It has been 3 months.
The scale must be broken
The scale suggests the sacrifice has not been worth it. You are 100 g lighter than when you started.
You’re ready to give up. What is the point of exercising ?
WAIT – the real benefit of exercise has nothing to do with what you look like on the outside, it’s what is going on INSIDE, that counts.
And things, important things, are happening on the INSIDE.
You fat cells are getting a make-over
This is the finding of researchers from Lund University in Sweden. They discovered that moderate physical activity changes your fat cell’s genes.
No…. you cannot delete the FAT GENES you inherited, but you can eliminate their destructive powers, by turning them off.
Lifestyle is able to switch genes on/off. The term used to describe this “fiddling with the switches” is epigenetics.
Sedentary fat cells go to the gym
The research team found 23 forty-something pretty healthy, couch potatoes and offered them FREE MEMBERSHIP at the gym.
- The deal – FREE MEMBERSHIP.
- The contract – go at least 3 times a week, participate in 1 spinning class and 2 aerobics classes, for 6 months.
- The bonus – don’t change anything else. Eat, drink and be merry.
- The catch, there is no such thing as a FREE LUNCH – donate some fat cells to the lab, at the start and at the end of the membership. Donating fat cells is a lot more traumatic than giving a blood sample, you have to undergo a biopsy to donate a few – so this is a BIG CATCH.
Six months of blood sweat and tears
The research team didn’t use a savvy lawyer to draw up the contract, the volunteers didn’t stick to the terms, they got off the couch, but …………. at the end of the period, attendance had been a bit spotty.
In fact, the volunteers only managed to attend gym, 1,8 times a week. They were supposed to go 3 times a week…. tut, tut, tut. Breach of contract ? Reality ! Couch potatoes find it difficult to change their spots.
At the end of the 6 months, they pretty much looked the same on the outside. Before they weighed on average, 91.8 kg, after the 6 months of gym, they weighed……………90.8 kg. These were heavy dudes.
Since they were not particularly unhealthy before, blood pressures and cholesterol etc were all within normal ranges at the start, these parameters were as expected still ALL NORMAL at the end.
But their fat cells were different.
Epigenetic changes to fat cells
The researchers put the biopsied fat cells under a genetic microscope.
The analysed how many of the cytosine-guanosine bases had a methyl group, plopped on top. This little chemical change on the DNA, acts as a stop/start signal to cell machinery – impacting whether the gene underneath should be turned into a protein or passed over.
The fat cells that had been gymming for 6 months were definitely different in 7000 places.
No, that is not a typo – 7000 genes had been changed by gym membership.
Which 7000 genes were different ?
7000 genes is a whole lot – too many to individually pontificate.
So, the research team looked for patterns. The pattern they were most interested in was the diabetes pattern. The reason, slightly podgy sedentary men, many with a history of type 2 diabetes in their families, are at risk of receiving a diagnosis of diabetes in the future.
The changes in the fat cell gene profiles – had shifted them away from a type 2 diabetic gene profile.
Tests in a lab dishes, suggested the fat cells who had undergone the make over, were handling fat metabolism better.
Fat cells still fat but its OKAY
The fat cell make-over is an inside job. So don’t be TOO discouraged by the lack of progress on the outside. Your motivation to exercise should extend beyond just losing weight, fitness is way more important than thinness.
Exercise changes things on the inside. If you hang in there long enough, the benefits will start to be visible on the outside. And these changes will help you save money and live longer.
PS. It only takes moderate exercise to give your fat cells a makeover. Too much exercise can flip a whole bunch of other switches, which can leave you with a stressed out fat cell profile – this overexercised genetic profile is not good for you either.
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below