Have you ever started an exercise program to lose weight?
Have you ever been disappointed with your lack of results?
I know I sure have. You can read about my fat start into the fitness industry 20 years ago HERE.
You know that weight loss happens when you burn up more calories than you consume each week.
You know that exercise is a popular way to burn extra calories.
- You add 3 - 5 hours of exercise to your week
- You work hard
- You huff and puff
- You use your muscles
- You put in lots of effort
- You are pretty sure you burn up lots of extra calories
- You do it for 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks,
No weight loss results !!!
Granted, you are feeling fitter, stronger and more energetic. BUT, you want to feel all of those thing AND lose fat AND look hot AND fit back into your favourite jeans.
How is this possible?
The most likely answer is that you compensated for your exercise session.
Let me break it down.
The amount of activity you currently do each day and each week, results in you being the weight you are NOW (along with the amount you eat of course).
To lose weight you need to burn up EXTRA calories than you do now. (Or consume less calories, or preferably a combination of both).
You can calculate how many calories you burn HERE.
If you burn extra calories through exercise but compensate for the extra activity by resting more than you normally would at other times throughout your week, then the extra calorie burn and your weight loss results may be cancelled out.
If you compensate for your exercise session by eating more calories than you normally would, then your weight loss results may be cancelled out.
If you both rest more and eat more, you may put ON weight and wonder how it all went so wrong.
Real life example
A recent study followed a group of new exercisers.
First some baseline data was recorded. The data determined that on a regular week (no exercise), the participants averaged 8000 steps per day. (Pretty good going).
Enter the new exercise program.
The participants increased their daily step count from 8000 to 11,000 by adding in an exercise session. They did this 3 days per week.
That’s 9000 extra steps per week, which means more calories burnt. So far, so good.
BUT .. (this is the important part)
On the 4 days that they did not exercise, their daily step count went from 8000 (baseline) down to 6000.
That’s 8000 less steps that week, than they did before they added exercise into their routine.
Meaning that they cancelled out almost all of their EXTRA steps and calorie burn.
** IMPORTANT **
The participants had NO IDEA that they had rested more. There was certainly no intention behind it. They even (incorrectly) stated that they were just as active as before, however the testing showed otherwise.
Please do not assume that these were lazy people or out of the ordinary. This is very common and normal behaviour. I am a Personal Trainer. I exercise for a living, yet I can still see that this compensation behaviour affects me too.
What’s the answer?
1) Awareness is the first step. Knowing that this is likely to happen can go a long way towards avoiding it.
2) An activity / step tracker is a useful tool. Count your daily movement steps separate to your exercise session to ensure that your steps don’t decrease.
3) Know that weight loss happens when you consume less calories than you burn each week and that the majority of your fat loss results will come from your nutrition plan. A healthy, balanced, calorie controlled plan written with your individual energy needs in mind, just like Susie’s Shape Me plan.
You can read my honest review of Susie’s Shape Me meal planning service HERE.
Try my free online fitness challenge - Total Body Tone Up HERE.
About the author – Christine Tinslay
With almost 20 years experience, Chriss Tinslay is one of Australia’s leading Personal Trainers.
Chriss fell into the fitness and personal training industry almost by accident back in 1994, starting as a receptionist at the local gym she attended and loved.
She never looked back. Thriving in the role and going on to become qualified and registered as a Master Trainer with Fitness Australia. Chriss has now helped 1000′s of people transform their bodies and lives.
She has appeared in the biggest loser DVD series, Mornings with Kerri-Anne and has written her first short book “20 fat loss mistakes and how to avoid them”.
Knowing that exercise is only one aspect of health and fat loss, Chriss now runs regular fat loss workshops, both online and off, teaching people how to look and feel their BEST, without it taking over their whole lives.
When Chriss is not working, you can find her hanging out with her husband Adam and their beautiful daughter Holly. She loves walking her dog Timmy, reading, listening to daggy 80′s music and networking with other like minded business women.
“I believe that fitness and fat loss should fit into your life, NOT the other way around. It should be fun and fulfilling, not about struggle and sacrifice and pain.
If you don’t feel AWESOME at the end of your session – you are doing it all wrong”.