Does exercise cause weight loss?

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Sounds like a stupid question but does it really? I just started my weight loss journey and I've been researching.. I came across an article that said "exercise doesn't promote weight loss",baffled! I started googling and I found a lot of studies showing that exercise does not really cause weight loss. Thoughts? I know it's good for overall health but I probably wouldn't go so hard at the gym if it doesn't reflect on the scale

Replies

  • rachelr1116
    rachelr1116 Posts: 334 Member
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    Exercise can promote weight loss in the sense that it can help you create a calorie deficit. If you're exercising and not eating at a deficit then, no, you will not lose weight. I personally exercise because I want to improve my health. I track my calories and eat at a deficit so I can lose weight.
  • StealthHealth
    StealthHealth Posts: 2,417 Member
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    My thoughts:

    In theory: Yes - increased calorie expenditure leads to weight loss.

    In practice it is less clear cut. People tend to overestimate the calories expended during an activity and underestimate the calories consumed when eating. So, this leads to excess calories - "I just walked to the shop, that must be 200 calories so I can have a muffin" is actually 100 calories of additional movement with 350 calories consumption. Net gain of 150 calories.

    This of course is minimized if you are accurately tracking your calories expended and consumed but even us, here on MFP, struggle with accuracy (especially exercise calories), so the general population will struggle more.

  • TeaBea
    TeaBea Posts: 14,517 Member
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    My thoughts:

    In theory: Yes - increased calorie expenditure leads to weight loss.

    In practice it is less clear cut. People tend to overestimate the calories expended during an activity and underestimate the calories consumed when eating. So, this leads to excess calories - "I just walked to the shop, that must be 200 calories so I can have a muffin" is actually 100 calories of additional movement with 350 calories consumption. Net gain of 150 calories.

    This of course is minimized if you are accurately tracking your calories expended and consumed but even us, here on MFP, struggle with accuracy (especially exercise calories), so the general population will struggle more.

    This^

    "In theory" vs. the real world. Unless your are tracking calories in, it is incredibly easy to over eat your calories out.

    It takes me awhile to burn 250 calories.....but I can polish off a Snicker's bar in less than 60 seconds.
  • shadow2soul
    shadow2soul Posts: 7,692 Member
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    Exercise can help create a calorie deficit. However just because your execising doesn't mean you have a calorie deficit. No deficit = no weight loss. Exercise actually makes me hungry (specifically anything strength related) and without monitoring my calorie intake I will easily eat to maintain. I exercise for the health benefits, to be strong, and for what it does for my appearance.
  • tjsims88
    tjsims88 Posts: 45 Member
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    TeaBea wrote: »
    My thoughts:

    In theory: Yes - increased calorie expenditure leads to weight loss.

    In practice it is less clear cut. People tend to overestimate the calories expended during an activity and underestimate the calories consumed when eating. So, this leads to excess calories - "I just walked to the shop, that must be 200 calories so I can have a muffin" is actually 100 calories of additional movement with 350 calories consumption. Net gain of 150 calories.

    This of course is minimized if you are accurately tracking your calories expended and consumed but even us, here on MFP, struggle with accuracy (especially exercise calories), so the general population will struggle more.

    This^

    "In theory" vs. the real world. Unless your are tracking calories in, it is incredibly easy to over eat your calories out.

    It takes me awhile to burn 250 calories.....but I can polish off a Snicker's bar in less than 60 seconds.

    I get this! I don't count the calories I burn as "free calories" to eat more. If my goal is 1400/day I still eat 1400/day no matter what I've burned at the gym. I don't even either exercise in MFP because it automatically increased allowed calories
  • wilsoncl6
    wilsoncl6 Posts: 1,280 Member
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    Exercise causes weight loss indirectly, IF you are eating at maintenance or a deficit. The saying is that no amount of exercise is going to compensate for bad eating, and it's true. I do include, and eat back, my exercise calories because my routines are pretty intense. I typically burn somewhere between 500-800 calories through exercise a day and twice that when I'm doing two a days. Not eating your exercise calories back is not a bad thing but can be harmful if you're already close to goal as it increases the likelihood that your body will break down proteins (muscle) for energy.
  • RGv2
    RGv2 Posts: 5,789 Member
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    tjsims88 wrote: »
    TeaBea wrote: »
    My thoughts:

    In theory: Yes - increased calorie expenditure leads to weight loss.

    In practice it is less clear cut. People tend to overestimate the calories expended during an activity and underestimate the calories consumed when eating. So, this leads to excess calories - "I just walked to the shop, that must be 200 calories so I can have a muffin" is actually 100 calories of additional movement with 350 calories consumption. Net gain of 150 calories.

    This of course is minimized if you are accurately tracking your calories expended and consumed but even us, here on MFP, struggle with accuracy (especially exercise calories), so the general population will struggle more.

    This^

    "In theory" vs. the real world. Unless your are tracking calories in, it is incredibly easy to over eat your calories out.

    It takes me awhile to burn 250 calories.....but I can polish off a Snicker's bar in less than 60 seconds.

    I get this! I don't count the calories I burn as "free calories" to eat more. If my goal is 1400/day I still eat 1400/day no matter what I've burned at the gym. I don't even either exercise in MFP because it automatically increased allowed calories

    That's not what she means.....
  • shadow2soul
    shadow2soul Posts: 7,692 Member
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    tjsims88 wrote: »
    TeaBea wrote: »
    My thoughts:

    In theory: Yes - increased calorie expenditure leads to weight loss.

    In practice it is less clear cut. People tend to overestimate the calories expended during an activity and underestimate the calories consumed when eating. So, this leads to excess calories - "I just walked to the shop, that must be 200 calories so I can have a muffin" is actually 100 calories of additional movement with 350 calories consumption. Net gain of 150 calories.

    This of course is minimized if you are accurately tracking your calories expended and consumed but even us, here on MFP, struggle with accuracy (especially exercise calories), so the general population will struggle more.

    This^

    "In theory" vs. the real world. Unless your are tracking calories in, it is incredibly easy to over eat your calories out.

    It takes me awhile to burn 250 calories.....but I can polish off a Snicker's bar in less than 60 seconds.

    I get this! I don't count the calories I burn as "free calories" to eat more. If my goal is 1400/day I still eat 1400/day no matter what I've burned at the gym. I don't even either exercise in MFP because it automatically increased allowed calories

    That's because MFP gives you a calorie goal to lose weight WITHOUT exercise. You should eat some of your exercise calories or you risk making your deficit to large and losing LBM.
    That said it's recommended to start with eating 50% back and adjust up or down from there based on your avg weekly loss over say 4 weeks or so.
  • Officially_Rosey
    Officially_Rosey Posts: 73 Member
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    queenliz99 wrote: »

    Hmmm, a very interesting thread, thanks for that link.
  • TeaBea
    TeaBea Posts: 14,517 Member
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    tjsims88 wrote: »
    TeaBea wrote: »
    My thoughts:

    In theory: Yes - increased calorie expenditure leads to weight loss.

    In practice it is less clear cut. People tend to overestimate the calories expended during an activity and underestimate the calories consumed when eating. So, this leads to excess calories - "I just walked to the shop, that must be 200 calories so I can have a muffin" is actually 100 calories of additional movement with 350 calories consumption. Net gain of 150 calories.

    This of course is minimized if you are accurately tracking your calories expended and consumed but even us, here on MFP, struggle with accuracy (especially exercise calories), so the general population will struggle more.

    This^

    "In theory" vs. the real world. Unless your are tracking calories in, it is incredibly easy to over eat your calories out.

    It takes me awhile to burn 250 calories.....but I can polish off a Snicker's bar in less than 60 seconds.

    I get this! I don't count the calories I burn as "free calories" to eat more. If my goal is 1400/day I still eat 1400/day no matter what I've burned at the gym. I don't even either exercise in MFP because it automatically increased allowed calories

    MFP gives you these calories back because it was not figured into the original equation. But yes, the calories MFP gives you are likely inflated.

    I "try" to eat my exercise calories back, because I am older and desperately want to hold onto existing lean muscle mass. Large deficits typically result in a smaller % of fat loss.

    By "trying" to eat back my calories, I mean I am taking the best estimate I can find. Then I tweak that number up and down based upon actual results. Many MPF users start by eating back 50-75%.

    There are lots of estimates here. Some people weigh food & are very accurate, some people just eye-ball. Your activity level is a range....not just one number. You may have set your level to sedentary, but are at the top of the mark....who knows. A fitness tracker would help there.
  • ASKyle
    ASKyle Posts: 1,475 Member
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    It only helps with weight loss if you are in a deficit.
  • PiperGirl08
    PiperGirl08 Posts: 134 Member
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    Exercise can also increase muscle mass which increases metabolism, so can burn more calories.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,677 Member
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    tjsims88 wrote: »
    TeaBea wrote: »
    My thoughts:

    In theory: Yes - increased calorie expenditure leads to weight loss.

    In practice it is less clear cut. People tend to overestimate the calories expended during an activity and underestimate the calories consumed when eating. So, this leads to excess calories - "I just walked to the shop, that must be 200 calories so I can have a muffin" is actually 100 calories of additional movement with 350 calories consumption. Net gain of 150 calories.

    This of course is minimized if you are accurately tracking your calories expended and consumed but even us, here on MFP, struggle with accuracy (especially exercise calories), so the general population will struggle more.

    This^

    "In theory" vs. the real world. Unless your are tracking calories in, it is incredibly easy to over eat your calories out.

    It takes me awhile to burn 250 calories.....but I can polish off a Snicker's bar in less than 60 seconds.

    I get this! I don't count the calories I burn as "free calories" to eat more. If my goal is 1400/day I still eat 1400/day no matter what I've burned at the gym. I don't even either exercise in MFP because it automatically increased allowed calories
    Actually you don't if you eat 1400 to lose weight, then add exercise on top of it to NET LOWER than 1400.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png

  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,522 Member
    edited April 2016
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    Exercise can also increase muscle mass which increases metabolism, so can burn more calories.

    But it's very difficult to build a significant amount of muscle mass, and the energy expenditure isn't quite a big as thought.

    For me: if I run for one hour I burn about 350-400kcal. That's one hour of fairy intense exercise and not just trotting long. That's not a lot to be honest. The small bag of crisps I just had came in at 250kcal. Thus if I run 3 times per week, doing one 1h run, and a two shorter ones I get three small bags of crisps extra per week. But then again, I don't run to eat more but because I enjoy it.
  • PiperGirl08
    PiperGirl08 Posts: 134 Member
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    yirara wrote: »
    Exercise can also increase muscle mass which increases metabolism, so can burn more calories.

    But it's very difficult to build a significant amount of muscle mass, and the energy expenditure isn't quite a big as thought.

    For me: if I run for one hour I burn about 350-400kcal. That's one hour of fairy intense exercise and not just trotting long. That's not a lot to be honest. The small bag of crisps I just had came in at 250kcal. Thus if I run 3 times per week, doing one 1h run, and a two shorter ones I get three small bags of crisps extra per week. But then again, I don't run to eat more but because I enjoy it.

    Depends on one's training regimen. Power lifters do nothing but build muscle mass. Running will improve muscle mass at the beginning and then maintain. A well rounded exercise program will include lifting, and that lifting, if done properly, will increase muscle mass in accordance with how it is performed.

    And increased muscle mass leads to increased metabolism.
  • jackcreed
    jackcreed Posts: 1 Member
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    What really happens is that you start exercising (aerobic) and you start watching the calorie count and the body adjusts and nothing happens took 35 days of eating less volume even though I was below the calorie count and exercising the same to get results and then I lost 1 pound and I have basically lost 1 pound every 6 days since. This week which seems to be a leveling off week. I think to reduce more at this current rate I will need to expand the aerobic exercise more than I am doing which is more than an hour a day
  • cgvet37
    cgvet37 Posts: 1,189 Member
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    I lift six days a week for roughly an hour. I eat at a defecit, and am loosing roughly 1 lb. per week. I don't even try to track calories burned during exercise. I eat some of them back during the weekend anyways. I'm not saying to do exactly that, but it has been sucessful for me. Everyone is different. You do have to be in a caloric defecit to loose weight. Calories in, calories out. Exercising will burn more of the calories you intake. Lean muscle will help you burn those calories more efficiently.