TLS Trivia Question #2

Trivia question #2.

Question:  Exercise is the single best way to lose weight.

T     F

Answer:  Although exercise burns calories, in the real world exercise is not the best — or most practical — way to lose weight. (Exercise, however, can significantly improve health and fitness, and can support weight loss by teaching the body to metabolize sugar and fat more effectively.) Making healthier dietary choices and eating less overall impact weight loss most significantly. Exercise supports weight loss by adding to the calorie deficit, but this amount in the real world is not as significant as improving eating habit. The answer is False.

Exercise to feel good, to improve some health markers, and to help “shape” the body with muscle mass; but, to lose the fat, eat better and eat less.
Keep it simple.

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16 Responses to TLS Trivia Question #2

  1. KevinT says:

    ha! Great picture for this one. Been there, done that. It hurts when there’s a lot jiggling around.

  2. dboxing says:

    While I agree completely, I would like you thoughts on what is minimally necessary to maintain muscle mass while doing IF. In other words, I can and do integrate movement as much as I can throughout the day because I believe sitting down all day is not healthy, mentally or physically. I do not do this to burn excess calories. However, because of injuries, aches/pain, etc., I have a difficult time moving the heavy iron around much. But my nightmare would be to be skinny-fat. For IF, I basically eat one to two meals between 6 and 9 p.m. That’s it. During the day it is water, coffee, or tea, all plain.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi dboxing,

      Take care of your aches and pain first, and when they subside, start out with a strength training program that is appropriately progressive. The problem is not often the exercise or the exercise method, but their progression and their volume. Control these two variables intelligently, and you’ll be surprised what you can once again do.

      Find a trustworthy workout partner, or a qualified personal trainer — and I don’t mean the fufu trainer that pretends to be a quazi-physical-therapist who talks in pseudo-science language (“squeeze your glutes and pull-in your belly button — there, do you feel your multifidus activating?”) or the militia personal trainer that will destroy your knees with inappropriate loading and allowing for severely deviated mechanics.

      Find a trainer that understands exercise principles and practice (who is not afraid of using the principle of overloading, but without bastardizing it), and someone who knows how the body and all of its tissues actually function and adapt. Also, work with a trainer who may know a lot about different exercises but ONLY CHOOSES the most meaningful exercises for the time you pay him or her. Don’t settle for silly balancing exercises, fufu “core” exercises, or otherwise stupid circus acts. (In fact, be vigilant with trainers who use the buzzword “core.”)

      And, it is often the fundamentals that are most meaningful: The squat, the deadlift, the press, the pull-ups, etc. Do them right and with proper progression, and you’ll have 80% of the stimulation your body needs for muscle mass, mechanical function, metabolic support, and general well-being.

      Outside of masterful mechanics of the most meaningful exercises, be intelligent in controlling the two most important variables: Volume and progression.


      • dboxing says:

        Really appreciate your response. I did have to laugh out loud though, because in my case, after reading what you wrote I realized it was a case of “physician heal thyself”. I’m a former football/track/ boxer (at fairly elite level)/ boxing trainer/quasi power lifter/ personal trainer/ – now a lawyer. I enjoy your posts because much of what you write reflects not only what I believe, but most importantly, what I’ve seen empirically. I used to constantly tell my clients “you can’t out exercise a bad diet” and realized that most of them didn’t want a personal trainer; they just wanted someone to hang-out with or thought getting into shape was about entertainment (much different when I work with fighters though). No, with me it probably just comes down to the ego thing. I don’t like lifting anymore because I can’t move the heavy weights, because, frankly, I wrecked my body (again ego), so I’m probably just looking for excuse not to lift period. I’ll never squat 500 pounds for reps again, and going from 155 (which is about the most I can squat pain free) to 225 or even 275 sounds great, but again that used to be warm-up weight. That’s my problem with progressive loading. I know what real lifting is and I won’t get those numbers again. Maybe I could satisfy my ego using a volume based approach?

  3. Fastandmove says:


    I have been reading your blog fiercely since coming across a link on MDA. The principles and ideas you put out there for us make more sense on every level than anything I’ve ever read or heard elsewhere. So thank you for sharing your wisdom.

    Now that i’ve showered you with compliments ; ) I have a few questions i’d like to ask you (i apologize ahead of time if any of these have been addressed already) :
    First off, have you ever noticed a difference in IF results (weight loss) between men and women? If so, do you have any gender-specific tips?
    And secondly, what do you suggest for individuals who feel they have reached a “plataeu”? (Feel free to correct me there if I fell back on CW with that comment) Should we just further reduce calories?

    Thanks Johnny!

    • Johnny says:


      Thank you for the compliments!

      It has been mentioned elsewhere that women have a different emotional approach to food as compared to men, but I haven’t seen research in this area. Further I have worked with several women through their adoption of intermittent fasting and found them to accept the practice with no more (or less) difficulty than their male counterpart.

      I think that everyone has different emotional makeup and I’m unsure it’s gender-specific. Whether you’re a woman or a man, an introduction to IF should be done slowly, with intelligence, and progressively.

      I’m assuming by “plateau” you mean stalling with weight loss. After an honest assessment of your body composition, if you feel you need/can lose a little more weight (fat), then you should first analyze the actual amount of total calorie you take in through, say, a three day period. I’ve known many people who stall and think that their metabolism was “broken” but discovered that they were consistently blowing their calorie ceiling. The other thing you should do is assess how active you are through the day.

      To lose excess fat and achieve a healthy body weight, eat mostly whole, real food, and eat less while moving around more.

      Also, sometimes a stalled weight loss is not necessarily permanent. It could be that the body is going through adjustment. Be patient — weight loss and a healthy body weight occurs through time, with zig-zag numbers and periodic stabilization. Don’t stress too much.


  4. NANCY says:


  5. Jennifer S says:

    I have loved reading every single post you’ve written since your very first one, and I continue to look forward to each and everyone you write. There is in each post you share a feeling of “home.” Your blog has been instrumental in my weight loss and (for over 1.5 years) weight maintenance… which in the past I’ve never been able to maintain for more than a month, always rebounding. Thank you for your wonderful generosity, Johnny. I am a true fan of your philosophy, and a real-life product of it.


  6. Amen! Exercise doesn’t burn nearly as many calories as people think it does. I had a friend once who would turn up at the gym and stroll on the treadmill as if she were pushing a trolley around the supermarket. She would do that for half an hour whilst I busted my ass lifting weights as heavy as possible. The rest of the time my diet was nailed whereas she would go home and “treat herself” to a pizza as she had been to the gym.

    Then she would moan to me 3 months down the line when my shape had completely changed and she had actually gained weight.

    I exercise because I want to be fit, healthy and strong primarily and because I want to be fit and healthy into my old age and not worrying about busting a damn hip if I fall.

    Thanks for a great blog, I’ve been doing 16/8 IF for almost 4 weeks now and I’m really loving the liberation from thinking of food all day. As a previous binge eater, it’s a true revelation to me.

  7. Fastandmove says:

    Johnny (and readers),

    Ever experience, or have individuals complain about, sudden lack of energy? Fasted state started out great, MORE energy than usual! But every few days I seem to be stuck on the slow train or something. Not very hungry, so don’t want to unnecessarily take in calories, especially when I’m HOURS away from my feeding window. But I need more energy at work! And that silly CW bird chirps “if you have no energy, you need to eat”. And like I said, this is only occasionally, not an everyday problem.

    Thoughts? Input? Suggestions?

    Thanks everyone!

    • KevinT says:

      I’ve gone through massive energy shut downs too. I’d feel great in the morning with a nice spring in my step. Afternoon comes around and I still feel good. Right around early evening/night it all crashes, no matter if I’d eaten or not … and then a few hours later (around 10-11:00pm) I feel amazing again. I actually get more work done after 10pm than any other time of the day.

      It’s weird. I’d feel awesome (not just “ok” but awesome) throughout the day … then it would crash hard and then I’d rebound. It doesn’t quite happen as often now, but it still does. I don’t really feel hungry throughout the day or even when it happens… but food does make it go away. It can also happen after workouts … so maybe it’s more of a blood sugar thing or something? Not sure.

      • Fastandmove says:


        Thanks for responding, I’m glad to know that others are experiencing this random “energy lag” while still feeling generally GREAT following Johnny’s eating/exercise plan. Today I tried having a cocoa powder and water beverage when I felt my energy dropping, it DID seem to help, but only for about an hour. I hope I can figure something out that works for me. Having to pull long shifts on deflated energy sucks.

    • Johnny says:

      I can’t tell you why you go through periodic low energy.

      When this happens to me, I usually do something physically intense for about 30 seconds or so, like speed squats or burpees. This seems to stimulate a good release of catecholamines, growth hormones, and glucagon which in turn stimulate the release of fatty acid, stored liver glucose, and some protein into the blood system as ketone or blood sugar.

      This process seems to kick up energy and may help normalize blood sugar. That’s my hypothesis, but it makes practical sense and it invariably works.

      Hypothesis or not, I can tell you this: when I was eating frequently through the day, dramatic energy lows struck hard and often more than once every single day of my life.

      In my experience, daily intermittent fast has practically eliminated the energy crash. (Ketone is nearly an unlimited supply of energy.)


      • Fastandmove says:


        Why didn’t I think of that? Again, so simple and makes perfect sense! Next time I start feeling a lack of energy, I will try a 30 second burst of activity and see how that does me (although since we all know how hardcore burpees can be, even in short bursts, I dont know if THAT will be my activity of choice! Lol might have the opposite effect and totally waste me!)

  8. Jordan says:

    Hello Johnny,

    As always it’s a great article and so is your answers to comments.
    You’ve stated: “To lose excess fat and achieve a healthy body weight, eat mostly whole, real food, and eat less while moving around more.”
    I was wondering if you can give us a practical example of it, how it looks like in real life. I remember of articles in which you were giving a look at a typical day of yours in terms of your diet (meals), physical activity… As your philosophy evolved a bit and things seemed to became more clear and less complicated, it would be nice if you can write something similar that corresponds more to your today routine and philosophy , which seems to help you maintaina healthy weight and body composition effortlessly. It could surely help us to see things in a more practical way.

    Thanks in advance and keep us updated!

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