I’ve been guilty of this plenty of times in the past, and I’m sure I will be plenty of times in the future again, so I’m sure many of you reading this are guilty too.
You tell yourself you’re going to the gym, but then you wake up the next morning feeling tired because you went to sleep late the night before and you tell yourself, “I can just workout tomorrow.”
Well, yeah, you could workout tomorrow instead of today, but when tomorrow comes what happens?
“Oh, damn, I forgot I have that thing, I won’t be able to workout today after all.”
Do you see where I’m going with this? No matter what day of the week it is, you can always come up with an excuse to not workout, right?
I mean, I’m the King of Procrastinating, so I know for sure how many excuses there are out there.
Running for Weight Loss
But does exercising even help us? Can we rely on exercise alone to lose weight? Do we need to exercise at all, can we just diet and still lose weight?
The problem is that the answer is yes and no.
Yeah, nice for these answers to be clear and concise, right?
The whole weight loss equation is based on calories in vs calories out, and exercise is part of the calories out half of the equation.
This means that exercise can only ever be half of your weight loss tactics, no more.
It could be less. If your diet is good enough at maintaining a calorie deficit then you really don’t need to use exercise to help you lose weight.
If you’re not good reigning in your calorie intake, however, then you want to make sure you exercise regularly to aid your journey to a slimmer you.
The Reality of Running Off Your Donuts
I’ve seen some suggestions around the internet that when you exercise, you should replace the calories you burn with food.
If you’re trying to lose weight, this is a terrible suggestion.
When we exercise and then tell ourselves we can have a treat to reward ourselves we’re actually being counterproductive. If you run for 30 minutes on a treadmill, you’ll burn about 300 calories, give or take. It does depend on your weight, sex, and the intensity and distance of your run.
If you then go eat a donut, you just added 300 calories to your daily food intake, which just completely negated the exercise you just did.
Having a post-workout smoothie? That could be 400-700 calories.
Pint of Ben & Jerry’s? 1200 calories.
It really doesn’t matter what you have, you really shouldn’t try to replace any of your workout calories after working out. At most, increase your calorie intake by half what you burned while exercising.
That is also bad advice, though. The ideal tactic you should use is to eat only when hungry, or when you’re about to be hungry. You really don’t want to wait until your starving to eat as you’ll end up binge eating which will make you feel guilty.
This is why you can’t just rely on exercising to lose weight, you’ll end up eating yourself fat again.
Why don’t we dispel some other myths about exercising for weight loss:
- Sweating more means you’re burning more calories. Absolutely not, sweat only indicates your body’s attempt to cool itself, it has nothing to do with burning calories. Some people sweat simple just from standing up. And I live in Florida, so simple going outside is enough to make me sweat.
- Exercising more than hour can lead to muscle loss. Nope, no, definitely not. You see, your body is constantly using fats, carbohydrates, or proteins to fuel itself. There’s no time limit where your body will say, “Oops, burned too much fat, I better use muscle now.”
- If you’re losing the motivation to exercise, you just need to work harder and focus. Change is always good. If you’re getting bored with your current workout then change the workout you’re doing. There are an infinite number of possibilities so you don’t need to force yourself to go through boring workouts.
- You can lose belly fat by doing ____. The reality is that there is no way to target specific areas of your body to burn fat. Your body automatically stores and burns fat using its own prerogative on the location. Some people add fat to their bellies first and some add it to their thighs first. It all depends.
- The more days you workout, the better. Your body actually needs days to rest and recover. Especially if you’re weight training, you can’t train the same areas of your body too frequently because you need time to recover.
- Weight Loss is the only reason to workout. Absolutely not, this actually gives us a good segue into our next topic.
- You need to exercise for several hours each week to see any benefit. In reality it’s more about the quality of your workouts than the quantity. You don’t need to workout for long periods of time to see results.
Why Else You Should Workout
Weight loss is an important reason to workout, but it’s not the only one. People who workout just tend to be happier and more satisfied with their lives.
Here are some other benefits to working out:
- Better mental health
- Getting better quality of sleep
- Lowering risk of heart disease
- Getting high. Working out releases endorphins, which just means you’ll be feeling like a million bucks.
- You’ll live longer. And not only that, you’ll have a better quality of life further into your golden years.
Now, I know what you’re saying. “I don’t have time for that!”
Yeah, yeah, you’re a busy person with no spare time in your schedule.
Well, I guess you’ll just have to make time for all those doctor visits, instead. I bet you could do that.
I think you’d be surprised by how much time you actually do have if you stop and think about it. I think you’d also be surprised by how little time it takes to workout.
Imagine, waking up 30 minutes early to go for a jog. You’re going to shower in the morning anyway, so why not get your run in, because just 10-15 minutes of exercise can help boost your energy levels all day.
Or, if you’re an evening person, go to the gym on your way home from work, then you can hit the shower right before dinner.
Now, I know what your next excuse is going to be, “I hate running, I could never do that every day.”
Well, don’t go running then. There are a lot of other things you could do.
- Go for a walk with your dog, your significant other, or your kids.
- Play tag with your kids
- Get a game of kickball going with your neighbors
- Go for a walk during your breaks at work (especially if you’re a desk sitter)
- Play basketball with your kids or neighbors
- Walk to your restaurant on your lunch break. You can typically walk one mile in about 20 minutes at a good pace.
- Go to a ballroom or Latin dance class with your significant other
- Staying in a hotel? Every hotel has stairs you can use to get your heart racing.
Now, I have another tip for those of you who are still just too busy to workout. You can workout in the comfort of your own home, in less time than a sitcom on Netflix. Just click here to find out how.
Seriously, don’t think you need to spend hours in the gym to get a good workout. Some studies have shown that a high intensity workout for just 10 minutes is beneficial to weight loss, heart health, and speeding up your metabolism.
So give it a try.