There are a lot of fat people exercising? And guess what: Only rarely do those overweight people actually lose any weight? So that begs the question, “does exercising help weight loss, or is it waste of time?”
They’re exercising at home on some of the best cardio workout equipment, walking in the parks, and maintaining expensive gym memberships. But there’ not losing weight? Why is that?
I think most people today understand that regular exercise burns calories, right?
So why aren’t people at the gym losing weight and toning up? They labor, sweat, and workout just as hard (maybe harder) than anyone else.
Does Exercise Help Weight Loss?
Make no mistake, exercise burns calories that helps weight loss in more than one way.
- Any exercise can cause your muscles to do more work than normal, which burns more fuel than normal. And fuel burned equates to calories used, which can lead to weight loss.
- Regular exercise increases muscle mass or muscle tissue. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate.
- The higher your metabolism (especially your resting metabolic rate)from muscle mass, the higher the rate of fuel burn from body fat.
- When you exercise you immediately burn calories and keeps your body burning fuel for hours after your workout.
However, different varieties of exercise use fat stores differently.
For instance aerobic exercises like exercise bikes, walking, swimming, and most sports depend on a lot of oxygen. Aerobic (cardio) exercises are great for strengthening heart and lungs because of the increased demand for oxygen.
The more you can increase your breathing and heart rate with exercise, the more calories you burn.
On the other hand, exercises like weight training and yoga are anaerobic exercises. Anaerobic workouts rely more on fuel supplied for glycogen in your muscles.
Aerobic or Anaerobic Exercising for Weight Loss?
This is the ongoing question and argument with no real answer.
Although either of these types of exercise burn calories for weight loss here’s the difference:
- Aerobic exercises tends to use a lot of calories only while you are exercising.
- Anaerobic exercising such as weight training tends to increase basal metabolic rates which is your resting metabolism.
That means that even though aerobic exercising burns far more calories than weight training while engaged in the exercise. However, weight training can keep your body burning calories long after you’ve finished.
To get the maximum results from your exercising for weight loss, you should do both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
Do Cardio to build your heart and lungs and burn a lot of calories during the duration of the exercise. And do weight training on alternate days to increase your BMR (basal metabolic rate) to burn more calories at rest.
For maximum effect, you should do both types of exercise, cardio to build your heart and lungs, and weight training to build your BMR (basal metabolic rate) for optimal body performance.
Exercise is no magic bullet for weight loss!
I think you’ll see farther down this post how easy it is to sabotage all the exercise you work so hard to get.
Here’s 3 reasons you could be exercising with no weight loss:
- Exercising can make you eat more
- You’re probably burning less calories with exercise than you think
- Doing the wrong exercises may not help lose weight
I often remember a conversation I had with a seriously overweight woman — as we were working out on elliptical machines side by side.
As we pedaled and talked she couldn’t stop complaining about how much time she spent in the gym — without losing any weight?
In fact, she was gaining weight instead of losing?
The conversation continued on for sometime before it moved away from her failed dieting efforts.
That’s when she told me that her regular first stop after exercise was the Dairy Queen for a hamburger and ice cream before heading home?
Exercising Is Not A License To Overeat
It’s easy to believe your appetite is bigger after a good workout. In fact it’s easy to think you are starving.
But — are you really hungry, or do you just think you deserve a reward?
As it turns out, we are mostly just addicted to eating something and a good workout gives us a good excuse.
Research into exercise and hunger disproves the idea that we need to eat more after exercise.
Here’s why you eat too much after a workout:
- You went from terrible eating habits and no exercise — to self imposed diet restrictions and exercising. You may have even decided to drop sugar and didn’t realize sugar is an addiction.
- You suddenly went from 5000 calories a day to 1200 and your will power is the weakest after exercise.
- You have a mislead idea that exercising everyday is going to overcome what you eat. (The overweight woman I mentioned earlier had no idea that she couldn’t exercise long enough in a day to overcome her caloric intake?)
- You have misguided ideas about how many calories you burn during your regular routines?
If you are exercising to lose weight, these two charts will help you understand what you’re up against.
All of the exercises in the chart above are cardio exercises which generally burn more calories than lifting weights for an hour.
Generally speaking you can figure from 200-250 calories an hour in the gym, unless you’re doing HITT which could be as much as 350 an hour.
Now take a look at the chart below for the calories you could be eating after a workout.
Can you see how easy it is to blow off the calories you burned with exercise?
From the charts you can see just how easy it is to eat more calories than you burned during your workout.
I’m always hungry after working out, but I know how important it is to eat only healthy snacks to help me recover quickly.
How Exercise Helps You Lose Weight
What we’re talking about is sustained physical activity focused on improving your fitness level.
For exercise to work it must raise your heart rate, expand your lungs, and often leave you sweaty and maybe a little out of breath.
When you exercise like that you are increasing the normal calorie burn.
But, as you can see from the charts above, you need more calorie burn than what you get in a 45 minute workout.
Here’s the main benefits of exercise when it comes to weight loss:
- No matter what exercise you do for weight loss your body will continue burning calories for hours after your workout. However, you will kill all your efforts if you eat the wrong foods.
- Exercise builds muscle, and the muscle burns more calories than fat. That means that as your muscle mass increases, your body will naturally call on the fat for energy causing more efficient weight loss.
- The burning of calories through physical activity, combined with reducing the number of calories you eat, creates a “calorie deficit” that results in weight loss.
- Most weight loss occurs because of decreased caloric intake. However, evidence shows the only way to maintain weight loss is to be engaged in regular physical activity.
- Combine that increased calorie burn with reducing the number of calories you consume and you have weight loss.
So, does exercising help weight loss? Well, yes, regular exercise definitely helps you lose weight. But only if you are able to control your appetite after a good workout.
Exercise in general is going to increase your fitness level, make your heart stronger, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and make weight loss more efficient and long lasting.
And it’s not necessary to have a gym membership to get your exercising in, either. You can jog, walk, use workout equipment at home, find stairs to climb, and on and on.
So, whether you’re into weight loss or staying fit, the main thing to do is to get off the couch and get physical for 45 minutes every day.