John Berardi: Gary, let's talk about the study you recently completed. Can you give us a brief synopsis and tell us what you were hoping to find?

JB: So tell us a little bit about the study. How many subjects, what type of subjects, etc.


JB: Let's talk turkey. I understand you were looking at relationships between body mass index (BMI), body weight, happiness with weight, hours exercising per week, exercise intensity, calories burned per week plus a whole lot more. Okay, quick question, were the participants savvy enough to give you a hard time about using BMI as a measure of body composition?

JB: Me too. My body mass index is over 29 at 6% fat as well. It's even been as high as 34 back in my bodybuilding days.


JB: Okay, got it. Makes sense. Now that we've described the subjects, it's time to talk data. Let's go over some of your findings.


JB: Interesting, especially considering the current ACSM recommendations.


JB: But what type of exercise does this have to be?

JB: So, perhaps one reason why North Americas aren't getting in better shape is that we (i.e. the governing bodies) aren't telling them what it takes to get in shape.

JB: I never really thought of it that way before. Are there any data to suggest this line of reasoning is correct?


JB: So what's the bottom line? According to your study, what's the absolute minimum amount of exercise people should do if they want to improve their body composition?

JB: So what about exercise mode? Did some kinds of exercise fare better than others?


JB: Did you discover anything about specific types of exercise?

JB: What else did your study say about intensity?

JB: You bet. Just the other day, my head strength coach in Toronto was complaining about some exercisers who refuse to do more than walk. He said, "JB, what the hell are these people thinking? The only way to lower the intensity of what they're doing is to sit down!" Heck, most people burn more calories per minute shopping than they do walking at the gym.

JB: Me too. I shake my head. But if they're healthy, young and thin, for some reason I just keep watching. But I guess I shouldn't be saying that – some of my students could be reading this.

JB: True, but I'd caution readers not take this to the extreme and get themselves into overtraining trouble.


JB: So what about the intensity vs. adherence question?


JB: So how do exercisers avoid the two big pitfalls that lead to quitting – too much pain at the beginning and not enough results later on?

JB: But many exercisers think periodization is only for advanced athletes.

JB: Interesting stuff, but much of this is pretty much old hat for most here at T-Nation.


JB: So which of the 22 strategies seem most important from an exercise adherence perspective?


JB: So the message for amateur and veteran exercisers alike is to keep some sort of training. Gotcha. What next?


JB: I think it's critical for readers to understand, though, that goal setting is both art and science. Most simply think that they need to pick a goal and go for it. While this certainly stimulates some action, I try to teach my clients not only to set realistic, measurable goals but also to understand the appropriate time frames necessary for the accomplishment of these goals. Without understanding how to set goals properly, a trainee can get even more frustrated than if he had no goals at all!

JB: Not surprising, is it?

JB: So planned periodization is better than what's been called "instinctual training" whereby trainees just train whatever they feel like, whenever they feel like it.


JB: It's cool to know that periodization has both physiological and psychological benefits, improving both results and adherence. What about that last strategy?


JB: What's that?

JB: I'd imagine being a member of T-Nation also offers ECI points, no?

JB: Hey Gary, this has been a really fascinating interview. Thanks for taking the time to do it! Got any remaining tips and tricks that can help our readers increase exercise motivation, adherence or inspire others to do the same?

JB: Good advice! Thanks again for the chat!


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