Strength In Numbers


The following letters are among those received in response to the Feb. 2002 feature story, “Pumping Up to Scale Down.”

Dear Editor,

Here is my five-word formula to stay fat free and in condition for life. “Eat less and exercise more.” It's a matter of calories taken in versus calories expended. I do have a question: Since when does fat burn calories?

In this article, Dorene Robinson states “…skeletal muscle burns only three times the calories that adipose tissue does…” With no blood supply and no ability to do work, I'm trying to figure out how exactly fat burns calories. If this is true, let me ask a different question, “Which weighs more: a pound of muscle or a pound of fat?”
Chris Cleary
Active Living Fitness
Fairfield, OH

Dear Editor,

I am intrigued by the article in the February, 2002 edition of Club Industry titled, “Pumping Up to Scale Down.” Following the article's conclusion was an invitation to tell you about the readers' opinions on strength training for weight loss. I would love to respond, but to do so in a meaningful way will require some more information. If possible, could you provide the references and/or sources for/of the data put forth by Mr. Westcott, Ms. Robinson, and Mr. Miller? If not, the time-context for the numbers in Ms. Robinson's quotation, ‘You can expect to burn about 15 calories in PEOC…for every 100 calories burned while exercising…” would be most helpful.

Also, am I misinterpreting her statement, or does she seem to assume the only relevant energy requirement increase post-workout is found in the “post exercise oxygen consumption” category? If so, her's is a pretty weak position in my opinion, and it's caused me to re-think much of what I've learned about weight-loss and exercise….
L. Ainley

The Editor Responds:
As you can see, you are not the only person who is intrigued with this article. Unfortunately, we do not have the exact sources or journal articles for where our interviewees gathered their opinions (although Ms. Robinson did cite information from Engergy Metabolism: Tissue Determinants and Cellular Corollaries (edited by Kinney & Tucker); the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article “Effects of Strength or Aerobic Training on Body Composition, Resting Metablic Rate, and Peak Oxygen Consumption in Obese Dieting Subjects”; among others).

I know all three people have been working in this field for quite some time, so we trust that their opinions come from years of experience and research, rather than a single journal article. In the future, we will make an attempt to have statistics, and studies cited (when applicable). But, as always, we rely on, trust, and defer to the expertise of those we speak to on both business and fitness matters.


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