Training the Obese Beginner: Part 1

In any case, following up on that piece (which really shows you how NOT to train someone), I now want to rerun a 6-part series I wrote a few years back on how I think Training the Obese Beginner should be approached. I’ll be running it over the next few weeks, once again culminating in a brand new video/rant/blog thingie. I’ve done a bit of tidying up and re-writing, just to smooth out the rougher spots.

Too Much Cardio Followup

Isn’t to some extent, exactly what The Biggest Loser folks do? Restrictive diet in the 1k-1.5K calorie range, and then extremely high volume, low-medium intensity cardio for hours and hours? Essentially burn 2K or so cals in 4-5 hours of various stupid cardio activities and be 2K or so under Sedentary maintenance calories with their diet? Trying to make a 3.5k+ deficit every day?

Why Big Caloric Deficits and Lots of Activity Can Hurt Fat Loss

That said, I’ve mentioned in previous articles that one oddity that I’ve seen (and personally experienced) over the years is one where the combination of very large caloric deficits and very large amounts of activity (especially higher-intensity activity) can cause problems for people either stalling or slowing fat loss.

How We Get Fat

Ok, this is going to be a bit ranty but, trust me, I write better when I’m upset. If the Internet has proven anything to me over the years it’s this: basic literacy is sorely lacking. Because the comments in response to the article I wrote on Tuesday, Excess Protein and Fat Storage – Q&A indicate that not only can people not understand rather basic concepts, they insist on reading things into what I am saying that I have never said. I could rant about making uncritical inferences but I’ll spare everyone that.


Now, I have a bit more clue what’s going on, or at least what I think is going on so I’m going to share one of these with you (I’ll address others in future articles). Today I want to talk about something that I like to call the LTDFLE, an acronym that I genuinely hope you will use at every possible chance on forums to confuse people, and which will make sense shortly.

Of Whooshes and Squishy Fat

Many people have noted that fat loss is often discontinuous, that is it often happens in stops and starts. So you’ll be dieting and dieting and doing everything correctly with nothing to show for it. Then, boom, almost overnight, you drop 4 pounds and look leaner.

Bodyweight Regulation Wrap-Up: Other Hormones

I already talked a little about insulin in that series but there are still more hormones of some importance. With more likely to be discovered as time goes on. Oxyntomodulin, GLP-1, PP and others are being discussed in recent reviews and further research will go towards determining what in the hell is actually going on.

Tangentially, this is one of the big problems in trying to find a true ‘solution’ to the issue of weight loss and obesity: the human body has a number of overlapping, integrated and redundant pathways that all send signals to the brain. Fix one and something else eventually steps in to fill the role and cause problems.

Why is Stubborn Fat Stubborn?

In general there are clear gender differences that show up at puberty, suggesting that sex hormones play a role in how fat cells develop. And there is much truth to this. It turns out that if you take a fat cell from a man’s thigh and a woman’s thigh, they are functionally identical and essentially indistinguishable physiologically. Even though the man generally has extremely low levels of estrogen.

Calorie Partitioning: Part 2

So you start your diet, reducing carbs, calories or both. Blood glucose and insulin levels are going to be reduced. This is good, it releases the ‘block’ on fat mobilization. Additionally, catecholamine release typically goes up, further increasing fat utilization. Blood levels of fatty acids will start to increase. This is good, as it tends to promote fat burning in tissues such as liver and muscle. This effect is facilitated if you deplete liver and muscle glycogen as glycogen depletion tends to increase the use of fatty acids for fuel. The increas in blood fatty acid levels also has the short-term effect of causing insulin resistance which, as I mentioned, is a good thing on a diet since it spares glucose and helps promote fat oxidation. So far, so good, right?

Calorie Partitioning: Part 1

At a very fundamental level, the problem that natural bodybuilders and athletes have is one of partitioning; that is, where the calories go when you eat more of them or come from when you eat less of them. In an ideal universe, every calorie you ate would go to muscle tissue, with none going into fat cells; you’d gain 100% muscle and no fat. In that same ideal universe, every calorie used during dieting would come from fat stores; you’d lose 100% fat and no muscle. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal universe.

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