Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Fat loss through exercise

Tuesday Tip: Fat loss through exercise ✋🏻

If you want to lose weight/fat it’s very tempting to focus on exercise. But if your strategy is ‘just do more exercise’ then sadly you’re unlikely to make progress. Exercise has tonnes of health benefits and you should be doing it, but it’s pretty poor for fat loss on its own.

We assume more exercise = more calories burned = more fat loss. It’s not that simple.

To lose a pound of fat you need a daily energy deficit of 500 cals. It’s actually very hard to genuinely burn an extra 500 cals every day. For example whilst it obvs varies a general approximation is that a 5 mile run burns 500 cals. Fitting a 5 mile run in every single day isn’t that easy… plus in reality you’ll probably burn fewer cals than that.

Resistance training isn’t much better. Studies show you burn approx 4-8 cals/min so an hour of weights will burn 240-480 cals so you’d need to be doing 1-2 hrs of weight training a day. Aside from finding the time for this it’s also a great way to burn yourself out! Trying to do a load of cardio/weights to burn cals is a great way to just exhaust yourself (which will probably result in more hunger and eating more anyway).

I’ve also spoken before about the fact that more exercise doesn’t in fact lead to more calories burnt. Energy expenditure does increase with added activity, but only to a point. If you go from being sedentary to active, you see an increase in energy expenditure. But if you’re already active and add more exercise then energy expenditure doesn’t increase linearly. The body adjusts other processes to maintain total energy expenditure within a narrow range (energy compensation). Studies showed that If someone increased their physical

activity levels by 500 cals the actual increase in energy expenditure would only be 360 cal. In addition leaner individuals compensate less than individuals with more body fat – those with more fat compensated by almost 50% i.e. energy expenditure only increased by 250 cals. And in another study they found that this was even greater in those eating at a calorie deficit which explains why there are people who are doing an insane amount of exercise every week while eating in a deficit and not making the progress they think they should be.

This doesn’t mean ‘calories in/calories out’ doesn’t work. It means the ‘calories out’ part of the equation is a bit more complex. So this is why focusing on exercise only to lose fat/weight is a bad idea. Not only is it really hard to do on a consistent basis, but there are a number of other factors that can impact how many calories you’re actually burning.

Instead, you should ‘eat for fat loss’. It’s far easier to cut a few hundred calories by making small, yet sustainable dietary changes than it is to try and burn an equivalent amount through exercise. Exercise for health and well being (physical and mental) but not to burn calories. Any increase in energy expenditure from exercise is a nice bonus, but it shouldn’t be the goal.

Happy Tuesday 🤗 Xx

2 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip: Fat loss through exercise”

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