Print this page
Friday, 12 August 2016 18:08

Exercise – only a part of the solution

When we think of weight loss, two main ingredients generally come to mind.

a) Exercise

b) Diet

But how much does exercise actually contribute to you losing weight? There is no denying that doing exercise has plenty of benefits, including decreasing our risk of lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers and also improves muscle strength, bone density, mood and mental well-being.

Exercise alone is not effective for weight loss as it only contributes a small amount to your body's total energy expenditure.

There are 3 main parts that contribute to overall energy expenditure. 1) Basal metabolic rate; the amount of energy that the body uses to keep you alive. 2) Energy used to digest food (also known as the Thermic Effect of food) and 3) Energy from physical activity and exercise.

Basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60-80% of our total energy expenditure, with energy used in digestion accounting for about 10% and energy from exercise making up the rest (last 10-30%).

If a 90kg man ran for 60 minutes a day for 30 days, but kept his food intake the same, he would lose approximately 2kg in total. For someone with perhaps not so much time, maintaining this level of exercise might be difficult. Even for someone so heavily committed to exercise, commonly occurring 'compensatory mechanisms' such as increasing our food intake or becoming less active to 'recover' from all the extra exercise that they are doing would hinder weight loss. For someone trying to lose many kilos, you would need an unbelievable amount of will-power, time and effort to make any noticeable difference.

As previously mentioned, some common responses to exercise is to 'exercise more, eat more'. Most people generally overestimate the effectiveness (and energy expended) during a workout and tend to eat more in an "I exercised, so I should be okay to have an ice-cream" kind of mentality.

Other evidence suggests that another common response is to become less active post-exercise in other daily activities in order to rest up and recover. People may move less, lie down or take the elevator instead of the stairs as they are exhausted after a hard workout.

The bottom line:

Exercise has great general health benefits for reducing disease risk, improving bone density and mental health but is not as important for weight loss as making changes to a diet. If you asked me to choose between foregoing an ice-cream or running for 30 minutes, I know what I'd be picking!


Don't rely on exercise alone to make drastic changes to your weight, unless you have copious amounts of time and will-power. Changing up your diet by addressing our food environment and reducing the intake of low-quality foods to support your exercise is key to making the changes you are after.


A little snippet from our week in training to show you what we actually do when not dishing out a flogging! This was probably the toughest workout this week. Key tip here is that it is okay to rest. If you know your next rep is going to be a half-rep, take 5-10 seconds and 3 deep breaths before starting up again. Quality of movement > quantity of movement. Also, we have a new blog up - "Exercise - Only a part of the solution". Click link in bio! Have a great weekend! . . . . . . . . #bodyblitzpt #fitness #exercise #sydney #girraween #greystanes #pemulwuy #westernsydney #personaltraining #groupfitness #bootcamp #instafit #fitspo #fitness #fitspiration #sydneypersonaltrainer #weightloss #potd #friyay #friyay #fitfriday #training

A video posted by Body Blitz Personal Training (@bodyblitzpersonaltraining) on Aug 12, 2016 at 1:18am PDT

Read 4507 times Last modified on Friday, 12 August 2016 18:18