Does Exercising Help Weight Loss?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but there are always a lot of fat people exercising? So that begs the question, “does exercising help weight loss, or is it waste of time?”

And guess what: Only rarely do those overweight people actually lose any weight?

They’re exercising at home on some of the best cardio workout equipment, walking in the parks, and maintaining expensive gym memberships.

But there’ not losing weight? Why is that?

I think most people today understand that regular exercise burns calories, right?

So why aren’t people at the gym losing weight and toning up? They labor, sweat, and workout just as hard (maybe harder) than anyone else.

Here’s the problem:

Exercise is no magic bullet for weight loss!

I think you’ll see farther down this post how easy it is to sabotage all the exercise you work so hard to get.

Here’s 3 reasons you could be exercising with no weight loss:

  1. Exercising can make you eat more
  2. You’re probably burning less calories with exercise than you think
  3. Doing the wrong exercises may not help lose weight

I often remember a conversation I had with a seriously overweight woman — as we  were working out on elliptical machines side by side.

As we pedaled and talked she couldn’t stop complaining about how much time she spent in the gym — without losing any weight?

In fact, she was gaining weight instead of losing?

The conversation continued on for sometime before it moved away from her failed dieting efforts.

That’s when she told me that her regular first stop after exercise was the Dairy Queen for a hamburger and ice cream before heading home?

Exercising Is Not A License To Overeat

It’s easy to believe your appetite is bigger after a good workout. In fact it’s easy to think you are starving.

But — are you really hungry, or do you just think you deserve a reward?

As it turns out, we are mostly just addicted to eating something and a good workout gives us a good excuse.

Research into exercise and hunger disproves the idea that we need to eat more after exercise.

Here’s why you eat too much after a workout:

  • You went from terrible eating habits and no exercise — to self imposed diet restrictions and exercising. You may have even decided to drop sugar and didn’t realize sugar is an addiction.
  • You suddenly went from 5000 calories a day to 1200 and your will power is the weakest after exercise.
  • You have a mislead idea that exercising everyday is going to overcome what you eat. (The overweight woman I mentioned earlier had no idea that she couldn’t exercise long enough in a day to overcome her caloric intake?)
  • You have misguided ideas about how many calories you burn during your regular routines?

If you are exercising to lose weight, these two charts will help you understand what you’re up against.

how many calories does exercise burn chart
Remember how many calories your exercises will burn compared to what you are eating

All of the exercises in the chart above are cardio exercises which generally burn more calories than lifting weights for an hour.

Generally speaking you can figure from 200-250 calories an hour in the gym, unless you’re doing HITT which could be as much as 350 an hour.

Now take a look at the chart below for the calories you could be eating after a workout.

Can you see how easy it is to blow off the calories you burned with exercise?

Calories that destroy exercising for weight loss chart

From the charts you can see just how easy it is to eat more calories than you burned during your workout.

I’m always hungry after working out, but I know how important it is to eat only healthy snacks to help me recover quickly.

How Exercise Helps You Lose Weight

What we’re talking about is sustained physical activity focused on improving your fitness level.

For exercise to work it must raise your heart rate, expand your lungs, and often leave you sweaty and maybe a little out of breath.

When you exercise like that you are increasing the normal calorie burn.

But, as you can see from the charts above, you need more calorie burn than what you get in a 45 minute workout.

Here’s the main benefits of exercise when it comes to weight loss:

  • Your body will continue burning calories for hours after your workout. However, you will kill all your efforts if you eat the wrong foods.
  • Exercise builds muscle, and the muscle burns more calories than fat. That means that as your muscle mass increases, your body will naturally call on the fat for energy causing more efficient weight loss.
  • The burning of calories through physical activity, combined with reducing the number of calories you eat, creates a “calorie deficit” that results in weight loss.
  • Most weight loss occurs because of decreased caloric intake. However, evidence shows the only way to maintain weight loss is to be engaged in regular physical activity.
  • Combine that increased calorie burn with reducing the number of calories you consume and you have weight loss.


Exercise in general is going to increase your fitness level, make your heart stronger, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and make weight loss more efficient and long lasting.

And it’s not necessary to have a gym membership to get your exercising in, either. You can jog, walk, use workout equipment at home, find stairs to climb, and on and on.

So, whether you’re into weight loss or staying fit, the main thing to do is to get off the couch and get physical for 45 minutes every day.

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