Success Stories

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Correlation Vs Causation

People spin their wheels so often in the fitness world because they do not focus on the things that matter.  For all you readers out there understand that CORRELATION DOES NOT IMPLY CAUSATION.

The graph above illustrates a funny way in which these two concepts can be confused.  Lets look at how some people get confused with correlation and causation in the diet and fitness game.

Evaluate these fitness statements

-Eating “bad” (sugar, candy, bread etc…) carbohydrates will make me fat
-High protein foods will help you lose fat.
-Cardio will help you lose fat
-Eating lots of vegetables will make you thin

When looking at all these statements they seem somewhat reasonable.  It would seem that a person that did not eat bad carbohydrates, ate high protein diet, ate plenty of vegetables, and did cardio regularly would be very lean, doing such activities may be correlated with being lean.  Unfortunately none of these activities is the cause of losing fat.

Losing fat is caused by something more specific.  In our context as dieters losing fat is caused by a consistent caloric deficit over time.  Other factors like cardio, or types of food may be correlated with creating a caloric deficit but they themselves do not cause fat loss.  If people want to ensure long term success they should focus on the cause of fat loss, a consistent caloric deficit over time.

In fact you do not have to eat any special foods to lose weight, you do not need to do cardio, or completely cut out junk food.  Focus on the cause of losing fat… to lose fat you should find the easiest way for YOU to create a caloric deficit, lift weights reasonably, and aim to get a reasonable protein intake. 

This will differ from person to person but for most people a safe formula is.

-Eat ten to twenty percent less then your total caloric intake (BMR + Activity cals)
You can find a total caloric intake using this calculator.  (This will tell you how many calories you need a day… shave ten - twenty percent off the final number.)

-It can be helpful to get about a 1-2 grams of protein per lbs of lean body mass.
-Lift heavy weights 2-4 times a week on a decent program.
-Do as much cardio as you can without it interfering with your lifting, life, or diet.  No need to spend hours a week on the treadmill.
-This will depend on your training level.
            -Sleep well and get at least one full day rest (barely any activity) a week

That’s it… remember the cause of weight loss and you free yourself from all strict rules you set up for yourself. Dieting becomes shockingly easy you just have to dedicate yourself to consistency with that caloric deficit, and weight training.  In the short term you wont notice much but six months later you will be a new person.

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