Why exercise alone shouldn’t be your only tool for Weightloss!

As a Personal Trainer one of the most common statements I hear on a normal day to day conversation goes along the lines of  “I need to get back to the gym and lose this belly”.

Now this is so common and it’s not a terribly bad idea to have., but I always try and emphasise to clients not to put the burden on exercise alone as a fight against weightloss as it’s a very dangerous path to go down, and only a small part of the full picture.

When I first started using the gym I would do 50 sit-ups at the end of my sessions sweating it out, go home and check for the new abs in the mirror ( much to my disappointment lol ) then order takeaways because “I earned it in the gym”. I remember solely going to the gym because I wanted to eat a weekend full of junk food so my logic was training hard would allow this without any damage to my progress. 

My thinking was totally wrong back then, Why? well lets think about it. An average exercise session in the gym will be an hour or so give or take. Now that could be a really hard pushing cardiovascular session thats going to burn around 800-900 kcals on average, or maybe a weights based session thats burning around 400-600. These numbers are just a wide guess as everybody will vary in how much and how hard they are working relative to their weight. 

So why am I suggesting not to use this as a your only method of Weightloss? 

Well thats an hour out of your day gone, Now your in the mindset of having earned the right for a treat. Now when you grab that cake from Gregg’s, that Double Cheeseburger meal when getting the kids dinner etc. These are almost like for like with the calories burned during that exercise session, This is where most people go wrong because they under estimate the calories in foods and over estimate the calories burnt during exercise. Ps Your fit-bit telling you you’ve burned 5000 kcal in a day is next to never accurate. 

AM I SUGGESTING THE GYM IS A BAD IDEA?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! 

I mean i’m a gym owner, that would just be stupid! The gym and fitness has absolutely loadsss of benefits that I encourage people to get involved with almost every day, but the point of this article is to bring it to the attention of people that it shouldn’t be a direct method for solely losing weight. 

What should I do then? 

Well, outside the gym the other 23 hours are really the most important factor that will determine wether someone can lose weight or just be spinning their wheels.  

You want to focus on your overall calorie consumption and ensure that you are in a calorie deficit. 

You want to focus on getting good quality sleep between 7-9 hours daily – (controls hunger and satiety hormones).

You want to focus on NEAT (non energy activity thermogenesis). This is the movement you do outside of formal exercise, eg. walking, housework, fidgeting etc. By strategically increasing the amount you move, you can increase calories burned up to 400-500 kcal per day depending on current bodyweight etc. 

 

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If you get the above in order i can guarantee you will have much better results with weightloss than trying to use an hours exercise to combat food intake.

It’s a bit like building a house, you need the foundations to build the bricks on or it won’t work. Having a solid foundation with nutrition, sleep etc allows you to add to it with some good exercise, and if the nutrition is of a good standard this will only enhance the ability to perform your sessions to the full potential.

 A FINAL NOTE

Please enjoy the gym and its amazing health benefits and by all means it can be an amazing motivator when used alongside my previous points. Just don’t make the same mistake as me looking for abs in the mirror after every session of sit ups lol. 

 

As the old saying goes “Abs are made in the kitchen” 

If you need anymore information on any of the above please reach out to me i’m willing to help!

Author:
Chris Farquhar