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Burn Baby Burn

...or Sweat Baby Sweat

Like most men, when I exercise, my goal is to sweat. A lot. That way I know I’ve put the effort in. It’s a point of pride that I don’t want a fan aimed at me when I spin. And I sweat an awful lot when I get going. So much so that sometimes the skin on my fingers puckers, as if I’ve spent too much time in a swimming pool. I’m motivated by sweat.  If you look at how fitness is marketed to men, be it shoes, sports drinks or club memberships, there’s often perspiration.

But when exercise is marketed to women, the words and imagery are different. Recently I was asked to be a pace bunny at a one-off spin class where I exercise. It’s marketed as a “1000 calorie burn”, suggesting that if you take the class that’s how many calories you’ll expend. In fact I do burn 1000 calories if I go full out for about 65 minutes (according to a recent test run). Notionally, if the class keeps pace with me for the entire time, they’ll burn that many too. But really there will be great variation in their burn; factoring in age, sex, weight, relative fitness and effort.

Classes like this are particularly popular with women, because the connection between exercise and weight loss is usually referenced in terms of “calorie burn” as opposed to a “pool of sweat”. Of course fitness, or more specifically healthy weight loss, is more complicated. It’s a basic truth that a person loses weight when they burn more calories than they take in. You either have to consume less calories or burn more calories, or both. But how you consume less and how you burn more are the extremely important details which will determine your overall, long term success. Which exercise, when you exercise, when you eat and what you eat are the specific details that should concern you to reaching your long term health and wellness goals.

There is no “one right way” to be fit or lose weight. It depends on the person. We’ve run articles in recent issues espousing high intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training. If you don’t have a lot of time to work out HIIT might be right for you. There are many reasons that weight training could be included in your regimen - it's good for your metabolism, your bones and it changes your shape like nothing else.

If marketing a fitness class in terms of the calorie burn motivates people to become fit, so much the better. Once you start the process of becoming healthy it is inevitable that you’ll look beyond the marketing to the specifics. Similarly, my hope is that when you read the headlines, and then the articles in Tonic the information resonates with you so that it spurs you to improve the quality of your life. Whether you’re inspired into chasing me to burn 1000 calories in spin class,  or perhaps doing Sun Salutations at OmT.O. - a full day of free outdoor yoga at the Distillery District on June 21 (see opposite page) then my job is done.

In this issue of Tonic there are more important articles to help with your fitness. Bryce Wylde discusses the nutrients you need pre and post workout (p.34). Rod MacDonald explains the “mindset” necessary to maintain a healthy weight in the long term (p.29).You might try to grow your own vegetables and consume more of a plant-based diet as Marni Wasserman suggests (p. 27) or try to improve your posture in order to support your physical health as is recommended by Melissa Putt (p.51). As always if you want to discuss Tonic, feel free to contact me at Jamie@tonictoronto.com