December 10, 2023

There’s no doubt that exercise burns calories. So why has study after study found such modest average loss even after subjects follow relatively vigorous, well-designed exercise programs?

The usual answer is that you unwittingly eat more to compensate for your workout. That’s partly true, but it skims over a vital detail: Few of us are “average.” Break down the study results, and you find that exercise is highly effective at melting off pounds for some people, and ineffective for others. Scientists are now teasing out the factors that explain these different responses – and poking holes in -loss plans that promise one-size-fits-all success.

Why Exercise Changes sometimes Fail

“There’s currently a strong interest in identifying ‘behavioural phenotypes’ within the obese population so that treatments can be more specifically targeted,” says Graham Finlayson, a biological psychologist at the University of Leeds. “This is the case for exercise, food, diet, pharmacologic and surgical approaches.”

Exercise and Weight Loss
Exercise and Weight Loss

The wide variability in response to exercise is shown clearly in the results of a 12-week program of supervised exercise, published in a review co-authored by Dr. Finlayson in the British Journal of Sports Medicine last month. Although the intensity and duration of each workout was the same for all 58 subjects, some lost more than 10 kilograms while others actually gained a small amount of – opposite extremes from the average loss of 3.2 kilograms.

I myself think that there is a correlation between food and exercise that is very tight. I have gone through changes where I am very physically active and I eat to compensate for the calorie loss. Keeping a very disciplined eating schedule to conteract any problems with metabolism and Leptin depletion are essential.

Dr. Finlayson and his colleagues suggest a long list of possible reasons for the variation. There are physiological possibilities, like the rate at which food leaves your gut; the production of appetite hormones like leptin and ghrelin; and the extent to which your body relies on fat versus carbohydrate for energy. All of these are affected by exercise and could influence appetite and food intake, though the evidence remains contradictory.

More info at Globe and Mail

So what have you found in the past. Does your increased workouts help or hinderweight loss. Remember there are a lot of exercise newbies reading this, what would you suggest to them?

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