This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

Exercise Makes You Fat, an e-book

I found this online and have meant to post it for a while:

Like Peat, Russell Eaton calls cardio "breathless exercise".  He also explains using scientific studies how it is linked to cancer, heart disease, aging etc.:

"By 'exercise' we mean any physical activity that is sufficiently vigorous orsustained to make you breathless and/or sweaty; this is the usual understanding of the word exercise.  On the other hand, physical activity that does not make you breathless/sweaty is good for the body and very healthy.

The latest research is clearly showing that exercise shortens life expectancy,is bad for health in general, and causes a host of problems, such as osteoarthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, premature aging of the body, and weaker bones to name just a few of the issues."
asked Apr 6, 2015 by raintree
edited Apr 10, 2015 by raintree

3 Answers

Looks like the uninformed ramblings of some guy trying to pump out a stupid ebook for a quick buck.

Exercise is very effective and important for health. Where people get it wrong is the volume, frequency, and intensity. It has to be difficult and intense in order to provoke adaptation. There has to be plenty of time for full recovery between sessions. Most people attempting to start an exercise program, or researchers investigating exercise, do exactly the opposite of both these things: they "work-out" often but don't push very hard. They turn what should be an occasional acute stressor into a chronic one. has this stuff dialed in. A mix of strength training and endurance work is best. One hard, intense 30 minute lifting session a week is good. The sets should involve grimacing and burning and discomfort. Maybe some nausea at the end.  Arthur Jones had the proper way to design strength routines figured out ages ago. Then also do a hard run or bike ride once a week. It should also suck and be difficult to finish. You should very much want to stop but force yourself not to. Walking and light calisthenics also has a place but I think it's less valuable than getting in occasional very difficult sessions.

The people going on about CO2 loss from exercise are batty. As I get my mile time further and further down, I can do longer and longer "controlled pause" breathing and my breathing at rest is shallower.
answered Apr 6, 2015 by 4a552f55cbb9
You may be increasing your VO2Max, if your controlled pause at rest is longer, and possibly the stroke volume of your heart, especially if your heart rate is decreasing.

Peat seems to look mostly to resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is difficult to know without a metabolic chamber.

Often, extremely well-trained athletes can have a surprisingly low RMR, if much of their energy comes from lipolysis or glycolysis (involving lactic acid) and their respiratory quotient is low.
No decrease in metabolism or heart rate. The concern about that around here is ridiculous. I'm really not buying it. If you're one of the small numbers of people who try to work out daily at length and actually sticks with that routine for a sustained time it might be a legit concern. But that's a tiny number of people and includes probably virtually nobody who reads this stuff.

Sedentarism is far more damaging to metabolic health.
I think Peat has said intense, concentric exercise, lasting a half hour or so, is good as long as you are "healthy enough to do it." On the other hand, one advantage of complete sedentarism is for people who really need bed rest (which might include some people in this forum?).

Here's a condition Peat gives, for example, that might need bed rest:

If hypothyroid people, with increased adrenalin and lactate, are hyperventilating even at rest and at sea level, when they go to a high altitude where less oxygen is available, and their absorption of oxygen is impaired by lactic acidemia, their “oxygen debt,” conceived as circulating lactic acid, is easily increased, intensifying their already excessive “ventilatory drive,” and in proportion to the lactic acid oxygen debt, oxygen absorption is further inhibited.

The lactic acid has to be disposed of, but their ability to extract oxygen is reduced. The poor oxygenation, and the increased lactic acid and free fatty acids cause blood vessels to become leaky, producing edema in the lungs and brain. This is very similar to the “multiple organ failure” that occurs in inflammatory conditions, bacteremia, congestive heart failure, cancer, and trauma.
VOS–you have to account for body mass when looking at athletes. Body fat burns calories, which is why obese people generally have higher energy expenditure. I'm aware of some studies suggesting endurance athletes (for example) have lower RMR's but it's entirely consistent with what is expected from their lower fat and muscle mass.
ms, What about respiratory quotients as measured in a metabolic chamber? Have you seen anything interesting there?

I think Peat feels that reduced RMR that results from lower respiratory quotients could indicate poorer tissue oxidation. By extension, extremely well-trained athletes might have respiration pathways involving fats and lactic acid.
Wouldn't lactic acid production actually raise RQ by causing the body to increase CO2 (as part of the bicarbonate buffering system)? I think I'm somewhat confused about how RQ applies to RMR.
I've never been to a metabolic chamber, but I've read that they can measure how much O2 you consume, compared to how much CO2 you exhale, which in theory is your RQ and, if you are at rest, your RMR?

I think lipolysis and the glycolysis pathway involving lactic acid generate less CO2 per O2 consumed, as compared to ideal oxidation of glucose (RQ = 1).

I think the bicarbonate buffering system doesn't "count" because it's not really an energy expenditure. But it's true, you can actually have an RQ greater than 1, at least temporarily, if you hyperventilate.
Running, cardio, and aerobics are all ineffective for weight loss, waste hours of time that could be spent doing something constructive, and deplete the body of stem cells which speeds up aging and ultimately death.
What do you think of rebounding on a trampoline? Also a waste of time or beneficial?
His evidence for exercise making you fat is weaaaaaaak.

He says athletes get fatter after they quit their athletic careers (how groundbreaking).

He includes a study showing special olympics participants have a similar amount of obesity as the general public, but leaves out that people with mental disabilities are more likely to be obese than the general public.

And he cites a study which I looked up and it cites studies showing players in American football are often overweight (which is pretty meaningless, since if you're slamming yourself into other people it can be helpful to weigh 300 pounds).

So not even one study showing exercise causes weight gain. Just the same tired "exercising makes you hungry hurr durr" argument used by Gary Taubes.
answered Apr 6, 2015 by mscott
As I understand things it's confirmed over and over that adiposity is driven by over eating and exercise barely matters one way or the other. There are a ton of reasons to exercise, not being a fat-ass isn't one of them. Eat less and the weight comes off.
When I'm sitting on the couch stuffing my face with creme eggs and popcorn what I often think when watching the long distance track events at the Olympics is, "Look at those fat bastards go."

Exercise should help people lose weight because it's difficult to cram a super sized happy meal  into your face while practicing pole-volts. As a displacement activity for eating, it's pretty good really.
4a55–right, most studies show only minor, or no weight loss from exercise interventions. So it might be reasonable to argue that exercise doesn't help with weight loss. But there's really no evidence it causes weight gain.
One point worth noting from Peat's perspective: exercise that leads to too much cortisol and the resulting glucocorticoids can cause insulin resistance and fat deposition, especially visceral fat, which is hidden but damaging.

Said another way, Exercise -- that leads to overproduction of cortisol -- makes you (viscerally) fat.
I started doing high intensity cardio in my mid teens 4-6 days a week and in fact probably could have been considered an endurance athlete.  I barely lost 5 lbs during the cardio years and after I quit was still 15 lbs heavier than I am now.
I think an interesting take on "exercise" is here (that holl posted):

The idea is that some very simple forms of posture, dance or breathing can safely increase type 1 slow contracting muscle fibres, which are heavily reliant on oxidative metabolism, possessing high quantities of mitochondria.
answered Apr 8, 2015 by visionofstrength
It's interesting. It's a lot of supposition, though. Meanwhile we know for a well established fact that even quite sick people benefit from conventional "breathless" exercise training. Boosting aerobic capacity by running really does work wonders for a lot of people.
Yes, I've always been one to exercise intensely, following Drew Bayes for I think five years or more. But I've been interested in Peat's ideas for the last year or so, and trying this postural "exercise" for about a week. It's actually surprisingly challenging to do hand stands for a long time! Even as compared to Bayes' pullups with weights.

I'm hoping the hand stands will help the next time I go high altitude rock climbing.
High intensity exercise sucks.

VoS, you're a troll.
If you say so :)
You on Yuval's level yet, VoS? :P
I'm learning from pranarupa's really scary brilliant ideas here:

After the headstand, I try the arm balance next:

My handstands are pretty lame right now, but the nice thing is this kind of "exercise" doesn't make me sore! I can measure a little progress each time that I do it.

At this rate, I might be Yuval someday! (I can dream, can't I?)