Lost all your muscle?

Above: NOT a guy from my gym.  Image:  Anatomische studie van de rug- en bilspieren van een man in silhouet, Reijer Stolk, 1906 - 1945 , Rijksmuseum. Used with permission.

Above: NOT a guy from my gym.

Image: Anatomische studie van de rug- en bilspieren van een man in silhouet, Reijer Stolk, 1906 - 1945, Rijksmuseum. Used with permission.

You know those guys you see at the gym, pounding protein drinks and lifting so much weight the whole building shudders when they drop it on the floor (and the PTSD sufferers flinch all over the room)?

They are dedicated. They live in the gym. Those guys are trying to put on muscle ALL DAY.

But they are not, for the most part. Because it's actually very hard to put on a lot of muscle.

(Oh and by the way, when we do gain muscle, we also gain some fat. They come as a package, and that is non-negotiable.)

So something I hear from people is this: They were doing great until they twisted their ankle and had to stop exercising for three weeks. They lost a ton of muscle, and that's why they gained 25 lbs. From lack of exercise.

Is that possible? Short answer: Nope. Nyet. Not even.

We WOULD lose a ton of muscle on Mars. On Earth, it doesn't happen in a matter of weeks. Most of us don't have as much muscle to lose as we think we do, anyway. That couch-bound weight gain is not from lack of exercise. It's from what we eat.

To be sure, it is a real setback not to be able to exercise. Exercise is good for mood, it's good for mental clarity and agility, it's good for the lungs, it seems to help prevent diseases like cancer and diabetes, and I tell all my clients they should do it regularly.

But I like to mention that exercise won't help them lose weight, and science is not confused about this. Rowing solo around Australia, living on MREs? Oh yes, you will lose weight. Walking briskly around the block, even every day? NOPE. Not gonna move the needle.

What drives weight, overwhelmingly, is what we eat. What goes in our mouth. If we really want to put on some muscle and store less fat, what we EAT is the locus of control. That's where we can turn the knob. That's where our attention pays off.

Next week I'll be opening up Body of Knowledge Weekly for new people*. It would be an excellent way to get some expert help paying attention to what matters, if you want to change the way you eat for good. Weekly+ support, personal attention, smart, effective engineering to make FOOD, WEIGHT and EATING work the way you want them to.

Until then, I'll be in the gym and out on the trails. For my mood 💃

Perhaps I'll see you there!

*YES: There will be a subscriber discount.

Max DanielsComment