Should I exercise to lose weight?

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
  • Updated

Exercises are not that essential for weight loss. Losing weight is about making you burn more calories than you consume. But calories out are not only those you burn on a treadmill! You're burning almost 70% of calories on things that happen inside your body.

You need the energy to make your heart pump blood, keep your body warm, your brain thinking, your stomach digesting food, and your lungs process oxygen. Together, the calories you need for these activities are referred to as the BMR or the basal metabolic rate.

Another 30% of calories are spent on walking, talking, blinking, sitting, or doing some exercises. These are non-exercise and exercise activity thermogenesis. Together, your BMR, NEAT, and EAT compose your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), or the number of calories you need to maintain your weight.

Of course, professional athletes or people busy in physical labour (like construction or farming) require more energy to keep them going. They might spend less than 70% of their calories keeping their bodies alive and more than 30% on physical activity.

The quantity and quality of food you eat affect your body and weight much faster than working out. For example, a heavy lifting session will make you burn about 300 calories in one hour. However, you can consume the same amount of calories in two minutes by grabbing a slice of pizza. This means that to create a 300-calorie deficit, you can spend one hour in the gym every day or just refrain from eating an extra slice of pizza.

Eating with a calorie deficit will bring you to your weight goal much faster than trying to create this deficit by working out. Normalising your nutrition is more important for weight loss than going to the gym.

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