|Bicycling to work is one of these "small things" that may make the difference between lean and obese.|
That's no news for you? I think the results of a recent study from the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Texas Tech University will still come as a surprise. Usually, we talk about cheating on one's diet, skipping scheduled workouts and eating foods people are not supposed to eat, when we discuss the reasons why people fail. The results of said study, however, suggest that something else may have a much larger impact: Our regular non-exercise physical activity.
If you've read my March 2015 article "It Doesn't Have to be an Exhaustive Workout - Increasing Physical Activity Just as Effective as Strength, Endurance or Combined Exercise to Lose Fat and Build Muscle" (read it now), you will know about the importance of "taking the stairs", standing instead of seating, bicycling to work and other often overlooked low-intensity non-exercise physical activity in our everyday lives. Interestingly enough, it is just this type of low intensity 'non-exercise' of which the so-called "Midwest Exercise Trial 2" indicates that it is what distinguishes the weight loss responders (>5% weight loss) from the non-responders (<5% weight loss) in a relatively tightly controlled "work out five times per week for 10 months to lose weight"-intervention by Herrmann et al. (2015).
Before we are dealing with this surprising result, though, let's first take a look at what exactly the N=141 18-30 year-old men overweight/obesity (BMI 25-40 kg/m²) subjects had to do in this 'exercise for weight loss study' (details can be found in the description the scientists published when they registered their clinical trial | Donelly. 2012):
Table 1: It is important to note that there were no sign. baseline differences in weight, age, etc. between responders and non-responders among the study participants (Herrmann. 2015).
- the duration / intensity of all workouts was matched to initially burn 150 kcal; from months for on, 400 and 600 kcal/session (this is in line with the "2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans" | USDA. 2008)
I see you're looking for the dietary advise? Well, there was none. That may look awkward, but in view of the fact that the scientists wanted to see whether the simple adherence to the USDA "Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans" would make a difference, the subjects were told to stay on their regular (junk food?) diets.
A friendly reminder for the trainers out there: While it may be enough to increase your clients activity level, long-term weight loss can be facilitated only if you attack all weight- and health-relevant aspects of a clients life-style. That's (I) exercise and everyday activity, (II) diet and (III) sleep (circadian rhythm), stress and related aspects of their lifestyle.As the name of the study or rather the index "2" in the name implies, the "Midwest Exercise Trial 2" is a follow up study. It's a follow up that was supposed to elucidate (a) what distinguishes responders from non-responders and whether (b) the gender differences in weight response Donelly et al. observed in their 2003 predecessor study were coincidental or something we have to keep in mind, whenever we are designing exercise-based weight loss routines for men and women..
|Figure 1: Total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), nonexercise energy expenditure (NEEx), and resting metabolic rate (RMR) at baseline and 10 months in responders (RS) and nonresponders (NR) to an aerobic exercise intervention.|Figure 2: Nonexercise physical activity (NEPA) and sedentary time across 10 months in responders (RS) and nonresponders (NR) to an aerobic exercise intervention (Herrmann. 2015).
- there is no such compensatory effect on NEEEx in the women and even an increase in resting metabolic rate (so no metabolic damage or shut-down) in the female non-responders
|Figure 3: Rel. energy balance in male and female weight loss responders and non-responders in month 10 - data calculated as (total intake / total expenditure - 1)*100 based on data from Herrmann et al. (2015).|
- Donnelly, Joseph E., et al. "Effects of a 16-month randomized controlled exercise trial on body weight and composition in young, overweight men and women: the Midwest Exercise Trial." Archives of Internal Medicine 163.11 (2003): 1343-1350.
- Donnelly, Joseph E., et al. "A randomized, controlled, supervised, exercise trial in young overweight men and women: the Midwest Exercise Trial II (MET2)." Contemporary clinical trials 33.4 (2012): 804-810.
- Herrmann, Stephen D., et al. "Energy intake, nonexercise physical activity, and weight loss in responders and nonresponders: The Midwest Exercise Trial 2." Obesity 23.8 (2015): 1539-1549.
- Klesges, Robert C., Linda H. Eck, and JoAnne W. Ray. "Who underreports dietary intake in a dietary recall? Evidence from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey." Journal of consulting and clinical psychology 63.3 (1995): 438.
- USDA, Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. "Physical activity guidelines for Americans." Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services (2008): 15-34.
- Poppitt, S. D., et al. "Assessment of selective under-reporting of food intake by both obese and non-obese women in a metabolic facility." International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders: journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity 22.4 (1998): 303-311.
- Smith, Wayne T., Karen L. Webb, and Peter F. Heywood. "The implications of underreporting in dietary studies." Australian journal of public health 18.3 (1994): 311-314.