Why Exercise is a Bad Strategy for Weight Loss
If You Want to Lose Weight, STOP Focusing on Exercise
Yup, you heard me right.
I’m a strength and weight loss coach in Mississauga, Ontario. I write nutrition and fitness plans for my clients both local, across the country, and international. I also have an online weight loss course that you can sample for free here: https://fitin20.ca/online-courses/.
Yes, I’m a personal trainer, and yes, I teach people how to exercise and work them out daily. So why am I asking you to stop focusing on exercise?
Because the evidence is in: exercise is a TERRIBLE way to try and shed those excess pounds. In the long run, it just doesn’t work. That claim is backed up by many independent, double-blind research studies, so before you write it off, check it out for yourself .
I’m in the final stages of writing my book “Where Winners Lose & Losers Win: PERMANENT Weight Loss Made Simple.” I’ve suspected for a long time that exercise inhibits weight loss, but I decided to research it for the book, because I didn’t want to make unsubstantiated claims. In this blog we’ll look at what the issues are around exercise inhibiting weight loss.
We’ve been sold a bill of goods, folks, and we’ve been sold it by the food industry, I believe. Now I’m no conspiracy theorist. That being said, I’ve seen many of the companies who produce what we would consider to be “junk” food creating programs designed to “help get kids moving.’ The problem is that movement is not the problem. Eating is the problem.
I believe that they’d like to take our attention off the real culprit causing obesity and overweight in society today: the foods we eat. More on this in another blog. Right now we’re going to talk more about why trying to exercise your weight off doesn’t work.
It’s Hard to Out-Exercise Bad Eating
From the research I’ve done, there are several things that we need to consider when we think of trying to out-exercise a bad diet:
1. It takes a lot of exercise to burn relatively few calories. If I was to go out for a run, for example, for an hour, I might burn 400 to 600 calories. I’m a 190 lb man. If you weigh less, you’ll burn less. If I then have 2 mixed drinks, I’m in a caloric deficit of 100 calories, and my running will have amounted to nothing.
2. Exercise has been shown to slow our metabolism down. Yes, our bodies will compensate: the harder we work them, the more they try to conserve energy.
3. There seems to be a cap on how effective exercise – over-and-above a “moderate” amount – is in helping us lose weight. For example: the hour-long run I mentioned above may all accrue to weight loss IF I don’t eat junk after or before. Now let’s assume I want to burn even more calories, and so I go out and do another spin class, or cardio-kickboxing class. Guess what? The extra calories burned will have a diminishing effect, according to research. The more we exercise, the less the effect.
4. When we exercise, we get hungrier, putting us at risk of eating more.
5. Hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa have been studied as to daily caloric expenditure. You’d expect these people to burn WAY more calories than we sedentary office-workers in the West, right? Well, guess what: these tribesmen and tribeswomen who forage and run around trying to kill live game all day DO NOT BURN ANY MORE CALORIES THAN WE OFFICE WORKERS DO. True story: Herman Pontzer studied the phenomenon.
6. Exercise gives us a certain kind of “permission” to cheat more on our diet. “I’ve burned a bunch of calories,” we reason. “I can have a treat!” The problem stems from something I call vagueness. Unless you’re counting your calories-in vs. calories-out exactly, AND unless you’re factoring in the glycemic load of the treats you’re eating, chances are you’re going to keep gaining weight. That’s because the caloric and thermic balance of the food you’re eating will most likely be in favour of weight gain. After all, this has been your pattern all along, if you’re overweight.
7. There are several studies showing that longer-term weight loss programs which include both diet and exercise have little or no advantage over programs that just focus on diet.
Proper Eating is the Answer
When I hear people say that it’s “80% diet and 20% exercise,” I always say a firm “No, it isn’t.” It’s 100% diet, and 0% exercise. If you want to lose weight, focus on your diet. What you eat will determine whether or not you lose or gain (I’m assuming, of course, you have no major issues inhibiting a normal metabolism).
Consider slim people who have never had a weight problem. If you ask them why they exercise, most will tell you they don’t. Of those who do, they will RARELY say they do it to maintain a healthy weight. Usually their answer is that it’s simply a matter of staying healthy, and living longer.
So, if a slim person doesn’t exercise to maintain their weight, then why are you – who wants to become a slim person – trying to?
If you want to win at the game of losing weight, then why not take a page out of the book of the experts, those who maintain a healthy weight?
You May Need Help
This weight loss stuff is a lot harder than it may seem at first. It requires the right information, the right motivation, the right inspiration, and the right support. If you think you might need support, then please reach out to me.
My name is Mike MacKinnon, and I am a personal trainer, strength coach and nutrition coach right here in Mississauga, Ontario. I’d love to speak with you about how I might be able to help you reach your goals, be they weight loss, fitness, or both. I’m good at what I do, and I can help you. Please feel free to call/text at 647-677-6025, or e-mail me at email@example.com
And don’t forget to request your FREE copy of my “Blueprint for Weight Loss Success.” There’s a free food plan, recipe book and meal prep guide in it just for you! Plus I can add you to my weekly e-newsletter which has lots of good information in it as well.
Finally, don’t forget to “Like” my Facebook page at “Fitin20”. I post daily free stuff there with lots of good hints and tips for weight loss and gaining muscle!