Are you sitting down? Of course you are, that’s why you were interested in a lose-weight-quick scheme to begin with. Well, bad news. Exercise physiologists took at look at several six-week weight loss programs and determined that no, those products don’t work, and that if you want to stop looking like a “dumpling,” it’s going to take at least six months of actual effort.
Groundbreaking, we know, but it’s always good to occasionally sprinkle the sad facts with a dash of newish science.
The plan was to photograph volunteers wearing skimpy bathing suits and then randomly assign them to one of three groups: cardiovascular exercise, weight lifting or control. Six weeks later, they would be photographed again.
Their heads would be blocked out of the photos, which would be shuffled. Then the subjects and judges would rate the body in each photo on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being spectacular.
The volunteers were men, age 18 to 40 (the university’s human-subjects review board looked askance at having women photographed and rated like that). And they were sedentary. “These were people who were just sort of dumplings,” Dr. Foster said.
Results were not surprising. The subjects rated themselves more highly than anyone else rated them, and female panelists rated the subjects lower than the male subjects or panelists rated them. But, over all, the subjects’ ratings barely changed, if at all, after their exercise program. And neither did objective measures, like weight or percentage of body fat, or waist size or the size of the bicep or thigh.
So sad, but hard work is the only way to vanquish all those yummy pies we’ve eaten.
“To make a change in how you look, you are talking about a significant period of training,” Dr. Kraemer said. “In our studies it takes six months to a year.” And, he added, that is with regular strength-training workouts, using the appropriate weights and with a carefully designed individualized program. “That is what the reality is,” he said.
Fitness Isn’t an Overnight Sensation [The New York Times]