Are you someone who exercises a lot every week but the weight is just not changing and even worse, is it gaining?
This is a situation that happens more often than you think.
Years ago, TIME magazine ran an article that said Exercise was pretty useless for weight loss.
You will hear people shout it from the rooftops.
Research does indeed show that exercise, ALONE, as a weight loss intervention is pretty futile for weight loss.
However, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
It's not the actual exercise itself that is useless, something else is happening subconsciously, that we don't really notice, that makes us lose a little weight or even worse, makes us gain weight.
What is really happening is something called EXERCISE COMPENSATION.
Ohhh, what fancy words say you.
Well, it's just a fancy way of saying that when individuals such as your good self take up exercise to lose weight, the weight loss is almost always less than what you expect it to be.
It is very frustrating for all parties involved.
Compensation in the weight loss world is where total daily energy burned is ‘compensated’ by less activity or eating more throughout the day, meaning the energy deficit over time become less and less, and in some instances, individuals actually eat more than they burn in exercise, actually gaining fat mass!
Let me give you a simple analogy.
Old Johnny boy here decides to buy a fancy classic car. This car sits in the garage and only gets out on special occasions and I get to wear my brown leather gloves, my aviators and my white cashmere jumper casually flipped over my pink polo shirt - I digress.
The car doesn't get driven a lot so it doesn't need to be topped up with fuel.
John here decides he wants to take it out more regularly so he drives it a bit more to keep it running smoothly. John now needs more petrol for the car because the car is guzzling more fuel (a bit like you going from a couch potato office worker to a regular gym goer - you exercise more, you burn more fuel therefore you need more top ups).
John fills it up but he knows exactly how much fuel is going in and going out therefore the petrol doesn't overflow and destroy his beautiful leather gloves.
It's a little bit different when it comes to the human body and our psychology.
A recent study has attempted to identify mechanisms for the phenomenon termed “exercise weight compensation” in response to exercise in overweight and obese participants.
Nearly 200 women and men were randomly assigned to receive 3 treatments over 24 wk:
1. A no-exercise control group.
2. 8 kcal · kg body weight–1 · wk–1 supervised exercise (8 KKW), or
3. 20 kcal · kg body weight–1 · wk–1 supervised exercise (20 KKW).
Participants compensated by increasing energy intake (an average of 90.7 kcal/d in the 8-KKW group and 123.6 kcal/d in the 20-KKW group).
They ate more when they exercised more and the numbers differed depending on the starting weight of the individual.
We don't even realise we are doing it and it is vastly easier to out-eat the calories burned through exercise than to burn off the calories from eating.
The results of the study as presented suggest that the focus of a weight-loss intervention should be on reducing energy intake rather than solely on exercise-induced energy expenditure.
Meaning, YOU can exercise until you are blue in the face but if you don't get a handle on your food, you will get less results than you expect and this can lead to drop outs and a loss of motivation to exercise.
My personal take is that you should use exercise for a positive benefit. Think of of it as doing something positive for your body. You are strengthening your bones, building your muscle so you can run, lift, climb and partake in every day activities. You are improving the flow of your blood and the ability of your body to use energy. It is so good for mental health and can relieve stress and help you sleep better.
Exercise is not a chore or a punishment for eating excess calories. It is something to be enjoyed and practised regularly.
Have a SPIFFINGLY good day and let me know how this EMAIL radically changed your life today.
John ' king of the road' Donaghey.
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