Exercise = Weight Loss, Right?

Over in the Weight Loss Blog, Catherine is doing a great job in her diary detailing her weight loss efforts. If you haven’t checked it out, you should. Her stories are inspiring, to say the least. In the meanwhile, in conjunction with her efforts, I want to talk about the fact that in most diet and weight loss plans, an exercise component is vital to help you lose weight.

We’ve talked about this before here in the Fitness blog, specifically the idea that if you burn 500 calories per day for a total of 3500 calories burned per week above and beyond what you consume, you will lose about 1 pound per week. That’s a possible 52 pounds you can shed easily, on a year by year basis – if you are counting your caloric burn and intake correctly.

Truth be told, there are factors that are out of our control. Included in these factors are that individual people have different metabolic differences. We can’t necessarily control those, we are simply born that way. Some people have a higher metabolic rate than others. For example, if you were born with a low percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers, you may have a harder time burning the fat in your skeletal muscles and in truth, less success in losing weight through exercise alone.

Your gender is another factor you cannot control. Women burn more fat under their skin than men do, but they have a harder time burning their abdominal fat than men do. Women also have a higher body fat percentage to begin with because they need the internal insulation and cushioning for their internal organs in the event of pregnancy – this is not an issue that men have.

Other Factors You Can Control

It’s important to recognize that when you walk or run on a treadmill, you are going to burn fewer calories for the distance covered than you would if you were doing it outside. This should not diminish the effect of using the treadmill, but by it’s very nature – lowering the impact to your joints and skeletal muscle frame – it doesn’t make your body work as hard.

On the other hand, the treadmill and other equipment such as this let you work out indoors on days when either the temperatures are too high, too cold or too wet, snowy or otherwise inclement for working out outdoors. This means you’ll be burning more calories on those days than you would otherwise.

Also, take into account that many people feel like if they burn 300 to 400 calories during a workout, they can eat more to make up for it. This is not true, if your goal is weight loss. After all, your caloric intake should be lower than your caloric burn. Also, if you over do it during a workout, you may very well try to take it easier during the day – thus reducing the regular calories you would be burning otherwise.

Am I Making Your Head Hurt?

My apologies. The goal of using exercise for weight loss is to not only increase the number of base calories burned during the day, increasing your metabolic rate for the day, but also to build muscle which helps to burn fat and calories more efficiently. You want a workout that energizes you, but doesn’t leave you wiped out. The more overweight you are, the more calories you will burn in a workout than someone who weighs the average. Thus, as you burn fat and lose weight – you may need to shake up your exercise routine or increase the intensity to burn the same number of calories.

It can be a juggle when you are getting started, but if you balance your diet – eating smaller portions of healthier foods and cut back on the empty sugars and caffeine, while also increasing your water in take, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep – you are going to lose weight. Just be prepared to make small adjustments here and there until you find the right balance that works for you.

Have you used exercise as a component to your weight loss plan?

Related Articles:

Heart Rate Monitor: Yes or No?

The Scale versus the Tape Measure

10 Reasons You Should Strength Train

5 Ways to Pump Up Your Metabolism

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.