The End of a Classic | Does Being Slightly Overweight Matter?

[ Note: This article was written by fitness and nutrition author Jon Benson. Jon is the author of Seven Minute Muscle Workout and many others. I have his permission to share it with you. ]

Does Being “Slightly” Overweight Matter?

Shockingly so.

A 2008 study nicknamed “The Physician’s Health Study” proved that just a little bit of extra weight can raise the risk of heart failure. The study was designed to calculate the heart hazards of being pudgy but not obese.

Researchers tracked the health of 21,094 U.S. male doctors for two decades found that even those who were only modestly overweight had a higher risk for heart disease. The numbers grew along with the amount of extra weight.

In men who are 5 feet 10 inches tall, for every seven pounds (3.2 kg) of excess body weight, their risk of heart failure rose on average by 11 percent over the next 20 years, the researchers wrote in the journal Circulation . The average age of the men at the outset of the study was 53. During the study, 1,109 of them developed heart failure.

Overall, the risk of heart failure increased by 180 percent in men who met the definition of obesity according to their body mass index (BMI of 30 and higher), and by 49 percent in men who met the definition of overweight (a BMI of 25 to 30).

So, what about the leaner and more active doctors?

“The lean and active group had the lowest risk and the obese and inactive group had the highest risk,” Kenchaiah said in a telephone interview.

And what about “all those hours” needed for exercise?

Yet another myth –

“As far as vigorous physical activity is concerned, even if somebody said they exercised one to three times per month — which is a very low level of exercise — they had an 18 percent reduction in the risk of heart failure after accounting for all other established risk factors,” said Kenchaiah.

This is just more support for my approach to exercise as found in 7 Minute Muscle. It is by far the shortest workout you can do to reap the greatest rewards.

It’s time to get more serious about that “little flab” — and studies like this one conducted over twenty years will go a long way to showing exactly how beneficial cutting the flab can be.

Fit Bits: In-Home or In The Gym?

For my top 5 questions of the day received, this makes the list.

“Jon, can I workout in my home or do I have to go to a gym?”

Here is both sides to the story…

First, the answer in most cases is “Yes” — you can workout in your home with little to no equipment and make very good progress.

With some exceptions.

First, you have to really have a great plan. Home workouts are fine, but honestly they are less exciting than going to a gym and being around other fit-minded folks. So a plan is crucial. If you just try to “catch a workout”, you will probably end up being inconsistent and not progressing.

Next week I’ll be releasing my 7 Minute Body System. This the in-home version of 7 Minute Muscle that requires only bands, a rubber ball, and your body weight. Dumbbells are optional.

This is a great plan for in-home workouts… and of course it’s only 7 minutes long.

There are other plans you can find on the Internet or in another book that may work for you too. Just be sure to USE on. Do not just wing it.

Results for in-home training tend to be lower on average than in-gym training for two reported reasons: Commitment and variety.

Commitment is crucial. If you have a good system and you can commit to it, then you can do well. But a gym fosters commitment in most people due to the costs and the environment. This is not always the case of course. Some people waste their bucks on a gym membership.

Variety is obviously much better in a gym — more equipment, more people to interact with (mental variety) and so-on.

One more thing: Progression. Progression is key in the gym or at home. So no matter what workout environment you choose, write down your workouts every day. The next time you perform that workout, be sure to add a rep or two here and there or some more resistance. Perhaps less rest between sets.

Always try to progress. Some days you will, others you may not — but the mental attitude of progress is essential.

The bottom line is this: If you can make the commitment to your self and get yourself a good, solid in-home plan, you can make in-home workouts work for you.