Exercise Vs. Diet

This question seems to be rarely raised by dieters; though is an important one.

The key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you consume, a basic concept that can be difficult to achieve. One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, so to lose one pound you need to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume. Cutting 500 calories from your diet each day potentially leads to one pound lost a week. (500 x 7 =3,500)

This method, however, is not sustainable. While diet is important in weight loss, so is exercise. Studies show that people who lose weight through diet and then keep a regular exercise regime keep off the weight they lost through the diet. While people who go on crash diets and don't continue exercise regain back the weight within six months of stopping.

While it seems negative for just dieting, the amount of calories lost during exercise can be easily regained. Running pretty hard for an hour burns around 300/400 calories, and eating salad, or maybe even drinking certain drinks will easily restore more than half of those calories in minutes. Take into account that running is one of the more calorie-consuming activities.

That being said, there are certain types of exercise, like weight training, that boost metabolism and therefore benefits in the long term to calorie burnt. 'The after burn effect' also boosts metabolism. This effect burns calories for potentially days after you work out, referred to as 'excess post-exercise oxygen consumption'. The intensity of a workout has the greatest impact on EPOC, and EPOC will work for longer after a more intense work out. The after burn effect suggests that small bouts of high intensity, cardiovascular exercise (10-20 minutes) burns more calories than longer, low intensity exercise.

This concept is interesting, and makes exercising a lot more plausible to busier people, or just plain lazy ones (like myself). Of course, this can still become redundant with an unhealthy, high calorie diet. Dieting, even with this effect, has been proven on many counts to lose more weight in short term than exercising.

So, if you ever find yourself faced with this question; go with both. Dieting is effective, but exercise will give you that extra edge and is guaranteed to keep the weight off for the long term.


The After Burn Effect

Increasing Metabolism (and a small bit about The After Burn Effect)

A well-informed debate on diet vs exercise

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