What we’ve become accustomed to are the messages prevalent across the fitness industry on how weight loss is directly tied to working out.
We must be careful with such assumptions. Although fitness and working out are a winning combination to improve health, in reality, if your goal is to lose weight, ramping up your workout routine alone may not help to deliver the changes you’re hoping for. I’m here to break down the misconceptions about exercise and losing weight.
1 The more you exercise the more you’ll lose weight.
It depends on the intensity of your sweat sessions, but adding workouts to your routine is equal to burning more energy, but due to the increased expenditure in energy, more exercise may equal to more weight gain for a few reasons. For example:
- As you’re burning more energy, you may become more hungry and eager to replenish the lost energy by a heightened appetite
- With more weight training, you will build more muscle and muscle weighs heavier than fat, therefore it is likely you’ll gain weight instead of lose weight
2 You can only lose weight with exercise.
If you’re just looking to lose weight, the most impactful decisions will be about what you put into your body, it will be about how much you’re eating, what you’re eating, and the quality of the food you eat.
The false perception is if I spend an hour or two at the gym, then I can eat more. Eating ‘bad’ foods like ice cream or fried foods won’t matter as much because I already burnt off the same amount or more calories.
We want to stray from this mindset because in the end there’s is a major difference between fats from avocados versus fats from a serving of french fries.
3 The one-for-one calories in and calories out mentality is inaccurate.
New research findings point to the inaccuracy of the idea that people will be able to lose weight just by a lower number of calorie intake than the amount of calories burned.
Based on new studies, researchers found humans have a more dynamic system in regards to energy expenditure. Excluding professional athletes, generally speaking exercise only accounts around “10 to 30 percent [of total energy expenditure],” according to Alexxai Kravitz, a neuroscientist and obesity researcher at the National Institutes of Health in the United States. Another variable is the fact that each individual has varied standards and systems in regards to the measurement of energy expenditure. The three relevant components are, the “1) basal metabolic rate, or the energy used for basic functioning when the body is at rest; 2) the energy used to break down food; and 3) the energy used in physical activity.”
What’s even more surprising is the distribution and how much of our energy expenditure is predetermined by our natural makeup. According to Kravitz, the basal metabolic rate, which is to help us with basic functions accounts for about 60 to 80 percent of total energy expenditure, while 10 percent accounts for food digestion. Therefore, leaving only about 10 to 30 percent for exercise or physical activity.
Let’s not forget that food intake accounts for 100 percent of our intake on energy and how we gain our energy.