Next stop on The Biggest Loser’s Jennifer Jacobs and Jay Jacobs‘ shift from short-term weight loss to long-term health and fat-loss: Q&A regarding exercising less–but smarter vs. exercising for literally six hours per day “on the ranch.” Enjoy the short, medium, and full versions of our chat below. I personally recommend the full version, but we want to provide something for everyone :) – Jonathan Bailor
Jay Jacobs & Jennifer Jacobs
Jonathan, you know we’re far from afraid to exercise, but mentally Jen and I feel that we get so much from exercising that we can’t envision only exercising eccentrically 10-15 minutes twice a week.
Simply add eccentric exercise to your existing routine. While you may not be able to use as much resistance as you otherwise could, you’ll still see great results as long as you can keep your routine up for the next 30 years, not just the next 30 days (more on safe and sustainable exercise).
Jay Jacobs & Jennifer Jacobs
Can’t we apply the principles and benefits of eccentric exercise to our Spinning classes by upping the resistance as we spin so we get a deep muscle tissue response? Couldn’t we say sprint vs. jog or run and get that benefit? And I gotta believe that CrossFit is pretty close to being eccentric as after we’ve finished exercising we’re all either laying on the floor trying to recover, or walking around like zombies. According to what you share, if we’re doing eccentric exercises right we shouldn’t be able to do anything else.
Yes. The more resistance you use, the more you will change your metabolism to work like the metabolism of a naturally thin person: burning rather than storing fat 24/7/365. What you mention is almost exactly the “high-quality brief interval training” covered in The Smarter Science of Slim. Think of eccentric training as another option that will let you use even more resistance even safer–and reduce your total time exercising if you’d like. This is why it’s been popular in physical therapy circles for decades…it’s uniquely safe and uniquely effective. Combine safe and effective with “not time consuming,” and a lot of people find that it’s a great long-term exercise approach for them. I get most excited about eccentric training when I think about how I will exercise for the next 30 years vs. the next 30 days.
Jay Jacobs & Jennifer Jacobs
Jonathan, you know from our discussions and food journals that Jennifer and I do pretty well at eating SANEly. We get it, and as we’ve shared, it seems that the more and more SANE food we eat, the more and more our bodies are craving healthier, whole foods.
Now it’s not that we never have a craving, or we never go off the reservation and eat inSANEly, but that happens much less frequently than in the past.
The one area in your book that we keep resisting is exercising eccentrically. Truth be told we’ve resisted them so much that we haven’t even tried them. So, here’s our question… you know we’re far from afraid to exercise, but mentally we just feel that we get so much from exercising that we can’t envision only exercising 10-15 minutes twice a week. Now if we could do eccentric exercises in addition to running, Spinning and CrossFit, or at least work them into what we’re doing that would be fine. But according to what you share, if we’re doing the eccentric exercises right, we shouldn’t physically be able to do anything else.
We gotta be honest–if what you’re sharing is really true why hasn’t anybody known about this before, and what are all of us doing signing up for all of these memberships and classes. You can’t say that other forms of exercise don’t work, obviously they do, we’ve experienced them for ourselves, and we’ve seen other amazing transformations as well.
Please help us better understand… we’re still confused.
Cutting edge exercise science can absolutely be a bit mind bending; especially when it’s so different from the marketing messages we’ve been bombarded with for the past couple of decades. Heck, it took me two years before I was able to let go of what I was taught as a personal trainer and enjoy the freedom and reduction in injuries that come from smarter exercise.
Let’s begin the gradual process of freeing our minds and healing our metabolisms by examining the way we think about our bodies. The now disproven theories that resulted in record breaking rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease led us to believe that our bodies work like balance scales. Supposedly, we need to consciously regulate calories in and calories out. Hundreds of clinical studies have proven that this is *not* how our bodies work. Do we have to manually regulate breaths in and breaths out? No. Do we have to regulate blood into our heart and blood out of our heart? No. Do we have to manually regulate calories in and calories out? No. Life sustaining functions are automatically regulated by the body. But—and this is a big but—if we destroy our body’s natural ability to keep us healthy, then that automatic regulation breaks down.
Consider a few examples:
- Diabetes: Our body is designed to automatically regulate insulin levels. However, if we lose that ability then we have to manually regulate insulin.
- Ventilators: Our body is designed to automatically regulate breaths in and breaths out. However, if we lose that ability then we have to manually regulate oxygen.
- Pacemakers: Our body is designed to automatically regulate blood in and blood out of the heart. However, if we lose that ability then we have to manually regulate heart beats.
- Metabolic Dysregulation (what I call a hormonal clog): Our body is designed to automatically regulate calories in and calories out. However, if we lose that ability then we have to manually regulate calories.
Think of Your Body Like a Sink Instead of a Balance
With this correct understanding of our bodies, instead of a balance scale, think about your body like a sink. When a sink is working properly, more water in means more water out. The water level my rise temporarily, but the sink takes care of that automatically. The only time water level stays elevated is when the sink becomes clogged and loses its automatic ability to regulate water levels appropriately. One way to deal with this abnormally high level of water is to spend an hour or two per day manually bailing the excess water out with a teaspoon. Another way would be to clear the clog and restore the sinks ability to keep the water level low automatically.
Map this back to your body. It is designed to automatically regulate calories in and out such that we automatically maintain a healthy level of body fat. However, when we put the wrong quality of food into our body it becomes hormonally clogged and the level of fat in our body rises. Manually increasing calories out via hours of traditional exercise is like manually bailing water out of the sink with the teaspoon. It yields short term results, but it doesn’t do anything about the root cause, and that’s why it doesn’t work for over 95% of us long term.
Manually increasing calories out via hours of traditional exercise “works” like manually decreasing calories in via starvation “works”…
The Two Ways to Maintain Healthy Body Fat Levels Long Term
Science shows that we have two options to maintain a healthy level of body fat long term:
- Manually Regulate Calories: Spend hours every day for the rest of our life manually “bailing” fat out of our body, or
- Automatically Regulate Calories: Spend minutes per week clearing the hormonal clog causing fat levels to rise in the first place.
Both are fine options. And we can pick the one that best suits us individually. The first works to mask the symptoms of a broken metabolism. The second works to fix the broken metabolism–to make our body work more like the body of a naturally thin person.
Let’s say we like the second option. How do we clear the clog?
How To Clear Your Hormonal Clog
Let’s go back to the sink. One great way is to use a tool to push the clog out. But, we need the right tool. For example, if we use a low-quality tool (this is a bit silly) such as a wet noodle, we won’t be able to generate enough force to push the clog out. We could sit at our sink and gently tap the clog over and over with our wet noodle, but no quantity of low quality will ever clear it out. We need a higher quality tool. Something that enables us to generate a lot of force. Maybe a sturdy plunger.
How do wet noodles and plungers map to our biology? Think of the various types of exercise as the various types of tools we can use to clear our hormonal clog. There are “wet-noodle” exercises that generate a little force (jogging), and “plunger” exercises that generate a lot of force (sprinting). If our goal is to clear our hormonal clog and restore our body’s natural ability to keep us healthy and fit, which would we be better off doing? The high-quality option. And because it’s so high quality, we don’t need a lot of it.
The specific smarter exercises my research recommends are like super plungers. They are exercise tools that enable us to generate as much force as possible as safely as possible (sprinting up stadium steps, while high-quality, can lead to injury). You can also think of them like version 2.0 of many mainstream smarter exercise approaches such as interval training and resistance training. They enable us to generate even more force even more safely.
Eccentric exercise gives us the benefits of high-intensity training techniques such as CrossFit, Spinning, and intervals, while minimizing our risk of injury.
The scientific community has discovered that there is an alternative to doing a lot of low-quality exercise: Do a little high-quality exercise. Exercise less—but smarter.
What gets me so excited is how sustainable, safe, and cost-effective this alternate approach is. I’m also so happy to see how quickly it is catching on in the mainstream. Look at the exponential increase in popularity of higher-quality exercise techniques such as interval training, CrossFit, and resistance training. Just imagine what kind of practical and permanent results we could see if we took this to next level with version 2.0 interval training and resistance training; what I call high-quality brief interval training and eccentric training.
“Bailor’s concept of high-quality exercise is rapidly gaining support in the medical community and has repeatedly delivered clinical results which seem almost too good to be true.” - Dr. John J. Ratey, Harvard Medical School
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