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Lose Weight By Burning More Calories Than You Consume

Sep 5, 2008
Many beginner athletes start exercising to lose fat. They workout 4 or 5 times each week, for 30-60 minutes per session. After 6 weeks or so they evaluate their progress and realize that they weigh roughly the same weight, and their total body fat has only dropped 1-3%. Surely after all that exercise they would have made a profound impact on their body composition, losing inches and pounds of fat, right? WRONG!

Why You Will Not Lose Fat With Exercise Alone

Why? Your diet is responsible for 75-80% of your progress when trying to drop fat.

The one, simple rule that you must remember is this:

total calories consumed - total calories burned = total calories stored as lard

The fact of the matter is that if you consume more calories in a day than you burn off, you will store them all. The caveman in you says, "Oh boy, extra energy that I can store for later, when there's a drought or a shortage of animals to kill and eat!" Your body doesn't understand that you'd rather see those calories floating around in a toilet than floating around on your midsection and buttocks.

A recent study actually demonstrated this exact problem. Two groups of people eat roughly the same diet, some junk food, some healthy food... a decent mix. The study lasted for a respectable 10 weeks. Half of the group did not exercise, while the other half exercised 5 times a week for 30 minutes. The group who exercised ended up losing little weight, if any, and their total fat mass only changed by about 1%. This means exactly what I am trying to tell you: unless you have your diet under control, no amount of exercise will optimally give you the results you want.

You could go on an exercise bender by working out 7 days a week for 5 hours a day, but unless you are genetic freak Olympian Josh Phelps, you will just get sick and injured. Besides he eats 12,000 calories a day. Trust me when I say you don't even want to know what this man is capable of eating in one meal.
How You Can Use This Knowledge to Finally Lose Weight

Apply strict diet principles to lose weight fast, or adopt a healthy lifestyle eating regimen to lose weight slowly. Depending on your goals you can cut fat by dieting like a bodybuilder for a month or two, or you can move straight into a healthy eating phase, which you will need to adhere to for 99% of the rest of your mortal life.

Calculate your average maintenance calorie intake by multiplying your current weight in pounds by 14. If you burn more calories than this number in a day, you will lose weight. If you burn less calories than this number in a day, you will gain weight. Does it get any easier?

Simply take this number and add or subtract 100-200 calories each week based on number of pounds you lost the previous week. If you lost more than 3% of your bodyweight, you should add 100 calories to maintenance. (Ex: if a 200 lb man lost more than 6 lbs.) If you lost 1% of your bodyweight or less, or gained weight, you should subtract 100 from maintenance. (Ex: if a 200 man only lost 1 lb or less.) This way you won't have to adjust exercise at all, you can simply base your weight loss on dietary changes only. Of course, adding additional exercise will speed up the process, but remember not too lose too much weight at once or you will end up sacrificing precious muscle mass.

Don't bother justifying eating a whole pizza today by saying, "I will start my serious diet on Monday." Just start today by considering each piece of food that you put in your mouth. If it's bad for you, start today by just not eating it. Good luck!
About the Author
Steve Hanson has 10 years experience in the fields of exercise science and sports nutrition. He writes articles on all forms of athletic training and nutritional theories. View the blog to learn more about your favorite exercise and nutrition topics.

Build Muscle and Lose Fat with Weight Loss Diet and Conditioning Articles :: Project Swole
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