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TOPIC: Exercise Does Not Burn Off Pounds?

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February 16, 2013 9:04 AM
According to an article in the March 2013 Good Housekeeping magazine, "Exercise does not burn off pounds".

"It's hard to believe, but in a study of 411 women, those who worked out for over one, two, or three hours a week for six months didn't lose significantly more weight than those who'd devoted themselves to Sudoku or other sedentary pursuits ... a recent review of 15 studies came to the same conclusion...moderate workouts don't lead to weight loss, possibly because they make us hungrier.

But there's also a biological explanation: As with weight loss, one of the ways your body adapts to an increase in exercise is to lower your resting metabolic rate about 7%, so you actually wend up burning fewer calories--anywhere from 50 to 75 fewer per day, the review found.

While exercise doesn't burn off the bulge, 'it does boost your PFF: Pants Fit Factor', says Diana M. Thomas, Ph.D., of Montclair State University in NJ. 'It helps reduce your waist and gives you a firmer, leaner-looking shape overall.' What's more, a dwindling waistline is a key indicator that you're losing belly fat--the dangerous fat type that's linked to help problems like heart disease and diabetes."

I came to a slightly different conclusion over the past year-and-a-half since I joined MFP and have found that true aerobic exercise for half an hour helps to move the needle on the scale downward the next day.

However, walking and strength training - stretching exercises (gentler exercises) - do not move the needle on the scale downward. However, those exercises help to trim and tone and make a difference that way.

Overall, I credit losing my big belly and other fat to eating right and aerobic activity for half an hour five days a week. Other exercises are important but aerobic exercise is what I believe helped me the most combined with eating better.

So, I do not agree with the broad statement that "exercise does not burn off pounds" and think it depends on the exercise. Some burn, some tone and some do both.

What do you think?
Edited by sunrise611 On February 16, 2013 9:07 AM
  8865471
February 16, 2013 9:10 AM
I agree with you my friend! As someone who yoyo's, I find that I tend to gain weight when I stop exercising! I try to do 30-45 minutes of cardio at least 4-5 days a week and 2-3 30-45 min strenght sessions a week. I agree that weight training helps you appear more tone and slim, but you do need cardio to burn off the fat! Just my two cents :-)
  30651414
February 16, 2013 9:28 AM
I've read several studies that show that exercise groups who exercise but do not diet do not lose weight. They do, however, lose inches and larger amounts of muscle lead to a slightly higher BMR.

I lift weights because I want to look fit when I am done losing weight, it is better for bone density, studies have shown that people who do strength training with diet lose less LBM (in most cases, they lose none and sometimes even gain LBM), and with diet, it leads to better (higher) losses.
  35761138
February 16, 2013 9:35 AM
I think the context is really important. I mean, if you just exercise and disregard your intake you will probably eat the same amount or even more. This can lead to a readjustment of your weight but not necessarily a weight decrease. Did the article mention if the studies were incorporating a calorie deficit for these subjects? I think more details may be needed. Have a link?
February 16, 2013 9:36 AM
My scale disagrees with the study. Maybe I really am a special snowflake.laugh
February 16, 2013 9:37 AM
It's basically saying that long slow cardio where you don't get your heart rate up will make you hungrier. It will burn calories, but not fat. I have read studies on how this will make you heavier. Weight Training burns calories, not fat, but the muscle you build will burn fat, even when at rest. You will also have an increased metabolism afterward for about 6 hrs. That said, you should do interval cardio (increase heartrate, decrease heartrate, repeat) ie: walk, jog, run, walk jog run (is one example) for a short time of say 20 or 30 mins.. You will burn fat that way. You should weight train for a lot of reasons and you should do long slow cardio, once or twice a week, but no more.
Edited by S_U_M_M_E_R On February 16, 2013 9:38 AM
February 16, 2013 9:37 AM
QUOTE:

I've read several studies that show that exercise groups who exercise but do not diet do not lose weight. They do, however, lose inches and larger amounts of muscle lead to a slightly higher BMR.

I lift weights because I want to look fit when I am done losing weight, it is better for bone density, studies have shown that people who do strength training with diet lose less LBM (in most cases, they lose none and sometimes even gain LBM), and with diet, it leads to better (higher) losses.


Yes, it appears that lifting will not move the needle on the scale down but will tone and decrease inches if done properly combined with the right diet.

However, aerobic exercises such as running and jumping around are exercises that significantly increase the heart rate and help to move the needle on the scale down as long as it's combined with the right food intake.

At least, that is what I have found to work for me to move the scale from 155 to 117 and lose my big belly and other fat.
  8865471
February 16, 2013 9:38 AM
"While exercise doesn't burn off the bulge, 'it does boost your PFF: Pants Fit Factor', says Diana M. Thomas, Ph.D., of Montclair State University in NJ. 'It helps reduce your waist and gives you a firmer, leaner-looking shape overall.' "


That's all I needed to read. I don't do this so the scale can tell me some number I want to see. I do this to be lean and healthy and yes, to look damn good in my jeans! So exercise it is.
Edited by MaraDiaz On February 16, 2013 9:38 AM
February 16, 2013 9:45 AM
QUOTE:

I think the context is really important. I mean, if you just exercise and disregard your intake you will probably eat the same amount or even more. This can lead to a readjustment of your weight but not necessarily a weight decrease. Did the article mention if the studies were incorporating a calorie deficit for these subjects? I think more details may be needed. Have a link?


I found the article in a magazine ("Peel Off the Pounds Faster") so there is no direct link.

However, interestingly, I found this link from another reader that notes a discrepency in what GH is claiming and debunking the same statement that I am questioning:

http://wilcfry.com/blogs/verily/archives/1644
Edited by sunrise611 On February 16, 2013 9:47 AM
  8865471
February 16, 2013 9:47 AM
Well, the flipside is certainly true for me: when I reduce exercise, I gain weight. When it gets miserably hot in the summer, it's hard for me to get in my usual running miles, so I almost always go up a few pounds. Once I realize it's happening, I just go back to tracking calories until I lose it (and with luck, the weather will be cooler by then).

It was also a pattern that when I ran only to train for a specific race, I would always lose several pounds without dieting once my mileage hit about 22-25 miles/week and long run went to 7 miles and above. But that would be above the 1-3 hours of exercise mentioned in the article.
  6092675
February 16, 2013 9:49 AM
Losing weight is all about being in a caloric deficit. How you get that deficit doesn't make a lot of difference. I figured at the height of my weight loss, doing an hour a day of medium/high cardio a day, the cardio increased my weight loss by at most 3 pounds a month. Most of my weight loss was from eating less.
  25084717
February 16, 2013 10:43 AM
Total calorie burn comes from raising metabolic rate. What most consider exercise doesn't raise your metabolic rate, it builds muscle mass. Muscle mass is denser and heavier than fat. Most people actually gain weight when exercising but lose inches. BUT that s the way most people look at exercise, the GOOD news is, it doesn't have to be that way.

Most people exercise in sets, reps, and weight increases. There is a way to build bulk with increased slow reps and weights, which does very little for losing weight( short term metabolic increase). Now the way to tone and increase metabolic rate is to use less weight and double the reps and complete as fast as possible. This form of exercise increases metabolic rate, It actually turns weight training into a moderate cardio with a little strength building included.
February 16, 2013 11:31 AM
Cardio helps burn fat and calories which results in a loss on the scale and inches.

Therefore:

aerobics = cardio = burned fat and calories = lost pounds and inches = debunking article's claim
  8865471
February 16, 2013 11:53 AM
This study applies to people that exercise but doesn't diet. Diet is as important or even more important than exercise. Exercise would definitely make someone hungrier and if someone succumb to that hunger and eat high calorie foods, then they will not lose weight. What really works is calorie counting + exercise. Dieting alone can help you lose weight but eventually your weight loss would stall because your body's BMR would be lower. But exercise boost your metabolism and increases it further by increasing your muscle mass. This helps someone lose more weight and retain that weight in the long run.
  31873826
February 16, 2013 12:04 PM
QUOTE:

This study applies to people that exercise but doesn't diet. Diet is as important or even more important than exercise....

Or to put it more simply and succinctly - "You can't out-train a bad diet".
  18984754
February 16, 2013 12:17 PM
QUOTE:

Cardio helps burn fat and calories which results in a loss on the scale and inches.

Therefore:

aerobics = cardio = burned fat and calories = lost pounds and inches = debunking article's claim


And with no resistance training mixed in cardio also = loss of lean muscle mass. Nothing wrong with cardio but cardio alone to create a defcicit has it's downside. Overall weight can go down with body fat% changing relatively little.
February 16, 2013 12:23 PM
I've just completed level 1 of the 30 day shred, I also swim for 30 minutes on my day off and watch what I eat but the scales have not shifted at all. I can actually see a physical difference though, so I'm trying not to get obsessed by the number, although I would like to be lighter ohwell
February 16, 2013 12:28 PM
QUOTE:

However, walking and strength training - stretching exercises (gentler exercises) - do not move the needle on the scale downward. However, those exercises help to trim and tone and make a difference that way.


I disagree! I am a prime example of someone who has done only walking throughout my weightless process. I don't like aerobic exercising and running is too hard on my knees. This HAS however been coupled with a really clean eating lifestyle.
However, clean eating does not keep me fit and toned and muscly. Walking does
February 16, 2013 12:29 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Cardio helps burn fat and calories which results in a loss on the scale and inches.

Therefore:

aerobics = cardio = burned fat and calories = lost pounds and inches = debunking article's claim


And with no resistance training mixed in cardio also = loss of lean muscle mass. Nothing wrong with cardio but cardio alone to create a defcicit has it's downside. Overall weight can go down with body fat% changing relatively little.


Walking alone got my bf% down to 13.
February 16, 2013 12:30 PM
Exercise ALONE does not burn off the pounds......

Here is an extract from John Berardi - introduction to Nutrition Coaching.....

Let me put this bluntly: exercise alone doesn’t really work all that well. Especially when looking at body composition related outcomes, like fat loss, for example – far and away the most important outcome your clients are asking for help with.
Now, this isn’t just something I’m throwing out there.
Several recent studies, including one done at the University of Texas and another done at the University of Oklahoma, have shown pretty conclusively that in the absence of a sound nutrition intervention, exercise produces pretty disappointing results.
Let’s take a look at the data.
In this first investigation, done at the University of Texas, two sedentary groups of people were studied. The first group of 50 was considered the control group. And they simply remained sedentary for the entire 12-week study.
The second group of 50 was considered the exercise group. And this group worked with a trainer to perform 3 strength and 2 interval training sessions per week – about 5 total hours of exercise.
Both groups were instructed to keep their diets the same. And data analysis showed that at the beginning and at the end of the study, their diets hadn’t changed at all.
What did the researchers find?
Well, although the exercise group did lose statistically more fat than the control group, the total amount of fat lost in the exercise group was a mere 1.5lbs!
So, in this study, if these 50 people would have hired personal trainers, they would have spent about 60 hours and 3-4 thousand dollars to lose a mere 1.5lbs of fat. That’s not good.
Now let’s look at the Oklahoma study.
In this investigation, two additional groups were studied. The first group of 10 was considered the control group. And they simply remained sedentary for the 10 week study.
The second group of 14 was considered the exercise group. And this group worked with a trainer to perform 2 strength and 3 steady state cardio training sessions per week – about 5 total hours of exercise.
Both groups were instructed to keep their diets the same. And data analysis showed that at the beginning and at the end of the study, their diets hadn’t changed at all.
What did the researchers find here?
Well, although the exercise group did lose statistically more fat than the control group, the total amount of fat lost in the exercise group was just 1.5lbs – same as the Texas study.
So, in this study, just like the last, these 14 people would have hired personal trainers, they would have spent about 50 hours and 3-4 thousand dollars to lose just 1.5lbs of fat.
I could go on all day citing research showing that exercise alone – without a nutrition intervention – isn’t all that effective at helping your client achieve the #1 goal they’re after.


Saying that I would not trade my exercise for anything - I still say what I eat allowed me to lose 115lbs - exercise made me fit and healthy
Edited by Elleinnz On February 16, 2013 12:32 PM
  6365234
February 16, 2013 12:33 PM
You can't out-exercise a bad diet, but exercise is still important!
February 16, 2013 12:35 PM
There is a real problem with most of the exercise studies I have seen: calories are not tightly controlled.

Participants are either allowed an ad libitum intake or advised on how to eat (and given the prevalent view that "lordy, I have done minutes on the treadmill so I can eat 3 doughnuts" mentality this obviously has certain drawbacks...)

We, we the people of MFP are different. We know better...

We track calories. Adding exercise on top of this is a great way of adding to our fat loss because we have set up our diets correctly.
February 16, 2013 12:35 PM
aerobic exercise has always been a necessary component of weightloss for me. Of course, I have to watch what I eat but ita w you. I see the scale move more when I'm working out AND counting calories.

I would also like to add that I find this article somewhat disturbing. My life revolves around studies and one thing that keeps popping is the health advantages of exercise. People that exercise (this is includes controlling for BMI) are healthier people. Cancer is associated w a sedentary lifestyle. There is just NO getting around it.

Regular exercise should be a part of every person's life...whether you are trying to lose weight or not.
February 16, 2013 12:36 PM
I do not lose weight unless I am moving more. I have such a low resting heart rate I just shut down on lower calories and stop losing if I am not moving and so walking more works for me.
  29774003
February 16, 2013 12:37 PM
YES!! You said it all w fewer words than I :)

QUOTE:

You can't out-exercise a bad diet, but exercise is still important!

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