Why We Get Fat

why we get fat

So many good-intention folks (who do not understand why they are getting fat) turn to exercise first to solve their problem. They are spending hours upon hours running, biking, swimming and then lifting weights several times a week, which includes several repetitions and several sets of multiple exercises (often several times a day).  Then when they do not see the changes they desire, they decide they must not be doing enough and start increasing the running, biking, swimming, weight lifting, [insert exercise here]. Until ultimately they reach a point of frustration, toss their hands up and claim, “Losing fat requires really hard work, for long amounts of time.” What they do not realize is exercise has very little to do with losing body fat.

“…instead of trying to find how much exercise we can tolerate, we should try to find how little exercise we actually require.” Arthur Allen Jones (inventor of Nautilus)

Before I get into WHY and HOW we get fat, let me first preface this by stating: maintaining your health and achieving and maintaining a high level of functional ability should be among your highest prioritiesYou only live once, and both how long you live and your enjoyment of it are directly affected by your health, your physical capabilities, and your appearance.

Proper nutrition & exercise is a requirement for living the longest, happiest life possible, a requirement for self-actualization and realizing your full human potential (achieving a sound mind in a sound body).


Before we get to the outside of your body, we need to address what’s going on on the inside. After all, this is truly what shapes and forms what you physically see on the outside. And for this explanation, we need to get into some cellular biology.  (Hold tight, I won’t get too complicated.)

Diet straight FIRST
exercise SECOND.

It’s crucial to remember that you cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet. Your diet actually accounts for about 80 percent of the health benefits derived from a healthy lifestyle, with the remaining 20 percent coming from exercise. Probably even more towards diet.  

The standard American diet is highly inflammatory and produces systemic inflammation that is almost beyond belief. In this inflammatory state, if you do exercise, you’re just adding inflammation on top of the inflammation,  leading you right into metabolic syndrome.


Metabolic Syndrome

Your body’s need for glucose (sugar) is, biologically, very small  (and all grains are => are a cheap source of calories that is easily converted to sugar in your bloodstream). 

We are currently in an environment that gets lots and lots of carbohydrates which turns into glucose  in your bloodstream. Well, guess what? Your body doesn’t want all this glucose stacking up inside the cell because the glucose will bind to protein (and cause glycation by-product) which negatively affects the metabolic Machinery.

Glucose stacking up inside your cells is like pouring pancake syrup on the keyboard of your computerwhy we get fat

So your body protects itself from excess glucose, and stores a little in the liver (70g) and stores a little in the muscle (200g). Those two different locations are for two completely different reasons… 


LIVER & MUSCLE- glycogen

The glucose in the liver is to maintain a stable blood glucose. When you get hungry, your liver releases a little bit of glycogen from your liver to maintain a stable blood glucose.

The glucose in the muscle,  it’s there for emergency on-site usage only. It’s right there to be used on the spot and by the muscle in question.

Now take your DNA and go back to our evolutionary basis. The most likely time that an animal (or our ancestors) were going to be attacked is when they were at the watering hole or when their guard was down (eating, drinking). Eating and drinking has the body in an anabolic state (anabolic meaning “growing”…aka eating). Then, on a dime, it has to turn the metabolism from anabolic to catabolic (and get the heck out of there), and it does that by releasing thousands upon thousands of molecules of glycogen out of the muscle  (to be used as glucose) for on-site emergency usage.

Those are the ONLY TWO (2) biological places we have to store glucose in the body.


Today’s Dietary Influence

Well, this is bad news for us today, because we are CONSTANTLY in a HIGH-ENERGY (FED) STATE.

Take for example one trip to Starbucks in the morning: you get yourself a nice Caramel Frappuccino & bagel. You store all the glycogen that you can in your liver and muscle and that’s assuming that those tanks weren’t already full, which they probably were.   So what happens now that you have topped off your gas tanks?

Well, since it can’t go into the liver and it can’t go into the muscle, it gets stuck in your bloodstream.   And (in this HIGH ENERGY, FED STATE), it gets converted into something called glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate.  You take 3 of those, link them together, and you now made triglycerides.

Triglycerides get mobilized in your body and stored in your body fat, which becomes an ever-expanding Reservoir.  AND….your body can only do this so process so quickly, so the remaining glucose starts to stack up in the blood stream.  So what your body’s response to all this energy?


***However, your body doesn’t want insulin to be moving glucose in the cell (due to it causing glycation damage). So it decreases your number of insulin receptors on your muscle cells and other cells in your body except for one place:


The insulin receptors on your body fat stay intact.


Internal Starvation

Body fat is NOT ONLY an energy storage depot BUT ALSO a mechanism of protecting yourself from glycation-end products.

Energy is inputted => it can’t go to the liver; it can’t go into the muscle or inside the cell, so it starts to stack up in your blood stream.

As your insulin levels get high, your insulin receptors go down everywhere except your body fat cells.


Here is the catch 22: Insulin will not allow you to tap body fat for fuel (a.k.a. “burn fat”) because the hormone that burns your stored fat for fuel (hormone sensitive lipase) is sensitive to insulin! So when you have elevated insulin, you can’t mobilize body fat.

So NOW what happens  when you feel tired and/or hungry? Well, you CAN’T tap any energy out of your stored body fat. So you must find another source: food (primarily carbs).

So you become ravenously hungry and eat because you got to jack up your energy levels short-term (to not feel tired), and you can’t tap it out of your body fat, so your hunger pangs increase –  to signal to you to eat – so that you can get the needed energy. But again, your food gets converted into glucose, which can’t get into your hungry cells (because they are protect), so it goes into your fat cells and you get fatter. And then once again, your body cannot mobilize your body fat because your insulin is too high, so you start  to get hungry and tired again, and this viscous cycle repeats over and over and over and over, and your body fat just becomes an ever-expanding reservoir.

Now, hopefully you are making the connection that all grains are,  are a cheap source of calories that is easily converted to sugar in your bloodstream. (Still don’t believe me? Well, ask yourself what do farmers feed livestock to fatten them up??? Yup, cheap, ground-up grains, corn, soy)

why we get fat

And since your cells cannot get their needed energy, you develop something called internal starvation, which leads you to metabolic derangement.




Naturally, you would assume that most obese people are pretty strong under that body fat because it is a lot of weight to carry around. But it is the exact opposite, they have serious muscle atrophy. Their nutrient portioning doesn’t allow any of the nutrients to go anywhere except body fat. They can’t support any sort of preservation of muscle mass. They are literally starving inside in an encasement of blubber.

Metabolic derangement is much like a tub overflowing.

why we get fat

But there is a 2-STEP process that will stop this overflowing tub and DRAIN IT!


And that means implementing  an ancestral diet. When you follow the protocols and eat what your body was designed to eat, what it evolved eating for millions of years, you TURN OFF THE SPIGOT TO THE OVERFLOWING TUB!


HIT creates an amplification Cascade, where it pulls massive amounts of glycogen out of muscle (empties it out – IT LITERALLY PULLS THE DRAIN PLUG!!). This causes insulin sensitivity to get restored on the muscle cell. Then the glucose in the blood goes down, the serum insulin levels go down, and FINALLY this energy process can go INTO CELLS instead of body fat.

Turning things around with HIIT EXERCISE

Exercise is not an end in itself, but a means to improving your health and functional ability to better enjoy other activities and aspects of life. You should spend no more time exercising than necessary for best results.  DOING MORE will not give you better results, but will take away from the finite amount of time you have to pursue other goals or  interests and enjoy the company of friends and family.  Good news, fortunately very little exercise is required if performed properly and with a high level of effort and your ELIMINATING HIGH PROCESSED, GRAIN-BASED FOODS AND SUGAR.

Through an amplification cascade, when you’re doing a high-intensity exercise, you very aggressively empty sugar out of your muscle cells.  By doing that and combining the ancestral diet, you start to heal the metabolism.  FINALLY, the cells are able to access their energy source.  And that’s how you can turn things around.

(it’s easier than you think!)

The synergistic effect of the ancestral diet and the high intensity exercise will AUTO REGULATE your body towards your ideal body composition,

  • which for most females about 18-20%.
  • most males will be 10-12% body fat,

And it’s so simple, the thing is, if you do it right, this really is your Birthright, this is encoded in your DNA over millions of years.

It’s only screwed up because of a miss-application of knowledge and Technology (like the invention of high-fructose corn syrup, and highly palatable, lab-made foods). 

“What passes for knowledge is often no more than well-organized ignorance.” 


Effort + Consistency + Time = Results

Regardless of your current condition, you can significantly reduce your body fat and dramatically improve on your body’s shape and appearance by following the basic guidelines in this post.


  • Am I really working as hard as possible on each exercise?
  • Am I keeping my workouts relatively brief? (not doing excess things FOR TOO LONG)
  • Am I allowing my body adequate time to recover between workouts? 
  • Am I eating well?
  • Am I getting enough sleep?

NOTE: It will not be easy. It will require discipline at the table, brief, yet intense exercise (infrequently), and a lot of patienceHowever, if you persevere and are consistent with your diet and the intensity of your workouts, your results will be worth it.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Train with Jodi does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Train with Jodi are not intended to be a substitute for medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician. 

›Carpinelli RN, Otto RM, Winett RA. A Critical Analysis of the ACSM Position Stand on Resistance Training: Insufficient Evidence to Support Recommended Training Protocols. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online 2004;7(3):1-60
›Darden, Ellington. The Nautilus Book: An Illustrated Guide to Physical Fitness The Nautilus Way. Chicago: Contemporary Books, Inc., 1981
›Jones, Arthur. Nautilus Training Principles, Bulletin No. 1. DeLand, Florida: Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries, 1970
›Jones, Arthur. Nautilus Training Principles, Bulletin No. 2. DeLand, Florida: Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries, 1971
›Jones, Arthur. Nautilus Training Principles, Bulletin No. 3. DeLand, Florida: Nautilus Sports/Medical Industries, 1973
›Maisch B, Baum E, Grimm W. Die Auswirkungen dynamischen Krafttrainings nach dem Nautilus-Prinzip auf kardiozirkulatorische Parameter und Ausdauerleistungsfähigkeit (The effects of resistance training according to the Nautilus principles on cardiocirculatory parameters and endurance). Angenommen vom Fachbereich Humanmedizin der Philipps-Universität Marburg am 11. Dezember 2003
›McGuff D, Little J (2009) Body by Science: A Research-Based Program for Strength Training, Bodybuilding, and Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
›Smith D, Bruce-Low, S. Strength Training Methods and The Work of Arthur Jones. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online 2004;7(6): 52-68

About jodirund

Jodi is a certified personal trainer, a certified fitness nutrition specialist, and combat veteran who can help you achieve success. -West Palm Beach Florida

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