You have probably heard endlessly that the key to weight loss is diet and exercise, but is this true?
Well, sort of, but what you eat probably has more of an impact on your weight than the amount of exercise you perform.
Lets think of it this way. What is easier? Cutting 500 calories from your daily diet, or trying to burn 500 calories through exercise?
Chances are that most of us simply do not have the time to exercise for long enough to burn off enough calories to see any significant weight loss.
Does research back up this claim?
In 2011 study looked at past studies that looked at the relationship between physical activity and fat mass in children (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3044163/).
They found that being active was not key to being a healthy weight.
Does exercise cause weight gain?
Believe it or not but it could, and not just through an increase in muscle too.
A 2012 study showed that exercise can actually cause an increase in your appetite, which unfortunately for you could lead to weight gain and an increase in your body fat percentage too.
Of course if you are taking in more calories than you burn then this will be the unfortunate outcome.
So we should skip exercise altogether?
Of course not, while exercise cannot outdo a bad diet, it can certainly offer some weight loss benefit, even if it is only a small benefit.
As long as your diet is good then you will certainly see some good weight loss results alongside your exercise regime.
Are there other benefits to experience through exercise?
There are various studies that conclude that exercise is important for good health, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has even gone as far as saying that it is a “miracle cure”, with improvements in various issues including:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pulmonary diseases
- Neurological diseases
So if you wish to improve your health and perhaps lose a few pounds in the process perhaps you should consider a change of diet and a new exercise regime.
What diet and exercise regime is recommended?
There is no special diet I would recommend, however I would recommend that you cut back or cut out junk food and takeaways completely.
You should start to eat more of the following:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables; full of nutrients with few calories
- Fibre-rich foods to fill you up
- Protein-rich foods for energy and to curb your appetite
- Healthy fats like omega-3s
I would also recommend you cut back on your intake of alcohol, caffeinated drinks and soft drinks.
They all contain what I would call “empty calories” as they serve very little nutritional value.
Instead I would suggest drinking water as it contains zero calories, but can help curb your appetite and flush toxins from your body.
As for exercise, while cardio might help burn calories it is certainly not the most effective. My suggestion to you would be to start lifting some weights too.
Research has shown that you will continue to burn calories for up to 24 hours after a weight training workout, while the calories burning will stop almost immediately after a steady-state cardio workout.
If you find that you are often short of time and find that you sometimes have to skip your workouts then HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is advised.
Doing this kind of workout will ensure you burn hundreds of calories in just a few minutes. Just make sure to give it 100% and you will experience the benefits for yourself.
My final tip to help you achieve your weight loss goals would be to ensure you try to cut stress out of your life, and to ensure you get a good nights sleep (7 hours as a bare minimum).
This will ensure your hormones do not become messed up along with your metabolism and cravings.