The Drug of Choice (Part 3)

Exercise is important for optimal health, but so much confusion exists on what type of exercise is best. For example, aerobic activity is crucial for weight loss, right?

Sure, you’ll lose weight, but at what expense? If you do excessive aerobic work, rest assured that you will catabolize muscle tissue and keep in mind that the more muscle you have, the greater your metabolic rate.63

Will frequent, slow, rhythmic aerobic work decrease body fat?

Yes, it will… for a period of time… then your body starts to accumulate body fat. You heard me right. Your body will store fat as a result of the aerobic activity.63

The human body is a highly adaptable organism. It prefers fat for fuel at lower intensities. This is true. So when you constantly perform low-intensity aerobic work (often referred to as “cardio”), your body is smart. It says: “Okay, if you want to burn more fat for fuel constantly performing this activity, then I will store more fat to make you more efficient at the activity you are trying to perform!”63

During weight training, for example, you break down muscle tissue. So your body adapts by building muscle to make you more efficient at that activity.

The aerobic movement was founded by Dr. Kenneth Cooper over 40 years ago, and it’s still going strong today. A majority of the health and fitness curriculum in school is based on aerobics. “Aerobics are imperative for cardiac health,” we’re taught. If that is indeed the case, then how do we explain the fate of marathon runners Jim Fixx and Brian Maxwell, or long-distance cyclist Dr. Ed Burke? Each one of these endurance athletes had an extremely high aerobic capacity, yet all three died from heart attacks.64-66

Here’s something that you may find quite surprising: resistance training has a profound effect on the cardiovascular system. In fact, resistance training may be a safer approach than aerobics for cardiac rehab patients according to Dr. Doug McGuff, an emergency room physician and co-author of the book Body by Science.67,68

Can you believe that?

We know that exercise is important for optimal health. Most people can afford 3 hours a week for exercise. It’s a small price to pay for their wellbeing – only 1.8% of the week – that’s it! But people do not want to waste their time. They want the most for their training buck and that’s why I’m a big fan of weight training.

Yoga and stretching improve flexibility. Aerobics improve cardiovascular endurance. Pilates improve core strength. Well, weight training will do all of the above and much more… It’s the concept of “killing many birds with one stone,” and that’s the type of activity everyone should perform regardless of age or gender. I believe that weight training is even more important for females quite frankly. The famous Framingham Heart Study found that by the age of 65, the average woman could not lift a 10-pound weight!69,70

And recent studies have shown that strength is more important than endurance to improve functional capacity in aging adults.71,72 One problem that plagues many elders (particularly females) is osteoporosis. You hear of many seniors falling and breaking bones – they can’t even get up to call for help. Well, the sad reality is that their bones break first and then they fall! Weight-bearing exercise is crucial – not walking!

Let’s finish our discussion with the prevalent use of drugs today.

“A drug without a side-effect is not a drug!”14 I’m sure you realize that.

As strength and conditioning coach Charles Poliquin points out in his audio CD The Science of Body Building: “Smoke a joint on Friday and by Monday your testosterone levels will return back to normal. Smoke a joint every day for 6 weeks and it will take 8 weeks for your testosterone levels to return to baseline.”73

Research indicates that a man born in 1970 had about 20 percent less testosterone at age 35 than a man of his father’s generation at the same age, and since the 1980s testosterone levels have dropped even further by about 1.2% per year and infertility rates have increased dramatically.74-77 Men aged 18-30 are now increasingly turning to the impotence drug Viagra.78 It’s sad!

The new party drug is Ritalin, a Schedule II narcotic in the same category as cocaine80 that happens to increase libido.62,79,81 And who do we give this drug to? Our kids. So while little Johnny should be concentrating on the chalkboard, his focus is on the teacher’s behind! Meanwhile, antidepressants are one of the most prescribed drugs in the world, yet these little pills decrease libido82,83 and growth hormone production. Not quite what adults are looking for!14

If you look at long-time comedians, such as George Burns and Bob Hope, they had longevity on their side. New-age comedians John Belushi, Sam Kinison, John Candy, and Chris Farley had altered brain chemistry likely linked to drug use and all four suffered an early demise.62

Many drugs are so readily accessible and encouraged. You go to the drug store and purchase them over the counter. One of the top-selling over-the-counter drugs is Tylenol. Tylenol is also the #1 cause of acute liver failure in the U.S.!84-88 What’s better – 100,000 deaths or so a year from FDA-approved pharmaceutical drugs, or 0 (zero) deaths from nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbs?89-94 Do the math.95 The problem many times is that drugs work much quicker than herbs,96 so curing that pounding headache may be far more enticing than, say, the possibility of death!

I agree that drugs may be necessary for acute, emergency care but not for long-term use. Some medical drugs have only 12-week trials, yet patients are told to go on them for life!97 If a drug has not been tested over a long period of time, then it really is not appropriate for long-term, chronic care.98

Often, prescribed drugs may cure a problem but cause a host of other problems. For instance, some drugs lower cholesterol levels but increase the progress of heart disease. There are just too many examples of “the treatment was a success, but the patient died” to list in this article, but it happens every day. As Dr. Michael Colgan points out in his book Your Personal Vitamin Profile, prescribed drugs should be used only in dire necessity for the extremely ill. “Drugs have no business in the healthy human body,” says Colgan. “Every needless drug you take, for an ache here, an itch there, damages you. In 1980 the Sixth World Nutrition Congress reported that even a single aspirin can make your intestines bleed for a week! If you want a long and healthy life, leave drugs to the truly ill. They may benefit from them. You won’t.”99

Really, the drug of choice should be exercise. It’s been said that for a man to live to be 100 years old, he must sweat a little every day. That’s the drug that I choose and hope you will too.


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