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Why more exercise won’t make you lose weight

by | Oct 2, 2021

I like to be honest with my clients and I frequently find myself saying to those that want to lose weight, “exercise will do wonderful things for your mind and body but it won’t do much on it’s own to help with weight loss”.

More people are “getting it” that exercise is beneficial for health, stimulating the immune system, boosting metabolism and reducing the risk of cancer and many other non-communicable (chronic) diseases but there is still a general misconception that more exercise is the key to a leaner figure.

In my personal experience and from working with hundreds of clients, most of whom want to lose weight, that is not true. Haven’t you ever wondered why people who exercise are not necessarily slim even if they are very fit?

Exercise will do wonderful things for your mind and body but it won’t do much on it’s own to help with weight loss

Take it from me. I exercise on average 3 hours each day and burn 900 – 1200kcals. Don’t get me wrong, I feel great, fit as a fiddle and yet, I still get fat unless I am mindful of how much I eat and drink.

It has been known for decades that exercise alone is a poor tool for weight loss and really the only strategy proven to work well is to focus on diet.

“You can’t out-run a bad diet”

As I first saw in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and rarely a truer word spoken.

The reason is that your body is very good at adapting and your brain is very clever at matching how many calories you burn to how many calories you eat. So, burning more energy does not prevent you from getting fat.

What I mean for example is that a person starting a new exercise programme, banging out the reps or the miles, will burn more calories than she consumes at first but her body will adapt over a few weeks and not only burn less energy for daily activities, she will also tend to eat more until things are back to the way they were before.

Having said that, I firmly believe that regular exercise is a major contributor to maintaining a healthy body weight, when you have got there but we can discuss that another time.

So my recipe for success for people who are overweight or obese is a programme that combines exercise to make you feel good, with healthy eating (and drinking) for managing your weight will get the best all-round results.

Many of my clients past and present will attest to that.


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