Physiqonomics Weekly #6: Failure Is the Price You Pay for Not Course-Correcting

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11 June 2020 | by Aadam


It’s Thursday which means it’s time for another instalment of Physiqonomics Weekly. Every week I drop some knowledge bombs on your face to help you get to your goals quicker while avoiding all the misinformation.

Let’s get to it.


1) Hey Aadam, I am trying to lose some weight and get leaner. I see in many of your articles that you are stressing on strength training next to a calorie deficit but I don’t really want to do strength training. I am a runner and I spend between four to five hours a week doing cardio so I don’t have time or energy for extra strength training. What’s your thoughts?

If you want to lose body weight, you can eat in a deficit and do whatever form of exercise you want.

If you want to lose body fat and get ‘leaner’ then you have to do some form of resistance training in conjunction with the calorie deficit.

There’s no way around it. Don’t want to lift weights? That’s fine, but then also be content with the fact you’re never going to get lean.

Now that we’re on the topic, I want to use this question to make a broader point that looks beyond the superficial.

Strength training is something everyone should be doing regardless of the goal because it has some unique benefits that cardio training doesn’t.

Progressive resistance training leads to an increase in the cross-sectional area and tissue density of bones. Which is just a fancy way of saying “your bones get stronger.”

As you get older, having stronger bones means you avoid falling over and breaking your shit. This isn’t to say if you lift weights you’ll never break your shit, but you greatly decrease your risk of breaking your shit.

In a 2017 study by Villareal DT et al., researchers took 160 older adults with obesity and randomly placed them into one of four groups:

  • Control group: no weight management or exercise
  • Weight-management program + aerobic training only
  • Weight-management program + resistance training only
  • Weight-management program + combined aerobic and resistance training

After 6 months, the researchers followed up with the participants and found:

  • The resistance training only group had a 0.6% decrease in bone mineral density
  • The aerobic training only group had a 2.6% decrease in bone mineral density
  • The combined aerobic and resistance training group had a 1.1% decrease in bone mineral density

And this isn’t the only study. Hong AR and Kim SW (2018) published a review on the effects of resistance training on bone health and noted:

To stimulate the osteogenic effects for bone mass accretion, bone tissues must be exposed to mechanical load exceeding those experienced during daily living activities. Of the several exercise training programs, resistance exercise (RE) is known to be highly beneficial for the preservation of bone and muscle mass.

– Hong AR and Kim SW, 2018

Additionally, as I mentioned in this article, emerging research is suggesting that lean mass plays an important role in appetite regulation. In that article, I referenced a 2020 paper published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that investigated how changes in body composition affected appetite and weight outcomes.

“Our results suggest that composition of weight loss may have functional importance for energy balance regulation,” researchers write in their concluding remarks, “with greater losses of FFM potentially being associated with increased weight regain and appetite.”

Lastly, if cardio-based training is your main form of exercise, complementing it with resistance training will only improve your performance. Even elite endurance athletes like Mo Farah are known to implement resistance training.

All of that to say, the importance of resistance training can’t be stressed enough no matter what your goal is.

2) I was wondering if you had an opinion on ‘trigger’ foods. How do you move from a place where if you have a ‘trigger’ food in the house you will go crazy and eat the whole thing, to a place where you can moderate it? I have so much self control in all aspects of my diet apart from two foods I just can’t moderate.

I do have an opinion. In fact, the first-ever article I wrote was on this exact topic. (You can read that here. Excuse the terrible writing––it was my first article, after all.)

But the TL;DR is this: A lot of people can’t moderate certain foods and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you can’t moderate certain foods, then the best thing you can do is not have them in the house and keep your exposure to said foods limited.


– Failure is the price you pay for not course-correcting

One bad day of eating isn’t going to ruin your progress (just like one good day of eating isn’t going to make your progress). But if you have one bad day of eating and you fail to course correct and that becomes one week, or one month, or more–then you have a problem. So the next time you have a bad day of eating, instead of saying “fuck it” and throwing in the towel, get back on track the next day and see what happens.

Instead of being “all-or-nothing” try being “all-or-something.”

– A quote that made think

Some rooms look inaccessible. You may stare at the door for years, yearning for what’s on the other side. And when you finally work up the courage to try the door, you realize it’s unlocked.

Sahil Lavingia (Gumroad founder)


Does the consumption of processed foods lead to higher calorie intake?

Last year, a study was published that found when people ate an ultra-processed diet, they consumed 500 more calories than the group eating an unprocessed diet.

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis decided to investigate what was going on that lead to the higher intake in the ultra-processed group. I reviewed the study on Instagram and it’s this week’s #TBT.

View post

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That’s all from me today. Stay safe, and I’ll speak to you next Thursday.


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