A hypothetical exercise question

Monkey Turned Wolf

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So I have doubts that this question is hypothetical, but that's how it was presented to me. And now I'm curious, so asking here. The numbered list is mine as he did not have as clear questions and I like lists, but these are his general questions. A friend is wondering:

If an overweight individual who has not exercised in years/a decade worked up to: 20 pushups, 20 mountain climbers, 20 situps and 20 (bodyweight) squats every morning...
But then stopped there. Once he hit that, he did not increase the frequency (staying at once per day in the mornings), the quantity, never going past 20 of any of them, the intensity (so plain pushups/etc, never doing incline situps, knuckle pushups or holding the pushups), and never adding/rotating exercises:

Would he
A) get "in-shape", however that may be defined
B) lose weight
C) be overall healthier
D) be more prepared for other physical activities after a year of doing this.

Adding to the hypothetical, let's add that this person is doing an office job that has them sitting most of the day, so it's not one of those that "don't exercise", but really get all their exercise through work. Also going to add no changes to diet as I think that would have a bigger effect on all of these than the exercise listed.

I'll add my thoughts below, but curious what others are.
 
So my thought is
A) Not what I'd consider in-shape, but quite possibly what this person who has not worked out in a decade considers in shape.
B) I don't think so. The only thing there that might lose weight is mountain climbers, and I don't think that's enough for it. Everything else should build muscle, but not enough that I think he'd be burning enough extra calories to lose weight. He'd have to add some more cardio to that, do weight-training, and/or change his diet.
C) Probably. A month ago I wouldn't have said this, but recently read a study that 15 minute walks during the workday can lower overall blood pressure and risk of heart disease. If that can do it, I see no reason some general exercise in the morning can't do the same.
D) Vaguely? None of these are activity-specific, and I don't think it's enough to launch into anything, but it's definitely better to have a higher base than you start with.
 
My answers are roughly the same as yours. There might or might not be any weight loss, depending on the person's individual metabolism. But they would end up healthier, more in shape, and more capable of general physical activity than they were at the start.

Of course, they would reach a point where their body was completely adapted to the new exercise regimen and would not make any further progress beyond that.
 
Healthier yes, weight loss maybe, in shape...define in shape
Weight loss is highly dependent on diet. Exercise more, eat the same, weight loss. Exercise more, eat more, no weight loss, possibly weight gain. And since the individual would be building muscle..... the whole weight loss thing is a bit up in the air
 
So I have doubts that this question is hypothetical, but that's how it was presented to me. And now I'm curious, so asking here. The numbered list is mine as he did not have as clear questions and I like lists, but these are his general questions. A friend is wondering:

If an overweight individual who has not exercised in years/a decade worked up to: 20 pushups, 20 mountain climbers, 20 situps and 20 (bodyweight) squats every morning...
But then stopped there. Once he hit that, he did not increase the frequency (staying at once per day in the mornings), the quantity, never going past 20 of any of them, the intensity (so plain pushups/etc, never doing incline situps, knuckle pushups or holding the pushups), and never adding/rotating exercises:

Would he
A) get "in-shape", however that may be defined
B) lose weight
C) be overall healthier
D) be more prepared for other physical activities after a year of doing this.

Adding to the hypothetical, let's add that this person is doing an office job that has them sitting most of the day, so it's not one of those that "don't exercise", but really get all their exercise through work. Also going to add no changes to diet as I think that would have a bigger effect on all of these than the exercise listed.

I'll add my thoughts below, but curious what others are.
This is like the opposite, or at least very far removed, from what I advocate in terms of training, so I'm making an educated guess. Assuming no other lifestyle changes, and assuming that they really kept volume, frequency and intensity the same:

A) They'd be in better shape than when they were fully sedentary. I don't think they'd be "in shape" by most definitions, but I think it would be sufficient to have a positive impact on their fitness. I think the benefits would peak sometime shortly after they had achieved their goal of 20 of everything and then probably, slowly, diminish over time.

B) That's harder to answer. Again, if we assume that they really make no other lifestyle changes, including not increasing caloric intake or changing eating habits, in response to the increased caloric expenditure, I think they'll probably lose some fat initially, but that fat loss will plateau fairly quickly once they've achieved a level of fitness and competency/efficiency with the movements that they no longer represent a novel stimulus for the body. I suspect that there's a good chance that any fat lost will slowly be regained over time, and almost certainly in the long run, as age related decline takes its toll on the metabolism.

C) I do think their overall health would likely improve and the impact might be dramatic in the long run. Being completely sedentary is terrible for the body and if they really kept this up over years and decades I think they'd be noticeably better off than if they remained utterly inactive. Are they going to be as healthy as if they initiated and maintained a high quality exercise routine? Almost certainly not, but I think it's definitely better than nothing in regards to health.

D) Yeah, I think they'd be more functional in their daily life. Much like the answer to A above, I expect that the benefits would peak early-ish and then slowly decline over time, but would remain superior to the capabilities they had in a completely sedentary state.

A lot of this is hypothetical, because in my experience almost no one can do something like this in the long run without significantly changing the variables along the way. The 2 most likely outcomes are that once they start to get a little bit fit from this they'll feel better and they'll have more confidence in their physical capabilities and so become more physically active (take that dance class they've been interested in, or get back into golf or whatever) and it will create a virtuous cycle that will lead to yet more activity, or they'll hate doing this so much that they'll stop after about 2 weeks. I think it's the very rare individual who's going to be doing this the same way for a decade or even a couple of years.
 
So I have doubts that this question is hypothetical, but that's how it was presented to me. And now I'm curious, so asking here. The numbered list is mine as he did not have as clear questions and I like lists, but these are his general questions. A friend is wondering:

If an overweight individual who has not exercised in years/a decade worked up to: 20 pushups, 20 mountain climbers, 20 situps and 20 (bodyweight) squats every morning...
But then stopped there. Once he hit that, he did not increase the frequency (staying at once per day in the mornings), the quantity, never going past 20 of any of them, the intensity (so plain pushups/etc, never doing incline situps, knuckle pushups or holding the pushups), and never adding/rotating exercises:

Would he
A) get "in-shape", however that may be defined
B) lose weight
C) be overall healthier
D) be more prepared for other physical activities after a year of doing this.

Adding to the hypothetical, let's add that this person is doing an office job that has them sitting most of the day, so it's not one of those that "don't exercise", but really get all their exercise through work. Also going to add no changes to diet as I think that would have a bigger effect on all of these than the exercise listed.

I'll add my thoughts below, but curious what others are.
he would get fitter but his a plateau
And pretty fast.
 
Weight loss would depend more on diet and other activity throughout the day. Fitness would plateau; their body would adapt to the 20x4 routine. Unless they placed a different stress on it, like faster, or more reps, or more weight... they'd hold there. But it would be an improvement on doing nothing...
 
A) get "in-shape", however that may be defined
By modern standards of "in-shape", most likely not
B) lose weight
No(short answer). The muscle he would gain would be so minor that it would increase is Basal metabolic rate. It's not long enough of a aerobic workout to cause fat burning, nor is it as maximizing as an anaerobic workout to increase muscle mass to increase his BMR.
C) be overall healthier
Yes, incorporating almost any exercise will make you healthier.
D) be more prepared for other physical activities after a year of doing this.
Absolutely, doing those exercises consistently for a year will help prepare him to do other activities opposed to if he didn't do them at all.
 
PS I really wish the 'weight' thing would be put on the back burner as meter of health.
As mentioned above, the reshaping from fat to muscle (however little) does not necessarily reflect on the scales.
there are other - better - indicators.
Like clothes fit.

There are really few times when weight is a crucial measure.
 
PS I really wish the 'weight' thing would be put on the back burner as meter of health.
As mentioned above, the reshaping from fat to muscle (however little) does not necessarily reflect on the scales.
there are other - better - indicators.
Like clothes fit.

There are really few times when weight is a crucial measure.
Yep, I agree.

I specifically talk about fat loss and not weight loss (as I did in my response here), or changes in body composition, when I discuss this topic. "Weight loss" is just a euphemism, and I believe a damaging one to boot. When I owned a gym I never encountered anyone who was offended by using the phrase "fat loss" when discussing their goals, you just have to approach it respectfully and non-judgmentally. People who want to lose fat know that they want to lose fat, though they may not have ever had it explained that you can gain and lose other things. Some people found it really valuable to have a distinction between losing or gaining weight in a general fashion and gaining or losing fat specifically.
 
So I have doubts that this question is hypothetical, but that's how it was presented to me. And now I'm curious, so asking here. The numbered list is mine as he did not have as clear questions and I like lists, but these are his general questions. A friend is wondering:

If an overweight individual who has not exercised in years/a decade worked up to: 20 pushups, 20 mountain climbers, 20 situps and 20 (bodyweight) squats every morning...
But then stopped there. Once he hit that, he did not increase the frequency (staying at once per day in the mornings), the quantity, never going past 20 of any of them, the intensity (so plain pushups/etc, never doing incline situps, knuckle pushups or holding the pushups), and never adding/rotating exercises:

Would he
A) get "in-shape", however that may be defined
B) lose weight
C) be overall healthier
D) be more prepared for other physical activities after a year of doing this.

Adding to the hypothetical, let's add that this person is doing an office job that has them sitting most of the day, so it's not one of those that "don't exercise", but really get all their exercise through work. Also going to add no changes to diet as I think that would have a bigger effect on all of these than the exercise listed.

I'll add my thoughts below, but curious what others are.
A) A bit - as you said, it depends how we define it. There are studies showing a marked benefit from as little as 5 minutes a day of moderate walking (not "brisk"), so there would be a real benefit.

B) Doubtful, except insofar as it might make it easier/more comfortable to move, so the person might move around more. But there's a lot that goes into losing weight, and exercise is a single component. (Interestingly, some studies show that just being consistent is more importan than what exercise, so this daily habit would help, though it's a low level of exercise after a point.

C) Yes. This is hard to separate from A, but there's a definite benefit to even this brief routine. Joints will work better, overall strength improvements have long-term benefits, etc.

D) Yes, though how much more prepared will depend on the other activities. It does set a better baseline of activity than a lot of folks have before starting something new.

At the very least, they would have better ROM and muscular coordination around these activities, and it would be unfair to understate those benefits, even if that's all there was.
 
PS I really wish the 'weight' thing would be put on the back burner as meter of health.
As mentioned above, the reshaping from fat to muscle (however little) does not necessarily reflect on the scales.
there are other - better - indicators.
Like clothes fit.

There are really few times when weight is a crucial measure.
I automatically (and sometimes incorrectly) translate "lose weight" as "lose fat/become more lean". One of the easiest fitness "problems" to help someone with is when they plateau on the scale, in spite of taking on an aggressive regimen. Usually, they've just ignored that they're getting slimmer and stronger, because the number on the scale stopped moving. A change of metric solves the issue for a lot of folks.
 
I automatically (and sometimes incorrectly) translate "lose weight" as "lose fat/become more lean". One of the easiest fitness "problems" to help someone with is when they plateau on the scale, in spite of taking on an aggressive regimen. Usually, they've just ignored that they're getting slimmer and stronger, because the number on the scale stopped moving. A change of metric solves the issue for a lot of folks.
it is a thing, especially with women. we are so conditioned on the numbers.
from the olden days 'what are your statistics' (that sounds so bad nowadays when you watch the old Bob Hope specials for the troops)
to 'what size are you?' (when those are not even uniform)
the numbers on the scales can become everything and the disappointment is huge when the scale perhaps goes up as the body gets fit.
 
PS I really wish the 'weight' thing would be put on the back burner as meter of health.
As mentioned above, the reshaping from fat to muscle (however little) does not necessarily reflect on the scales.
there are other - better - indicators.
Like clothes fit.

There are really few times when weight is a crucial measure.
This is something I've personally been keeping in mind lately. Losing some weight I gained on the move and a back injury-my jeans are all tight.
Been measuring myself like twice a week, and there hasn't been a huge difference on the scale (I don't know what I was before this), but my pants, which once fit comfortably, and then were tight, are now slightly loose. Which is a bigger win for me than any number.
 
No surprises here, but glad to see that there's an agreement that it'll be better than nothing, but plateau and for 'weight loss' will require something extra beyond a certain point. Simplified version of my position, but as I haven't been up to date in personal training, wasn't sure if there was something I didn't know.
 
he would get fitter but his a plateau
And pretty fast.
This brings up another question. And this question is based on the idea that my friend (who shall remain nameless) is actually planning on doing this. How long til he hits his plateau? My honest guess, if he does this every day, is 2-3 weeks. I may be biased though, as I don't think I've ever dipped below this standard, even in my least fit state, so not sure how much it takes (barring medical restraints) to reach it.
 
I automatically (and sometimes incorrectly) translate "lose weight" as "lose fat/become more lean". One of the easiest fitness "problems" to help someone with is when they plateau on the scale, in spite of taking on an aggressive regimen. Usually, they've just ignored that they're getting slimmer and stronger, because the number on the scale stopped moving. A change of metric solves the issue for a lot of folks.
I do this too, and I'm trying to train myself to be consistently more specific.

Because the euphemism of "weight loss" is so common there's actually a lot of confusion around this issue. I've run into a good number of people who think that no matter what the reason, any weight gain is going to lead to raised blood pressure, when in fact muscle gains tend lower blood pressure or leave it essentially unchanged. There are likely edge cases, like pro body builders, where this is not the case, but they're achieving a level of muscularity that's simply impossible for a non-medicated human. And for that class of individual there's a lot of compounding variables, like the fact that they're taking exogenous testosterone (and other things) in amounts that exceed the normal human maximums by something like an order of magnitude, which can have a lot of different effects on the body.

Similarly, a lot of people think that any weight loss is good, and don't understand that, especially in the elderly, losing bone and muscle mass is likely to be a lot more dangerous than the benefits that might be derived from the accompanied fat loss. It's true for everyone, but especially true for those who've left middle age behind them, that it's really important to have a resistance training program and other strategies, such as a high quality diet with sufficient protein, to mitigate those kinds of losses when attempting to lose fat.
 
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