E = You, Lean and Mean²

Forget what you've heard about calories, pounds, carbs, or miles—the adventure athlete's real secret to optimal weight is all about energy management

Jan 1, 2002
Outside Magazine

WE ARE MISLED. Experts want us to believe that managing weight concerns only two factors: diet (energy in) and exercise (energy out). Exercise more than you eat, they say, and the pounds fall away. Argue otherwise and they'll brain you with a food-pyramid paperweight. But as that fleshy guy who beat you in last fall's triathlon sadly proved, you can exercise all the time and still have, well, a lot to show for it. The problem is that the energy-in/energy-out dialectic ignores the importance of your metabolism rate—how fast you burn energy at rest. If you can simultaneously ramp up your metabolism while stabilizing food intake and activity level, you'll have a three-pillared attack that can control your weight forever.

True, there's a legion of sponsored athletes who've defied the odds and still inhabit the same bodies they had in high school—forget them; it's their job to keep the pounds off. If you're anything like the rest of us, your hectic lifestyle, an injury, or (ahem) the holiday season are eventually going to inhibit your activity and slap you with a five- to ten-pound fine. When you resume your healthy routine, losing that weight is less about how "good" you are, the number of miles you run, or how many calories you consume than it is about keeping your internal engine humming. What follows is the latest research on mastering your metabolism through weight training, balancing fuel intake, and breaking bad habits. Since these points all deal with the management of fuel, we've also crafted a tip list based on the core principles of energy. Ignore these ten commandments and you'll watch your energy tank and your cravings skyrocket; drill them into your life, however, and your doughy triathlon rival will soon be whimpering in his wetsuit.

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