Metabolism Probably Isn’t The Culprit

You can find a good article on metabolism here:

"Metabolism" is one of those terms thrown around recklessly without most people understanding what it means. There are lots of products, books, posts, diets, systems, etc., that claim they'll help people lose weight by "speeding up" or "boosting" metabolism. Most of this is nonsense (often from people who should know better). Any "boost" is minuscule and transitory.

People can sometimes blame a slower metabolism for extra caloric intake. We're really bad at estimating how much we eat and tend to overlook lots of little things (like sauces) that add up and lead to increased body fat. It's not that we're lying about it; it's just one of those human foibles.

As the author of the article found, "slow metabolism" is rarely a thing. Yes, it does slow down as we get older (which surprises no one over 40). And dieting--particularly extreme dieting--can slow it down too. But while such things can make it more challenging to shed unwanted pounds, it's not even close to impossible (although it can seem that way).

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The Pants of Truth

scale-detectoThe scale is the dreaded measuring device most commonly used to check changing body composition; that is, are you getting fatter? It's not a good measure, though, since it doesn't really tell us anything about body composition--the ratios of fat, muscle, bone, and water that make up total body weight. Water can be particularly confounding since one cup weighs about half a pound, so drinking a beverage or using the bathroom can immediately change results in a measurable way. What we're really interested in is body fat percentage--that's the most useful measure of body "comp."

If the scale isn't up to snuff, what is?

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Not So Fast Relief

runner-leg-injuryA woman in a gym, apparently having just completed a workout, says, "Fast: that's just the kind of relief my muscles need." Or something like that. It was the beginning of a commercial, and don't ask me for what (other than some pain relief drug, obviously) since it was switched off after that line. Perhaps it was a good commercial, though, since it did get me thinking.

First of all, why is she sore immediately after working out? Sounds like she needs a new workout. (Or a good trainer!) Immediately after a hard workout, muscles experience fatigue, often in the extreme. As in "I can't get up" extreme. But that's different from pain, and no pain-relief product will put a stop to that. The muscular pain associated with a hard workout typically shows up 24-48 hours afterwards and is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS.

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Stand Up Guy

man-sitting-at-deskIt's not hard to find articles about the hazards of too much sitting. If you're stuck with a job that requires lots of it, that stinks. There are things you can do to mitigate it, but the best option is to do less of it.

If you do a lot of work on a computer, you might think sitting on a Swiss ball is a good ideal. Alas, not so much. A stand-up desk can be a great option, but they tend to be expensive. Fortunately, there are improvisational options. (Click on the images to see larger versions.)

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