Dear Editor,

I am concerned with the increasing number of statements presented in your publication as fact with little or no scientific evidence available to back them up.

For example, in the February 2002 issue, [the] article entitled “Pumping Up to Scale Down”… it is stated that, “Psychologically, however, strength training offers results that can't be measured quantitatively.” Martinsen and Morgan, Raglin and Sonstroem (in Morgan, 1997) present reviews of several hundreds of studies quantifying, specifically, the emotion, self-esteem, and body-image changes associated with resistance training, as well as with other modalities. Unfortunately, based on your apparent absence of the use of such research, the reader is left to believe that statements such as those from Doreen Robinson rw accurate.

Jim Annesi, Ph.D.
Director of Wellness Advancement
YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta

Dear Editor,

Thank your for the excellent article, “Pumping Up to Scale Down,” in the February issue of Club Industry. I particularly appreciated [Associate/Features Editor] Lynnette Shelley's presentation of different approaches to the problem of weight management. However, I was quite surprised to read Doreen Robinson's comments regarding muscle and metabolism. She stated that a pound of skeletal muscle burns only 5.5 calories per day at rest, that a 154-pound male would need to add 61 pounds of muscle tissue to increase his resting metabolic rate by 20 percent, and that trading 10 pounds of fat for 10 pounds of muscle results in a net resting metabolic rate increase of 34 calories per day.

Several clinical studies indicate otherwise. For example, Campbell et al. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994, 60: 165-175), Pratley et al. (Journal of Applied Physiology 2000, 89: 977-984) found that adding 3.1 to 4.4 pounds of lean (muscle) weight through strength exercise raised metabolic rate by 6.8 to 7.7 percent. In other words, it would take about 10 pounds of additional muscle (not 61 pounds) to increase resting metabolic rate by 20 percent. Every pound of new muscle resulting from strength training requires between 30 and 50 calories a day at rest for tissue maintenance. According to the esteemed epidemiologist Ralph Paffenbarger, MD, “Indeed, when you replace 10 pounds of fat with 10 pounds of muscle, your weight remains the same but you can expect to expend 500 or more additional kilocalories each day at rest (Lifefit 1996, Human Kinetics Publishers, page 22). Five hundred calories a day additional resting energy expenditure for 10 pounds of new muscle, as stated by one of the world's leading medical researchers, is considerably different than 34 calories a day as stated by Ms. Robinson.

Wayne L. Westcott
Fitness Research Director
South Shore YMCA, Quincy, MA

The editor responds:

This particular article has received quite a number of questions and comments, proving that weight management is still one of the more personal and tricky aspects of our business. As for Dr. Annesi's concern over our apparent lack of scientific evidence, we unfortunately do not have the time or manpower to read every article ever published, nor are we experts in the field, leaving us to defer to those who are experts, such as Ms. Robinson.


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