Starting a diet: Why exercise IS your most powerful tool for fat loss | Josh Kennedy
Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the secrets to creating clear goals for fat loss, and how to find the diet that works for you. Now is the final, but in my opinion, the most important part of the puzzle – EXERCISE.
Now, I know you’ve heard nutrition is key, but my strong belief is that with good general nutrition, the difference maker, and the thing that will dictate your results, is exercise.
Here’s why, and how you should implement it for maximum effect.
Exercise and energy balance
We discussed last week about the importance of energy balance when it comes to nutrition, and deliberate exercise can have a huge impact on this.
However, when we dig into the numbers, there are a few surprising facts that jump out. These are the reason so many people believe (wrongly) that exercise doesn’t help your fat loss journey, so let me cover these first.
When we add exercise into our day, we can have some huge benefits, such as better mood, better movement, and more energy. However, other things happen too, that can have a negative impact on your fat loss (short term).
Luckily, these things are easy to rectify, meaning exercise should almost always be included in a fat loss plan.
The first thing to watch for is appetite increase. When we exercise, our appetite goes up.
Without being mindful of this with high quality nutrition advice (such as the points we discussed last week), this can mean we actually take on a net increase in Calories, and therefore by adding both exercise AND more food, we can reduce our energy deficit!
The solution here is simple. Keep control of your nutrition throughout the plan.
The second surprising fact is that when we add exercise, we may often “feel” energised, but this doesn’t always translate to more Calorie burn.
In fact, often we actually REDUCE our overall activity for the day. For example, we may go for a 30 minute run in the morning, then avoid the afternoon walk to the shop, or housework, meaning total Calorie burn from physical activity is reduced.
Obviously for fat loss, this wouldn’t be great.
Luckily, the solution again is simple, keep daily activity consistent, or account for the reduction.
Now we’ve covered where exercise may NOT help from a fat loss perspective, let’s look at why it’s always a good idea.
Exercise adaptations and fat loss
Once we look past the “what happens over a few days”, and look at the “what happens over weeks to months” view of exercise, it becomes clear that adding the right type of training into your plan will completely change your results, and your life.
When we adapt to exercise, amazing things happen that mean we not only lose weight, but we keep it off.
These adaptations include better control of appetite and improved blood sugar control, we get better at mobilising stored fat, we get better at burning fat both at rest and during exercise, we build muscle and increase our metabolism, and much more.
Because of this, we don’t only look leaner, but we feel energised, we improve our mood and mental health, we improve our fitness, we sleep better, and we are set up for a healthy and active life! And that’s not all. Let’s take a look at the bigger picture of overall health.
Exercise and health
Regular exercise has huge benefits to our physical and mental health. The right type of exercise won’t only help you to get to a healthy weight, but it can also massively reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes and metabolic health issues, as well as being linked to reduced risk from several cancers.
In addition, exercise can help to boost bone health, reduce pain and injuries, and generally have a positive impact on happiness and everyday life.
Clearly, exercise should be a priority in everyone’s routine at all times, but in particular anyone looking to diet.
There are huge benefits to exercise, both as part of a diet, and also as part of a healthy lifestyle. These benefits are sometimes lost in the noise of different very low Calorie diet approaches that restrict exercise, but it’s important to remember that a huge part of the LONG TERM success of dieting comes from the physical adaptations that occur beyond the weight loss itself.
Having a fully considered exercise plan to complement your diet is essential to maximise your health and results, and often, this will be the difference between another quick fix diet that left you feeling unsuccessful, and a life changing diet that boosts your confidence, health, fitness, and overall achieves the results you’ve been looking for.