Many people go to the gym to try and lose weight but are they actually wasting their time? You may be surprised to hear me say, as a personal trainer, that exercise is highly ineffective as a weight loss strategy! Yep, all those hours you spend sweating in your lycra, running, cycling lifting weights and the rest could have almost zero effect. Let me explain.....
The science bit.....
So let's get boring and technical for a few moments. To lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume. It's called the law of thermogenesis. It's that simple. Yes, people blame (wrongly) underactive thyroids, slow metabolism etc for being overwieght, all that means is (assuming it is true) that it's easier to overeat so more control is needed.
Exercise (and other activites like walking, housework and dancing) all raise the "calories burned" number. So, surely exercise is good then? Well not exaclty, have a look at the picture below.
A spin class may burn around 700 calories. Do this 5 times a week and you may lose a pound! However, two cocktails, asmall takeaway 3-4 glasses of wine, 3 mars bars will easily add 700 calories back in to your diet.
Two eggnog lattes from starbucks is 700 calories too.
You can hopefuklly see how easy it is to put 700 calories in versus burning them. Diet is far more important than exercise when it comes to losing weight.
So is exercise pointless?
Hell yes! Exercise has many. many benefits
*** Depending on diet!
The main reason people don't lose weight when they exercise is their diet is wrong! You have to consistently be in a calorie deficit (ie not eating too much) to lose weight. Exercise can help, but then so can walking 10,000 steps a day, doing some gardening, even having a snowball fight or going sledging this winter!
There is zero point in exercising 2-3 times a week, if weight loss is your goal, if you then "reward" yourself after. The average calorie burn for a middle aged lady at the gym is 400. In gyms, people grab a coffee and a cake after they finish as they earned it. The only issue with this is that that sack contains on average 700 calories. Each time you come to the gym you are in a calorie excess of 300!
May as well stay at home!
Now you see the issue!
If you are trying to lose weight, focus on diet first.
Here are some tips that may help you get started:
If you need any personal help with your fitness or weight loss goals, please comment on this or send me a personal message. Alternatively you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will respond immediately
Precision Nutrition coach and personal trainer
Resident health expert and owner, Dean Zweck.