Tuesday Tip: More Exercise ≠ more calories 🏃🏼♂️
Most people view exercise as ‘more is always better’ when it comes to burning calories. However, more exercise doesn’t always equal more calories burnt. Studies show that whilst energy expenditure does increase with increased activity it’s only up to a point E.g if you go from being sedentary to active, you’ll see an increase in energy expenditure. But if you’re already active and increase physical activity levels further, you aren’t likely to see energy expenditure increase linearly because the body adjusts other processes to maintain total energy expenditure within a narrow range. A recent study found weight loss was only half of what might be expected when burning an extra 2500 cals per week, because of behavioural adaptations that reduced 24-hour energy expenditure.
This explains why people don’t always lose the expected amount of weight despite doing more physical activity. It is also why I ALWAYS tell clients not to view exercise as a way to burn calories and why you can’t ‘eat back’ the calories you think you’ve burnt.
Studies have found that as energy expenditure is increased the body compensates by approx 30 percent. E.g if you increased physical activity by 500 kcals, rather than total energy expenditure increasing by 500 kcals it only increases 350 cals.
Also those with more body fat actually compensate more than lean individuals, compensating by up to 50 %. This means that those predisposed to increased body fat may be that way because they’re ‘energy compensators’ which is another reason why using exercise as a weight loss strategy isn’t always successful.
So essentially this reinforces the fact that you can’t out-exercise diet – not only is it unsustainable but also the number of calories you think you’ve burnt is far less due to energy compensation (and the added inaccuracy of activity monitors!).This isn’t to say you shouldn’t exercise or be active; of course you should for a whole host of health benefits. And of course it will increase your energy expenditure, just not as much as you’d want it to and the extent to which it does will decrease, and eventually plateau, as you reach high activity levels. Focus on the diet for weight loss and exercise for health and enjoyment! Any increase in energy expenditure should be seen as a bonus, not the sole reason for exercising
Happy Tuesday 🤗