Think that high intensity exercise is critical to lose weight?! Think again! Here, we share 3 reasons why you never have to go to a spin class again in order to get to your target weight.
We all know how to lose weight. Diet and exercise…right? Salads and spin class should be the holy grail of weight loss. Can we talk about spin class for a minute? Spin class has to be the Marmite of the exercise world. You either love it or loathe it with every fibre of your (still not tight or toned) body. Can you guess what side of the fence we are sitting on? Not clad in padded cycling shorts either. Because spin class hurts. It hurts everything. From your butt balancing precariously on that sliver of a saddle, to your lungs which feel like they have been doused in petrol and set on fire. Which is why it was giddy hearts all round at New You HQ when we read that maybe, just maybe, when we are trying to lose weight, we didn’t have to exercise that much at all.
Now before you go all Jane Fonda on us, we know that exercise is about much more than just weight loss. By preventing cancers, improving blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar, bolstering sleep, attention, energy and mood, and doing so much more, exercise has indisputably proven itself to be the world’s best drug – better than any pharmaceutical product any doctor could ever prescribe. Sadly though, exercise is not a weight loss drug.
We’ve been conditioned to think of exercise as a key ingredient — perhaps the most important ingredient — of any weight loss effort. But in truth, the evidence has been accumulating for years that exercise, while great for health, isn’t actually all that important for weight loss.
1. Exercise accounts for a small portion of daily calorie burn
One very underappreciated fact about exercise is that even when you work out, the extra calories you burn only account for a small part of your total energy expenditure. Fitness trackers and the machines at the gym which claim you have burnt 400 calories are also widely inaccurate and can actually lead to you eating more food… thinking you have ‘burnt it off’ while in the gym.
A review of studies from 2012 found that people generally overestimated how much energy exercise burned and ate more when they worked out. You sweat on a machine for an hour, and that work can be erased with five minutes of eating in the gym cafe. A single slice of pizza, for example, could undo the benefit of an hour’s workout. So could a cafe mocha or an ice cream cone.
2. It’s hard to create a significant calorie deficit through exercise
The implication here is that while your food intake accounts for 100 percent of the energy that goes into your body, exercise only burns off less than 10 to 30 percent of it. That’s a pretty big discrepancy, and definitely means that erasing all your dietary transgressions at the gym is a lot harder than you think.
3. Exercise can undermine weight loss in other, subtle ways
How much we eat is connected to how much we move. When we move more, we sometimes eat more too, or eat less when we’re not exercising. One 2009 study shows that people seemed to increase their food intake after exercise — either because they thought they burned off a lot of calories or because they were hungrier.
There’s also evidence to suggest that some people simply slow down after a workout, using less energy on their non-gym activities. They might decide to lie down for a rest, fidget less because they’re tired, or take the lift instead of the stairs. These changes are usually called “compensatory behaviors” — and they simply refer to adjustments we may unconsciously make after working out to offset the calories burned.
We need to reframe how we think about exercise. Exercise is excellent for health; it’s just not that important for weight loss. So, don’t expect to lose a lot of weight by ramping up physical activity alone. Creating a significant calorie deficit such as that provided by the New You Plan will result in significant weight loss. Many of our New You Plan customers are unable to exercise but by following our science-based Total Food Replacement Plan, they can achieve significant weight loss. On average our customers lose a stone a month. Paradoxically, this weight loss often means that they can start an exercise programme. Which has huge benefits… bolstering sleep, attention, energy and mood… just not weight loss.
If weight loss is your goal, you must create a calorie deficit. Unless you are doing one of those 30 marathons in 30 days challenges, exercise in this case is not the answer. The New You Plan has over 40 delicious meals, shakes and bars to choose from, meaning variety is always an option. Each meal is nutritionally balanced to provide you with everything you need to create a safe sustainable significant weight loss. Click here to get started.
And to those spin fanatics… we salute you. We stand (actually sit on the sofa) in awe of you and admire your ability to not cheat when turning up the resistance on those bikes. Just please, please, don’t ever invite us to a class.
For more information on how to get started, click here.
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