How true is this statement? As a personal trainer, this pops up a lot and it’s something that’s not so simple to explain, especially in an intelligible way for clients to understand. As we all know, the calories in and calories out concept is generally easy to understand; if you are in a caloric surplus, you are consuming more calories than you burn, if you are in a caloric deficit, then you are consuming fewer calories than you burn. Similarly, we can now estimate the number of calories burned when performing an exercise based on the intensity and time, however when we put the two together, what effect do we achieve? Are we losing weight if we cut back on our caloric intake but burn more? Let’s discuss:
If we assume that a diet with a caloric surplus where we are not exercising, we will gain weight a fact, then a sedentary individual who does not engage in regular physical activity will gain weight, this is because the body’s metabolism slows down and eventually body begins to store a higher quantity of fat, this is considered a mammalian instinct. Not to mention, when we refrain from exercise we are more likely to experience stress, injury, cardiovascular diseases etc. The NHS suggests the general population engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week. Knowing this, we can assume that if we chose to engage in exercise which burns a certain number of calories, the amount of weight loss will depend on the number of calories consumed in conjunction with the number of calories burned. Another understanding to consider is the type of exercise, one study found that Low-Intensity Continuous Exercise did prove better at promoting fat loss than High-Intensity Interval Training in previously sedentary individuals, therefore it is important to consider the type and frequency of training before assuming weight gain or weight loss.
“Intermittent Fasting” is an interesting one, it puts your metabolism at peak level, thus allowing you to burn more fat as a source of fuel, in 2012 a meta-analysis was performed on male and female participants during the month of Ramadan, displaying a 1.24kg reduction in weight over the course of 30 days supporting the effects of fasting on bodyweight, however this period of weight loss was short lived as participants regained the lost weight after the 30 days as a result of poor lifestyle choices. It has also been widely supported that fasting can reduce concentrations of insulin and glucose biomarkers associated with chronic disease, supporting the positive effects of fasting on the body’s overall health. However, it is important noting here that although fasting is an effective method of weight loss, the more pragmatic approach is to first look at your lifestyle and begin making changes from the source. By changing lifestyle habits to support a balanced healthy eating regime, the effect is far stronger; assess poor eating and/or overeating habits and render the problems directly, don’t be too restrictive especially in the beginning, this is what leads to “Yo-yo dieting”.
Additionally, research has shown the positive effect of resistance training on burning more calories than calorie counting may suggest which is an interesting read. Avoid overconsumption of high sugar foods, alcohol, and trans-fat products, instead maintain a balanced consumption of food to help moderate your calories.
If you found this post insightful, why not check out some of our previous posts on our blog page or if you are interested in becoming a qualified personal trainer check out our main page for course information.
Written by Daniyal Siddiqui.