You attended a party, but you were careful about what you ate since you know that another two or three weeks of hard work in the gym and meal prep/dieting will reveal your last remaining two abs. You turn to find your long-lost friend Ryan, whom you haven’t seen in a year because he moved away to pursue a career in music, tapping you on the shoulder. He takes one look at your snack and cracks up, urging you to relax and take it easy for the rest of the evening.
You make an effort to reason with him, even bringing up the fact that you are following a particularly stringent diet plan and can’t afford to go over your daily calorie budget. Ryan then begins to advise you to stop worrying about your calorie intake because you can always “exercise on your treadmill for an extra 20 minutes tomorrow to square off these calories.” You start to doubt your own abilities as you consider this. Now we’re back at square one, facing the age-old “diet vs. exercise” dilemma for health and weight loss.
Has the thought ever crossed your mind, “I exercise, so I can eat anything I want” or “I eat healthy, so I don’t need to exercise”? In order to achieve health goals like weight loss or better heart health, you may be debating whether diet or exercise is more important.
I’ll be honest with you right off the bat: it really is dependent on your end goal. So, which is better, dieting or working out when it comes to weight loss? Read on if you’re looking to drop some pounds.
Exercise vs Diet: What Matters Most For Weight Loss?
We’ve put together a comprehensive fat loss guide that addresses just about every issue that could arise on your path to weight loss, so you might want to take a look at that. For the scope of this article, let’s focus on how diet and exercise work when you are trying to lose weight
A common saying that most of us have heard at some point in our lives is “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” Although there is truth to this proverb, which actually causes one to lose weight? Diet or exercise?
The only way to lose weight is to have a negative energy balance, or a calorie deficit when you burn more calories than you take in. This can be done by reducing calorie intake, increasing calorie expenditure through exercise, or both.
There’s a straightforward explanation for why nutrition is more important than exercise when it comes to weight loss. While it’s true that both diet and exercise are necessary for weight loss, it’s usually simpler to induce calorie deficit by altering one’s diet than it is to burn significantly more calories through exercise.
If you want to lose weight and need to cut 500 calories from your diet per day, you can accomplish this by cutting back on high-calorie dishes, decreasing the number of your servings, and eliminating snacking. Then, just 100 calories (20%) from physical activity will do the trick.
So as you can see, rather than striving to burn 500 calories through activity every day, many people find this to be a more manageable goal. Significant daily activity is needed to burn these quantities of calories; such activity is time-consuming, physically demanding, and rarely sustained.
Does This Mean I Can Skip Exercise And Focus Only On Diet To Lose Weight?
To begin, maintaining a healthy weight requires a commitment to both physical activity and dietary decisions over time. More than 10,000 people in the United States who have successfully lost weight and kept it off are being tracked by researchers at the National Weight Control Registry, which was founded in 1994 by experts at the University of Colorado and Brown Medical School. Of those who maintained their weight loss, only 1% relied only on exercise, 10% on diet, and 89% on a combination of the two.
Diet alone can help you lose weight, but physical exercise is essential. Without it, you would lose weight not just from fat but also from muscle and bone. By encouraging the development of these metabolic tissues, exercise is an effective technique of shedding pounds by burning fat rather than muscle. Because muscle occupies less volume than fat, even though the scale may not reflect it, you will find that your clothing now fits more comfortably as you lose weight.
By maintaining and enhancing muscle mass, strength exercise can boost resting metabolic rate and aid in weight loss. Additionally, your metabolic rate can be elevated for up to 72 hours after a single strength training session.
As a bonus, the hormones responsible for hunger may be modulated by a regular exercise routine, making it easier to control eating. As a result, this has the potential to reduce the frequency and quantity of snacking.
Last but not least, because it boosts your metabolism and makes you burn more calories, exercise makes it possible to eat more of what you want while still losing weight.
Verdict: Combination Of Diet And Exercise Works Best At Losing Weight And Keeping It Off
The combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise is essential for the safe and effective maintenance of one’s weight over time.
A 2013 study found that the most effective strategy for losing weight is a combination of calorie restriction and physical activity. In other situations, the combination of the two resulted in weight loss that was nearly five times more than that achieved through exercise alone.
Another analysis indicated that when compared to therapies focused on modifications to either food or activity alone, combined diet and exercise programs resulted in much greater weight loss.
In the end, losing weight effectively and keeping it off requires a combination of dietary adjustments and frequent exercise.
I hope you now see that maintaining a healthy weight requires more than just watching what you eat; frequent exercise is essential for preserving lean muscle and burning extra calories. Therefore, it is clear that both nutrition and exercise are essential for weight loss, and that a combination of the two will produce the best outcomes.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.