Resistance Training

I will have much more to say about this in months to come, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that in terms of health and fitness, people have been suckered into a load of nonsense over the last 30 years with respect to the benefits of aerobics to the exclusion of all else.

Over four years ago, now, I embarked on a program of walking (briskly) every morning five days per week. I wanted to lose some poundage that needed losing, the dog needed walking anyway, and I like to walk. Well, 4,000 miles later (I was very religious about it, still am, and I enjoy it and intend to keep at it) I not only didn’t lose any weight but probably put on about 20 lbs. This was three miles per day (about 45 minutes), fifteen miles per week, every week. If you think you’re going to do much about an overweight problem with evening walks around the block you’re probably fooling yourself.

Not only that, but at 46 my BP has been inching higher and higher. Now, I’ve got no heart disease or stroke issues in my family history to speak of, so it just may be that’s me and not necessarily a big risk, but when I see BP readings (after 4,000 miles of walking) like 160/100 I begin to wonder.

Anyway, I really began looking into weight training. I’ve had periods where I pumped weights for several months, so I’m somewhat familiar. Also, I always showed progress in terms of gaining muscle tissue. The math is straightforward. Depending on your individual physiology, every pound of muscle tissue you add will require an extra 50-100 calories per day just to sustain. Let’s say 50. Ok, then every 2 lbs. you add requires 100 calories per day, 35,000 calories per year. 3,500 calories in a pound of fat tissue, so 2 lbs. of muscle takes the equivalent of 10 lbs. of fat per year to sustain in terms of metabolic function (even when sleeping). Beginning to get the picture? Aerobics builds little, if any, muscle tissue and in many cases even reduces it (along with organ tissue too). So, in aerobics, the only way to burn fat is to burn it while actually working out with little to any benefit while not working out.

Alright, so now they call it cardio and I’m sure there’s some benefit there on that score. This is why I intend to continue walking (plus I like as a way to start the day). But I began very intense weight training only a month ago. Already, I’ve added five pounds of muscle tissue. And my BP, in only several weeks has gone from an average of 140/95 to 125/85. The results, in such a short amount of time are astounding.

The key is intensity. My workouts are screaming at the top of my lungs intense, but, it’s only 30 minutes per session twice per week. No rest in-between sets. Rather, my trainer has me doing 3-4 exercises at once so I move from set to set to set, 30 minutes straight. I can take just about anything for 30 minutes.

What brought this up? Why this interesting article did, via Kurzweil. More later, including that I’m considering posting a photo my wife took of me last July on the beach in Monterosso, Italy while I wasn’t looking — compared with one I’ll take this July, a year later. I’ve got to work up a bit of nerve for that, though.


  1. Greg Swann on May 29, 2007 at 22:43

    Aerobic exercise burns calories while you're doing it. Adding muscle mass boosts your rest metabolism as an enduring consequence. There is no comparison between the two.

  2. Richard Nikoley on May 30, 2007 at 10:03


    Thank you very kindly, sir. I have spent quite some time going through this and it confirms many, many suspicions I've gained over the years from personal experience (I used to run quite a bit, though never at the levels he's talking about, yet it never seemed a healthy experience to me; quite the contrary). I walk, which does feel healthy and I swim very moderately (15 minutes about twice per week).

    I recommend this page of that site in particular.

  3. Vendo on May 30, 2007 at 08:38

    Are you familiar with Art De Vany? It looks pretty close to what you are doing. I've lost 20 lbs over the past two months following his advice.

    He is also a friend of Tyler Cowan's and an economist to boot.

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