You Cannot Exercise Away A Bad Diet

running and a bad diet

If you really want to lose the weight, you need both a change in eating habits and regular intense physical activity.

Advertisement

Do you reward yourself with a sweet treat after a workout? If so, you may be unwittingly undoing all the hard work you just put in. Research shows that, while exercise is critically important to overall health, it cannot – on it’s own – be a good weight loss tool.

Researchers at Bangor University in the UK found that women who exercised three times per week, but did not make healthful changes in their diet, failed to lose weight over the 4 to 8 week study period.

While the exercising women did experience an increase in muscle mass (very useful, as lean muscle can continue to burn calories long after the exercise is done), they also appeared to have an increase in appetite hormones which could have lead to an increase in caloric intake – thus explaining the inability to lose weight.

Study co-author Dr. Hans-Peter Kubis reported the findings in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.

Advertisement

"To be effective, exercise training for weight loss needs to be integrated into a lifestyle approach to weight loss, including exercise combined with diet,” says Dr. Kubis."

We also need to be more focused on health rather than a number on the scale.

"Knowing how much fat and muscle we have in our body is much more important than knowing how much we weigh," he says. "When we focus on weight alone, we miss the improvements achieved via exercise training."

"Seeing no change on [the] scales may be enough to make people give up on their exercise training, not realizing that they have actually improved their body by gaining muscle mass."

Reference:
Matthew Jackson, Hans-Peter Kubis et al. Exercise training and weight loss, not always a happy marriage: single blind exercise trials in females with diverse BMI. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2017-0577

Advertisement