We see it all the time people trying to spend an hour on the treadmill hoping to burn fat. I used to do crossfit and P90x workouts thinking they helped me burn so much more fat. I thought they were doing a ton to help me burn fat and build muscle. That couldn't be more wrong. Exercise has its benefits it helps shape your body and keep you active. It unfortunately is not a big influence in fat loss. It will not be the deciding factor on whether you burn fat.
That is the unfortunate truth, that exercise will create minimal change without nutrition. Its sole benefit comes from helping improve functions in the body and helps shape the body. That's all it does though, is help, it doesn't do all the work. I remember a quote,
Science proves that statement completely true. It doesn’t matter how much or long you exercise or how hard you exercise. You could spend hours in the gym but that won’t create any meaningful results. There was a new study that came out recently proving that exercise, the calories burned half of of “calories in calories out” has very very small factor on weight.
Does that mean you shouldn’t exercise ? Not exactly, that doesn't let you off the hook from skipping the workout the other day. What it shows is that at the end of the day if you’re not creating portion control and adding a degree of food quality your hour in the gym or 45 minutes running won’t do anything. The study proves. And your body can adapt to normal, regular exercise and calorie expenditure too. Meaning if you don’t make changes in food intake or exercise load then you won’t get increased results.
While physical activity has many benefits, multiple lines of evidence lead to the conclusion that an increase in physical activity is offset by an increase in calorie intake, unless conscious effort is made to limit that compensatory response, they said.
What should you do?
What does this mean for you ?
Well firstly it means if you don’t dial down on your nutrition you won’t get any results. This doesn’t mean you have to eat 100% good quality food. On the contrary all it means is you have to not consume a ton of food in the day. I won’t go into it too much but if you really wanted to you could eat whatever you wanted.
You need to ask yourself what are your goals and intentions ?
Do you want to lose weight ? Well if you want to lose weight you either need to be conscious on food consumption through numbers or paying attention. The one problem with the latter is humans are really bad at understanding how much food they are actually consuming without some conscious tracking.
Do I have to count calories ? I will tell you from pure experience tracking for a small period of time 2-4 weeks can help you create a conscious awareness of how much you are actually eating and how much food actually contains. If you ever struggled with losing weight, adding muscle without tracking, you should probably track. Insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results. If it's not working something needs to be changed.
What about exercise ? Use it to help your goals. If you want a more fit looking body ditch the hour long cardio and pick up the weights. Cardio doesn't add any muscle or definition to the body. If you like cardio it’s perfectly fine, but you need to understand that your body adapts to steady exercise and all cardio does is help burn a few calories (not a lot unless you do High intensity interval training). Cardio is helpful and has many benefits but you shouldn’t do it to lose weight, do it because you can or you like it. If you don’t like it don’t do it.
An hour long run or walk only burns around 300 calories, that’s less than most meals. Whereas an hour long lifting workout can burn 400-500 calories. As you notice both are still just minimal differences in the calorie equation.
Do what you like, and do it in alignment with your goals. What you do for exercise needs to be something you enjoy. You may jointly need a reality check that if you want a more fit looking body, walking on the treadmill or running outside is not the primary solution. That is a secondary factor to an already secondary factor. The first key is nutrition the second is understanding what you want your body to look like.
Ask yourself why are you working out ? Reverse engineer. That will help you pick your optimal form of exercise. Then let other forms be additional help in your journey.
As you can see though you don’t have to exercise forever, and you shouldn’t. There’s way too much science showing that your body adapts to energy expenditure. As well as when you don’t pick your exercise in alignment with your goals the results can be minimal or sub-optimal. Your exercise could actually be working against you.
Most people try to exercise without fixing their eating habits. Most people try to not focus on eating. Most people try to use exercise as an excuse saying because they exercise they deserve this treat. You don’t deserve anything for exercising except the same thing you’ve been eating.
Don’t use this as an excuse to not exercise, use this as an excuse to make sure you're eating healthier. As well as a way to not to allow yourself to fall in the trap of saying because you exercised you deserve a reward. Exercise for the many health benefits and pick what works best for your fitness and health goals.
Understand portion control and food intake is the most important solution.
Ways to Help
1. Drink more water, many times when you think you’re hungry you’re just thirsty.
2. Stop eating tons of salt and sugar, it makes you hungrier.
3. Limit yourself in meals, don't eat till you’re full, eat till you’re satisfied.
4. Eat slower, and chew more.
5. Limit snacking, pick healthy snacks, veggies, nuts or fruit.
6. Eat more protein or healthy fat during meals to help satisfy.
7. Try intermittent fasting.
8. Improve food quality for majority of the time.
9. Eat out less.
10. Plan ahead.
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