Could this pill be the secret to getting fit without exercising?

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    Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde

    When it gets to Thursday and you’ve already skipped the gym twice, it’s easy to call it a ‘write off’ week and promise yourself you’ll start again come Monday. No judgement here – that’s literally been my inner voice since 2015. It doesn’t matter how many of your friends swear that you feel ‘just so great’ after running a marathon, or how often the abbed-up Insta fitness set show off their rippling bodies, or even if your time spent on weekly exercise is less than average – sometimes you just can’t be bothered.

    So what would you say to a pill that supposedly mimics the effects of exercise, thus getting you fit without having to do pretend that you enjoy being tortured by that gym teacher who pushes you into doing a million burpees?

    Maybe it’s cheating, or maybe it’s the answer to every lazy person’s dreams – but scientists have been testing such a product, and either way it has us very interested.

    The premise is that the pill suppresses the production of the protein myostatin, leading to an increase in muscle mass and a healthier heart and kidneys.

    According to the research, obese people have a much higher level of myostatin in their bodies, and excessive amounts can actually make it harder for you to workout. Not only does this prove that weight loss is harder for some than it is for others, it could also be the reason you don’t want to exercise.

    The tests showed that lower or no myostatin meant a higher muscle mass. However, it must be noted that this isn’t a weight loss pill. It appears to be able to increase and strengthen muscles – just like exercise does – but does not alter fat. But taking it could therefore make you fitter, making exercise easier and more appealing, and that could potentially lead to weight loss.

    Lead author of the study, Joshua Butcher, said: ‘While much more research is needed, at this point myostatin appears to be a very promising pathway for protection against obesity-derived cardiometabolic dysfunction.

    ‘Ultimately the goal of our research would be to create a pill that mimics the effects of exercise and protects against obesity. A pill that inhibits myostatin could also have applications for muscle wasting diseases, such as cancer, muscle dystrophy and AIDS.’

    Getting fit enough for a triathlon while watching Gossip Girl re-runs? Very tempting…

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