I moved.. AGAIN! – by Mark Carson

I moved…AGAIN! This makes 5 moves in 2 years. Every time I do it, I’m reminded that my parents still live in the house that I grew up in. I noticed something else though: Every time I move, it gets easier. There is a little less to move.

Nobody LIKES moving, but I went through the routine of gathering all of my stuff together, paring down, packing up, moving from House A to House B. We still haven’t
put away all our stuff, but the new place is smaller and doesn’t have places for all of our stuff. At this point, our new place is just a roof over the top of a pile of boxes. We moved boxes that haven’t been unpacked since the Clinton administration. I have no idea what is in them.

Moving a household, and moving a human body are really very similar. Here is the REALLY over-simplified version. Every muscular contraction from a beating heart to a bench press runs on a chemical called Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP for short). ATP is the energy currency of the body. Think of it like cash. At any given time, you have enough of it to run your body for about 10 seconds.

If you move a lot, it will empty your bank account of all your cash and leave you needing more. This is where most people have a garage sale to raise some more dough. Of course, there is that awkward first step of deciding what you’re going to sell in the garage sale. The first stuff to go is the stuff that you use all the time so it never gets put away. The free-floating stuff that your daily life runs on. Some of it has to go. You know what it is. You know what it’s worth. If you get rid of it, you don’t have to pack it, and you have a little more cash to cover the moving expenses.

When you exercise your body will burn sugar (glucose) to generate more ATP. The first thing you burn is the Glucose floating around in your blood (creatively named Blood Glucose). You have enough here to run your body for about a day, but think about a marshmallow dropped in a fire. You can burn through all that sugar REALLY quick (like about 10 minutes).

It’s only after you’ve cleared out a bit of the free floating stuff, that you get to the spare tire that is inexplicably in the garage instead of the trunk of your car, and the saddlebags from the motorcycle that you sold 3 years ago. THIS is the fat. Fat is a wonderfully efficient energy storage molecule. But like all the crap you have stored in the garage, the more efficiently packed it is, the longer it takes to get it out and do something with it. Fat doesn’t burn quite so well. Imagine an equal sized lump of butter dropped in that
same fire.

When your Blood Glucose drops, your pancreas releases a hormone called Glucagon (think of it as “glucose-gone”). Glucagon releases fatty acids from stored fat, and about 15 minutes later, it is something you can burn. Fatty acids store about SIX TIMES the amount of energy as Carbohydrates. You store about the same amount of energy in 10 lbs of fat as in 67 lbs of glycogen. The good news is that while it takes about 15-20
minutes to start burning fat, it takes at least as long to stop too. For about 20 minutes after you stop exercising, you are still unpacking fat and turning it into sugar to be burned later.

There are 2 primary strategies for getting rid of fat. The first is to go fast, hard, and heavy; burn out the sugar, build the muscle, and let the muscle burn the fat all day long. The other is to go lower intensity for a really long time; think Marathon, or walk across America kind of long. Both are valid. Both are effective. The bottom line is that if you want to pare down and get rid of the spare tire or the saddlebags, you have to
move.