Is exercise etc obsolete or is it another false alarm?
As health club owners, we pay VERY CLOSE attention whenever somebody claims that weight loss nutrition and exercise professionals are no longer needed because another scientist has invented what we call exercise on demand or exercise in a pill.
As exercise professionals, we know that exercise on demand is an absolute JOKE and a falsehood!
But it doesn't matter what we think, does it?
What matters is what the CUSTOMER thinks, and our customers are the average overweight people in weight loss groups and overeaters anonymous meetings.
In their endless quest for weight loss resources that work, our customers (and potential customers) have tried everything from weight loss surgeries to diets for weight loss success.
As WE all know, the only true to path to achieving true physical fitness is through regular exercise and a sensible diet.
However, scientists have dealt us a low blow today by announcing that a new drug may give the new benefits of exercise. Make no mistake about it, this proclomation by just a few scientists will cost you money and members!
The article released by the Associated Press (AP) on 8-1-08 began by stating that "Here's a couch potato's dream: What if a drug could help you gain some of the benefits of exercise without working up a sweat?"
Unfortunately, people will hear what they want to hear and will assume that a cure-all weight loss drug has been invented. They will assume that they don't have to exerise anymore.
Nothing could be further from the truth!
In this press release, scientists talk about Resveratrol research and AICAR research results. However, Resveratrol news is far from conclusive and so is the AICAR news released today.
First of all, the results from both drugs have been obtained from testing on mice. The AP story states that "Just how well those results might translate to people is an open question".
The second issue with the Resveratrol health benefits and the AICAR health benefits is that results are greatly enhanced with exercise. Again, the AP states that mice who exercised while taking the drug realized much greater benefits than mice who received the drug alone (without exercise).
The third problem that exercise professionals should have with this press release is that scientists don't even know how they achived their front-page results. Ron Evans, an author of the study, said that "Honestly, I just don't know how that happens. Whether it would happen in a person, I don't know. I think it's a small miracle that it happened at all".
The fourth argument against the so-called no-exercise drug AICAR is simple consumer safety. Keep in mind that this diet power drug has not been tested on humans, and an author of the study doesn't know how it worked in mice. In the same AP article, study author Ron Evans stated that ".....it [AICAR] would have to be taken for a long time.....so its safety in people would have to be assured". By the way, if this diet power drug has to be taken for a long time, just what do you think the cost will be to the consumer? It certainly won't be inexpensive!
Finally, the fifth argument against Resveratrol and AICAR is that even in mice AICAR mimics only aerobic exercise. The no-exercise AICAR thus ignores and cannot replicate anaerobic exercise, commonly known as resistance training. Since this blog is directed towards exercise professionals, we won't take the time here to go into the benefits of anaerobic training. However, this fact obviously limites the Resveratrol health benefits as well as the AICAR claims.
Perhaps Laurie Goodyear of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston said it best when she stated that "For the majority of people, it would be better to do exercise than to take a pill".
The Resveratrol study and the AICAR study are dangerous to gym owners because they may give the public yet another reason to avoid exercise.
So, the moral of the story is that fitness centers need to be informed! When a health club member or potential member asks you about the new miracle method for losing weight without exercise, will you be ready with an answer?
The success of your gym may depend on it!