Can you lose weight just by exercising and without changing any of your food choices or amounts?
“I don’t want to give up my morning chocolate croissant and double mocha espresso. Can’t I just do a few more minutes on the treadmill?”
Do you eat really clean-healthy meals right now combined with a regular HIIT workout but just tend to eat a few too many calories? If so, and that pesky inch around your body is just too much for you to deal with then it would be feasible to add on some extra time and exercises at the end of your workout day or week to get results!
That unfortunately, isn’t descriptive of the mass majority of people. If that description does fit you, then read no further and go do your extra 5 minute bleacher work. For the rest of us, let’s look at what to consider when trying to outrun our fork and knife.
“I feel like I just burned a million calories through my workout; I soooo earned this cookie.”
There are two things I’d like to point out here. Number one, you are not a dog, food is fuel, not a reward. Secondly, although you may feel like you burned all the calories you ate from breakfast and the past week combined, research shows that people’s perception of calories used can be more than four times the amount of calories actually used. The average sized female running a 5k will burn between 300-400 calories, while the one serving of Olive Garden’s spinach and artichoke pasta she carb loaded with the night prior came packed with 820 calories! Hope she didn’t have the salad or an appetizer. And heaven knows she didn’t even look at one of those calorie laden beverages to wash down those buttery bread sticks. Oh sista please, we know you did not eat dessert, right? Let’s face it, unless you are a competitive endurance athlete you’re not likely to burn even a fraction of what you can consume -and have been consuming- over your BMR with just one workout.
“I’m famished from my workout, let’s eat!”
Exercise increases blood flow, nutrients, and hormone production. Which is a great thing, and can also be confusing to interpret when faced with increases in your fitness. For instance, ghrelin (our bodies hunger stimulator) hormone increases for obese patients when preforming low intensity exercise. Causing fitness new comers to feel hungry immediately following their workout. Which in turn, causes many people to eat much more than they typically would have having not worked out at all. And while that is the exact opposite effect for people who preform higher intensity workouts over a longer duration of time (exceeding 90 minutes) those aren’t usually the workouts we want to do when we are overweight or accustomed to exerting ourselves.
“Coach, what’s the conclusion here? Can I eat this pizza while using the recumbent bike or not?”
For the average overweight person, it’s not likely that you will be wildly successful in changing overall body composition without adjusting your nutritional intake to some degree. The good new is, you don’t have to make HUGE nutritional changes to see results when you start adding exercise into your routine. Small steps forward compounded over time can take you to a whole new you.