negative effects of excess weight

Research Update: Can Exercise Counter the Negative Effects of Excess Weight?

You’ve probably already noticed in several news organizations the publication of research findings in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology that assessed the claim that a high cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) might mitigate the detrimental effects of excess body weight on cardiometabolic health, termed the ‘fat but fit’ paradox. Can CRF negate the negative effects of excess weight? Let’s find out…

We’re going to skip to the end of the story for you:

According to study author Dr. Alejandro Lucia of the European University, Madrid, Spain, “Exercise does not seem to compensate for the negative effects of excess weight. This finding was also observed overall in both men and women when they were analysed separately.”

…refute the notion that a physically active lifestyle can completely negate the deleterious effects of overweight/obesity…

Joint association of physical activity and body mass index with cardiovascular risk: a nationwide population-based cross-sectional study

Study highlights

The specific study notes, “…the present findings, which are based on data from insured active workers across Spain, represent one of the largest studies to date (n = 527 662) and refute the notion that a physically active lifestyle can completely negate the deleterious effects of overweight/obesity.”

Want more data, then try “…a study conducted in 2196 participants reported that although PA was associated with a lower CVD risk within each BMI category during a 30-year follow-up, individuals with overweight or obesity presented with an increased CVD risk regardless of their PA levels…”

Or let this one sink in, “… in line with our findings, a systematic review concluded that an excess BMI is associated with increased CVD risk irrespective of PA levels.” Put another way, physical activity (PA) levels for those with a high BMI, did not alleviate cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks.

We’re not selectively pulling from this study. It shows PA is a good thing for any BMI level, but the study does not find that PA negates BMI or excess weight affects on health or CVD risks.

How did we get here?

The key point to notice is the researchers wanted to use science to test the “fat but fit” claim that has grown in recent years. What has driven this claim in several areas of modern culture is the conflation between a healthy body image and a healthy body. One is emotional, the other physiological. Too many supposed health and lifestyle outlets have been amplifying the belief that all that matters is that you are happy with who you are, and any level of activity is sufficient for health. First, we’re going to stay away from that argument here – there’s too much to unpack. Second, this study shreds that from the physiological aspect.

Third, if you have weight to lose, you have weight to lose. It’s not criticism, it’s about health.

A performance-focused solution

Building your lifestyle program around performance is a solid method to combat the negative effects of excess weight. Below are three tips, each from our performance triad, on how you can tackle your BMI, if needed.

Nutrition: Get serious about what you eat. No really, get f*ing serious about what you eat. Do not go nuts, do not go to extremes. But performance management of your BMI means you own your results. Performance diets are not guesswork, either – you need to spend some time with a pencil and calculator. Knowing your daily caloric and macronutrient needs to reach and sustain your performance means taking the time to run the numbers. Want more nutrition advice, then check out our article on Performance Diet Tips.

Fitness: Solve your time issues by using short duration, micro-HIIT sessions. These have shown the potential to be more beneficial than traditional exercise routines that rely on steady-state. Sound new? Their not – a 2016 study showed that one minute of intense training within a 10 minute period yielded the same results as a 50-minute steady-state trained group over a 12-week period. See our full Fitness Tip on Micro-HIIT.

Rest: As much as you exercise, and feed your body, a notable portion of your ability to manage weight comes from your rest cycle. Check out a good overview at The Healthy on how sleep helps burn fat. For now, here are some quick tips to help ensure you get proper rest: stick to a regular time for bed, it will keep your body on a schedule, do not over-sleep on the weekends, or off days, as this too will impact your body’s ability to manage its rests cycles, be careful with naps; they are fine, but too many, too long, or at the wrong time, and you can mess up your body’s sleep cycle, and during the day, get as much exposure to light as possible; this not only helps the body develop vitamin D, but also helps tell it to be awake. You can see more from us on rest here.

– Train Hard!

Yohimbine itself can potentially induce fat loss

Yohimbine Benefits and Uses

Yohimbe has been a hot topic in weight management for performance sports. The claim is simple: Yohimbine supports fat loss. Let’s break that down…

The herb Yohimbe, technically dubbed Corynanthe Yohimbe, comes from the bark of the Yohimbe tree that grows in Cameroon, Zaire, and Gabon. Yohimbine is the major active constituent of the bark, with the active ingredient being yohimbine hydrochloride.

Researchers have studied Yohimbine for some time and it is one of the few supplement components with laboratory backed results. It’s not a silver bullet, but in the world of supplementation, it has demonstrated results.

How Yohimbine Works

Yohimbine acts on the adrenergic receptor system in fat cells and regulates thermogenesis. It works against the alpha-subunits of the adrenergic system – the units that work against fat burning. Yohimbine inhibits the alpha-subunit’s ability to suppress fat burning.

Yohimbine itself can potentially induce fat loss vicariously through the release of adrenaline; adrenaline itself is an activator of beta-adrenergic receptors. Beta-adrenergic receptors increase the activity of the enzyme adenyl cyclase – which further supports fat burning. However, the effect of Yohimbine on adrenaline appears to fade after two weeks of supplementation.

Research Results

Studies suggest a fasted state improves the effect of Yohimbine supplementation. The working theory is that later in the day, the impact of food on insulin levels lowers Yohimbine’s effectiveness. In one study, two groups exercised for 21 days and consumed the same diet; one group received 10mg x2 day of Yohimbine supplementation, and the other a placebo. At the end of the 21 day period, the Yohimbine group showed an average of 2% body fat loss, compared to the placebo group. Further, a 2002 study suggested a pre-workout is the most effective supplementation for Yohimbine. The conclusion is that consuming Yohimbine supplementation in a fasted state prior to exercise appears to have the greatest effect on fat burning.

Suggested Use

Dosages of 0.2mg/kg bodyweight have been successfully used to increase fat burning without significant implications on cardiovascular parameters like heart rate and blood pressure. This results in a dosage of:

  • 14 mg for a 150lb person
  • 18 mg for a 200lb person
  • 22 mg for a 250lb person

Individuals with a higher body weight should exercise caution, since yohimbine may over stimulate an unprepared cardiovascular system. While yohimbine supports fat loss, when supplementing yohimbine for the first time, always start with a half-dose and assess tolerance before proceeding.

As a note of caution, research has also shown:

  • Yohimbine can cause extreme anxiety in individuals predisposed to anxiety. The supplement may trigger manic psychosis or suicidal episodes in people with bipolar disorder
  • Yohimbine can interact with a large amount of neurological medications and should not be used in conjunction with these medications without consultation with a doctor
  • The actual vs labeled dose of yohimbine in many supplements can range from 25-150%

Always check with your medical provider before incorporating supplementation into your diet.

– Train Hard!


negative effects of excess weight

Achieving Your Target Weight – Doing the Math

Achieving your target weight goal should not be the difficult challenge so many encounter; however, so many seem to have a hard time keeping on a path to reach it…sound familiar?

Many people struggle to stay on track to hitting their weight goals, and the solution may be as simple as dusting off a calculator, doing some math, and keeping track.

First, we’re going to assume that you have all the other parts dialed in – workout routine is built to get your results and you are eating a macronutrient balanced diet. What we are going to work on here, for you, is the science of weight control for achieving your target weight.

Let’s start with losing weight

Dropping weight for most means lowering body fat composition. In numbers 3,500 calories is a pound of body fat. To lose a pound, per week, you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories. You can get there through burning calories (exercise), diet (eat less), or both.

Easy – maybe. So why do so many start this path, see beginning results, and then nothing? Answer is easy (hint, but keep it a secret…it’s the math)

What is the math of weight management

Everyone has a basic daily caloric intake need – officially known as your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). 

This is the amount of calories you need on a daily basis to maintain your body weight. There are two formulas (using the MIFFLIN ST. JEOR EQUATION):

Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5
Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161

Basic Activity Factor

1.2: If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) = BMR x 1.2
1.375: If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) = BMR x 1.375
1.55: If you are moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) = BMR x 1.55
1.725: If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) = BMR x 1.725
1.9: If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) = BMR x 1.9

TDEE Example

Let’s meet Alex. Alex weighs 108 kg, 180 cm tall, 36 years old, and does light sport 3 days a week. Following this:

((10 x 108) + (6.25 x 180) – (5 x 36) + 5) x 1.375 = 2791 calories

Per week, Alex needs 19,537 to maintain his weight of 108 kg.

Now to lose a pound (.45 kg), Alex needs to reduce his caloric intake to 16,037 per week. And so he does, and the weight starts coming off, until it doesn’t. What happened?

This is where you are now going to understand how to avoid this pitfall. As the weight comes down, the math changes.

Let’s assume Alex is now 103 kg:

((10 x 103) + (6.25 x 180) – (5 x 36) + 5) x 1.375 = 2723 calories, or, 19,061 calories per week.

If Alex still has his diet adjusted to 16,037 calories per week, his deficit is only 3,024. A lot, but not enough to get off a pound. And as his weight drops, this will continue to be an issue.

And this is the mistake so many make in trying to achieve their target weight – keeping up the simple math behind the numbers.

So how do you avoid this? Simple – we recommend that for every 5 kg of weight loss, you do the math – work out your new TDEE.

If you are not seeing great results, and think your program is not working – it likely is for the most part, but it needs updating.

If you want to put away the calculator, you can head here, for a free online TDEE tool.

But you want to gain weight

Adding high-quality protein to your diet is essential for building muscle. Based on current research, your should consume 0.8g of protein for each kg of body weight as part of your TDEE. Let’s be clear – 0.8g per kg, just to maintain weight.

Research suggests that to support muscle development, one should increase protein intake to 1.5-2.0g per kg of body weight. For example, in a 90 kg individual, that would equate to 135-180 grams of protein per day. We strongly recommend your protein intake come from natural food sources; seek guidance from a registered dietician if you want to assess the affects of supplementation on your specific body.

In the end

This is why fitness programs, the good ones, will cycle through different elements every 3-6 weeks (depending on the program). It is because your body adjusts to a diet and workout. The same effort and calories that worked when you started a routine are not the ones that are going to get you across the finish line. Achieving your target weight means taking the time to monitor your progress, and make adjustments.

– Train Hard!

Cardio and Weight Training

Are you looking for a lean and fit physique? Trying to get the most out of your program to shed unwanted fat and develop lean muscle? Many believe cardio and weight training as two distinct types of exercise that do not work together in a fitness program – but, when you incorporate them into your program, you create a powerful tool for conditioning and fat loss. So forget about the myth that they work against each other, and let’s be clear – you should do both to create the best fitness program, no matter your goals.

How do cardio and weight training impact fat loss?


Several studies have shown that a certain level of cardio can achieve more fat loss than weight training. The continuous movement of cardio at high intensity can burn calories at a higher level than weight training. But, before you ditch the weight training, know that this is not a universal statement towards all weight training programs. And, not a universal statement towards all cardio programs.

Weight Training

Strength and resistance training will build muscle, simply put. Muscle tissue has a higher metabolic rate than fat so having more muscle raises your resting metabolic rate, which in turn burns calories. But, studies have shown the differences are not significant. However, before you wonder why bother with weights, remember that it is the weight training that builds and maintains your lean muscle mass – not cardio. So while the fat loss effect may be similar, you will not have a lean, muscled body through cardio alone. Lastly, weight training generates what is known as the after-burn effect – this is the energy your body burns after the workout ends, and can last for several hours. This is the period of time post-workout when your body is continuing to burn calories to repair and build new muscle tissue to cope with the weight training regiment.

So for an effective weight loss program, to maintain and build lean muscle, and maximize your fat burning, you should be doing both cardio and weight training. Moreover, when you lose weight it tends to be a combination of fat and muscle – so a workout that helps maintain and build muscle through weight training will help ensure you minimize any loss to your muscle gains through your fat loss efforts. But understand, you will lose some muscle during periods of weight loss. This is why professional body builders cycle through bulking and cutting programs -they need to maximize the muscle mass, before trimming it down through programs targeting fat loss.

How do you put cardio and weight training together?

This is the age old question – cardio before weights? Weights before cardio? Together, or separate workouts? The answer depends on your goals. You likely have a fitness objective for your workouts that can be simply put as a cardio goal or muscle goal. Or think of it this way, are you trying to get better at your running times, or gain muscle for beach season. Over simplified, but go with us on this.

You want to be able to put as much energy as possible into the part of training that is specifically targeted to your goals. So if your goal is cardio based, you should prioritize cardio, and then move onto weight training. The reverse is true for building lean mass – start with the weights, for maximum use of your energy, and finish with cardio.

For all around fitness, programs that involve CrossFit bring what might be the best of both worlds together – but just understand by focusing on resistance and cardio at the same time, you are not maximizing either. Nothing is wrong with that, just understand the mechanics of the program you implement.

Tips for Combining Cardio and Weight Training

  1. Put your goal based program first, then add the other.
  2. Use heavy, compound weight exercises – high weight, low rep. These incorporate multiple major muscle groups, and will work more muscle and burn more calories than muscle specific exercises.
  3. Incorporate HIIT or interval training into your cardio program. These will strengthen and develop your endurance and oxygen capacity, and enable you to improve faster than steady state cardio exercises.
  4. Divide the elements into separate workouts if you want to fully focus on each program. If you want to have full sessions, you will need to allow your body time to recover in order to fully benefit from the other program. Lifting weights for an hour and then going into a full cardio program is not an effective training method. Split the workouts into two-a-day splits, or put them on separate days and rotate your schedule.
  5. Record your training results and wokouts in order to adjust the cardio and weight training elements to ensure continued progress. It will likely take some alterations to your program to get the most of combining cardio and weight training. By recording your workout results, you can ensure you are making adjustments based on your actual performance, rather than perception. Remember, how you feel is not always the same as how you performed.

Cardio and weight training are not the mortal enemies that so many make them out to be. If properly merged, they will be an effective tool to improve your fitness, build and maintain lean muscle, and produce fat loss.

– Train Hard!

Spot Reduction: Busting a Myth

We’ve all seen the ads and programs promising to shed fat off those problem areas. They promise to show off your abs, thighs, arms, and just about every other part of your body. Many even come with money back guarantees – so they must be true, right? Sorry to tell you, but you can pop those pills and feel the burn for endless hours – but those problem areas are likely going to remain problem areas.

So what is the spot reduction myth?

The concept of spot reduction follows the myth that by working a particular muscle group to an extreme level, or in a different manner, you can reduce the fat around that area. While focusing exercises on a particular body part may result in reshaping that area by developing the associated muscles, those exercises are not going to burn fat solely from that area.

First, let’s understand the caloric impact of focusing on specific muscle groups rather than large muscle groups, and compound movements. Working only specific muscles, such as your abs or thighs is not going to burn as many calories as when you utilize large muscle groups in compound movements. Or, simply put, you will burn more calories performing squats, which work thighs, hips, buttocks, quadriceps, hamstrings, in addition to your core, than with an exercise that uses solely your abs – which is a smaller muscle group.

But you say wait, I am still burning calories – so I lose fat in those areas, yes? Not really. Your body burns fat from all sources, not just specific zones. So while people will find that they gain and lose fat in certain areas more than others, in general, your body will burn fat from the whole, not a specific zone.

So if you are trying these spot reduction methods and programs, you are most likely going to achieve frustration rather than results.

If you want to shed fat, first, understand that your diet is going to account for about 80% of your goal. Second, you need to take that time to derive your nutrient requirements, to ensure that you are both taking in healthy food options to fuel your fitness efforts and create a calorie deficit that will enable you to burn fat, and lastly, engage in a fitness program that is designed to put as much of your body to work as possible, to maximize your fat burning muscle potential.

Will it take time – yes, if done properly. But the results will be worth it. You will have lean muscle and lower body fat to show off your work. In the end, save your money, and stay away from the programs promising spot reduction. Remember, it’s a myth. And while anything is always possible, you are unlikely to find yourself the exception the general rules of human physiology.

Be smart, and…

Train Hard!

Intermittent Fasting

You’ve been working hard in the gym. Lifting smart, training hard, and trying to keep your diet on track – yet those pounds are not coming off and those muscles are not showing up the way you want. If this is you, you’re not alone.

What do you do? You start looking for how to lose that extra fat without sacrificing your hard earned muscle, and you find references to intermittent fasting all over the internet. Drop pounds, loose weight, preserve muscle, and all the other aspects are there – and yet, despite so much published on the topic, there still seems to be a good deal of confusion on what this is, how and why it works, and how to do it.

CoreTek Fitness understands the confusion – and as always, we want to give you sound and clear advice to support your goals and see you achieve your fitness potential. So buckle up, as we are about to give you the scoop on intermittent fasting.

Let’s start with the science:

Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat.

Intermittent fasting works by working with the body’s natural physiological and chemical responses to being in either a fed or fasted state. Also, think of your body as having two tanks of fuel – primary and reserve. The primary is from the food you eat; the reserve is fat.

Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. The fed state starts when you begin eating and for most people lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs nutrients from this food. When you are in the fed state, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high. Or simply, your body never needs to touch the reserve tank, because the primary tank is always full.

After that digestion and absorption period, your body goes into what is known as the post–absorptive state – simply put, your body isn’t processing a meal. The post–absorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal. Only after this, does your body enter the fasted state. At this point, for energy, you body is turning to that reserve tank – fat – for its energy source.

In this fasted state, your body can burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.

If you consider most people’s meal schedule, and that we don’t enter the fasted state until 12 hours after our last meal, it’s rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing anything in their diet or exercise routine. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.

Moreover, a study by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) suggests that intermittent fasting could be the key to longevity.

A group of scientists from the NIA, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana found that increasing time between meals improved the overall health of male mice and lengthened their lives compared to mice that ate more frequently. Health benefits were seen regardless of what the mice ate or how many calories they consumed.

Another study by the Longevity Institute in 2015, also conducted with mice, found that four days of a diet that mimicked fasting extended lifespans, lowered visceral fat, reduced cancer incidence and rejuvenated the immune system. The study later saw similar reductions in disease risk factors in humans.

How to Conduct Intermittent Fasting:

As you can tell by now, the goal of intermittent fasting is to get your body to go at least 12 hours without food, and then have to exert some level of energy. Whether this is your normal job, house errands, or working out – you need to burn energy in this state. There is no one specific ratio everyone needs to follow – you will need to do what is best for you. Above all, remember that fasting offers infinite flexibility. You can fast for as long or short as you like, but here are some popular regimens. Generally, shorter fasts are done more frequently.

16:8: This involves daily fasting for 16 hours. Sometimes this is also referred to as an 8-hour eating ‘window’. You eat all your meals within an 8-hour time period and fast for the remaining 16 hours. Generally, this is done daily or almost daily.

For example, you may eat all your meals within the time period of 11:00 am and 7:00 pm. Generally, this means skipping breakfast. You generally eat two or three meals within this 8-hour period.

20:4: This involves a 4-hour eating window and a 20-hour fast. For example, you might eat between 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm every day and fast for the other 20 hours. Generally, this would involve eating either one meal or two smaller meals within this period.

Key Points to Remember When Fasting:

  1. Listen to your body – if you are feeling tired, sluggish, not well, hungry, etc – then eat! Yes, there is going to be an adjustment period to any fasting schedule you will need to push through, but we are not talking about this. If your body is giving off alarms – break the fast!
  2. You will maximize the your body’s use of fat by exercising fasted. This is when your body will need the most fuel for exercise and recovery.
  3. You still need to consume your full macronutrient balanced calorie levels. As we said, intermittent fasting is about when to eat, not what to eat. So if you need 2,400 calories a day, then you still need 2,400 calories a day – you just have less time to consume it.

Who should NOT fast?

You should not fast if you are:

  • Underweight (BMI < 18.5)
  • Pregnant – you need extra nutrients for your child.
  • Breastfeeding – you need extra nutrients for your child.
  • A child under 18 – you need extra nutrients to grow.

You can fast, but may need supervision, under these conditions:

  • If you have diabetes mellitus – type 1 or type 2.
  • If you take prescription medication.
  • If you have gout or high uric acid.

Commonly asked questions for those interested in trying intermittent fasting:

Will fasting burn muscle?

No. During fasting, the body first breaks down glycogen into glucose for energy. After that, the body increases fat breakdown to provide energy. Excess amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) are also used for energy, but the body does not burn its own muscle for fuel.

Isn’t it important to have breakfast every morning?

No, it’s not. This is an old misconception based on speculation and statistics, and it does not hold up when it’s tested. Skipping your morning meal just gives your body more time to burn fat for energy. Since hunger is lowest in the morning, it is often easiest to skip it and break your fast later in the day.

Isn’t fasting the same as reducing calories?

No. Not at all. Fasting reduces the time you spend eating and addresses the question of ‘when to eat’. Calorie reduction addresses the question of ‘what to eat’. They are separate issues and should not be confused with each other.

So there you have it – intermittent fasting. It’s really that simple. Will it work? Most likely, yes. Will you see amazing weight loss? As CoreTek points out with all of its advice – every body is different. How well you respond will depend on your body, your workouts, your overall diet, etc. You will never out-train, or out-fast a bad diet and excessive caloric intake.

What we do recommend is do your research on this, as you should before starting any exercise or meal management program – we have additional reading recommendations below. And ease into it. You do not have to fast every day to start. Try 2-3 days a week for 2-3 weeks. If you are able, add more days. Remember, this is about what works for you. Realistically, it will take about a month for you to have a fair assessment of how the program is affecting your fat loss. And always, if you have medical issues, seek a physician’s advice first!

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