06/03/2014 03:31 pm ET Updated Aug 03, 2014

Harder to Lose and Harder to Want to Lose

The more excess body fat we gain, the harder it is to lose. Our cells are more insulin resistant, which means we're more likely to store fat as opposed to muscle. Additionally, our new fat cells release their own hormones, like resistin, to prevent being burned. And if we gained the excess body fat after a crash diet with a severely restricted caloric intake, our slower metabolic rate and disrupted hormone levels will mean less fat burning and more fat storage overall.

Aside from all of that, new research in the journal Physiology & Behavior suggests that those carrying extra fat may have less motivation, too. Scientists split 32 rats into two diet groups, where one was purposely fattened up on what was classified as a "junk food diet" over a six-month period. During the study the rats were given the opportunity to press a lever for a food reward. The obese rats displayed much lazier behavior, sometimes taking twice as long between lever pushes compared to their leaner counterparts.

The most interesting part of this study was that even when the overweight rats were switched back to the nutritious diet for nine days, their performance didn't improve. And better still, the lean rats were put on the junk food diet for nine days and maintained their superior lever pressing. Moral of the story -- don't be a fat rat!

In all seriousness:

The more you gain the bigger the battle, and the less motivated you'll be to pursue it.

As you look to improve your physique, the biggest mistake you can make is paying attention to the daily regimen of your leaner friend(s). The lean rats not only ate junk for nine days and had a higher performance level, but they didn't gain. If you're already carrying excess fat, it will require more physical and mental effort than someone who isn't. You may have to work harder, but don't let that prevent you from getting started.

Stay Lean!
Coach Mike

Mike uncovers the flaws in the prevailing advice to stay healthy and get fit in Eat Meat And Stop Jogging