Exercise vs. Diet

I was positive everyone already knew the answer to this question: which works better for weight loss, exercise or diet? But I recently read a blog written by a bootcamp instructor claiming it's a wash: 50/50. Exercise works just as well as diet? Um, really?


I've probably said this before. Probably at least a thousand times. There is no way to fix a bad diet with exercise.

Okay, maybe if you are Michael Phelps. I heard he burns something like 12,000 calories per day when he's training. But this is because a) he is young. (Maybe not as young now, but he was when he was burning those calories!) b) he is male. (Sorry, not trying to be sexist, but men usually burn more calories than women. We females are designed to put on fat for childbearing and breastfeeding.) And c) he spends all those hours in the water. Just being immersed in water burns mega-calories, on top of the actual exercise.

SO, to recap, you might have been able to exercise away your bad diet when you were young. Say, in your teens or early 20s. But only if you exercised for MANY hours per day. Preferably in a pool. An hour on the treadmill at the gym now and again will not cut it.

Experts estimate diet is responsible for about 75-100% of weight loss. There are studies that show people trying to lose weight on similar diet plans lose about the same amount of weight whether or not they exercise. Other studies show exercise accounts for a slightly higher rate of weight loss.

This is certainly NOT to suggest you should forget about working out and just sit in front of the TV in your bathrobe all day. Exercise, or any kind of movement, is vital for overall health. Sitting, standing, or lying in one position for hours at a time has been shown to lead to disease and earlier death! So even if exercise doesn't equal weight loss, it definitely equals better health and fitness.

Bottom line: if you are trying to lose weight, focus on diet first. Take steps to cut out the empty calories. But keep exercising as well. Studies also show that exercise helps people KEEP the weight OFF once it has been lost.

And we all know STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY. In other words, you don't want to lose a bunch of weight just to become a scrawny weakling! Muscles are beautiful and sexy, and you won't get them without putting in the work.