Exercise is definitely important for good physical and mental health. It can also help to build more muscle, which gives your metabolism a boost; however, it might not be all that it’s cracked up to be when it comes to helping you to lose weight. According to information published in Current Biology, our bodies will gradually adapt to higher intensity levels. This means that even if you exercise more, you don’t necessarily burn extra calories.
For the study, a group of 300 men and women were examined based on their level of physical activity as well as the number of calories they burned each day. Researchers found that the people who were moderately active burned approximately 200 calories more each day than participants who were mostly sedentary; however, the group of people who were the most physically active didn’t burn any more calories than the ones who had only moderate activity.
Your Body Adapts to the Increased Activity
As your body becomes accustomed to your workout, even if you remain very active, you probably won’t burn more calories. It’s much like when you learn any new task. In the beginning there’s a learning curve; you’ll likely use more time and energy to complete the task. However, in time, you become faster and more efficient. The same is true with your body. As you exercise more, your body naturally adapts to the demand. You’ll become more efficient, and will use less calories to meet the demands of your exercise routine.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that if you want to lose weight, you should skip exercise altogether. After all, it’s fat you want to lose, not muscle. Right? A study of 439 obese women found that the ones who just dieted and reduced calories lost considerably less weight than the ones who not only ate healthy, but also exercised.
If you want to make sure that you’re able to burn the most calories during each of your workout sessions, follow these 5 simple rules when you exercise for weight loss.
Embrace the principles of FITT – Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type. These are the 4 factors that determine how much stress or effort you put on your body when you exercise for weight loss. When you change one of these up a bit, you can actually surprise or challenge your body in an entirely different way. Keep in mind, when your body is forced to meet the demands of changing workouts, it makes your workout more challenging, and you’ll burn more calories. It’s when you allow your body to become accustomed to your workout that it will hit a plateau. Aim to switch up one or two of the FITT variables every 4 to 6 weeks. You’ll be able to keep burning calories and losing weight.
Add HIIT Exercise for Weight Loss
HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training can help you torch calories. A study Conducted by the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, found that people who engaged in a 20 minute HIIT workout burned an amazing 15 calories per minute. That’s about twice the amount of calories that they would burn during a long run. Additionally, with a HIIT workout, you also benefit from what is known as the “after burn” effect. Basically, this means that instead of burning 250 calories for a 30 minute HIIT session, you’ll also burn approximately 40% more the following day as your body recovers. When performing a HIIT workout strive to exert maximum effort for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds; repeat this interval until you’ve been at it for 4 minutes. Then, rest for 1 minute, and repeat until you complete four rounds.
Make Clean Eating a Priority
If you aren’t watching what you eat, you can exercise every day and not lose weight. You might even gain weight if you’re not burning the number of calories that you’re consuming. Additionally, when you’re eating unhealthy food, it can make it seem harder to do your workouts. This could mean that even if you think you’re actually working to your maximum ability, you’re not. Of course, a workout that isn’t up to it’s maximum is going to burn fewer calories. Focus on eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Learn more about clean eating with these 7 easy tips.
If you didn’t already know, more muscle equals more calories burned. In other words, the more muscle you have the more calories your body will naturally burn, even if you aren’t working out. After all, a pound of fat will burn only 2 calories per day, while a pound of muscle will burn 6. Of course, muscle also looks better and takes up less room. A study of 10,500 adults, conducted by Harvard School of Public Health, found that people who engaged in 20 minutes of strength training each day gained less belly fat over a 12 year period than those who relied on cardio as their main form of exercise.
Don’t Skip the Carbs
There are certainly many different options when it comes to choosing a pre-workout or post-workout nutrition plan; but you might want to take a new look at carbs. Sports Medicine published research that shows that you can improve your HIIT and endurance performance by eating carbs prior to your workout. Of course, improved performance means a tougher workout, and more calories burned, both during and after your workout.