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The ‘Exercise Difference’ in Weight Loss




by Greg Landry

Losing weight and maintaining that loss can be very difficult. However, both can be made considerably easier with regular exercise.

If you’re interested in losing fat, you’re objective is to create a daily caloric deficit. For example, If you’re consuming 1700 calories per day, and expending 2000 calories per day, your caloric deficit is 300 calories. Losing a pound of fat requires a deficit of 3500 calories. So, to lose two pounds per week would require a daily deficit of 1000 calories.

So, if you’d like to increase your daily caloric deficit, you have two options;

1. To decrease your caloric intake by eating fewer calories, or..

2. To increase your caloric expenditure via more activity / exercise.

However, you cannot decrease your daily caloric intake much lower than 1200 to 1500 or so without potentially creating health and metabolism problems.

In fact, many people’s metabolism (basal metabolic rate) is so slow from years of inactivity and dieting, that they are only burning fewer than 1500 calories per day. Without exercise, they would have to decrease their daily caloric intake to unhealthy levels to lose weight. And, a caloric intake that’s too low only creates more metabolism problems and a vicious cycle of more weight gain.

So, the only remaining factor in the deficit equation is caloric expenditure through increased activity / exercise.

The good news is that you can substantially increase your caloric expenditure. For example, if you’re currently walking for 30 minutes two days per week, over a period of several weeks you can increase your walking to 60 minutes per day, six to seven days per week and begin weight training for 30 minutes three days per week.

So, in this example, you would increase your monthly exercise minutes from about 240 to 1530.

Plus, in addition to the calories that you’re expending during exercise, you would also substantially increase the number of calories you’re burning 24 hours-a-day, yes, you’ll even burn more calories while you’re sleeping because you’ve fired-up your basal metabolic rate. You can’t beat that, can you?

Here’s another VERY important reason to exercise while you’re restricting calories and trying to lose weight. You tend to lose muscle tissue from any muscle that you’re not using while you’re restricting calories. You’ve heard it – use it or lose it. And, there are three main consequences to losing muscle;

1. Your metabolism (basal metabolic rate) decreases causing you to burn *fewer* calories 24 hours-a-day and causing the maintenance of your weight loss to be very difficult.

2. Your muscles get flabby and mushy.

3. Your are weaker and become fatigued more easily.

That’s enough to get anybody to start exercising. Get movin’!

By Greg Landry, M.S., Exercise Physiologist www.greglandryfitness.com

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Category: Fitness