SpyderEdgeForever wrote:Alright, I hope this does not sound like a silly question or a repost of what was mentioned before but this has to do with burning fat through exercise.
Why is fat, as in human body fat, often times so stubbornly difficult to burn off and melt away through even extended exercise? Why is it not easy to get rid of, say, like water can evaporate away pretty easily, whereas many people spend a lot of time and effort working out and they still have areas of fat that will not just vanish away easily?
Does the reason have to do with the idea that body fat is there in the first place, majorly, to store energy for people in times of famine, and, if it was that easy to get rid of (say if you could burn away a pound of body fat for every 30 minutes to an hour you did cardiovascular exercise) then it would not have been useful for those times of famine and low caloric intake?
Well, the mechanisms that metabolize stored fat and the mechanisms that evaporate water both require energy, but other than that I don't think there's much similarity. Most people spend a lot of time and effort "working out" when they should really be "training." That is, they should be focusing on how much better they're getting, as opposed to how much effort they perceive to be exerting.
The purpose of exercise is to drive adaptation and make you better, not burn calories, which I have been saying frequently.
But yes, you are correct about the purpose of your stored fat, and evolutionarily speaking, the person who was able to hold onto it longest had an advantage in lean times. 1 lb of fat contains ~3,500 Calories of stored energy. Now remember a Calorie (big C) is actually 1,000 calories
(which is the amount of energy required to raise a gram of water 1 degree Celsius). That means that a single pound of your stored fat, if converted perfectly into energy, could raise 35 kg of water 100 degrees Celsius. That points to the incredible potency of chemically stored energy, and is why you still drive a gasoline powered car instead of an electric one. So, given your request, that would require that our body used energy much less efficiently, or that the storage medium was much less dense, both of which would be incredibly bad for survival, and doing anything other than eating.
Sorry to say it, but you're just going to have to have some discipline with what you eat and some intelligently designed workouts to look like an athlete.
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:Second question has to do with human metabolism: To what extent does our natural born metabolism alter how much weight one gains from food and calorie intake? And is it true that routine exercise actually objectively increases one's metabolism rate or is that a myth?
I think we've gotten confused about what "human metabolism" actually is. It's not just you, so don't feel singled out, and this is largely due to the irresponsible fitness writing and erroneous concepts foisted upon us by "modern fitness science." This is a little bit like asking about the "innate RPM" of a certain car. Of course, the design of the car will dictate what the RPM of the engine will be under certain circumstances, but it is highly variable based on the circumstance. And unlike a car, a human has the opportunity to adapt and change the engine.
Your metabolism provides your body energy. Sometimes your body needs to use energy, sometimes it needs to store energy. And despite what fitness magazines would have you believe, it does this all without you having to worry about it. Your metabolism is constantly changing in response to activity level and dietary choices, just like your car's RPM is constantly changing in response to the needs of actually driving. So, viewed in this light, the first question doesn't really make sense because talking about a natural born metabolism is like talking about a natural born heart rate or a car's innate RPM.
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:And is it true that routine exercise actually objectively increases one's metabolism rate or is that a myth?
I would think it's obvious that this is true: if metabolism provides you energy, and working out requires the expenditure of energy, then working out must increase metabolism. But then again, so does thinking really hard (not joking). Now, there is something called Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is your metabolic rate when doing absolutely nothing, and people have different BMRs. A large factor in BMR is muscle mass, so if I have more muscle mass than you, my BMR will be higher, and I will require more food. To your question, I likely acquired this muscle mass via regular strength training, and in this way you can say regular exercise strength training
will increase your metabolism (in general). However, this doesn't somehow absolve me of making good food choices, and if I want to be healthy, I need to make largely the same decisions you make regarding food, but will be slightly more hungry and will eat slightly more.
SpyderEdgeForever wrote:Also, are there any known SAFE metabolism increasing foods or things people can take that do not have any negative or dangerous side-effects?
Good news, all food increases your metabolism! A surefire way to shut down your metabolism is to stop eating. Again, if you want to look better and be fitter, you need to do some progressive resistance training to drive adaptation and make you a higher performing human.
I remember a horrible situation years ago where a certain over the counter "weight loss pill" was sold and millions of people bought and used it. Later on it was discovered that said pill that was sold at stores across the USA and the world....was leading to some people having heart attacks, and it was canceled from store shelves; in one case a sports player collapsed dead of a heart attack on a field and it was discovered he had been regularly using the pill, which I recall was called ephedra or something, ma huang in Chinese.
While this does not increase metabolism, I remember seeing these "fat absorption pills" being sold in health food and natural food stores; the claim was that they were made from materials that would absorb fat when eaten with high fat diets, and would be flushed out of the system. One of the bad side effects was one having to run to the bathroom very quickly, if you get the drift
"There's no free lunch." An appropriate aphorism in this case. I'd also add: "Don't abuse your endocrine system." You need it to live, and you can abuse it with emotional stress, lack of sleep, poor dietary habits, or exogenous chemicals like ephedra.
Regarding that whole fat pill thing, I would hope that given what we've discussed, you can see how attempting to circumvent your body's absorption of nutrients for the purposes of weight loss via caloric restriction is a silly thing to do. Looking good, feeling good, and performing "good" is a result of hard work and smart dietary choices.