sleep.

    You didn't give definitions for any of those terms, nor good values they take from their domains.

    There has to be one and only one definition of each. We have to know exactly what macro and micro nutrients the human body needs, and how many calories per person, per lifestyle.

    Science has no answers to this, bar the consumerist publications of the cancer-curing properties of grilled avocados or somerhing.

    What I understood from your post is I can sleep for 6 hours, briskly walk to the supermarket, and cook 3 XL eggs with a handful of bacon, as a pre-lunch.

  • yakubin a month ago

    Also, there is a group of people who decide to get fit by going crazy with exercise, but continuing to eat junk food. Diet is several orders of magnitude more important than any exercise, yet some people go to the gym everyday, followed by eating two burgers, followed by a pizza the next day etc. etc. And then they look in the mirror surprised they're not getting better.

    • Fricken a month ago

      Michael Phelps is the all-time most decorated Olympian and, when training, he consumes plenty of burgers and pizza. Absurd quantities, in fact. Exercise is far more critical to fitness than nuances of diet. Of course, for many "fit" simply means "not fat".

      https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/this-is-what-michael-p...

      • gonzo41 a month ago

        No it's less diet and more calories. Cyclists are usually rake thin from being in calorie deficit due to the workload they put in.

        Phelps would be the same. Swimming is hard work.

        It's generally easier to try and force the equation in favor of doing exercise rather than eating well. Generally I try and do this, I just do my baseline steps + cycling and try not to miss days and I can pretty much eat what I like. But when I'm loosing weight, I usually wake up really hungry and that's when I can tell the scale has tipped the other way into a calorie deficit.

        • yakubin a month ago

          > It's generally easier to try and force the equation in favor of doing exercise rather than eating well.

          That's the first I'm hearing this opinion. I'd expect the opposite. It's definitely the opposite for me, because eating healthy is pleasurable, tasty. I'm a hedonist, so I love eating healthy. I do exercise everyday, with an odd missed day here and there, but much of the exercise is a battle of my will to keep pushing, soaked in sweat. Additionally, for exercise you need to find extra time in a day, whereas with food one way or another you're going to need to do that anyway.

          • gonzo41 a month ago

            For me, I like pizza, thus I know I have to work it off. I think about food that way. So I work on the exercise side of the equation.

      • yakubin a month ago

        Yes, by "fit" I meant "not fat". And if a person doesn't lose weight from the exercise, then I'd say it's a strong indicator their exercise isn't an Olympic level Michael Phelps training, which would give them the metabolism to counteract the effect of junk food.

        Even with heavy exercise, I have a strong suspicion your doctor wouldn't recommend you a diet like that. Just because by some miracle it works for one guy (and who knows what the consequences are going to be in a couple decades), doesn't mean it's good advice for the general populace.

      • sn9 a month ago

        It's not exercise.

        It's the balance between calories consumed versus calories burned.

        Swimming famously burns an immense amount of calories both due to being an endurance sport as well just maintaining body temperature in a body of cool water.

  • kamaal a month ago

    >>is it really necessary to micro optimize exercise to this extent?

    Not sure much for a beginner, but even for advanced beginners yes.

    The heart is very hard to optimize machine. More it gets efficient, the harder it is to make it more efficient. Hence every last bit of detail counts.

    You will be surprised how hard it is to proceed to make the heart efficient by a linear scale.

  • matwood a month ago

    > building work ethic is far more important

    Consistency is #1 for exercise. I do agree that many people seem to overthink it too early on. But, some people draw motivation from the overthinking as long as they don't consider the thinking part a silver bullet or mistake it for actually doing the exercise.

  • ZeroGravitas a month ago

    This comment seems aimed a High Intensity Interval Training, while the article goes in another direction.

    Notably, he's arguing against the apparent evidence supported consensus that excercise doesn't help you lose weight, so you possibly could get a nobel if you proved it did.

  • acchow a month ago

    But large swaths of the population struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, even with regular exercise.

    Regular exercise AND healthy eating AND good sleep? Too much of the population struggles with way too many things to be able to get all 3.

  • hgomersall a month ago

    It depends why you're doing it. It's plausible that different exercise has different physiological effects, in which case blithely calling them all the same thing may miss many potential benefits exercise can offer.

  • NicoJuicy a month ago

    I'm not sure to call it "micro optimize"

    A different change in routine can make a big difference. Also, people have a different body composition which is important to know.

    Based on your reaction, i guess you're not a Endomorph :)

  • blastro a month ago

    modern sports forces athletes to push themselves as far as possible, including minutiae like this.

    • asdff a month ago

      This was true with sports 100 years ago too, just we didn't know the most optimal techniques by then.

RubyRidgeRandy a month ago

What has been well understood for quite some time is that low, steady-state cardio will burn the most calories over high-intensity workload. The effort needed to maintain a high-intensity workload is exponential. The average non-trained person may be able to walk 20-30 miles at one time before their legs give out, that same person wouldn't be able to sprint a mile, let alone half a mile if we're talking all-out sprint. Even if you take into account increased VO2 max it doesn't add up. High-intensity exercise has its place in health, but is a poor tool for weight loss.

Dr. Mike Israetel had a video on this exact topic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0ejGgLRQZI

  • tempestn a month ago

    The post described the mechanism; it's not about the calories directly burned by the activity, but rather the effect on appetite. You lose weight by eating less, and hard exercise can make it easier to do so.

  • saiya-jin a month ago

    I think its a bit more complex than that. HIIT directly burns less calories, but it creates more muscles over time. Similar in weightlifting if you go for low reps high weight workouts which are basically HIIT.

    In both cases, your metabolism adjusts - it feeds more muscles, its set into high-energy mode with 'fast' digestion.

    I wouldn't recommend it to most though - if done properly its very taxing. I mean being in anaerobic state and pushing through is a hard sell to people who barely muster enough motivation to do occasional jog or spinning. One needs to be in top shape overall for it, no hidden heart issues etc.

    • matwood a month ago

      I think people need both steady state and HIIT. Much like it's hard to go super heavy low reps all the time when lifting. It's good to cycle up and down.

      As you mention, HIIT is also very hard for many people do even if they are healthy and want to do it. The body naturally fights going all out.

      I've pitched training BJJ on HN (well to anyone really), and HIIT is yet another reason. People who train end up doing HIIT without even realizing. The body is in defense mode which breaks down some of the natural steady guardrails.

  • bawolff a month ago

    > wouldn't be able to sprint a mile, let alone half a mile if we're talking all-out sprint

    Can anyone? Almost by definition, your top sprinting speed, e.g. what you would use for 100m race, is going to be different than your speed running a mile, even if you are an olympic athlete.

    • asdff a month ago

      If you run like you would for a 100m race you wouldn't even be able to complete a 400m race.

  • hackernewds a month ago

    The difference is the amount of time required. Time spent being equal, you will get more fat burn/weight loss through HIIT exercise

    • edanm a month ago

      That's true, but people tend to misunderstand this.

      Of course sprinting all-out for 5 minutes is better than walking for 5 minutes. If all you have is 5 minutes, and you're trying to get the most out of that session without any other consideration, you should sprint.

      But for most people, 5 minutes of all-out sprinting is very, very hard, and has a very fatiguing effect - you won't want to (or be able to) exercise again for a while. As opposed to walking, which most people can realistically do for a long time.

      The concept here is the amount of fatigue you're accumulating. As a fat-loss tool, a low-fatigue exercise that you can do for a long time will mean much more total calories burned, as opposed to a high-fatigue exercise you'll only realistically do for a very short duration.

      • Buttons840 a month ago

        This reminds me: Scott Adams said the optimal exercise routine is the one that maximizes your chances of exercising again the next day. A good way of thinking about it.

      • asdff a month ago

        What about a ladder workout? We did these in track and field and it was a brutal burn that would send people puking by the fence by the end and not being able to walk up stairs for a few days after. You'd run a 100m, short rest, 200m, rest, 300m, rest, 400m, rest, 300m, rest, 200m, rest, 100m, then you are simply cooked. Two weeks of this though and you are whipped back into shape for track season.

        • edanm a month ago

          I don't have exact figures, but the amount of calories burned in very strenuous activity is about 3 times "light" activity like walking (I think - would love a legit reference though!)

          So let's say you do the ladder routine. I don't have any idea how fast people typically sprint, but let's take 2 minutes per sprint - we have 100 twice, 200 twice, 300 twice, and 400, for a total of 7 sprints - so we'll say 14 minutes (and I think I'm exaggerating up?) In terms of calories burned, this is the "same" as a 45 minute walk.

          I assume, by the way you describe it (people can't walk up stairs for a few days, people puking) that this is very hard on people. They're probably not doing this every day.

          As opposed to walking 45 minutes, which is incredibly easy and won't make anyone feel bad, and you can definitely do every day.

          Of course, I'm only talking calories burned here - for health and for improving conditioning, of course you need something more strenuous!

  • patrulek a month ago

    > but is a poor tool for weight loss

    Still better than nothing and you only need up to 20 min to complete training.

kirillzubovsky a month ago

If you look at the scientific papers on how our bodies burn stored energy, then it becomes rather straight forward why high intensity exercise leads to weight loss.

Exact numbers escape me, but exercise somewhere between 65-80 percent of your heart rate leads to optimal consumption of carbs and fats. Too low stress and you aren’t using up much stored energy; too high and the body needs sugars to keep going.

Better yet, it’s prolonged intensity that matters, as it takes the body a few minutes to activate all the pathways required to start burning fats and carbs. So for example long distance running will burn more fats than sprinting.

  • chrismartin a month ago

    I wonder what the blog author considers "high intensity"? 65-80% of MHR is common advice (see my other comment) but generally _not_ considered high intensity. 80% is still supposed to be under the lactate threshold.

  • notacoward a month ago

    This matches my own experience. I got into a bit of a rut for a year or so, taking multiple breaks even during a 5km (3.11 mile) run. Both my pace and my weight suffered. Then I pulled myself out of it, usually doing three to four miles (and as much as six as long as it's not too hilly) without a break. Not surprisingly, pace and weight both got better again. Looking at my numbers, I concluded that the first five minutes at the start or after a break basically don't count. There's a direct correlation between benefits and time spent outside of those windows. The mechanisms don't matter. I'll follow the empirical results, and at least for me that means fewer breaks.

  • jaqalopes a month ago

    The important thing seems to be heart rate. If you're a slow runner distance alone might not get you there. A series of sufficiently hard sprints and breaks that stretches over 30 minutes is better than 30 minutes of continuous jogging.

JamesBarney a month ago

Post is over simplifying the research and it's conclusions.

The likely fact that exercise does not result in significant weight loss does not mean exercise won't keep you from gaining weight, keep you from regaining weight, or help you lose weight that you specifically put on from stopping exercise.

We have good evidence if you're fat you probably won't get skinny from exercise.

But we also have good evidence that if you lose a bunch of weight exercise is really important for keeping it off.

Basically the human body is very complicated so you can't make many assumptions.

  • hackernewds a month ago

    The laws of thermodynamics don't change though. Calorie deficit over time will get you to lose weight. Exercise can ensure that can be done in a healthy manner (besides hard dieting)

    • dan-robertson a month ago

      I think the idea that all of weight loss can be reduced to calories-in-calories-out is not favoured. A simple point is that the body can regulate its metabolism so increasing/decreasing calorie intake can just lead to a slightly higher/lower body temperature while maintaining the same weight. In some sense that metabolism counts as ‘calories out’ but the feedback loop means that you can’t easily control it independently of calorie intake.

      • n8henrie a month ago

        This is not supported by metabolic ward studies. Metabolism per kg of lean body mass is largely maintained, the reductions in absolute basal metabolic rate during significant weight loss are almost exclusively due to having less tissue for which to provide energy.

      • carom a month ago

        It can be reduced to that with a lot of emphasis on how you reduce calories. Do you break your habits such as alcohol, sugar, and caffeine that hinder reduction? Do you cut out carbs or do keto? At the end of the day it is fewer calories, what matters is if it is sustainable.

        I bulked for lifting in the winter. Got to a body fat percent where I wasn't happy with how I looked. I then needed to decide to cut or continue gaining strength. This decision actually caused a lot of strife when before I realized I couldn't do both effectively.

        I looked at my calories and what I wanted to reduce. It didn't work well, I had a hard time tracking calories and making the correct cuts despite a simple diet.

        Now it is summer, it is hot, I'm not using AC. My body wants less food, I cut out rice, mostly on meat and dairy. Consistently losing weight now. I attribute it largely to the heat.

        My take away is that it is eating less, but eating less is hard.

      • sn9 a month ago

        Body temperature in mammals is highly regulated and does not vary much outside of a very tight window.

        It's not a meaningful factor in any sort of weight change unless taking substances with dangerous side effects.

      • zihotki a month ago

        The metabolic feedback loop there is not precise as you may think. There is a huge variability and even big thresholds of when it starts switching. That's why you need to measure your calories intake and results, and act accordingly. Small calories deficit won't slow down the metabolism, especially if you add a bit of excercise or physical activity to the list. Big calories deficit on the other hand could cause issues.

    • JamesBarney a month ago

      If we had a drug that increased caloric expenditure by 5 calories but increased hunger by 500 calories, so that on average people who took it gained 10 pounds.

      Would you say this drug helped you lose weight?

      Or on the other end if you have a drug that decreases caloric expenditure by 5 calories but decreases hunger by 500 calories would you say this drug helps people gain or lose weight?

      We can look at these interventions through the very narrow lens of thermodynamics and say the first one will help with weight loss and the second will help with weight gain. Or we can just give people the drug and see what happens to their weight. It seems very clear to me the second approach is a better one.

    • layer8 a month ago

      That’s not wrong, but as a counterpoint, the only way for me to lose weight is to count calories (intake), whereas just exercising doesn’t make me lose weight (presumably because then I also eat more if I don’t measure and limit how much I eat). So at least for me I’d say that restricting calorie intake is necessary for losing weight, whereas just exercising only helps in maintaining weight.

    • bawolff a month ago

      But starving to death is not a healthy way to lose weight.

chrismartin a month ago

Maybe wrong place to ask, but is there guidance based on modern evidence on what makes a workout "high intensity", and how to structure a routine of them without leading to over-training or injury, especially for people who have excess fat?

I row and cycle casually. Most of the ostensibly-evidence-based, in-vogue advice that I hear is to do a large volume of work (1-2 hours per day) at between 65% and 80% of maximum heart rate -- not very high intensity. This same advice recommends a very limited amount of work (1-2 hours per week at most, or even none at all!) at any intensities above that.

You see this all over /r/rowing ("steady state"), and on the Science of Ultra podcast (discontinued but has lots of pragmatic advice distilled from research). [0] The low-intensity, high-volume approach was actually pioneered in 1970s East Germany. [1]

That advice is mostly intended to help already-healthy people get fitter, but I'd be surprised if the science would lead people who have excess fat to work at a harder intensity than people who don't, especially when accounting for the increased injury risk and wear on joints.

[0] https://www.scienceofultra.com/podcasts/139

[1] http://footnotes-catalan.blogspot.com/2011/05/rowing-machine...

  • ukoki a month ago

    This is called "polarized training". Dr Stephen Seiler is the most well-known researcher investigating this and has done many lectures and interviews with endurance sport Youtubers and podascters about this -- just search for his name on Youtube.

    The research shows that lots of exercise volume at low intensity, a bit of excersise volume at high intensity, and zero volume at mid intensities is (counterintuitively) the most effective way to build performance at all intensities for endurance sports. This applies both for trained professional athletes and regular people who are untrained.

    In some of the videos you'll find, he provides definitions for these zones and makes suggestions about the ideal volume of exercise, as well as the structure of high intensity workouts (how many intervals? how long? etc -- there is research about exactly what intervals are best)

    If you are interested in improving cycling performance, https://intervals.icu/ is a fantastic dashboard that can be used to track training, performance and has many charts directly relating to polarised training and Dr Seiler's research (I'm thinking specifically of charts for time-in-zone, cardiac decoupling and heart rate reserve)

    There are many cycling training Youtubers but Dylan Johnson is one who comes to mind who looks takes a very evidence-based approach and breaks down the latest research in videos for beginners who want to improve cycling performance

  • xchaotic a month ago

    There’s the concept of Zones and you can measure the intensity directly with a power meter or indirectly with HR. Anything that reaches close to your sustained max HR or max power is considered high intensity as it uses different energy systems to produce muscle energy And yes there’s overwhelming research that for a non pro athlete you should only do one or two high intensity workouts per week (and pad with low intensity sessions to get enough training time)

z9znz a month ago

I'm not sure I believe "max heart rate" limits. They must vary per person, perhaps significantly.

In my early 40s, I did a lot of higher altitude mountain biking (single track, usually involving a good mix of climbs and descents). I wore a heart rate strap, which should be pretty accurate at measuring HR.

According to my Garmin data uploaded to Strava, one of my long rides (4 hours moving) had an average hr of 161 bpm and a max of 192. It also shows that 15% of my time was > 174 bpm. According to heart.org, my max should have been 175.

Since that's more than half an hour operating above the supposed max HR, I don't believe those max limits.

Even so, I think pushing oneself to the limit for periods of time is great as long as it doesn't kill you. And now for those of us who have been sedentary for some extended time (blame COVID), HIIT can mean going up and down the stairs a few times! Perhaps I should wear my heart strap around the house; I feel like my current max HR is probably significantly below what it should be.

On an unrelated note, a couple of years ago I went from not exercising to trying to learn to run. For one month, several days a week, I did a run/walk of a mere 6km. I did push myself to decrease the total time spent, and there was some progress. Before that month, my resting HR was around 65 bpm. After that month, my resting HR was in the low 50s, occasionally dipping into the high 40s. This was a bit scary to read, since online info about low resting hr supposedly means something bad; but I didn't feel bad. And after I stopped exercising, my resting rate went back to the usual mid 60s.

  • simonbarker87 a month ago

    It’s all ball park, I’ve had multiple measured heart rates over 200 when I was doing CrossFit 5 days a week a couple of years back and I was 32/33 years old. During that time my resting heart rate got down to an overnight of around 30 bpm (I had a 24 hour ecg done so was pretty accurate) - the cardiologist said “our assumptions on oral human performance are wrong and out dated - your fine, if a little fitter than the average office worker needs to be”

  • n8henrie a month ago

    The highly sophisticated formula of "220 - age" leaves a bit of wiggle room, I'm sure. It would seem particularly convenient to have MHR reduce linearly (by whole numbers) annually.

    I always thought of MHR as "you'll have a hard time getting your heart rate faster than this," not "your heart will explode if you work hard enough exceed this."

  • mountainb a month ago

    Those max HR things are just estimates. It's really based on your conditioning and your age, with conditioning being more important. A max HR in the 190s sounds about right for your self reported level of conditioning and age at that time. Your max is whatever your max is before you collapse; it's not what a chart says.

  • swah a month ago

    Hey, just curious: what do you do for staying fit these days?

LouisSayers a month ago

High-Intensity Exercise is good although it can really tire you out.

I took part in two eight week healthy eating research studies just over a year ago.

One was the mediterranean diet (think olive oil in your porridge, a glass of wine with meals, olives, fish).

The other was the Australian government recommended healthy eating guideline (Balanced meals, lots of veg, lower carb, some cheese, some dairy, no alcohol).

I did the gov recommended diet first, and then the mediterranean.

My fat content reduced on the gov recommended diet, and increased slightly after on the mediterranean.

I usually hover around 72kg - 76kg, and on these diets I slimmed down, and got below 70kg for the first time in I don't know how long...

My exercise regime didn't change at all (I was doing a medium amount of exercise at the time).

If all you did was go to the gym regularly and eat the gov recommended diet, in my experience you'll definitely slim down. Say goodbye to that chocolate cake however - for that you might need to add some HIT / HIIT (high intensity interval training).

  • balfirevic a month ago

    Did study prescribe portion sizes or did you choose how much to eat on each diet yourself?

    • LouisSayers a month ago

      There were recommended portion sizes based on our weight, but we didn't have to weigh anything or count calories etc, it was more important that we ate the right ratios and certain types of food every week.

      We also were given sample meal recipes.

bckr a month ago

Wait, how could exercise not lead to weight loss? Given that you eat the same amount of calories, exercising will lead to a lower overall calorie count, and building muscle will lead to a higher metabolic rate.

Wut?

  • cjensen a month ago

    Most exercise does not burn the number of calories people expect. For example, running a 5K doesn't quite burn the calories of a single Big Mac. If you think "I am exercising so I can eat a little bit more" it's very easy to eat more calories than burned.

    Exercise because exercise is good for you. Try to eat fewer calories if overweight because that's good for you. It's best to treat these as separate problems: don't expect exercise to help you lose your weight.

    • _the_inflator a month ago

      Exactly this. Also it nowadays in the Big Mac world promotes the Halo Effect - I trained so much, now I take my reward and go binge eating/drinking.

      This is the vicious cycle: People expect more kcal to lose from exercising while underestimate the amount of kcal, eating and drinking can cause, especially alcohol.

      • ukoki a month ago

        The trick is to exercise after your last meal just before bed. That way you clear out your glycogen reserves and your body has no choice but to fuel itself on fat until breakfast (or lunch if you can manage a mild intermittent fasting and skip breakfast)

    • mordechai9000 a month ago

      > Exercise because exercise is good for you

      If at all possible, find an exercise activity you enjoy, and do it because you enjoy it.

  • _the_inflator a month ago

    Over- and underestimating: Overestimating the effects of exercising, while underestimating the amount of kcal people eat and drink, especially alcohol.

    Also the amount of muscle people build. Human beings are extremely energy efficient. And excess muscles only drain human bodies from energy. Does not make sense.

    My pro tip: count your kcal for one month. Everything that goes into your mouth - except water - needs to be tracked and especially weighted. You gonna be surprised. Everything, no exception.

    I count kcals and exercising for years now. My simple best advise: eating is 80-90% of the deal. Disciplined eating beats sports every time. More sports leads to more energy demand. And many overweight people cannot do sports.

    I give you another example. If I manage to get a negative kcal of more than 500kcal a day, this is very tough to take. Your body revolts. It takes a lot of discipline to go with -500kcal for a couple of days in a row.

    Another tip: go plant based. Added sugar etc. does not help.

    • lumost a month ago

      Anecdotally, I think this underestimates the impact of physical activity. It's much easier to lose weight when I'm physically active. I suspect that this is part of the bodies conditioning response.

      Too much fat, particularly fat above the bodies carrying capacity - leads to steep declines in athletic performance. If you suddenly need to shed heat for regular high intensity aerobic work, or pull yourself up a mountain - then its in your bodies best interest to lose the excess weight (up to a point). Our bodies seem to be extremely good at maintaining homeostasis in different conditions, why would body fat percentage be any different?

    • thefz a month ago

      > I count kcals and exercising for years now. My simple best advise: eating is 80-90% of the deal

      Exactly this. A climb up the local hill with my MTB taxes me for 1000kcal. Skipping three beers after amounts for the same amount of energy, and is way easier to achieve

    • matwood a month ago

      > count your kcal for one month

      Bingo. When I was much younger I was super skinny. I was weight lifting, but simply not gaining weight. I thought I ate a lot, and decided to start tracking. I barely ate anything. Even as a kid I hated to stop doing whatever it was I was doing and taking time to eat. That spilled over into adult life. But, once I saw numbers it became clear and I was finally able to adjust.

      Humans are generally terrible at estimations like this. I suggest tracking anything that you think may be a negative in your life.

    • erfgh a month ago

      I wouldn't say that cutting 500 calories a day is tough. I cut out breakfast recently and I was only really hungry for the first 3-4 days and only for a couple of hours each day. Thereafter I didn't even think of eating in the morning. Lost 3 kilos in about a month. I am going to the gym daily and also go for runs outside.

    • bsder a month ago

      > If I manage to get a negative kcal of more than 500kcal a day, this is very tough to take. Your body revolts. It takes a lot of discipline to go with -500kcal for a couple of days in a row.

      And -500kcal per day is only 1 pound of weight lost per week.

      Gaining weight is easy. Losing weight is very rough.

      • aix1 a month ago

        > Losing weight is very rough.

        As someone who went from 105kg to 75kg, I wouldn't describe the process as "rough". It took a series of small, sustainable changes to activity levels and diet over an extended period of time.

        At no point did I feel like I was forcing myself to do stuff I didn't want to or was depriving myself of anything.

        Couldn't be happier with the results (with how I feel, with the various active pursuits that are now part of my life etc).

      • Jensson a month ago

        > And -500kcal per day is only 1 pound of weight lost per week.

        So 500kcal per day is only 1 pound gained per week? Sounds like gaining weight is a lot of work! Basically you have to eat 5 large meals for just a single pound? At that rate it will take years of work to go from healthy to obese!

        • domepro a month ago

          While 500kcal is a good meal (by no means large), it's also less than a 100 gram chocolate bar which I can devour in about 25 seconds. Most of the problem nowadays it that a lot of food is of EXTREME caloric density.

      • matwood a month ago

        > Gaining weight is easy. Losing weight is very rough.

        For many, this is not true. My normal activity levels and eating tendencies make gaining weight quite hard for me.

  • abeppu a month ago

    It definitely isn't a given that you eat the same amount of calories. The train of thought seems to be that if you exercise at moderate or low intensity, people will often eat enough to compensate (or more). And the kinds of exercise studied often don't build appreciably muscle.

  • JamesBarney a month ago

    Given you eat the same number of calories, your body expenses the same amount of calories metabolically, and you move around exactly as much before....

    That's a lot of givens, given you're talking about a complex system that's evolved over the last million years to keep you from starving.

    But actual answer is exercise causes most people's metabolism to slow down slightly, to engage in less movements both conscious and unconscious, and their hunger to increase.

    Basically if your body realizes you're expending a bunch of energy it starts to conserve energy in all the other ways.

  • davisoneee a month ago

    Your body doesn't want to waste away, so it tries to concerve energy. Whether this be aspects such as slightly reducing your metabolism, or by stopping various 'fidgety' behaviours that, while small, add up to burn calories during the day (think actions like bouncing your legs or moving your ankles). After exercise, you are more likely to just sit still. It can also divert resources away from your immune system in the short-ish term (e.g. colds spread easily through the Tour De France peloton, which partly is due to close proximity for ours at a time, but is also just people being worn down and more vulnerable when working out heavily for a prolonged period).

    Exercise CAN lead to weight loss (I used to weigh ~115kg/250lb/18st, now weigh 74kg/160lb/11.5st ...mostly lost over 2 years), but as the old saying goes "You can't out-run a bad diet". It's much easier to eat 500 (k)calories than it is to burn 500 cal.

    As for exercise-induced hunger, yes some people don't feel hungry 'after' exercise...but e.g. if you exercise mid-day, do you add more to the following meals (e.g. evening, or more snacking?), adding more calories overall?

    Note: I found weight loss 'simple', as I find it very easy to follow a repetitive diet, so while calorie counting has flaws with the inaccuracy of estimates, calorie counting works IF YOU USE IT RIGHT. I at least knew if I eat roughly the same breakfasts and lunches, it's much easier to identify dietary habit changes or volume reductions if I wasn't achieving weight loss.

  • swader999 a month ago

    Very hard to outrun the kitchen. Diet is almost the whole picture for weight loss.

  • nxpnsv a month ago

    Train more, eat more, gain muscle. Easy.

  • r3drock a month ago

    You could get hungrier because of the exercise and therefore eat more, which would prevent weight loss.

    • LouisSayers a month ago

      After a hard workout I've often felt not all that hungry at all.

      Being lazy, sitting on the couch etc seems to have the opposite effect... I also wonder about what our brain consumes visually. If you're watching other people eating and drinking, it kinda makes you want to do the same.

      • bigDinosaur a month ago

        It depends on the kind of exercise IME. Swimming is one I've found that generates an enormous appetite.

  • chrismartin a month ago

    In short, you cannot outrun your fork.

  • pbazarnik a month ago

    Possinly by replacing fat tissue with muscle?

    I guess it will depend on protein vs sugar and fat content in the diet.

    • collegeburner a month ago

      ^ this is what happens. When i started working out i lost a shitton of fat and gained muscle over like 2 years about what i lost from fat. For the whole time I just recomped not gaining or losing much weight but massive change still. Maybe this is more the case for men since we have high androgens and build lots more muscle? Interested to see how it differs in women.

      • adrianN a month ago

        Even men have a hard time putting on a pound of muscle per month after the first couple of months of training. You must've been very dedicated if you managed to replace a "shitton" of fat with muscle. I don't think the average gymgoer can expect that to happen.

NicoJuicy a month ago

When i lost 25 kg in 3-4 months, i combined weight lifting with rope skipping ( every day) and some additional sport.

My heart pounded out of my chest every single time. But I lost weight with a very fast pace and didn't adjust my food too much ( i actually ate more, but healthier alternatives).

Muscle made me gain weight less fast on low motivational periods.

I now restarted sports and doing inline skating + fitness. Going up a bridge first to get my heart pounding again after 5 years inactivity. It feels great.

I'll try to change habits every month for muscle confusion. Since the human body optimizes for what you do ( and when) a lot. Inefficiency is key.

szundi a month ago

Question is: If you get too tired and excercise less with high intensity, does it burn more fat compared to more occasions of longer steady 80% intensity workouts.

  • xchaotic a month ago

    Fat oxidation only ramps up once you depleted your glycogen stores. That usually happens an hour into an exercise or so. So doing short hiit session does not directly burn fat but does ramp up your metabolism for the rest of the day.

0n0n0m0uz a month ago

i walk 5 miles 4-7 days a week and if everyone did just that and nothing else it would eliminate a great majority of health issues. I am 37 and plan to do this until I no longer can. Walking is the perfect exercise in that you can easily multitask with a podcast, phone call, listening to music, writing/dictating. It is very low impact so the likelihood of injury is pretty low. You can do it anywhere on earth and need only a good pair of shoes.

  • tsol a month ago

    I like the idea, but how long does this take you? In a treadmill in an hour I usually end up around 3 miles

    • 0n0n0m0uz a month ago

      My pace is about 4mph. I generally walk from 8:30 - 10:30 pm and have no problem falling asleep by 12. Sleep like a baby. At first I was beat after 2 miles, now I can do 6 and it’s like nothing, after about a month I really started to adapt to it.

sdze a month ago

What I never understand: is lifting 10 times 60lbs the same for the muscle and body than lifting 100 times 6lbs?

In terms of muscle protein synthesis and growth.

imoverclocked a month ago

Glad this person keeps an exercise journal for the rest of us to read. A lot of n-of-1 anecdata with an extremely hand-wavy summary.

  • Fricken a month ago

    My hand-wavy anectdata checks out with the author's. After a broken leg, I had a 2 year long sedentary period in which I gained 20 pounds.

    I burned it off using HIIT and it took a little more than a month. I noticed results right away, and kept going until I was done. I ate according to my appetite.

    I don't get these kinds of results doing either regular endurance or strength training.

  • xchaotic a month ago

    As he correctly states- even n1 can lead to science, especially if everyone published similar journals there’d be a lot of ns.

Terry_Roll a month ago

Reads like an observation of the effects of L-carnitine!

  • sdze a month ago

    In an eight-week study in 38 women who exercised four times per week, there was no difference in weight loss between those who took L-carnitine and those who didn’t (24).

    What’s more, five of the participants taking L-carnitine experienced nausea or diarrhea (24).

    Another human study monitored L-carnitine’s effect on fat burning during a 90-minute stationary bicycle workout. Four weeks of taking supplements did not increase fat burning (28).

    • Terry_Roll a month ago

      Weight loss does not differentiate between fat or muscle! The devil is in the detail! Did the fat change into muscle or not? The study doesn't state either. Arnold Schwarzenegger used to exercise and throw up, during military basic training or sports training, its not uncommon to have things like runner's diarrhoea, vomitting in the gym, there is a lot of vomiting in the gym on base here. Vomiting is the bodies way of purging the digestive system to benefit the exercise being undertaken. Elite Athlete's know this so it sounds like L-Carnitine can be beneficial over time. It used to be known as Vitamin BT until it was discovered the body makes it, but it declines with age and inactivity.