You’ve decided to lose weight––good for you! But perhaps hitting the gym shouldn’t be your one-stop-weightloss-shop. Now, don’t get us wrong––exercise is great, but on its own, it won’t help you shed lose pounds. To achieve your goals you need a combo diet and exercise approach, and here’s why.

Three reasons why exercise alone won’t help

1. Good old basal metabolic rate trumps exercise

The secret to weight loss is all in the science, and the facts show that the majority of calories you burn during the day come from your basal metabolic rate, meaning the energy your system spends just to keep going.

Sounds like a good excuse to down equipment and do nothing? Well, not quite, while basal metabolic rate makes up around 70% of your calorie expenditure, exercise accounts for around another 20% (depending on how active you are), with digestion coming up in third place at approximately 10%.

metabolic rateThis means that despite lower than expected results, exercise does play a role, and as they say, “every little bit helps.” Plus, as we all know, there are lots more benefits than weight loss to exercise.

2. You’ll need to train, really, really hard

Weight loss is an act of balance; you need to burn (through basal metabolic rate, exercise, and digestion) more than you consume to see those pounds drop off. But the thing is, that can be difficult.

Let’s look at some foods and see the amount of exercise you need to undertake to go calorie deficit:

  • 1x glazed doughnut at around 242 calories will cost you 88 minutes of crunches.
  • 1x creamy slice of American cheesecake (710 calories), that’s 148 minutes (2.5 hours) of walking.
  • 2x slices of pepperoni pizza at 560 a pair, that will be 65 minutes of cycling.

While these foods may be tasty, and perfectly ok for a treat once in a while, they are pretty pricey in terms of the time you’d need to spend to burn those calories off.
exercise table

3. The psychological effect

When we exercise, we tend to feel virtuous and deserving of a treat, and while it may be those feel-good hormones playing a trick on us, that 710-calorie cheesecake is starting to look pretty tasty.

This is this psychological effect of exercise, as we increase the amount we do, we become more inclined to think that we can eat anything we like because we already burned those calories.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and it’s difficult to avoid temptation all the time, nor should you, the key to success is a healthy eating and exercise relationship.

What you need to do instead

Like we said at the very beginning, there’s no problem with exercising, in fact, it has numerous benefits, such as building strong muscles, toning your body, improving posture, lowering blood pressure, the list goes on and on. It’s simply great. The issue is exercising alone won’t bring you the results you need.

However, through a combination of a proper diet and exercise, you can hope to see long-term, visible changes, that will act as a testament to the work you put in.

Introducing the weight loss combo––workout and diet. If you're looking to actually lose weight, this is the approach you need to take. Rather than just dropping pounds which can leave you feeling drained, this combo helps you build a healthy body overall.

The best diet for exercise is one which nourishes your body and gives your sufficient ‘good’ calories to undertake your workout, without leaving your body deficient in a way that it would be more inclined to hold on to fat to ensure survival.

Three diet and exercise tips

If that sounds like quite a balancing act, there’s no need to worry, let’s keep it simple with three top tips to make sure you stay on the right track.

1. Don’t get hungry

Eat! One of the best ways to ensure you keep making healthy choices is to prevent your body from going into hunger-mode. We all know that when we are hungry, we make less than ideal food choices, so best avoid that scenario by eating often, but healthily.

2. Make sensible choices

Chips––bad. Salad––good. We know the basics of healthy eating and that natural food products are generally healthy, while processed ones are not so great. And while artificial snacks can be tasty, they do affect your health, alongside your waistline. By making sensible food choices, you are setting yourself up, not just for weight loss but feeling better too.

3. Plan your meals and your workout

To be able to work out to your fullest potential, you need to ensure your body is sufficiently nourished prior to and after a workout. While we won't look at any diet advice here, what is essential is that you make time to eat before and after a workout to ensure you have adequate energy to exercise and recover.

Written by Maria Isabella Neverovich
Maria is an Irish writer, Health Editor at Verv, lover of forests, mountains and all things nature. She enjoys discovering new vegetarian dishes, creating...
View all articles