War of the tissues
March 5, 2013 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Your fat has a brain, and it's trying to kill you. And the best line of defense is muscle. Muscle is now known to be one of the most dynamic systems in the body; when it contracts, it undergoes huge changes at the cellular level. And its mortal enemy is fat. (Also, why liposuction may not be so good for you health wise).
posted by tatiana131 (98 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
My fat asked me to tell you that this is crazy talk and to put down the free weights before anyone gets hurt.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:38 AM on March 5, 2013 [48 favorites]


This article seems more sciencey-flavored than scientific. I think the research on kinds of fat and what fat does is really fascinating, but this piece seemed pretty light on anything, and the main story of Phil left us hanging; why did he have problems later? After all that breezily confident information, we get a shrug at the end, or not even that, it just ends.

Outside is a fitness magazine, and fitness is great, but the fitness industry has a loooong history of dodgy science and occasional dangerous practices.

I think there is more to this story, I don't even necessarily think they are inaccurate, but I wish the Outside writer had put more in, though I suspect the secret to selling stories to Outside is cheerful can-do twists on everything.
posted by emjaybee at 11:47 AM on March 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


My fat and my muscle exist in an uneasy truce, maintained by one side's willingness to surrender energy reserves during the conduct of endurance sports, and the other's tolerance of a constant provision of fermented grain products.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:48 AM on March 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


Not that being fat isn't bad for you, but once I got to the phrase, "Fat tissue under the skin, known as subcutaneous fat—the kind that makes young people look succulent and ripe," my brain just kind of refused to go any farther.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:49 AM on March 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


my brain just kind of refused to go any farther.

If it had, you might have gotten to the part comparing it to visceral fat. Too bad you stopped.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:53 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, Humbert Humbert is a famously unreliable narrator.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:56 AM on March 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


Hmmm, succulent and ripe. I've heard there was a modest proposal to that end some years ago.
posted by fatehunter at 12:01 PM on March 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


One study found that less than half of U.S. physicians discuss exercise with their patients.

WTF?
posted by mazola at 12:06 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


If it had, you might have gotten to the part comparing it to visceral fat. Too bad you stopped.

Like I said, fully aware of fat being bad. Still put me in mind of either a pedophile or a foodie cannibal.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:08 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


This post is visceral body horror
posted by KokuRyu at 12:12 PM on March 5, 2013


My fat has a brain, but I think it's dozing quietly after dinner again.
posted by cromagnon at 12:12 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Zarquon, I've been surprised at how many female friends of mine have expressed that the cuteness of babies elicits a non-metaphorical desire to eat their chubby little cheeks.
posted by daveliepmann at 12:13 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Except that as we age we better put on a few pounds of fat, because leaner old people die earlier, statistically.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:14 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still put me in mind of either a pedophile or a foodie cannibal.

A foodie cannibal would have said something like "supple and well-marbled".
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:15 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Man, all I know is that I was a very fat teenager, and a pretty-fat young adult, and it wasn't until I started lifting heavy weights on a regular basis that I got my weight--and my appetite--under control.

It went too far for a time--I was down under 130lbs which, even on my 5'7"ish frame, looked and felt ridiculous--but consistent lifting and a willingness to eat pretty much whenever my body asks for it keeps me in good-enough shape (my last cholesterol test was either an error or I need to eat more bacon).
posted by uncleozzy at 12:17 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"

"So... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"
posted by Westringia F. at 12:20 PM on March 5, 2013 [25 favorites]


once I got to the phrase, "Fat tissue under the skin, known as subcutaneous fat—the kind that makes young people look succulent and ripe," my brain just kind of refused to go any farther.

If you'd gone just a little farther, you coulda hit:

"Bruno often rode until his shorts were bloody"
posted by Greg Nog at 12:20 PM on March 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


Burp.
posted by NedKoppel at 12:20 PM on March 5, 2013


Clvrmnky, as I recall, that study (if we're talking about the same recent one) referred to BMI generally and was performed over a population of people who were sick. Pudging up would be an incorrect response if that was the case.
posted by daveliepmann at 12:20 PM on March 5, 2013


Really short on actual science. One guy lost some weight, and some other guy read a bunch of stuff on Wikipedia about it, basically, is how this reads to me. Not a feeling that changes when I look at some of the other stuff on the site.
posted by Ex-Wastrel at 12:21 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


One study found that less than half of U.S. physicians discuss exercise with their patients.

WTF?


Wait till you find out how many doctors still smoke.
posted by dhartung at 12:23 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


"For a typical North American, their fat tissue is their biggest organ,”
Excuse me while I whip this out....

Your fat has a brain, and it's trying to kill you.

I'm picturing Oddjob from Goldfinger as its enforcer. Maybe it's the Wagyu beef reference.
Anyone? Throws his hat. Anyone?


"I know people who are only 50 pounds overweight, and they think they have to lose weight before setting foot in the gym."


We really gotta change this attitude. Gyms should be welcoming fun places. You should feel about going there the way you felt about recess when you were a kid.
But we really don't promote that.
You know what would be a great idea...ok, a good idea .... ok, my idea? If we get a government health care system - government gyms. You go, you get a break on your taxes, whatever - but the atmosphere, since it's non-profit, would be helpful and fun, inclusive and focused on health rather than body consciousness and appearance.

I dunno, I have a great time at the gym. I wish we helped more people feel positive about it. I don't think insurance companies and most gyms have that environment in mind.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:24 PM on March 5, 2013 [30 favorites]


Your fat has a brain, and it's trying to kill you.

It's been over 40 years Dr. Fat and our nefarious schemes have failed. To celebrate this amazing feat, I'm going to get a pizza.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:25 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think insurance companies and most gyms have that environment in mind.

Well sure, gyms make more money if you sign a contract and then never come. Although actually my health insurance gives a fairly generous reimbursement for twice-a-week gym attendance.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:27 PM on March 5, 2013


Smedleyman, I love your idea--I really do--but I'm wary of intentionally getting the US federal government into something that I enjoy, that I think is important, and that is so easily done poorly and just as easily subverted by corporate interests. America has had poor results with that combination in the past.
posted by daveliepmann at 12:27 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm picturing Oddjob from Goldfinger as its enforcer. Maybe it's the Wagyu beef reference.
Anyone? Throws his hat. Anyone?


sonofa - I woulda hit you if you'd been taller
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:29 PM on March 5, 2013


I feel damn good about government roads, government electricity, and government-subsidized public transportation, among other wonderful things the government has given us. I have often had the same fantasy as Smedleyman, imagining myself as dictator, and creating a non-profit series of at-cost gyms in every American city.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:30 PM on March 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


BIG BROTHER IS SPOTTING YOU
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:32 PM on March 5, 2013 [58 favorites]


Honestly, if governments just made it safer to take non-gas-powered modes of transportation to work, I think more people would get active. I'd cycle or walk to work if it wasn't so frickin' dangerous.
posted by LN at 12:34 PM on March 5, 2013 [27 favorites]


I knew it all along.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:35 PM on March 5, 2013


Not that being fat isn't bad for you, but once I got to the phrase, "Fat tissue under the skin, known as subcutaneous fat—the kind that makes young people look succulent and ripe," my brain just kind of refused to go any farther.

Subcutaneous fat is a type I lost from the Rx poisoning I endured; losing that seemingly aged me 20 years within a handful of weeks. I've been able to regain some fat over the years, but lipoatrophy has no cure. That sub layer cannot be regained with fat gains... you just get the other, considered less attractive, fat layers. (For me, better than no fat.)

"Succulent and ripe" seem to be the right adjectives to me, in my envious state - because of my changes, I now am very aware of the fat layer just under the skin of others.
posted by _paegan_ at 12:35 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


If we get a government health care system - government gyms.

Ditto. I've always thought they should be natural extensions of libraries. Pick up a book then go read it on the treadmill. ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:35 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Smedleyman: "You know what would be a great idea...ok, a good idea .... ok, my idea? If we get a government health care system - government gyms. You go, you get a break on your taxes, whatever - but the atmosphere, since it's non-profit, would be helpful and fun, inclusive and focused on health rather than body consciousness and appearance. "

I've often daydreamed If I Were King, I'd put a pool/gym in every town with more than 30,000 people. The stimulative effect of all that construction would pay for itself, and the lifeguard and staff pay would be a great job for the academically disinclined (who still had moxie).
posted by notsnot at 12:37 PM on March 5, 2013


Unfortunately, notsnot, public pools are actually shutting down due to a combination of drought and city/state revenue loss.

I know! We can combine the dying Post Office with the need for walking! Every citizen carries some mail! It's a win-win.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:40 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Honestly, if governments just made it safer to take non-gas-powered modes of transportation to work, I think more people would get active. I'd cycle or walk to work if it wasn't so frickin' dangerous.

Seconding this. My commute, such as it is, takes ten minutes, and I would happily bike it, but in those ten minutes, I pass a huge four-way intersection, a dangerous highway on-ramp, a dangerous highway off-ramp, and a long, straight road with a sudden bend, where people drive fast. Nowhere is there much space on the right for a bicyclist.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:41 PM on March 5, 2013


I'd be happier if we put more money into unstaffed, DIY-exercise gyms in public parks and beaches. Plus more bike lanes, better sidewalk coverage, public pools, and so on.

But I wouldn't be opposed to an indoor facility either. I'd just be super-wary about supplement companies and exercise machine companies taking it over. More squat racks and running tracks, less over-engineered overpriced pseudo-squat machines.
posted by daveliepmann at 12:42 PM on March 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


More squat racks

I think you mean grunt-n-curl racks, bro.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:43 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


but the atmosphere, since it's non-profit, would be helpful and fun

So true. If there's anyone who knows how to make things fun, it's government agencies.
posted by the jam at 12:44 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


...and the main story of Phil left us hanging; why did he have problems later? After all that breezily confident information, we get a shrug at the end, or not even that, it just ends.

emjaybee,
I agree it's a totally bizarre way to end the piece.
I even wondered if it was butchered at an editing stage?

We last see the former Amazing Success Story of the article, Phil Bruno, unwell, battling depression, on a ton of medication & starting to put weight back on again because he suddenly can't be as active as he needs to be!

And yet after making the reader feel terrible for poor Phil - because it's even possible, we are told, that he made himself unwell through too much intense exercise, the author just changes tack and finishes the article with a weirdly jaunty quote from a scientist: “It’s much better to be fit and fat,” she says, “than skinny and lazy.”
posted by Jody Tresidder at 12:44 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


You should feel about going [to the gym] the way you felt about recess when you were a kid.

I should go sit under a tree and pretend to read a book while I cry because no one will talk to me?

WHHHYYY???

Anyway, can't afford the gym with all this therapy.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:45 PM on March 5, 2013 [46 favorites]


We really gotta change this attitude. Gyms should be welcoming fun places. You should feel about going there the way you felt about recess when you were a kid.

Ooooh oooh Oohh! YES! I want to subscribe to your newsletter, Smedleyman.

Don't necessarily want to wait around for government funds, though ... there's got to be a way to action this with or without govt funding.
posted by bunderful at 12:47 PM on March 5, 2013


I would like it if there was more activity based programs, weight lifting is so dreadfully, dreadfully boring. I was able to keep up with boxing or more obstacle course based stuff cause It wasn't so painfully abstract and nerdy.

Also there needs to be more cheap archery and fencing classes but that's just me and my biases.
posted by The Whelk at 12:52 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would like it if there was more activity based programs, weight lifting is so dreadfully, dreadfully boring.

Potentially dangerous, too. I would lift if I were sure I weren't going to wreck my knees or my back with my poor form. Maybe that's more of a "You need the money for a teacher" problem, though.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:00 PM on March 5, 2013


Potentially dangerous, too.

Crossing the street is potentially dangerous too, but it doesn't have the undeniable benefits of weightlifting.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:07 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


the atmosphere, since it's non-profit, would be helpful and fun, inclusive and focused on health rather than body consciousness and appearance.

The DMV is non-profit and government run. Doesn't make it helpful or fun.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:09 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Crossing the street is potentially dangerous too, but it doesn't have the undeniable benefits of weightlifting.

Not denying the benefits - everything I've ever read on the subject says LIFT - but failure to learn properly will fuck you up properly.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:11 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Secret Life of Gravy: Unfortunately, notsnot, public pools are actually shutting down due to a combination of drought and city/state revenue loss.

I know! We can combine the dying Post Office with the need for walking! Every citizen carries some mail! It's a win-win.
I'm suddenly picturing some sort of decentrallized system, a perambulatory network modelled something after IP addresses, but human-readable, and the un(der)employed can make money by moving packages from one spot to another, with a bonus for network-to-individual/individual-to-network transferrals.

Payments reduced if the transferral takes too long; zero payment if the item doesn't arrive, along with the threat of postal investigation if someone makes a habit of this, or loses an insured item. Obviously you'd need to "sign in" before you can pick up mail for delivery anywhere.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:18 PM on March 5, 2013


Rustic Etruscan: I'm picturing Oddjob from Goldfinger as its enforcer. Maybe it's the Wagyu beef reference.
Anyone? Throws his hat. Anyone?


sonofa - I woulda hit you if you'd been taller
GODDAMMIT! This stupid hat just came careening off the trashcan near that intersection, and cut me in the shin.

Who the hell throws a sharpened, stiff hat?
posted by IAmBroom at 1:21 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm suddenly picturing some sort of decentrallized system [...]
Fit-Torrent
posted by smidgen at 1:24 PM on March 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


This is yet another Adipose plot, isn't it?

(I made that same silly joke a few weeks ago on Metafilter... but I couldn't help it, this one was just too tempting to resist.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:25 PM on March 5, 2013


Fit-Torrent

"I know Kung Fu."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:25 PM on March 5, 2013


I've been surprised at how many female friends of mine have expressed that the cuteness of babies elicits a non-metaphorical desire to eat their chubby little cheeks.

My understanding is that chubbiness in babies is due mostly to having a high percentage of body water. Fat babies are really "watery" babies! So anyone who wants to eat a cute baby because they think it'll be deliciously fatty will be disappointed. (but possibly refreshed on a hot day.)
posted by vespabelle at 1:26 PM on March 5, 2013 [19 favorites]


I always win in the end.
posted by adipocere at 1:32 PM on March 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


I love love love lifting weights like a big dumb dopey ape, but I was actually glad when Bally Total Fitness finally went away along with my super expensive Premier Plus Lifetime Membership because it meant I never, ever have to set a foot in a mainstream gym again. Used to love the gym at the end of my street where it was all boxing rings, Salvadorans, eau de scrotum, and clanky old school heavy shit, but they shut down and became another ubiquitous yoga hole, curse the evil day.

Honestly, one of my favorite things about lifting is that I don't have to participate in the interminable social horror of the gym. I've got piles of weights, a nice flat space between the drill press, the table saw, and the rolling toolboxes, and I never, ever have to hear about someone else's tedious life or be surrounded by so many screens I wear out the battery in my TV-B-Gone trying to kill the Orwellian vibe. It's just me, gravity, and some hard-rockin' Eno at earsplitting level on the big amp over by the radial arm saw.

Gyms should be welcoming fun places. You should feel about going there the way you felt about recess when you were a kid.

I do feel about gyms the way I felt about recess when I was a kid, which is why, when I was a kid, I'd slowly edge further and further from the playground until I could dart into the woods there and climb trees and play in the stream until recess was over. Hell is other kids, even in adulthood.
posted by sonascope at 1:36 PM on March 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


I actually wasn't a huge fan of recess when I was a kid.

But as much as I hate gyms I love to play, and I love to combine social and physical activities in a non-competitive way - dance, for example. But I'm too old for clubs and serious dancing is, you know, serious. And often expensive. And tragically awkward with strangers.

What if people could just meet up and dance to 80s music before 10pm, with no judgment?
posted by bunderful at 1:51 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


IndigoJones: The DMV is non-profit and government run. Doesn't make it helpful or fun.

AND EVERYTHING THE GOVERNMENT DOES IS JUST LIKE THE DMV, SO LEAVE THOSE DELICIOUS PROFITS OPEN TO NOBLE ENTERPRISE AND LET POOR PEOPLE SUFFER.
posted by JHarris at 1:54 PM on March 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


The gym I used to go to, almost directly across the street from where I live, sadly shut down two or so years ago and I haven't found anything else nearby, which is annoying. Thinking about doing weight lifting, but not sure were to start.

The original article started out interestingly, but a) stretched out too long for the info it contained b) started out with an extreme example when the everday struggle of fat blokes like me, overweight but still relatively healthy, is more relevant and c) it's more sciencey than science, as mentioned above.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:54 PM on March 5, 2013


The DMV is non-profit and government run. Doesn't make it helpful or fun.

Or competent.

(I'm in Illinois.)
posted by goethean at 1:56 PM on March 5, 2013


Rustic Etruscan: Starting Strength (the book) is so totally excellent at giving one the tools to self-coach the big lifts. Also, judging by the "personal trainers" in my gym, you're probably better off self coaching anyway (I'm looking at you, dude who gets paid to teach others how to work out but tells people that squatting in a smith machine is a good idea).
posted by daniel striped tiger at 1:56 PM on March 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm looking at you, dude who gets paid to teach others how to work out but tells people that squatting in a smith machine is a good idea

"Don't squat past parallel! You'll hurt your knees!"
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:58 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I read something years ago that basically, the brain is wired to Love Fat because it was relatively scarce in – oh – the 50,000 years before industrialised agriculture. Fat is necessary. Fat is good.

Back in the day, fat was also relatively scarce, which was why it was a sign of wealth to be fat. If I recall correctly (from a long time ago), animal fat converts into human fat with like 90% efficiency. Fat is fat.

The brain was wired to like fat because it came with meat. And what is meat other than highly-concentrated source of fuel. The grass eats the sun. The cow eats the grass. You eat the cow. It's basically energy aggregation. Quite strange if you think about it that way. That the cow is essentially eating for you. Aggregating energy into convenient slabs of meat. The more cow you eat, the more concentrated doses of energy you receive.

And we were wired to LOVE FAT because it came with that dense energy inherent in it. What wouldn't you love fat? All the protein of the grass and berries, in a much more convenient and time-efficient transport mechanism. Someone's got eat the grass. It can be you, or it can be the cow.

But also, meat was often a delicacy. Vegetables grow themselves and don't fight back when harvested. The original diet would have been really heavy on vegetables, and less heavy on meat. Meat was scarce, hence fat was scarce. Yet, we loved fat. Which was fine, because, love it all we want, it was scarce.

Then came along industrialisation, and now you can have all the cow you want. The poor dumb brain which works of ancient chemistries is not rewired for a world in which fat is easier to find than vegetables. We're just not adapted to having the capability to consume so much fat.
posted by nickrussell at 2:01 PM on March 5, 2013


Is "only 50 pounds overweight" sarcasm? It doesn't seem like it in context of the article. Because 50 pounds overweight is a lot. I'm currently about 20 pounds over where I'd like to be and feel like a big pudgy pudge.
posted by Justinian at 2:02 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


If I recall correctly (from a long time ago), animal fat converts into human fat with like 90% efficiency. Fat is fat. (nickrussell)

Uh, citation needed. Fat is highly caloric, but dietary fat is not body fat. People get and stay lean with high-fat diets.

Your point about industrialization and the change in available foods I won't dispute. You could make an argument about types of fats, hyperpalatability, hypercaloric foods (though these are generally condensed sugars, not fats), but fat qua fat in the diet is not the problem as I understand it.
posted by daveliepmann at 2:09 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


We're just not adapted to having the capability to consume so much fat.

Horsepucky. What we are poorly adapted to is sugars and refined grains.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:12 PM on March 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


Gyms won't be fun until holodecks, probably. I mostly just hate that there are other people in the gym, because it's bad enough smelling my sweat.

I like the adult playground idea though.
posted by emjaybee at 2:17 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


emjaybee, those are awesome!

But it's always made me deeply sad that part of why these outdoor adult playgrounds are being built is because "In New York City...adults are banned from playgrounds unless accompanied by a child". Playgrounds used to be for people, with equipment for kids, teenagers, and adults. We turned them into hyper-safe havens where all adults are considered pedophiles (against all evidence of the actual pedophilia risk, i.e. relatives and coaches), and so now we have to build separate facilities.
posted by daveliepmann at 2:21 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who just enjoyed those delicious nachos, me or my fat?
posted by Foam Pants at 2:29 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who made the connection between all that spinning and cycling and the lower spine injury that Phil Bruno got? I hope there is something else he can do to exercise if his health allows. Because that is full of all kinds of suck.

I did the gym and I just couldn't keep it up, but I did do pretty well with a walking exercise DVD. And my A1C did go down a bit and my cholesterol went down a LOT, even tho' my diet wasn't all that great (tho' I do not eat any fast food, I still eat fatty things like burger and butter and baked desserts). My first dr was like OMG you have diabetes! And the other one was like, "meh, you're fine." As I am still within the normal range. So I can see where confusion lies with borderline people. But the fat in the muscle description really made me think it's time to start up the DVD again. Yikes.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:29 PM on March 5, 2013


ATTENTION CITIZEN! IT IS TIME TO REPORT FOR YOUR DAILY MANDATORY BOUNCY-HOUSE SESSION!
posted by KathrynT at 2:29 PM on March 5, 2013 [16 favorites]


My fat says, "I will fuck you up, I will kill you, understand?" and I'm not sure what to say, so I just grab my towel and soap and head for the shower.

My fat follows me and pushes me into the corner, crowds me, and I have to do something. But what can I do? We all know my fat's on top, that motherfucker's got weight and the screws dance to his tune, and I am in the corner of the shower, fucked if I know, I'm backing up, slipping on the wet tiles, holding onto the faucet even though the pipe's too hot to handle.

"Yo, fat! You playing for daisies?" I almost faint with relief when my muscles' voice slaps around the bathroom walls.

My fat throws an arm across my chest, barring me from going anywhere, as he turns to face the challenge.

"This ain't your space, motherfucker!"

My muscles laugh. "I go where I please, do what I want. And right now, I want that boy you got there."

My fat's response chills me to my wet bones. "Well, you'll have to go through me to get him."

Fuck. Not again. I mean, sure, my muscles are saving me from humiliation and making my stay here a little more pleasant, but when these rumbles kick off, there's no telling what's gonna happen to little old me.

For example, right now my muscles are choking the shit out of my fat and I'm being jammed painfully in the corner, my arms pinched repeatedly between my fat's side and the hot water pipe. My fat might be losing the fight but I'm still gonna be sore tomorrow.

And that brings me to another point. My muscles will win, but then every morning, every night, it's the same routine, and after a few months I'm pretty well used up. Sometimes I feel like I'll never walk again.

My muscles have jammed most of my fat face-first down the drain and for the moment there's enough calm in here to soap down and get cleaned up. The bulls eye me as I dry and dress. None of them say a thing as my muscles take over and shepherd me off to another night of stiffness and moaning.

This is the life.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 2:32 PM on March 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


ATTENTION CITIZEN! IT IS TIME TO REPORT FOR YOUR DAILY MANDATORY BOUNCY-HOUSE SESSION!

I would the most double plus good first citizen ever, just sayin.


( wheeeeeeeee!)
posted by The Whelk at 2:33 PM on March 5, 2013


I used to build muscle by unloading and rolling bouncy houses. But then I made cotton candy so it was a wash.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 2:39 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would the most double plus good first citizen ever, just sayin.

My local bouncy-house place is open late for grownups. You can hire it for corporate retreats. They'll even cater, like with wine.

Wine + work + bouncy house ==???
posted by KathrynT at 2:44 PM on March 5, 2013


Wine + work + bouncy house ==???

A fun night and an awkward morning.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:51 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Uh, citation needed. Fat is highly caloric, but dietary fat is not body fat. People get and stay lean with high-fat diets.

A diet can be high in fat as a percentage of calories without resulting in a net gain of body fat, provided that fat utilization exceeds fat storage. But under most real-world conditions, the majority of body fat is composed of stored dietary fat.
Nevertheless, dietary CHO does not generally increase an individual’s fat storage by de novo lipogenesis, even after ingestion of CHO-rich diet for 3 days,38 and fat deposited in the adipose tissue comes mainly from ingested lipids. Only after 7 days CHO overfeeding, body glycogen stores increase by ∼500 g, and appreciable de novo lipogenesis begins.38 After 7 days on high-CHO low-fat diet (CHO 77%, lipid 5%, and protein 18% kcal), about 50% of the CHO intake (∼500 g) is oxidized and the remaining 50% is used for de novo lipogenesis.39 Nevertheless, such large amounts of CHO are usually not spontaneously eaten, because such bulky food with its great satiating effect reduces desire for overconsumption and limits the energy intake. Thus, the human body can easily accommodate the daily ingestion of relatively large amounts of CHO without having a need to convert CHO to fat.

In contrast to the high CHO diet that stimulates CHO oxidation, high-fat diet does not stimulate fat oxidation. A supplement of 50 g margarine (containing 40 g fat) to a breakfast providing 75 g CHO and 20 g protein fails to promote the use of fat as a metabolic fuel.40 Fat utilization does not appear to be regulated acutely, and fat added to a relatively normal meal is largely stored.
Carbohydrate and fat utilization during rest and physical activity
posted by ludwig_van at 3:08 PM on March 5, 2013


We really gotta change this attitude. Gyms should be welcoming fun places. You should feel about going there the way you felt about recess when you were a kid.

I dunno. I'm pretty anti-gym. I have a busy schedule right now, but I've always thought people who pay for gyms are suckers. I mean, I'm running past the window of the gym and there are people in there running on treadmills. I understand the need for a safe space (and if I were female or handicapped I might consider the whole issue differently), but getting to the gym to work seems like a prohibitive factor for a lot of people, and I know it would be for me. Then I would start to associate negative feelings with not using a resource I was paying for, etc. etc. and start a downward spiral around exercising.

I prefer to always take the stairs; sprint a few blocks to work (under the faddish intense bursts of activity theory); throw my small children around like toy poodles; bike as much as I can; stretch and do pushups, chinups, situps, and occasional light free weights in my living room. If I were good, I'd do the occasional jumprope out back or on the sidewalk or at the park. And play more pickup soccer/basketball ...

I changed my mind. Instead of government-run gyms, we should just have workout equipment at every kid's playground ... like the Hayes Valley Playground.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:40 PM on March 5, 2013


In contrast to the high CHO diet that stimulates CHO oxidation, high-fat diet does not stimulate fat oxidation. A supplement of 50 g margarine (containing 40 g fat) to a breakfast providing 75 g CHO and 20 g protein fails to promote the use of fat as a metabolic fuel.40 Fat utilization does not appear to be regulated acutely, and fat added to a relatively normal meal is largely stored.

I take this to mean that a high-fat high-carb diet is super bad news, but that doesn't say anything about a low-carb, high-fat diet which is what people mean when they say high-fat diets can be very effective at reducing body fat.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:42 PM on March 5, 2013


ATTENTION CITIZEN! IT IS TIME TO REPORT FOR YOUR DAILY MANDATORY BOUNCY-HOUSE SESSION!

From a parent-of-two-young-children perspective, the bouncy house is a lotta fun but an overall pretty shitty workout. You're better off swinging as high as you can, jumping off, then doing that 10-20x. And the jungle gym is a serious resource for upper-body workouts. Playground steps can be used for, admittedly pretty boring but useful plyometrics....
posted by mrgrimm at 3:46 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I take this to mean that a high-fat high-carb diet is super bad news, but that doesn't say anything about a low-carb, high-fat diet which is what people mean when they say high-fat diets can be very effective at reducing body fat.

I'm not talking about what kind of diet is best for reducing body fat -- it's been established that body fat can be reduced with a variety of diet compositions, provided there is a net energy deficit -- but the fate of the substrates once in the body. For carbohydrate to be stored as body fat, it has to be converted via de novo lipogenesis. My understanding is that this is a costly process compared to storing fat directly, and so it doesn't occur in humans in significant quantities under most conditions. Instead, carbohydrate contributes to fat gain indirectly, by replacing fat in the body's fuel mixture, leaving ingested dietary fat to be stored. So I think nickrussell's comment above was accurate in that the body is efficient at storing dietary fat as body fat.

See also De novo lipogenesis in humans: metabolic and regulatory aspects; or Lyle McDonald's Nutrient Intake, Storage, and Oxidation article for a more plain-English explanation.
posted by ludwig_van at 3:57 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Back in 2nd grade, I discovered that I could go out for morning recess but then not come back in until after lunch and the teacher would never notice.

But after about a month and a half, I got busted when somebody who lived across the street from the school noticed me walking along the top of the low stone wall around two sides of the enormous block the school occupied, but concealed by a row of windbreak trees from sightlines inside the school, and after that the teacher assigned a different girl every week to make sure I got back in after each recess and lunch. I have very vivid memories of being chivvied along by some of those girls-- it was an early manifestation of one of the central tropes of my life, really.

I ate a huge amount of fat in those days; my standard after school snack, for example, for a minor example, was a cube of softened butter scooped up with a full-sized bag of potato chips, chip by chip until they were both gone, and I don't think we understand as a society what fat is actually about.

I didn't get fat, even with all that and so much more, and I also seemed to have about twice as much energy as most of the other kids. And I never got cold; the school sent some kind of officer to our house when I was in the third grade because I kept showing up on snowy days without a jacket and in a t-shirt (because you couldn't throw snowballs very well with a coat on), and they thought I was being neglected.

Even now, when I go on a long bike ride, my routine is to get up, have coffee and go to the bathroom, leave the house without eating at all, and cycle around the city for about 50 miles with many stops but without eating, or drinking anything but water, until I get home around 8 and have a large meal.

I don't usually get hungry on those rides, and I'm pretty sure I'm mainly burning fat. I used to be confused about where my brain could be getting enough glucose until it was discovered that neurons can burn fat, as well-- which is another story, perhaps.
posted by jamjam at 3:58 PM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Interesting, I needed a reason to stop playing video games on the elliptical and start doing more weights, thanks!
posted by jeffburdges at 4:03 PM on March 5, 2013


Wine + work + bouncy house ==???

Wine + bouncy house = vomit, sadly.
posted by fshgrl at 4:19 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have practical in the field knowledge that vodka tonics and bouncy castles lead to wild giggling and light making out, not vomit.
posted by The Whelk at 4:21 PM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Right now my muscles are my enemy. Damn trigger points everywhere.
posted by evening at 4:42 PM on March 5, 2013


ludwig_van, those links are interesting and I thank you for them. What do you get from them that is actionable?
posted by daveliepmann at 4:59 PM on March 5, 2013


I've often daydreamed If I Were King, I'd put a pool/gym in every town with more than 30,000 people.

You know, if I were king - I'd mandate 30 hour workweeks.

Because, you know, I love going to the gym. I like working out and getting sweaty and going for bike rides and all that nonsense. But, I don't do it with anything approaching regularity.

And that's because after a 1 hour commute, 9-10 hours of solving other peoples problems, and another commute - The sun has gone down, the bugs are out, I'm hungry, the dishes or laundry or something or other need doing - and I don't have the energy to want or to make myself do anything anymore except eat pizza, drink a few beers and go to bed.

Hell, I can't even be arsed to shave most days.

But I want money for retirement, and health insurance, and all that responsible adult bullshit - and so I work "full time" which is far more than that, because in America if you're not working you're worthless and lazy.

So yeah, my dream - 30 hour workweeks. Nothing else about my life would change and I could go to the gym.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:21 PM on March 5, 2013 [20 favorites]


The DMV is non-profit and government run. Doesn't make it helpful or fun.

The first 10 or so years of my adult life, the DMV was almost always frustrating and every interaction had at least one run-around. I understand where it gets its reputation.

However, for the last 10 year or so, on almost every trip I've made to the DMV in Utah or California, I've found well-run offices, reasonable wait times, helpful employees, and systems that help fill in gaps in documentation.

The only case I remember having any kind of issue was when I was trying to complete an estate sale of a vehicle where both previous owners on the title were dead.

In fact, I'd rather *much* rather deal with the DMV than 90% of the customer service arms of private organizations.

And heck, the ease of a DMV visit became a GOP talking point this last fall where voter ID laws were debated.

I think it's time to find a new punching bag for public bureaucracy, but maybe mileage varies.
posted by weston at 6:00 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah our local DMV is amazing. Much better run than the local internet or cable companies.
posted by fshgrl at 6:03 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now try it with kids, Pogo_Fuzzybutt. I used to work out every evening. Now I miss sleep, let alone exercise.
posted by OnceUponATime at 6:14 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


What do you get from them that is actionable?

Well, my takeaway from this particular information is probably that human metabolism is quite versatile, and that simplistic generalizations like "carbs make you fat" or "fat makes you fat" aren't very accurate or useful.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:21 PM on March 5, 2013


What do you get from them that is actionable?

If you're already consuming the amount of calories that you require, adding more dietary fat on top of that is a very efficient way of getting more rotund.
posted by porpoise at 8:40 PM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's time to find a new punching bag for public bureaucracy, but maybe mileage varies.

Totally agree. The DMV still punishes non-appointment holders to the extreme, but they've made it SO easy to get an appointment. You can usually get one while you're waiting in the non-appointment line ...

Anyway, I haven't spent more than 30 minutes at the DMV since like 1988.

Now try it with kids, Pogo_Fuzzybutt. I used to work out every evening. Now I miss sleep, let alone exercise.

Actually, for me, it was the opposite. Sure, I definitely am seriously sleep deprived, and have been for 4.5 years, but I became so damn productive after I had kids. Those dishes or laundry Pogo_Fuzzybutt mentions? Before kids, they might have shut me down too. Now, I do wash the diapers, make dinner for 4, clean the kitchen/dishes, make the kids' lunches, finish up the extra work I missed during the day, then go out for a bike ride or run after dark.

Once I really got into stride, the forced responsibilities that kids require (i.e. you literally can't say, oh, I'm not going to do laundry or take out the trash this week, etc.) made me much more productive and opened up all sorts of additional opportunities for exercising. Yay for kids!
posted by mrgrimm at 10:25 PM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Points on the article:
The language on mitochondrial density, muscle fiber types correlated with endurance athletes, and recommended exercise selection all seemed a bit dishonest if not really incorrect.

I know people are trying to make cardio cool again now that the pendulum has kind of swung against CrossFit, HIIT and Mark Rippetoe etc. (Not really because of any specific reasons, mainly just people have to keep on publishing contrarian articles to make money.) So people were big on cardio, then we got big on free weights and HIIT and the answer is probably a bit of both. This article isn't great in getting people to exercise well.

This seems like an oddly pro spinning article, which as mentioned above, neglects to connect the back damage with spending 20+ hours/week on a bicycle. There are much better ways to build muscle and increase insulin sensitivity than doing 7+ spinning classes a week. As mentioned above: lift some weights, drag/push some things, sprint, dance, climb, crawl. Don't just ride a fake bike.

The language strongly implies that by riding a bike you'll increase your Type I muscle fibers, which is pretty unlikely. I could see a shift between Type IIa and IIx but not between Types I and II. High level endurance athletes are high level because of their body and muscle types, their muscle types aren't that way because of training.

Mitochondrial density is is great for oxidative efficiency, and I suppose you could use fat more readily if your body was tapping fat as a preferred fuel source. On there other hand, the physical adaptations from weight training absolutely crush the benefits of long distance runs/bike rides. If I were organizing a zombie killing posse, I'd pick the Crossfitters and Olympic Lifters over the distance runners and triathletes any day.
posted by Telf at 12:39 AM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would love to re-live recess--anybody for jump rope and jacks?
We could even play horses and gallop around!
posted by BlueHorse at 1:20 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


BlueHorse: "I would love to re-live recess--anybody for jump rope and jacks?
We could even play horses and gallop around!
"

I'm telling you folks, we need a Mefi farm/retreat/whatever you wanna call it. I recall a thread in which we spoke about many Mefites' desire to have goats to interact with (no sick comments, please). We could have organic food, outdoor activities, workshops, all sorts of stuff.

I'll even volunteer to be the "Groundskeeper Willy" type, but I'm gonna need slightly better accommodations than a steel garden shed. (A guy can dream, right?)
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 3:29 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Um, mrgrimm, do you mind if I ask how much exercise your wife gets? And how old your kids are, I guess.
posted by OnceUponATime at 5:04 AM on March 6, 2013


We don't need government-run gyms. We just need to convince the wealthiest 1% that they need to be buried in pyramids.
posted by condour75 at 5:27 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would love to re-live recess--anybody for jump rope and jacks?

School recess was as shitty for me as it was for a number of other people in the thread. I spent my time fending off bullies and providing cover for the popular girls who were being targeted for a facewash in the snow. But I agree that having fun and being active are things that are sorely lacking in adult life these days. But the desire for a little fun is there, just under the surface, if you care to look for it.

Back in the days when my sister and I were in university together, we would bring two long jump ropes with us on warm days in April. April always meant high stress because of exams, and cabin fever from the snow of the receding winter. We'd set up a double dutch game just outside the doors to the building that housed the music department. As class would let out, people would come and jump double dutch with us for a little before heading to their next class. Even professors in natty sports jackets with leather patches on the elbows would throw down their stack of books and join in the fun.
posted by LN at 6:22 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


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