Dan John’s Secret to Losing and Gaining Weight

Because I can rarely say it better than Dan John:

Want to gain weight? “Eat more and lift heavier.”

Want to lose weight? “Eat less and lift heavier.”

But what about treadmills? What about 5am spinning classes? The thing is, a person’s basal metabolic rate makes up 70% of calories consumed in a day and 10% of calories consumed are done so in the digestion of what you eat. The other 20% is physical activity. This is why people who try to overcome their diet on a treadmill, elliptical, or cycle are rarely able to be consistently successful. Those activities are going to only  minimally affect a person’s BMR. You build very little (if any) muscle. Instead, you train your body to become efficient at whatever your preferred activity is. Over time, you become the slightly pudgy, Saturday morning jogger making the rounds on the local bike path.

Lifting weights on the other hand will increase your muscle mass, which will in turn increase your BMR. Not only do you get the benefits of affecting the 20% (physical activity), but you also affect the 70% (BMR). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by runners, cyclists, and other cardio-enthusiasts that I must have a fast metabolism or that my eating is going to catch up to me some day. Well guess what? People who lift (appreciable) weights do have better metabolisms! And my eating is only going to “catch up” with me when I slow down or significantly alter my diet. There probably isn’t a more universally assumed fitness fallacy than the premise that “cardio”=weight loss. If you want to lose weight, clean up your diet. Then start lifting weights (and no, curls and tricep pull-downs do not count). If you want to add mass, start eating (significantly) more and lift heavier stuff. It really is that simple.

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