If you absolutely love to eat, then you may have decided to focus on exercise for weight loss more than efforts such as calorie counting. This makes sense, since you’ll want to make sure your weight management strategy is appealing enough to you to want to keep it up over time. However, if your eating habits aren’t as controlled as they need to be, then your workouts may not be bringing you the results you want.
Why Isn’t It Enough to Just Exercise for Weight Loss?
There are actually quite a few reasons that exercise for weight loss isn’t enough to get exceptional results on the scale. Here are a few that science has already identified. A recent article in the New York Times pointed to the following:
Exercising may not burn as many calories as you’re eating
Without also tracking your food intake, you may think that you’re having a far larger impact than you really are. If you’re already eating the right number of calories each day, exercise for weight loss can certainly make a difference. If not, while you may be burning more calories, you’re not burning enough to take the pounds off your body.
Workouts can make you hungry
Many people find that when they work up a good sweat, they also work up a good appetite. This means that unless you’re doing your workouts before a large meal, you may be setting yourself up to eat more calories than you’ve burned in your latest gym session. Moreover, many post-workout foods are packed with calories, so take care before you grab that protein shake the gym is selling as a superfood. Keep in mind that many of those products are actually meant for athletes and bodybuilders who are looking to bulk up.
You’re not varying your workouts enough
Going for a brisk half hour walk (or two fifteen-minute walks) is great for your health. It’s a highly recommended activity for many reasons and your body will thank you. However, if you’re doing the exact same workout every day, you’re not getting the most out of your calorie burning. You need to mix things up. Do some cardio but work some strength training and flexibility sessions into your week as well. Cardio will burn calories at the time and for a few hours afterward.
Unless you’re doing your workouts before a large meal, you may be setting yourself up to eat more calories than you’ve burned in your latest gym session.
That said, strength training gives you lean muscle mass that will help you to burn more calories even while you’re inactive. Moreover, flexibility training helps you to get more out of all kinds of workout while reducing your risk of injury, which means you’ll be less likely to face setbacks, so you can keep up your exercise for weight loss.