Body Fat And Exercise

city exercise fun girl

If you start an exercise program you will lose fat. Not exactly.

To lose body fat, you must create a daily calorie deficit. Exercise will contribute to creating a calorie deficit but you must also eat fewer calories. This may sound counterintuitive, but exercise is better used to maintain weight loss rather than lose it. It’s not to say weight loss can’t occur through exercise, it will if you consume fewer calories on a daily basis. The problem occurs when the calories burned during exercise is quickly replaced. It’s too easy to consume the three hundred calories burned during an evening walk or jog. An extra serving at dinner or some dessert and that deficit is gone. This is where will power comes in to resist the urge.

It doesn’t matter what time of the day you exercise, as long as you do it. You don’t have to load all your activity into one or two hours. Depending on your schedule, you can divide it up. For example, you can take a thirty minute walk on your lunch break then take another thirty minutes after work. That’s one full hour of exercise! Not bad. You can even break it up into smaller increments. It’s up to you.

Recognize the harder and longer you exercise, the hungrier you’ll be. This is due to the protective mechanism that has been programmed into our DNA. If you get ravenous from exercise, eating a small snack (100-200 calories) prior to your workout will help curb your appetite afterwards. Choose fast digesting starches like a banana or half a bagel for energy. Don’t forget to count those calories!

Remember, weight loss should be done slowly. If you are losing more than one pound per week, you’re probably eating too few calories. You may lose quickly in the beginning due to loss of water weight. After the first week, weight loss should slow down to approximately 1 pound per week. This will ensure your body isn’t resorting to its lean muscle to supply its calories. This is a very important point: losing lean muscle due to dieting is the main reason why weight returns so quickly.

If you don’t know how many calories you require in a day, refer to my post Lose Weight Simply It provides a simple explanation. There are many ways to determine how many calories you burn during exercise. I use an app called myfitnesspal. There are several good apps so pick one that works for you.

Choose a form of activity you enjoy and invite people to join you. It will help you stay motivated. Exercise should be fun. It’s your chance to do something good for yourself.

Why not start today?

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19 thoughts on “Body Fat And Exercise

  1. davidyochim says:

    Great article. You can not out exercise a bad diet. One thing I have noted over the years is a lot of folks underestimate the calories they consume and over estimate the calories burned through physical activity. These are usually the folks who “appear” to be doing everything correct in order to lose weight, yet can never bust through plateaus.

    • Frieda P. Fontaine says:

      Hi David, absolutely. One would have to exercise many hours to burn many hundreds or even thousands of calories. Only athletes can do that. That’s why portion control is key. Thank you for always contributing your insightful comments.

      • davidyochim says:

        I am a power lifter who trains heavy 3 days per week and try to hike anywhere from 10 to 20 plus miles a week too. Beuase of heavy rains, I was relegated to running on a treadmill today. I maintain my weight at 168 lbs and my body fat at 9% by tracking all that I eat and not exceeding my caloric needs for the day. With my level of activity, I only consume about 2400 to 2600 calories a day dependin on level of activity. A little over a year ago, I was 70 pounds heavier and training with weights much heavier. I was consuming 6000 calories a day to fuel the heavy training, which also was beginning to cause me health issues despite squatting and deadlifting over 400 lbs for reps 3 days per week, running, HIIT training and other activities. I got away with eating that much for a long time, but no matter your level of strength and fitness, that much caloric intake will eventually catch up with you.

      • Frieda P. Fontaine says:

        Wow, that’s a lot of calories. Eating must have been a full time job for you. I’m very meticulous when it comes to counting my calories. I took several hydrostatic body fat tests and know my body fat percentage and RMR. I eat my RMR plus a bit extra because I exercise almost daily. Still my RMR is only 1400 calories so I don’t really eat a lot. Yet I’m satisfied and stay full. I eat four small meals per day because I do martial arts and resistance training and must keep my energy levels up. I’ve been successful this way and have maintained a 21% body fat percentage, which isn’t bad for my age.

  2. ThinkPositive says:

    Exercise should absolutely be fun! Sadly so many people don’t see it that way. Hopefully you can inspire people to change their mind.

  3. Saguren says:

    Great information. People think that exercise gives them a license to eat whatever they want, which you’ve explained away nicely. Calorie deficit is definitely the way to lose weight. It’s good to note that regular exercise also raises metabolism: the rate at which your body burns calories naturally.

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